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January 13, 2023

The Farm, Food and Enterprise Development team with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will hold a virtual Specialty Crop Marketing Boot Camp on two occasions in February. Designed to help those who grow and market specialty crops, the boot camp will feature expert insight from Darcy Maulsby, an Iowa author and experienced ag marketer known as “Iowa’s Storyteller.”

December 21, 2022

Transitioning a farm to the next generation is one of the biggest challenges that farm owners and beginning farmers will face. The decisions made can affect families, finances and rural communities for decades into the future.

December 16, 2022

A family farmer and motivational speaker from eastern Iowa will headline the annual Iowa Specialty Producers Conference, set for Feb. 22-23 in Ankeny.

December 08, 2022

Recognizing the growing interest in specialty crops and specialty crop production, the state’s fruit and vegetable association is taking on a new name and new look to better serve Iowans in those industries. The newly branded Iowa Specialty Crop Growers Association will carry on the same duties of the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association – with a new name and a broader focus.

November 14, 2022

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Farm, Food and Enterprise Development program will host a farm financial management bootcamp for specialty crop producers in December. The short, intensive program is designed to provide producers with the opportunity to optimize their business model, examine their financial infrastructure, develop a financial plan and prepare to raise money for further business development.

November 08, 2022

As harvest season is wrapping up, small food businesses in Iowa are busy baking pumpkin pies and canning fresh blackberry jam. Part of the food supply chain, Iowans who produce and sell goods from their homes are known as home-based kitchen operators.

September 19, 2022

Beginning in October, food entrepreneurs can learn about best practices related to food safety, food labeling, and cleaning and sanitation of food contact surfaces during a free webinar series.

July 28, 2022

Specialty crop growers can get a better handle on their production costs and returns by using fruit and vegetable production budgets developed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The budgets cover all major costs and returns for common fruits and vegetables grown in Iowa, for both annual crops and perennials.

July 28, 2022

The horticulture team with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will hold the 2022 Fruit and Vegetable Field Day Aug. 15 at Iowa State University’s Horticulture Research Station northeast of Ames. The annual event will feature various research and demonstration projects on fruit and vegetable production for commercial growers, extension personnel, nonprofit organizations and master gardeners.

July 27, 2022

Small farmers and acreage owners who want to learn more about agritourism and specialty crops can register to attend a bus tour on Aug. 31. The inaugural event will feature four operations in central Iowa, with presentations by farm and agribusiness owners and specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

June 30, 2022

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University will host the 2022 Wine Grape Field Day on Wednesday, July 27. This field day is offered to grape growers and winemakers, extension personnel and nonprofit organizations. The field day will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature two separate sessions.

June 20, 2022

Selling food to the public is a big responsibility. Numerous state and federal laws are in place to keep the public safe and assure that important food safety protocols are followed. However, navigating all of the dos and don’ts can be a challenge. Depending on what exactly is being sold, and how much, many Iowa food vendors may be exempt from state licensing and federal requirements. But knowing the requirements and best practices is still wise.

June 06, 2022

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today encouraged producers of pesticide sensitive crops to renew their field and beehive entries on the Iowa Sensitive Crops Registry.  “The Iowa Sensitive Crop Registry is an effective tool to support communication between producers of specialty crops, beekeepers and pesticide applicators – all important aspects of Iowa agriculture,” said Secretary Naig. “Now is a good time for farmers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators to reference and update their information using this user-friendly online platform.”

June 02, 2022

The newest commercial fruit crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will use his extensive background in the industry to help Iowa fruit growers overcome challenges.

Picking apples
May 25, 2022

On May 19th, 2021, Governor Reynolds signed SF 356 into law establishing the “Iowa Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act.” See Iowa Code § 673A et seq. Agricultural tourism is a growing industry in Iowa. In 2017, Iowa had 350 agri-tourism operations, an increase from 275 in 2012. Because many of the inherent risks of farming cannot be removed, the Act promotes agricultural tourism by limiting the potential liability of agricultural tourism farms in certain circumstances.

May 02, 2022

Colony Pumpkin Patch, a North Liberty based multi-generation, urban farm strives to provide seasonal and family-oriented experiences and is once again being honored by Google with an exclusive invitation to the Google Business Meetup in Washington D.C. from May 4 - 6, 2022.

January 17, 2022

Every farm operation will face transitions at some point, whether it’s a new beginning, an expansion, retirement or farm exit. In order to help farmers prepare for these kinds of transitions, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State are providing a two-day educational event Feb. 10-11 in Ames.

January 17, 2022

Bringing visitors onto the farm can be a great way to educate others about farm life, and it’s a critical part of the agritourism and agritainment industries. However, there are important risk management considerations for those involved with on-farm visitors. In order to help educate farmers about the risks and how to prepare, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a free, online training that covers the types of concerns these farmers might face. 

December 22, 2021

A podcast designed and produced by the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has been recognized for its outreach. The Small Farm Sustainability Podcast, which airs each week, was ranked No. 1 in a listing of the “Best 20 Sustainable Agriculture Podcasts” by Feedspot Blog, an online content creator and social media curator.

December 22, 2021

Corn and soybeans may be the dominant crops grown in Iowa, but there is plenty of opportunity for specialty crops, including fruits, according to the newest fruit crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Suzanne Slack, assistant professor and fruit crops specialist, plans to help Iowa’s fruit crop growers overcome challenges and increase their chances of success.

December 22, 2021

A pandemic and severe drought challenged fruit and vegetable growers across the state in 2021, but volunteers with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach rose to the occasion. As part of the Growing Together Mini-Grant project, 33 Iowa counties grew 91,772 pounds of fruits and vegetables that were donated to 119 food pantries and distribution sites – equal to more than 275,000 servings

 

December 22, 2021

Specialty crop producers can hone their skills and receive timely updates Feb. 9-10, as the Iowa Specialty Producers Conference returns for the third year, at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. The two-day event will feature keynote messages by John Kennedy, founder of agritourism.life, along with educational breakout sessions both days.

 

December 22, 2021

Farmers and those employed in the agricultural industry should be mindful of the risks involved with internet security and what they can do to keep themselves and their companies safe. With so much activity being done online, farmers share the same risks as those employed in other industries – sometimes even more so.

October 21, 2021

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host the 2021 Iowa High Tunnel Short Course on Nov. 8 in the Garden Room at Reiman Gardens, located at 1407 S. University Blvd. in Ames. This event is designed to highlight production and management of high tunnel crops along with information on economics and marketing aspects of high tunnel crop production. An update on the status of high tunnel research across the Midwest will be provided.

October 21, 2021

Food processors in Iowa are essential not only to increasing the quantity and diversity of food in their areas, but also in creating employment opportunities for members of their communities. However, to be successful, they must pay attention to food safety, sanitation and preparation. A new online training program from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will help Iowa’s food processors meet these goals.

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