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Specialty crops can help boost farm income

Specialty crops can help boost farm income

Iowa’s changing food scene is opening new opportunities for Iowa farmers to diversify beyond Iowa’s traditional corn, soybeans and hog production into specialty crops. While specialty crops will never rival traditional crops’ acreage, they can provide valuable farm income.

Almost 1,500 Iowa farms reported specialty crop production in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The category includes vegetables, fruits, nuts and horticultural products; in Iowa, the leading specialty crops are sweet corn, green peas, pumpkins, watermelon, potatoes, nuts, grapes and apples.

“The increase in consumer interest in local foods has definitely sparked more fruit and vegetable production in Iowa,” says Dr. Ajay Nair, associate professor in the...




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