Roger Musselman, Davis County Extension Education Director (CEED)
Farm commodity prices are inadequate to reward farmers with sufficient net profit and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are unacceptable to some people in the food chain. Farmers need to produce products that command adequate revenue to generate sufficient net income and return for their labors and investments. Farmers need a system to document quality farm commodity production.
The Davis County Extension Service held a series of three informational meetings from January-November of 2001 involving the area farm management specialist and CIRAS staff to discuss the use of ISO 9000/2000 for agricultural production. A total of 58 people attended the meetings. Some clientele traveled over 150 miles to attend. As discussion continued following the meetings, the CEED recruited a total of nine farming operations in Davis County who had expressed interest in ISO 9000/2000 certification. A training program was developed and funded by a combination of grant funds and a fee of $2250 paid by each farming operation. When the training program was outlined spelling out the time commitment and cost, four farming operations enrolled in the program. A series of seven meetings were held from January through August with a total of 27 class hours. In addition participants were trained in a six hour session on the use of the computerized Iowa Crop Management Data Base system to track crop inputs and costs. An auditor is scheduled for November to audit the four operations and provide certification. Further investigation is taking place to locate viable clientele for whom these farmers can provide a product.
The four farm operations used the computerized Crop Management Date Base system for their 2002 crop records and found it a very useful system to track their inputs. The four operations will be certified this fall. They will join the original 20 certified operations and the elevator in South East Iowa along with five farms in Henry County for a total of 29 farm operations in SE Iowa with certification. This will give a nucleus of producers that will be able to produce for clients under the ISO 9000/2000 system. The expectation is to find clients who will adequately reward the farmers for providing products meeting the client's requirements. This educational program is a bit ahead of the cutting edge but must be developed so there is a core group of producers who are able to fill a client's need.
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July 10, 2006
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