DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Dr. Craig Chase from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have announced the release of the Iowa Commercial Horticulture Survey. The data in the report is from the 2015 growing season and was collected in 2016 and analyzed this past winter.
“Overall, the survey shows a vibrant horticulture industry in Iowa, one that is adapting to new technologies and evolving to meet the demands of consumers. It provides a lot of valuable information that can help farmers, researchers, agricultural-related businesses, and the general public in efforts to understand and grow the industry in Iowa,” Northey said. “It has been more than a decade since there has been a similar survey conducted and it is great to have updated information to better understand this section of Iowa agriculture.”
The newly published survey results are from 882 horticulture crop producers across the state. The data were recorded into an initial dataset by the Des Moines office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. ISU Extension and Outreach’s Local Foods Program team analyzed the data including an economic impact analysis provided by Dr. David Swenson of the Iowa State Department of Economics. That analysis showed that Iowa’s horticulture industry in 2015 generated more than $48 million in direct sales with an additional $32 million in value-added commerce.
The wide-ranging picture gathered by the survey shows that the majority of Iowa’s horticulture farmers are relatively new to this agriculture sector, having grown commercial horticulture crops for 10 years or fewer. The average horticulture farm size is approximately eight acres in size. Most survey respondents use horticulture crop production as means to supplement family income as opposed to deriving their main income from this type of agriculture.
A full digital version of the document along with additional detailed data appendices can also be on found on the Department’s website www.IowaAgriculture.gov under the “Hot Topics” section.
“The Local Foods Program team at Iowa State University is excited about the findings of the survey,” said Chase, program manager. “In particular, it illustrates that horticultural producers are an important sector in Iowa’s agricultural landscape.”
The study was led by a steering committee of staff within the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, ISU Extension & Outreach, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Iowa Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Financial and in-kind contributions from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Farmers Market Association and the Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association made the survey possible. Additional input for the survey was received from Eat Greater Des Moines and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
If you have questions about the survey, please don’t hesitate to contact the Department’s State Horticulturist, Paul Ovrom, at 515-242-6239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.