Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged Iowa horticulture food crop producers to participate in a statewide industry survey aimed at capturing fresh data on the diversity, growth and economic impact of horticultural food crop production in our state. This is the first Iowa survey of its kind in nearly a decade.
“As we build and expand markets for Iowa agricultural products through the Choose Iowa program and other initiatives, it’s important that we have reliable and up-to-date data to help us better understand the current and future needs of these producers,” said Secretary Naig. “Horticulture producers and specialty crop farmers are vital to the strength, diversity and uniqueness of Iowa agriculture and I would invite them to participate in this statewide survey.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is partnering with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) as well as other industry stakeholders on the effort. The survey, 2024 Iowa Commercial Horticulture Survey for Food Crops, was mailed to approximately 3,500 known Iowa horticulture crop producers earlier this week. The goal is to capture feedback from producers of commercial horticultural food crops in Iowa that include fruits, nuts, vegetables, berries, herbs, honey, maple syrup and mushrooms.
The disruptions and inflation of the last few years have led both producers and consumers to reassess key elements of their marketing and purchasing behaviors. Today’s producers and farmers are increasingly seeking out creative methods to reach a broader audience of consumers. Up-to-date and reliable data is necessary to capture these trends and allow policymakers and researchers to better assist with addressing the needs of growers and other stakeholders.
The deadline for participating in the survey is April 30, 2024. Participation is voluntary, but cooperation is critical toward developing an accurate assessment of specialty food crop production and marketing in Iowa. The information provided by producers will be considered confidential and will only be reported as aggregate totals or averages.
This survey was the result of a cooperative effort by several entities. In addition to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and USDA NASS, assistance was provided by Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Iowa Specialty Crop Growers Association and the Iowa Farmers Market Association. If there are Iowans who did not receive a survey in the mail but whose horticulture and specialty crop production information should be captured, they can acquire a survey by calling 515-242-6239 or by requesting one online through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website.