Small Farms

Our Small Farms Team provides outreach to rural Iowans to connect them with relevant agricultural resources and programs from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.


A farmer stands in a field with harvested crops

Our Clients

Our team serves small farmers, acreage owners, and service providers throughout the state.

Outreach channels include a bi-monthly newsletter, monthly podcast, social media, annual conference, and workshops. 


"The Farm Emergency Preparedness training we received from the Small Farms Team encouraged us to finally get a SafeShed that is a place for us, our employees, and our farm visitors to safely go in case of a tornado."

- Lynn Bolin, Co-owner, New Day Dairy, Clarksville, Iowa

Dairy cows in a field

Our Services

Farmer in field assessing soil with tablet

Farmer Profitability

Staff members conducts economic research on local food systems including development of enterprise budgets and market analysis. The Small Farms Team will add additional decision tools, field strategies and outreach to niche farms across the state.

Staff help growers and industry professionals prepare for and comply with FDA’s FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) Produce Safety Rule through the following services: produce safety alliance trainings; on-farm readiness reviews; assistance in farm food safety plans; education, outreach and technical assistance; and legislative and policy research.

The MarketReady program educates producers on how to effectively enter wholesale, retail, and institutional markets. This program addresses the market development risks and relationships farmers and ranchers need to manage as they plan to scale up successfully.

Person harvests honey

Value-added Opportunities

Our team develops research and partnerships to determine areas of opportunity for Iowa's small farmers to diversify or add additional enterprise options to their farm.

The Heartland Regional Food Business Center is dedicated to helping farm and food enterprises start up, grow, and connect with local and regional markets.

The Small Farms YouTube page has a series of ten free webinars on various risk management topics for specialty crop producers, featuring extension and industry experts.

Visit Iowa Farms (VIF) serves as the ISU Extension and Outreach resource for agritourism producers. Staff work to connect farmers with the information and resources they need to be a successful destination. VIF puts on workshops to inform producers of the risks that arise once visitors come on their farm. VIF maintains a website where farms can register their operation at no cost. The site serves as an agritourism destination search tool for the whole state.

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program provides travel scholarships, mini-grants and professional development opportunities for ISU Extension and Outreach personnel. Larger SARE grants are available, and are promoted through workshops, information booths, and sponsorships at relevant conferences.

Greens growing in a garden bed with a sign that reads "grown local"

Iowa Local Food Directories

Our staff maintains the only statewide directory of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and a directory of food hubs operating in Iowa.

Interested in starting seeds on your farm? Beginning with beekeeping? Or maybe getting started in niche pork production? The Small Farm Sustainability program has a monthly podcast that covers all things small farm - from opportunities to challenges facing those in rural life. You can find the show on your favorite podcast outlet - iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play. If you aren't a fan of subscription podcasts, you can always listen directly on the Small Farms Sustainability website.

Small Farms Sustainability

Visit the full Small Farms Sustainability website for all resources, news, podcasts, and educational opportunities.

Small Farms Sustainability

Stay Connected

Keep up to date on all things Small Farms.

Small Farms Team

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Small Farms Program Manager
(515) 294-4430
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Communications Specialist
(515) 294-0648
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Program Specialist
(641) 425-4948
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Education Extension Specialist
(515) 296-0586
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Program Specialist
(515) 294-9483
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Education Extension Field Specialist
(563) 794-0599

Contact Info

The Small Farms Team is managed by Christa Hartsook.