Iowa’s agricultural landscape is diverse, expanding beyond corn and soybeans into niche markets to meet consumer demands. To help spur interest in other areas of diversification, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is hosting a niche market webinar, “Introduction to High Tunnel and Produce Production,” on Tuesday, April 13, at 1 p.m.
A high tunnel is a greenhouse constructed with large hoops covered by plastic or fabric. Crops inside a high tunnel can be planted directly into the soil or in raised beds. Because of the conditions created inside these structures, farmers can often prolong their growing season—increasing marketing opportunities.
The webinar features Iowa State University Extension Commercial Horticulture Field Specialist Joseph Hannan, who will share key considerations prior to constructing a high tunnel such as site selection and investment. He will also give insights into how to expand an existing farm through commercial fruit and vegetable production.
“Before COVID-19 hit, we saw an increase in local foods that only accelerated during the pandemic as attention turned more toward food safety. Consumers are interested in local foods and want to purchase produce and food from farmers they know and trust,” says Amanda Van Steenwyk, IFBF farm business development manager. “We’re excited to have Joe join us to showcase another innovative way for farmers to expand their farms and meet the needs of their local communities through high tunnel production.”
Those interested in this free webinar can register at www.iowafarmbureau.com/events.