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Sustainable Iowa Land Trust

Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) offers an informal list of SILT farms and farmers available for matching. There is no staff to manage these relationships. SILT asks farmers and landowners who still reside on SILT properties to consider being flexible and creative when thinking of the many arrangements they can make.

Linn County, IA: Food Purchasing Policy

The purpose of this is policy is to direct Linn County, Iowa, departments and agencies to make best efforts to purchase and advocate for local and sustainable food. Linn County employees, vendors, contractors and grantees – as well as all public and private institutions in the county – are likewise encouraged to purchase local and sustainable food. Local and sustainable food purchasing can support Linn County’s efforts toward economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Scott County, IA: Zoning Ordinance for Unincorporated Areas

The purpose of this zoning ordinance is to implement the comphrehensive plan and to preserve the availability of agricultural land; to protect farming operations; to promote the protection of soil from wind and water erosion; to encourage efficient urban development patterns; to promote energy conservation and the reasonable access to solar energy; to protect the health, safety, and comfort of the general welfare; to conserve property values and protect property rights; to conserve and protect our other natural resources; and to encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the Coun

Women Caring for the Land: Improving Conservation Outreach to Female Non-Operator Farmland Owners

This manual is intended to give users an overview of the rationale and methodology for targeting outreach to non-operator women landowners, particularly those 65 and older who now control a significant percentage of US farmland. It also provides a number of conservation demonstration activities, which range from very simple to more complex, both in concept and execution.

Practical Farmers of Iowa Find A Farmer Program

Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) is a grassroots nonprofit promoting profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-led investigation and information sharing. PFI’s Find A Farmer website is designed to help beginning farmer members thrive and help farm families transition their farm to the next generation. The website also offers free online seminars, on-farm field days, workshops and conferences to build members’ farmer-to-farmer networking and skills.

Evaluating Your Estate Plan: Farm Transfer Strategies

Many families spend years accumulating wealth and are interested in keeping another generation on the farm. However, not all farms will or should be transferred to the next generation. Many farms are not large enough or the next generation may not be interested in being in agriculture. Some children may be interested in farming as a part-time occupation. Other families may look outside their own family for non-related parties to bring into the farming operation. Some families will retain ownership of the land, following the parents’ deaths, as an investment.

Constructing a Succession Plan

Historically, relatively few farm and ranch businesses have survived the generation of their founding. In most instances, farm businesses go through a family farm cycle with the firm peaking in efficiency about midway through the life cycle followed by a decline in efficiency in later years.  In recent years, an increasing but still relatively small proportion of farm and ranch firms have been pursuing an objective of continuation of the firm beyond the lifespan of those founding the firm.

Iowa Loan Participation Program

The Loan Participation Program (LPP) was established in 1996 to assist low income farmers secure loans and make down payments. The Iowa Agricultural Development Division's (IADD) participation can be used to supplement the borrower’s down payment, thereby helping a farmer secure a loan more readily. The lender’s risk is also reduced since the IADD provides a "last-in/last-out" loan participation for the financial institution.

Iowa Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program

The Agricultural Assets Transfer Tax Credit is commonly referred to as the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit. The program is administered by the Iowa Agricultural Development Division and began with the 2007 tax year. The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program was enacted by the Iowa legislature during the 2006 legislative session as an incentive to keep land in production agriculture, by allowing agricultural asset owners to earn tax credit for leasing their land to beginning farmers.

Iowa Beginning Farmer Loan Program

The Iowa Beginning Farmer Loan Program (BFLP) was established in 1981 to assist new farmers in acquiring agricultural property. Beginning Farmer Loans are financed by participating lenders or contract sellers with the issuance of federal tax-exempt bonds offered by the Iowa Agricultural Development Division (IADD). Interest received on contract sales or direct loans by individuals is also exempt from state income taxes. The tax-exempt interest income earned by lenders and contract sellers enables them to charge the beginning farmers a lower interest rate.

Ag Link

Iowa State University’s Beginning Farmer Program operates Ag Link, a service to help preserve family farm businesses by matching beginning farmers who do not own land with retiring farmers who do not have heirs to continue the family farm business. Ag Link maintains a database of beginning farmers and landowners and provides guidance through the matching and farm transition process.


Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan: Report to the Iowa Legislature from the Leopold Center of Sustainable Agriculture

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture prepared the local food and farm plan containing policy and funding recommendations for supporting and expanding local food systems and for assessing and overcoming obstacles necessary to increase locally grown food production. They plan was submitted to the Iowa general assembly and includes recommendations for short-term and long-term solutions, including but not limited to the enactment of legislation.

Creating Change in the Food System: The Role of Regional Food Networks in Iowa

This report presents a case study of an integrated effort to build long-term local and regional food commerce in Iowa using a community of practice approach.

The report details the growth and achievements of the Regional Food Systems Working Group in Iowa over the past eight years. The policy, funding, and capacity gains facilitated by that group's collaborative work are a valuable model of the power of networks and relationship-building to develop regionally-integrated, sustainable food systems.

Planning for Food and Agriculture: Taking a Systems Approach - County and Community-based Planning

This is one of two webinars as part of a series hosted by American Farmland Trust--Planning for Agriculture and Food:Taking a Systems Approach.

County and Community-based Planning, December 12
Presenters include David Shabadazian, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG); Katie Lynd, Multnomah County Office of Sustainability (Multnomah)); Jason Grimm, Iowa Corridor Food and Agriculture Coalition (ICFAC); and Kathy Creahan, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (King County).

Cultivating Resilience: A Food System Blueprint that Advances the Health of Iowans, Farms and Communities

Cultivating Resilience: A Iowa Food System Blueprint that Advances the Health of Iowans, Farms and Communities is the result of multi disciplinary efforts including food system stakeholders across Iowa engaged in conversations about the future of food.

The objective of the Iowa Food System Blueprint is to measure the health of Iowa’s food system through a report card leading to recommendations for research, programs and policies to ensure a food system that supports healthier Iowans, communities, economies, and the environment. The Iowa Food System Blueprint has two parts:

A Healthy Seasonal Local Food System Plan

Many would agree that whenever they hear the phrase, “local food system” they think of the local farmer; and the vegetables they may sell at the farmers’ market. If you asked a farmer what the definition of the local food system is, he or she would tell you that they are not the only players in the chain of activities your food passes through from field to fork. The local food system also includes butchers, millers, truck drivers, local grocers, and the community that supports them in all their efforts (Larsen).

The Regional Economic Development Potential and Constraints in Local Foods Development in the Midwest

There are no standard definitions of what constitutes "local" food amidst a burgeoning local food promotion and policy-development movement. Nonetheless, government policies are rapidly evolving to promote local food production. For most states, anything produced or processed in-state is considered local. In other instances, a 250 or even a 500 mile perimeter constitutes an acceptable boundary justifying a local food territory for policy making purposes or purchasing preferences.

Iowa: Local Smart Planning Principles Statute

This law requires Iowa agencies, local governments, and other public entities to consider and apply smart growth principles during deliberation of all appropriate planning, zoning, development, and resource management decisions. The principles that must be considered include: collaboration between jurisdictions; efficiency, transparency and consistency; renewable energy; occupational diversity; revitalization; housing diversity; sustainable design; and, natural resources and agricultural protection.

Iowa Farm to School Statute

The program seeks to link elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools in this state with Iowa farms to provide schools with fresh and minimally processed food for inclusion in school meals and snacks, encourage children to develop healthy eating habits, and provide Iowa farmers access to consumer markets.

The Economic Impacts of Fruit and Vegetable Production in Southwest Iowa Considering Local and Nearby Metropolitan Markets

This study evaluates regional economic impact gains that might accrue if the region were to increase its fresh fruit and vegetable production to accommodate local or regional demand. The study region is composed of 10 counties: Adair, Adams, Audubon, Cass, Guthrie, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, and Shelby. This area includes some of Iowa’s most rural areas, yet it also is strongly influenced by the metropolitan reach of Omaha and Council Bluffs to the west and Des Moines on the east, which also serve as potential markets.

