Beginning farmers say they learned a lot this past year on how to adapt, adjust and cut back with the downturn in the farm economy, yet they remain optimistic about their future in agriculture.

Brent Parizek and his wife, Amy, were among the nearly 500 attendees at the 2017 Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference Jan. 27-28 in Des Moines. The Parizeks said they wanted to learn more about business planning and marketing tools to help build their 400-acre farm near Lone Tree, where they grow corn, soybeans and hay.

"You pretty much know your cash flow and things like that, but it doesn’t hurt to brush up on it. Just basically, you want to know more, as far as when times get tough, what you need to do to buckle down," said Parizek, a Johnson County Farm Bureau member.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Advisory Committee, which organizes the annual event, brought in experts in marketing, estate planning, conservation and data management to provide...