Iowa Farm Bureau has a rich history of strengthening Iowa by supporting rural businesses, communities and entrepreneurs and continues that tradition today.

As a grassroots organization, with resources in every county in Iowa, Farm Bureau has built the statewide infrastructure necessary to work with businesses, communities and others to enhance economic vitality throughout the state.   

The innovative Renew Rural Iowa program, launched by Farm Bureau more than a decade ago, has helped to generate more than $125 million in economic impact for rural communities. Farm Bureau has also been a strong supporter of entrepreneur programs to help create enterprise and jobs in rural communities.

“Farm Bureau’s impact has been broad and positive when you think about strengthening our rural communities,” said Wendy Wintersteen, president of Iowa State University (ISU). “You really see Farm Bureau’s leadership everywhere in Iowa.”

Renew Rural Iowa, launched in 2007, works to help increase the enterprise value of new and existing businesses in Iowa’s rural communities through a program of business education, mentoring and the financial resources to help businesses grow in Iowa. The program brings together seasoned business experts and critical resources at each seminar, allowing business owners to tap into a wide array of services and one-on-one assistance.

“Farm Bureau and Renew Rural Iowa have made a tremendous difference all over the state,” said Lisa Shimkat, State Director of the Iowa Small Business Development Center. “They play such an important role in rural economic development because they have the tools and resources, and can bring everyone together to get things done.”

Farm Bureau has also been a nationally-recognized leader in supporting agricultural entrepreneurs. Three of the first four top winners of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Entrepreneur of the Year — ScoutPro in 2015, AccuGrain in 2016 and SwineTech in 2018 — have been Iowa startups mentored by Iowa Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau and Renew Rural Iowa have made a tremendous difference all over the state.” 
     — Lisa Shimkat, State Director, Iowa Small Business Development Center

“We’ve worked with the Iowa Farm Bureau really since about day one in preparing us to know how to run a business and how to measure finances and do all the funding that’s necessary,” said Matthew Rooda, SwineTech co-founder and CEO. “They’ve really helped connect us to anybody we’ve needed to talk to (in order) to help us further our venture.”

Farm Bureau’s support for rural entrepreneurs has been vital for building Iowa’s economy, said Wintersteen. “It’s a great way to keep exciting new businesses and their promise here, instead of losing them to the coasts.”