Value Added Agriculture Forums

Madeline Schultz, Program Assistant, Value Added Agriculture


Value-added agriculture is a dynamic industry with rapidly occurring changes and new opportunities are constantly emerging. It is an important component of our states economy as it helps create new job opportunities and increases the dollars that stay in the community. To help Iowa State University Extension staff, Community Economic Developers and others stay informed on current events, learn more about successful ventures, and network with each other, the VAAP staff offered three Value Added Agriculture Forums during the year. The forums highlighted several types of businesses,  industries, and organizations that add value to their local communities every day.


Northwest Iowa Forum September 21, 2005

Agribusinesses visited on the tour included:

MidAmerican Energy, Schaller , IA

Tom Budler, Site Manager, stated his company takes seriously Gov. Vilsacks challenge to produce 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy in Iowa by 2010. MidAmericans current Northwest Iowa wind energy production is 310 megawatts of energy which serves 90,000 homes.

American Natural Soy and BIOWA Neutraceuticals, Cherokee, IA

Mark Schuett, owner, is an Iowa entrepreneur competing in a world market that demands innovation and quality. Mark purchased a 1960s Cargill plant and completely refurbished the site to accommodate storage and processing of organic soybeans. Later, he added processing of flax and other unique oilseed crops.

Food Locker Service/Tiefenthaler Meats, Holstein , IA

John and Shelley Tiefenthaler, owners, are an example of how enthusiasm, good business sense and adaptability can lead to a successful small business even in todays highly regulated and competitive meat processing industry.

Natural Farrowing Systems, Marcus , IA

Hog farmers Jim, Al and Bob Hoefling switched from a typical confinement hog operation to raising outdoor hogs in hoop buildings in 2003. They partnered with   Dr. Bryant, DVM, to develop and market the Natural Farrowing System and have now helped more than 27 other farmers raise pigs in this manner.


Presentations were given by:

Iowa Farm Bureau Rural Vitality Blueprint for Success Program

Denny Harding described a new IFBF program aims to help multi-county regions to assess their current situation, conduct research to match assets with opportunities, develop strategic action plans, and creating links to sustainable collaboration and cooperation among rural organizations.


ISU Campus November 29, 2006

Presentations were given by:

ISUE Community and Economic Development Program

Tim Borich, Director, explained the changes Extension is implementing to broaden the focus of the communities program and to emphasize Extensions role in economic development. He showcased recent initiatives and discussed ways to work together to build on past program successes.

USDA Rural Development

Jeff Jobe, Rural Business and Cooperative Specialist, provided updates on Rural Cooperative Development Grants, Value Added Producer Grants, Energy Program Grants and other relevant programs. He also provided examples of the kinds of projects USDA is looking for and highlighted some recent rural development successes.


Northeast Iowa Forum - May 24, 2006

Agribusinesses visited on the tour included:

National Ag-Based Lubricants Center (NABL,) Waverly,  IA   

The non-profit center is an outreach program of the University of Northern Iowa dedicated to researching bio-based industrial lubricants.

Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing (ELM,) Plainfield , IA  

The 20,000 square foot facility utilized by ELM used to be a seed corn distributorship. Today, one of the companys best selling products is grease for railroad curves, selling up to 2.5 million pounds per year.

Rudys Tacos, Waterloo , IA

Barry Eastman buys local beef and chicken, cheese and sour cream, tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, and black beans within 115 miles of his restaurant. These purchases add up to more than $140,000 and more than 71% of his food purchase dollars going back into the local community and region.

Breads by Ruth Beck, Buckingham , IA

Ruth Beck sells a variety of home baked goods at six farmers markets as well as several local businesses, such as Barn Happy and Heritage Farm.

Hansens Farm Fresh Dairy, Hudson , IA

The addition of on-farm processing allowed all four of Jeanne and Jay Hansens sons to return to the family farm. They are very pleased with the decisions they made to expand by developing the farms value chains rather than through cow numbers.


Presentations were given by:

Don Short, Executive Director of Silos and Smokestacks

The heritage area is one of only 27 nation-wide and is a catalyst for heritage tourism which includes agritourism.

Kamyar Enshayan, Program Manager for the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa

Kamyar has impacted local food use through the  Buy Fresh Buy Local program.



As a result of the three forums, more than 40 different participants (or 61 in total attendance) gained insights into a wide variety of value added agriculture activities. ISU Extension staff, community economic developers and others has a chance to network and learn about each others resources and programs for successful outreach with community agribusiness entrepreneurs. As a result of this increased knowledge base, VAAP staff and others are better able to assist clients in developing and expanding agribusinesses in Iowa.

August 2006

121 - Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products


Page last updated: September 5, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,