The Start to Farm: New Farmer Learning Network, organized by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is a statewide program designed to provide education and support for beginning and early-career agricultural producers. Start to Farm groups will meet several times throughout the year. Based on priorities and topics determined by each group they will discuss production techniques, ways to grow and improve business practices, and farm management strategies.
Multiple groups will be organized throughout the state, with beginning farmers able to join a group that will be most beneficial to them through either a focus on farm enterprises or geography. Group members will participate in a wide variety of activities, including touring successful farming operations. They also will become part of a community of Iowa beginning farmers.
Group members share ideas and learn about resources available
“Our goal is to provide an open atmosphere for discussion, sharing of ideas and learning about resources for producers who are in their first 10-12 years of farming,” said Patrick Gunn, assistant professor in animal science and Extension beef cow-calf specialist. “Each group will have its own focus depending on the needs of its members.”
Registration for the program is requested, but there is no participation fee. Start to Farm groups will be organized across the state. Contact an ISU Extension and Outreach county office for information about a local Start to Farm group and to register for upcoming Start to Farm: New Farmer Learning Network meetings.
Group locations have been assigned ISU Extension specialists
Start to Farm groups will be facilitated by Iowa State University Extension specialists. The specialists and their topic area are listed by location in the following list.
Group 3: Winneshiek County – Jenn Bentley, Dairy; [email protected], 563-382-2949
Group 5: Fayette County – Mark Storlie, Swine; [email protected], 563-425-3331
Group 6: Dubuque County – Larry Tranel, Dairy; [email protected], 563-425-3331
Group 9: Benton County – Denise Schwab, Beef; [email protected], 319-721-9624
Group 11: Iowa County – Patrick O’Malley, Commercial Horticulture; [email protected], 319-330-0337
Group 14: Mahaska County – Charles Brown, Farm Management; [email protected], 641-673-5841
Group 15: Washington County – Tom Miller, Swine; [email protected], 319-931-3781
Group 17: Wapello County – Colin Johnson, Beef/Swine; [email protected], 515-291-9287
Group 2: Hancock County – Russ Euken, Beef/Swine; [email protected], 641-923-2856
Group 8: Story County – Hugo Ramirez, Dairy; [email protected], 515-294-5517
Group 10: Dallas County – Joe Hannan, Commercial Horticulture; [email protected], 515-993-4281
Group 13: Marion County – Patrick Wall, Beef; [email protected], 515-450-7665
Group 16: Lucas County – Joe Sellers, Beef; [email protected], 641-203-1270
Group 1: Sioux County – Beth Doran, Beef; [email protected], 712-395-0280
Group 4: Cherokee County – David Stender, Swine; [email protected], 712-261-0225
Group 7: Carroll County – Shane Ellis, Farm Management; [email protected], 515-520-0601
Group 12: Cass County – Christopher Clark, Beef; [email protected], 712-250-0070
Group 18: Page County – Tim Eggers, Farm Management; [email protected], 712-542-5171
Registration is requested, but there is no participation fee
ISU Extension specialists will deliver information on topics that include basic livestock, grain and horticultural crop farming practices, land access strategies, financial and risk management training and diversification. Groups are organized by location or by production focus, such as livestock or horticultural crops.
The groups are funded by an ISU Extension and Outreach grant through the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. For more information, visit the ISU Extension and Outreach Start to Farm website.