The next generation of Iowa farmers are discovering a new path into agriculture by looking beyond commodity crops and tapping into the growing demand for local and specialty foods.

At last week’s Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting in Des Moines, three young Iowa farmers described the successes and challenges they have faced in establishing their niche-market farm businesses.

More Iowa farm families are looking into starting a specialty ag enterprise as a way to diversify their existing farm or to bring young people back to the farm, particular those who aren’t interested in growing traditional row crops or livestock, said Nathan Katzer, Iowa Farm Bureau’s farm business development manager.

"Many families in the state of Iowa can consider (specialty ag) as a way to get the next generation involved, as a way to add a business to ...