MarketMaker Iowa Outreach

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

MarketMaker Iowa Outreach

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

As interest continues to grow in local food production, producers of local food continue to look for new market opportunities and outlets. Through MarketMaker, producers can connect with consumers and consumers can find producers of their desired local food products in their region.

(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

MarketMaker is a valuable tool for Iowans – both producers and consumers. The website requires producers to self register their operation, at no cost to them. The search function then allows producers to utilize Census data, GPS information and other databases to find new markets, desirable consumer demographics, farmers’ markets and institutional markets as new market outlets for their local food products. However, education is necessary to encourage producers to register on the site and to encourage both producers and consumers to utilize the site in the searches – both to find local food products and to find local food markets. The goal for 2011 was to spread awareness of the tool, foster new partnerships to promote MarketMaker and encourage producer registrations on the site.

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

Promotional stories were placed in Farmers’ Markets Today, Wallace’s Farmer and the Farm Bureau Spokesman. A series of videos was created and placed on YouTube to walk new participants through the use of MarketMaker. MarketMaker was promoted to the Iowa Restaurant Association, the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers (200 members), Practical Farmers of Iowa (500 members), Iowa Workforce Development, the USDA Outlook Forum, and the Farm to School Program at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Nationally, MarketMaker Iowa is one of 20 states participating in the program. In 19 of those 20 states, Extension leads the education and outreach. Iowa has 411 farmers registered, 43 agritourism operations, 238 farmers’ markets listed, 6 aquaculture operations, 420 meat and poultry processors and 34 wineries. Nationally, there are more than 20,000 farmer profiles in the 20 states enrolled in MarketMaker. The portal to the national MarketMaker site resides on ISU Extension’s Agricultural Marketing Resource Center website at The MarketMaker site receives 1.3 million hits a month from more than 73,000 individuals. The Iowa MarketMaker team was also part of an exciting new national launch for a new mobile application, 

RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

One Iowa grower stated that they were amazed by the number of calls they had regarding their orchard and products once they registered. They enjoyed the opportunity to educate consumers on local foods. Practical Farmers of Iowa was secured as a new sponsor of MarketMaker Iowa, highlighting its importance to their membership.

Desired Changes

Producers will:

  • Understand how to use MarketMaker to access new market outlets
  • Register their operation on MarketMaker

Consumers will:

  • Gain awareness of MarketMaker through increased promotional efforts.

Partnering states/programs will:

  • Support MarketMaker to their membership
  • Support MarketMaker financially

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Craig Tordsen, Extension Program Specialist – Value Added Agriculture Program
1111 NSRIC, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

Your Position


POW # and Team

120 Farm and Business Management

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­Regional Food Systems

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)


Continuing Story


Major Partners or Collaborators

University of Illinois; 20 State Partnerships Involved in National MarketMaker

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

Regional, multi-regional

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)


Funding Source

Value Added Agriculture Program, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, other state grants and sponsorships


Local foods production, local food markets


Page last updated: January 13, 2012
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,