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August 12, 2021

Multiple days of excessive heat can be hard on vegetable crops, especially ones known to be cool-season. Brassicas, lettuce, carrots and spinach are particularly vulnerable to bitterness, wilting, bolting, deformities and coloring that affect the quality of the produce. Warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers are also at risk of poor flowering and pollination, poor nutrient availability, and overall plant stress in the heat which leads to poor growth, yield, and fruit quality issues in the future. While we cannot control the weather there are a few strategies growers can implement to help vegetable crops survive during these long dry summer days.

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August 09, 2021

Food businesses interested in expanding the processing and retail side of their operation have a new resource published by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The “Scaling Up Specialty Crop Processing Toolkit” provides an overview and case study of the different criteria for food businesses interested in processing specialty crops through small scale value-added processing – such as product development, commercial kitchens, increasing sales and more.

Mom and baby cow
July 29, 2021

Livestock farmers know that reducing the spread of disease and pests among their animals maximizes profitability. Biosecurity includes understanding routes of transmission and taking steps to manage risk at the whole-farm level.

Fruit & Vegetable Week Image
July 29, 2021

Iowa’s commercial horticulture industry contributes $48 million to the state’s economy each year and provides fresh fruits and vegetables to Iowa consumers. Gov. Kim Reynolds recognized the value of this segment of agriculture by designating July 26-30, 2021, as Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Week.

September 22, 2020

Publications and webinars to enhance your agritourism business. 

Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Week Graphic
June 11, 2020

Iowa’s commercial horticulture industry contributes $48 million to the state’s economy each year and provides fresh fruits and vegetables to Iowa consumers. Recognizing the value of this segment of agriculture, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has designated June 22-26, 2020, as Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Week.

May 27, 2020

The most recent “Back to Business Iowa” podcast from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach features Cherie Edilson, co-founder and CEO of Shop Where I Live. This Marion, Iowa based company works with chambers of commerce and economic development groups statewide to create online “storefronts” where all of the community’s businesses can sell their products in one spot. This model is surging in popularity with COVID-19 pandemic-related closures and social distancing requirements.

May 19, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, businesses across the state are trying new and innovative strategies to remain open and continue to serve Iowans. Farms and food businesses are also stepping up to meet the demand for local food products. Many farmers markets are moving to online sales and virtual options to continue to support customers and vendors in this trying time.

May 01, 2020

The horticulture team at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is debuting a new video series with detailed information on vegetable production and management in Iowa. Videos can be viewed by visiting the ISU Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management YouTube channel.

May 01, 2020

Local foods producers and consumers who rely on Iowa’s farmers markets for food are able to conduct business as of April 24, according to a decision by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. The governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency allows farmers markets to operate, but only to sell food and farm products.

May 01, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses from large to small, and there are many questions surrounding what business owners and entrepreneurs should do as the state prepares to re-open. To help answer some of these questions, and to help Iowans understand the many resources available, the Community and Economic Development program and the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are providing a series of podcasts and webinars, in partnership with the Iowa Small Business Development Centers.

Sweet corn at farmers market.
April 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a far-reaching impact within the food supply and value chain system, affecting multiple sectors of the food economy. In an effort to help explain the many issues and options, the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is sharing timely resources and answers online.

Original photo: Ajay Nair answering questions.
April 15, 2020

The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are many, but one thing that hasn’t changed for Iowa’s small farmers is the need for timely, accurate information. One way Iowans can stay informed is by listening to the Small Farm Sustainability Podcasts, a project led by Christa Hartsook, the small farms program coordinator with Farm, Food and Enterprise Development at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

April 15, 2020

Now is the time to get creative. Travel experts predict a pent-up demand to “hit the road” as soon as people are able to get out. Are you ready? Here are ten inexpensive ideas your business and community can use right now to help capture that eager market, avoid a tourism industry wipeout, and build long-term success.

December 02, 2019

The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally when most Christmas tree buying occurs. Whether you cut your own tree or buy a pre-cut tree there are several things to consider before buying and when selecting a fresh tree. Horticulture specialists with Iowa State University offer tips to make the most of your fresh tree.

December 02, 2019

Midwesterners wanting to add edible diversity to their woodlands or to their backyards may want to consider the benefits of growing Chinese chestnut trees. Unlike American chestnuts, which were largely decimated by a fungal canker blight in the last century, the Chinese species is blight resistant and has proven to be weather resistant most years.

Still Water Fiber Farm
August 13, 2019

Previous issues of the Visit Iowa Farms newsletter highlighted the first three steps a business must take to provide excellent service to its customers. The final steps are: step four, Make it SATISFYING, and step five, Make it MEMORABLE.

Vegetables at Farmers Market
August 13, 2019

How can a vegetable farmer know which crops are profitable enough to keep growing? Can marketing costs be analyzed by sales channel? They can with the right enterprise budgets. Learn more in this article. 

Ipad in field
August 13, 2019

Whether your agritourism destination includes livestock, food, seasonal activities, or farm stays, a successful marketing plan will expand your customer base and ultimately lead to additional revenue. This article will give you 5 steps to help improve your farm marketing.

July 05, 2019

The fruit and vegetable research taking place at Iowa State University’s Horticulture Research Station will be on full display for the Fruit and Vegetable Field Day Aug. 5. The annual event will feature various research and demonstration projects tailored toward commercial growers, extension personnel, nonprofit organizations and Master Gardeners. Specific projects include high tunnels, organic vegetable production, pepper and sweet potato production, pest management in cucurbit crops, hops, peaches and beneficial insects such as bees, wasps and pollinators.

Bolin Family Photo
June 24, 2019

Although the title has changed, the farmer still comes first for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program. The new title is the result of a merger of the Value Added Agriculture and Local Foods teams, but their mission and goals haven’t changed. This is also true for the programs they offer, such as the Small Farms Team, which works to improve profitability and efficiency of growers across the state.

June 12, 2019

Farmers and landowners who open their property to the public face some unique risks and responsibilities.To help ensure their operation is following best practices, a group of agritourism experts with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has put together six checklists that cover the many types of liability an owner may face.

Tractor at Colony Pumpkin Patch
May 13, 2019

Google’s annual Economic Impact Report features one business from 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. In their 2018 report, released today, the featured Iowa business is North Liberty's Colony Pumpkin Patch.

Farm signage
May 13, 2019

Whether you operate a family farm or an agritourism destination, farm signage and labels are critical to your operation. Signage is designed to keep your family, farm workers, and visitors safe and informed. If your agritourism destination contains livestock, playground equipment, machinery or food sales, signs are a necessity.

Strawberry plants
May 13, 2019

Weeds compete with small fruit plants for the elements needed to grow and produce fruit, which means gardeners need to be diligent about weed control. Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provide weed control options for gardeners with strawberries, raspberries and vineyards. 


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