The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University website is currently featuring results from seven recently completed projects. The Center provides support for research, education, and demonstration projects to help Iowa farmers at all levels with production and marketing issues. Among the recently completed projects:
Producer machinery and labor sharing arrangements workshops. Farm families explain how they have implemented machinery sharing arrangements to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and transfer use and ownership of farm assets to the next generation. http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/research/grants/2011-2/brief/M2008-02_brief.pdf
Update of the Iowa Produce Market Potential Calculator website. This online tool for determining how to grow and market produce in ways to minimize transportation costs shows market gaps and how to calculate acres needed, storage space required and truckloads per day that could be generated.
From farm to market in northwest Iowa. Fruit and vegetable growers within a 30-mile radius of the Iowa Great Lakes showed how to benefit from cooperative marketing and distribution efforts. They achieved increases in market venues and sales.
The actual cost of food systems on roadway infrastructure. The true cost of moving food products on the highway system, including the costs of transportation, environmental, safety, and pavement maintenance and deterioration, can be very different for local, regional and conventional food systems.
Local food producer website workshops. Many producers find that online marketing gives a big boost to their business plan. Participants from 26 farms or local food businesses created new websites or made improvements to existing websites thanks to hands-on training and one-on-one technical support.
The landowners' decision: Grazing and fire as management tools on Iowa grasslands and oak savannas. Fire and fire-grazing combinations can be effective management strategies to maintain and restore agricultural grassland ecosystems. However, private landowners have been slow to use these practices and the investigators looked at the barriers to adoption of fire management.
State policy alternatives for biofuels industry support of sustainable production of biofuels feedstocks. Rapid development of major new markets for biomass to produce energy has raised concerns about natural resources conservation. Three public policy options that show promise for linking the bioeconomy with environmental stewardship involve the corn check-off, tax credits, and compliance requirements.
See these and other research summaries on the Center's web site http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/research/topics.html