Eldon Everhart, Horticulture Field Specialist, Southwest
Traditional agriculture opportunities are declining in Iowa. Many people are interested in commercial horticulture ventures related to high tunnel technology. Until recently, high tunnel research and demonstration in Iowa was not available from ISU.
A high tunnel workshop and field day was held on June 21, 2006, at the ISU Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm near Lewis, Iowa. Participants learned about the maintenance and management of high-value, horticulture crops growing in the field compared to the same crops inside a high tunnel. Participants toured the newly constructed high tunnel planted with tomatoes, blackberries, red raspberries, and other crops. Participants had an All-Iowa dinner featuring produce grown on the farm. Speakers included Dr. Henry Taber, Extension vegetable specialist, and Dr. Paul Domoto, Extension fruit specialist. Mr. Maury Wills, Iowa Department of Agriculture, discussed organic certification. Dr. Eldon Everhart, horticulture field specialist, and Mr. Milton Amos, a local farmer, spoke about Mr. Amos internship funded by a grant from the College of Agriculture and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
Forty-seven people participated in the high tunnel workshop and field day at the Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm on June 21, 2006. The follow-up evaluation (N=25, 53% response rate) showed that base-line knowledge of participants was low (avg. 2.9) ranging from 1-9 (on a 1-10 scale; 1= little knowledge to 10= very knowledgeable). The Knowledge gained from the information presented was assessed at 6.0 (avg.) and ranged from 3 - 10. The most frequently reported score for initial knowledge was 1.0 (mode) while the change in behavior expressed as knowledge gained was 6.0 (mode). This data suggest that participants behavior was modified dramatically by the information presented. Forty percent of the participants indicated that they are considering commercial horticulture production. Economic benefit was estimated based on attendees response to questions about technology adoption and on predicted net income from high tunnel enterprises. The multiplier effect of products, supplies, and services purchased and sold locally was not included in this computation. The estimated economic benefit of this workshop and field day is $95,000.
106 - Green Industry (Commercial Horticulture and Forestry)
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September 25, 2006
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