Iowa Tag

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship awarded more than $300,000 in grants to 14 partners, to help grow demand for Iowa's specialty crops. Specialty Crop Block Grants help raise awareness about, drive demand or create new markets for specialty crops. The projects awarded in this round of funding focus on particular crops, such as Christmas trees, red wine, hazelnuts, honeyberry, and specialty melons, as well as broader efforts to increase the utilization of Iowa produce in schools. Additional projects address food safety for specialty crops, seeds for native plants, and training for refugee farmers....

Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2022 winter webinar series, referred to as "farminars," begins January 4, 2022, and runs weekly through March 29, 2022. Farminars free to attend and anyone with an internet connection is invited to participate. Each presentation focuses on a unique production or business management topic, and is led by a farmer or subject-matter expert. Attendees are able to ask questions in real-time using a chat box during the presentations. Topics in the 2022 series include organic no-till in row crops; on-farm research on cover crops, manure, and nitrogen; organic seed production; day-neutral organic strawberries; integrating prairie strips...

Related ATTRA resources: Farm to Institution Iowa's Farm to Table Task Force commissioned during the 2021 state legislative session has submitted a set of recommendations to the Iowa Legislature that are intended to improve the farm to table supply chain. The group of 12 local food experts was charged with identifying strategies to improve the farm to table supply chain in Iowa, with a special focus on increasing sales to institutional purchasers, including schools. The task force's full report is available online and contains recommendations including the following: improving sales of local foods to institutions, including farm to school and early care...

Related ATTRA Podcast: Food Hubs and School Sales A report released by the Iowa Food Hub Managers Working Group and ISU Extension and Outreach showed that school purchases of local food from food hubs dropped from 2020 to 2021, when financial incentives were no longer available. In 2020, schools received Local Produce and Protein Program grants, but when those funds were no longer available in 2021, many fewer schools purchased local food. Schools that already had established relationships with local food providers were likely to continue to purchase local foods, however. Over time, schools with established relationships tend to make larger and...

The Gilbert family of Iowa Falls, Iowa, operating as Gibralter Farms, has been named by natural meat brand Niman Ranch as its 2021 Sustainable Farm of the Year. The Gilberts raise antibiotic-free, pasture-farrowed pigs, milk Brown Swiss dairy cattle, and grow an array of crops and forage. The Gilbert family uses various sustainable farming practices including crop rotation, no- and ridge-till, riparian buffers, rotational grazing, conservation land, and terracing. A short video about the Gilbert family and their passion for sustainability is posted online....