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Farmers asked to complete commercial horticulture survey for food crops

Photo by Stan Shebs

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Iowa Commercial Horticulture Survey for Food Crops is being mailed statewide to farmers that raise horticulture food crops.  Farmers are asked to complete the survey and return to the Department by March 15, 2016.

“It has been 15 years since a similar survey was created and sent to producers, and much has changed in that time.  This is a rapidly growing and very diverse sector of Iowa’s agricultural economy, and it is vital that we capture reliable and current statistics.  The data gathered will provide insights and guidance to producers, researchers, policy makers, agricultural-related businesses, and the public at large,” Northey said.

Iowa commercial horticulture producers that have not received a survey by February 10th can request one by calling 515-242-6239 or by going online to request one at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/agDiversification.asp.

The survey hopes to capture the 2015 data of commercial production of the state’s fruit and vegetable crops as well as that of nuts, honey, maple syrup, and herbs.  Data collected will also include information on acres under production, high tunnel and greenhouse usage, information on processed and value-added products, and marketing outlets. The results of the survey will available in December.

The survey was the result of a cooperative effort by many organizations including the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, the Iowa Farmers Market Association, and Eat Greater Des Moines.