James H. Jensen, farm management field specialist
Iowa State Universitys research farm in Southeast Iowa was running out of space to handle the research requests and still operate the facility in an appropriate way to limit complications when locating research projects. The problem with doing research plots is that there needs to be a time between experiments to neutralize the area from the last project. This requires a certain percentage of your land area to be out of research plots or in bulk crop production for a period of time. The farm had become too small compared to the growing demand for research projects.
To remedy this situation, the Research Farm board of directors and Iowa State University Extension personnel started a two-pronged approach to solving the problem. First, they started a fund-drive to raise money to purchase additional land for the research farm, and secondly, they started looking for a suitable site to expand onto. By adding additional land to the research farm, the board felt they could meet the increasing project demand and improve the offerings the facility had for potential researchers. The problem was that there was not any land presently available for sale in the immediate vicinity, and the farm economy was in a downturn. That meant farmers and agribusiness did not have extra money to give to this type of project.
The impact of the project to date has been to create some new excitement in the research association that owns the farm. The project has given members a common goal to work for and a renewed appreciation for the purpose of the facility. Extension has played a major role in the fund-raising effort and in locating a suitable piece of land for the expansion. The land has been purchased, and enough money has been raised at this point in time to pay for one-half of the purchase price. The fund-drive will continue with the goal being to completely pay for the addition within five years.
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July 8, 2006
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