Linda Engelken Fischer, Benton County extension education director; Steve DeHoogh, Iowa County extension education director; Deb Van Arkel, , Poweshiek County extension education director; and Ann Smith, Tama County extension education director; Jeff Zacharakis Jutz, community development field specialist; and Craig Chase , farm management field specialist
The present rate of return for East Central Iowa producers of traditional farm commodities is generally below levels required for vitality and sustainability. While “specialty” or value-added crop and livestock products can add a premium for producers, producers need help making good strategic decisions.
An asset mapping survey was conducted in 2001 and final results compiled in 2002. Secondary data was collected and put into a GIS ArcView format. The survey data, GIs ArcView data along with presentations on value added agriculture projects in Iowa and resources to analyze value added agriculture ideas were presented to 94 people attending five community meetings in the 4-county area. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and our other partners teamed together to offer educational and informational assistance in specialty crops and livestock on an ongoing basis to requesting producers.
The meetings provided an opportunity for producers to meet and visit with other producers interested in diversifying their operations. The project has established that there is significant interest among producers to pursue niche markets and or specialty grain and livestock enterprises. Since the meetings, 15 producers have requested additional information. One new value-added agricultural business is being organized in Benton County . ISU Extension and our other partners will continue to offer education and information in specialty grain and livestock producers.
Page last updated:
July 10, 2006
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