Farmers' Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities

The purpose of this study is to examine the structure and operation of farmers’ markets in the United States, giving special attention to the legal and regulatory issues that may shape their operation. By looking at the rules and regulations markets use and by considering issues markets experience, it is possible to identify the most important challenges vendors and managers of markets may face. It is also possible to make some common sense suggestions on how markets can best address and resolve issues while maintaining their friendly and relatively informal nature.

The Story County Local Food System: Issues and Opportunities

Everywhere we look, whether it is the television, a newspaper article, or billboard, we see more and more people exclaiming the importance of “eating local”. What is less clear is why it is important and what if anything Story County can do to facilitate this growing movement. The purpose of this report is review over nine months of ongoing research by County planning and zoning staff that attempts to answer these questions.

Making Value Chains Work: Best Practices for Success – Workshop Proceedings

Objectives of the Best Practices Workshop included:
- Making intrinsic knowledge of VCP stakeholders apparent and accessible to others,
- Facilitating problem-solving and profitable successes within VCP-affiliated businesses,
- Promoting sustainability and upward scaling of values-based agricultural supply chains, and
- Showing the effectiveness of the value chain and CoP approaches to problem-solving.

A Vision for Good Food: Linking Community-based Food Systems to Healthy Iowans and Healthy Communities

This disconnection to food production correlates with rising chronic disease
trends and public health disparities. The health of Iowans is reflective of the health of the food system. Changes within our food system are needed to assure all Iowans have access to good food - food that is healthy, green, fair, affordable, and accessible.

Ecolabel Value Assessment: Consumer and Food Business Perceptions of Local Foods

An ecolabel is a seal or a logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably-raised foods.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered in a pilot with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory to conduct consumer and food business market research related to ecolabels.

Ecolabel Value Assessment Phase II: Consumer Perceptions of Local Foods

An ecolabel is a seal or logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one important avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably raised foods.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory in the second phase of a pilot project to conduct consumer market research on food ecolabels and perceptions of locally grown foods. The specific objectives for Phase II were as follows:

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the Midwest United States: A Regional Characterization

For the past 20 years, we have heard a great deal about Community Supported Agriculture as a novel marketing and community-building concept. The accepted history of Community Supported Agriculture in the United States is that Jan VanderTuin brought the concept from Switzerland in 1984. CSA projects had been sprouting up there and in other parts of Europe since the 1960s. Such enterprises also were found in Japan in the 1960s when women’s neighborhood groups began approaching farmers to develop direct, cooperative relationships between producers and consumers, known as ‘teikei.’

The Economic Impacts of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption in Iowa: Phase II

This report examines the magnitude of economic change that might accrue to the state of Iowa were it to increase its production of selected fruits and vegetables. The scenario presupposes two things: first, that fruit and vegetable production levels in Iowa increase to satisfy certain levels of existing demand, and second, that all or half of those increments to fruit and vegetable production are directly marketed to Iowa household and business consumers by the actual producers.

Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Far Food Travels, Fuel Usage, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This paper shows that fresh produce transported to Iowa consumers under the current conventional food system travels longer distances, uses more fuel, and releases more CO than the same quantity of produce transported in a local or Iowa-based regional food system. Given that fuel expenses are only a small percentage of total transportation and distribution costs, however, fuel energy costs will need to rise significantly if they are the only factor considered in determining whether local and regional systems are economically competitive with the conventional system.

Local Food Connections: From Farms to Schools

Each year, elementary, junior, and senior high schools purchase large quantities of food for their breakfast and lunch programs. Connecting schools with local growers and producers can benefit both parties. In fact, schools have purchased directly from local farmers in several successful pilot programs around the country. Often these efforts are integrated into the school curriculum through farm visits by students or classroom visits by growers or producers.

Modeling Land Use Decisions with Aggregate Data

In this article, we develop land use models to study the impact of changes in decision variables on soil erosion or other environmental outcomes. From an underlying behavioral model, we use maximum entropy to recover a parametric model of county-level land use shares as a function of decision variables such as output prices, input costs, and land quality. The statistical model may be extended to estimate subcounty land use shares and to incorporate data from federal land use surveys.


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