Emerging Farmers | Building a Culture of Conservation

Emerging Farmers

Emerging Farmers LogoThe Emerging Farmers project is a proactive approach to address the need to reach out to emerging farmers and future landowners. We define an emerging farmer as someone with ties to agricultural land who would like to return to the farm as an operator or have a voice in its management.

A goal of this innovative project is to help address a variety of social factors influencing the adoption of conservation practices and assist emerging farmers in the creation of a sustainable business plan for their operation.  According to the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2014 Tenure, Ownership and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) Survey, in Iowa:

  • 1/2 of the land is rented or leased
  • Owner/operators make up 19.4% of landowners – 40% of landowners have never farmed before
  • Forty percent of agricultural land is owned by women, with 33% by women over age 65
  • By 2019, ~9% of all the agricultural land will be transferring ownership and ~9% put into a will

This large transference of land and significant demographic shift in Iowa’s agricultural land management and ownership calls for new approaches to conservation outreach and education.

Partners Include: Iowa Learning Farms, Seth Watkins, Nathan Anderson, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development, Beginning Farmer Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Sustainable Business Templates:

A business model or plan helps describe how an organization or individual captures, creates, and delivers value for a customer, ultimately to generate revenues and profits. A business model will help you stand out as a strong emerging farmer to potential landlords, lenders, and customers. It will also give you a pathway as you start your farming journey.

The blank Excel file template can be downloaded and modified for your operation. It can then be easily printed to share with your banker, financial advisor, accountant, family and more. There are also two example templates to help guide you through creating your own. 

Business Model Canvas Template - Blank
Business Model Canvas Template - CRP Management
Business Model Canvas Template - Grazing Sheep for Direct Marketing

Talking With Your Landlord Series:

Discussing a new conservation practice with your landlord can be challenging.  To help begin the conversation, we created a new publication series with talking points and relevant research findings about specific conservation practices. 

talking with your landlord series featuring no-tillCover Crops
Saturated Buffers
Rotational Grazing
Land Use Change: Prairie Strips, Perennial Cover, Extended Rotations
Financial Tips
Communication Tips