Ron Hook, Farm Management Field Specialist; Beth Doran, Beef Field Specialist; Dave Stender, Swine Field Specialist; Chris Mondak, Dairy Field Specialist; Don Avis, County Extension Director; Al Grigg, County Extension Director; Jean McGuire, Communications Specialist
In needs assessment discussion with Iowans in northwest Iowa, citizens frequently expressed concerns and interest in making opportunities for Iowas young people to become involved in agriculture. This concern was often raised following reports about the declining number of farms in Iowa, the increasing average age of farmers, and the need for rural revitalization. For the continuing development and stewardship of Iowas agricultural resources, and for maintenance of active, vital rural communities, existing farmers need access to resources to help them stay updated and viable, and young beginning farmers need access to resources to help them connect to the land and develop livelihoods in agriculture.
A small group of ISU Extension Field Specialists and County Extension Directors in the Northwest Area formed a working group explore the issues citizens expressed regarding creating opportunities for beginning farmers. The group invited in the participation of local partners from Farm Service Agency and Plains Area Mental Health Service. This group determined that many resources do in fact exist, and information about those resources does in fact exist. The problem centered on lack of compilation and dissemination of information about the resources actually available.
To correct this, the group created the Iowa Farm Business Resource Directory, a concise one-page, two-sided document to list the financial resources available in Iowa for existing and beginning farmers. The Directory lists the organizations offering resources, provides a brief description of the services or resources available, and lists a contact person, phone number, or website.
Although an idea conceived in a multi-county region of the state, the completed Iowa Farm Business Resource Directory lists resources available statewide, and consequently is a valuable resource that can be used as a reference throughout the state by Extension educators, financial advisors, and bankers who work with and counsel existing and beginning farmers. As a comprehensive and concise summary of financial resources, the Directory will help inform and connect existing and beginning farmers to the resources they need to continue or start farms or agricultural enterprises.
120 Farm and Business Management
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January 18, 2008
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