Alternative Agriculture in Iowa

The Alternative Agriculture in Iowa website is designed to assist producers, processors, marketers, business owners, policy makers, researchers and the general public with information on alternatives to Iowa's traditional crops (corn and soybeans). The website provides useful resources for anyone interested in becoming more diversified, profitable, and environmentally responsible, with peer-reviewed material from contributing departments including Agronomy and Horticulture (alternative crops), Economics (farm management and profitability), Animal Science (alternative livestock and forages), Organic Agriculture (crops and livestock), Economic Development (value-added ag), and Natural Resource Management (environmental considerations).  Downloadable information includes publications, articles, and videos, ranging from alternative crops, crop rotations and environmental quality to policies and standards, management and marketing techniques.

In the News

Livestock Production and Conservation Policy

Mark Rasmussen, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
pptx presentation at the "Sustaining our Iowa Land (SOIL)" Conference, Drake University, Des Moines, IA, November 19, 2015

Upcoming Events
  • Feb. 3 — Women Planning Ag Businesses. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Iowa Cattlemen's Association,Ames. First of five Saturday sessions designed to help women create or expand ag-related businesses. Sponsored by ISU Women in Agriculture and other partners.
  • Feb. 10 — Iowa Small Farms Conference. 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., Scheman Building, Ames. Small farmers and acreage managers can learn about farm finances, hops production, gardening, beekeeping, and more. Early-bird rate ends Feb. 2.
  • Feb. 15 — GAP Food Safety Plan Workshop. 1 - 4 p.m., Linn County Extension Office, Cedar Rapids. A hands-on workshop to create a food safety plan for produce farms.
  • Feb. 22-24 — Moses Organic Farming Conference. LaCrosse Center, LaCrosse, Wisc. Largest organic farming conference in the US; 66 workshops, plus keynotes, panels, and exhibitors. Advance registration closes Feb. 8.
  • Feb. 27 — Agritourism Destination Safety and Health Best Practices Workshop. 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m., Buena Vista County Extension Office, Storm Lake. Learn how to implement proper agritourism safety and health practices on your farm. Sponsored by the ISU Visit Iowa Farms Program.
View more events


Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
A research and education center that studies environmental and social problems caused from agriculture development. Subjects of research include, ecological systems, marketing and food systems, policy making and alternative farming systems.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program
The ISUEO Value Added Agriculture program has several resources that focus on high value or specialty agricultural practices.  The site has several various categories of resources including marketing, business development, local foods, high tunnel production and food entrepreneurial resources.  The site also includes resources for renewable energy.

AgMRC (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center)
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provides several livestock and crop profiles and resources for producers looking to add value through Organic Agriculture to their organic farming operations.

Organic Agriculture Program
Our mission is to educate producers, consumers and policy makers in the research and extension activities in Organic Agriculture both on-farm and in the Universities. ISU operates an Organic Agriculture Program to provide research information and extension presentations for Iowa citizens. Field Days, workshops and an ICN series on organics are held throughout the year.

ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Website contains information for first time farmers, energy alternatives, local foods, organic farming, pest management and more.

Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
MISA is a University of Minnesota partner program that contains information related to farming workshops, conferences, research and more.

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (University of Wisconsin)
CIAS is a research center focusing on farming systems and their connection to economics, natural resources and people.