Building Capacity to Support Small Farm Profitability

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $57,644.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Gary Huber
Practical Farmers of Iowa

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, cooperatives, marketing management, agricultural finance, market study, value added
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, transitioning to organic
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships

    Proposal abstract:

    With low commodity prices and increasing consumer demand for farm-fresh, environmentally friendly products, farmers are increasingly looking to improve profits by cutting costs and reaching new markets. Four states are creating over 30 case studies on seven farm profitability topic areas that address these concerns and will publish them for farmer distribution (using other funds). However, farmers are needing additional technical assistance and information to implement these practices, and so we are proposing to use a multi-state collaborative to focus these case studies into materials to train Extension and other advisors. We will reformat and publish these cases as seven Extension-ready PowerPoint presentations, one for each of the seven farm profitability topic areas being studied with the cases. We will conduct twelve to twenty regional training workshops on the case topics using the PowerPoint tools and supplemental materials for at least 270 participants. Workshops will include local practitioners of these production and marketing practices to provide local examples of practices. Extension will learn from practitioners the benefits and obstacles of these practices and build confidence in the feasibility of the ideas. Extension agents/educators will gain the knowledge and materials to discuss, promote and advise on farm profitability topics. Longer term outcomes include increased use of these materials and topics for programming and research directed at all agricultural clients, leading to increased farmer/rancher adoption of more profitable practices and higher farm/ranch profits. Extension knowledge of the topics will be evaluated with pre- and post-workshop questionnaires. Project coordinators will monitor participant use of resource materials and Extension programming that includes these topics. A final project report will describe the success of the process and planned outcomes

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Extension aware of production and marketing options.
    • Extension knowledge of case strategies, benefits, obstacles.
    • Extension has skills and materials for presentations and technical assistance.
    • Extension has knowledge of practitioners for real-life examples.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.