Resources for Emerging Farmers Now Available from Iowa Learning Farms

April 24, 2019

Ames, Iowa, April 24, 2019 – Iowa Learning Farms (ILF), a hands-on education and outreach program for Iowa landowners and agricultural producers, launched its Emerging Farmer series of resources and guides aimed at supporting new and prospective farmers in developing sustainable business plans for their operations. The program includes sustainable business templates and the Talking with Your Landlord series of informational publications.

“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,” said Liz Juchems, ILF conservation outreach specialist. “We’ve created tools that will empower these farmers with science- and research-based information to help create a sustainable plan for a new farm or new venture within an existing farm. Our goal with this innovative project is to help dispel resistance to conservation practices and encourage new farmers to focus on the business of farming with an eye toward maintaining environmental health.”

The sustainable business templates provide a framework on which farmers can create business plans to use in soliciting financing, engaging with prospective landowners, or simply in running a successful farming enterprise. The templates help identify pertinent questions and resources which may be available to support further development of a solid business plan. Specialized template versions for grazing livestock and leveraging CRP are available in addition to the core business model canvas template.

“Each template is simply a starting point which farmers can modify to their personal needs, yet gives them the foundation to describe how they will capture, create, and deliver value with the farm, and ultimately run a profitable business,” continued Juchems. “This program is different from others in that it incorporates sustainable conservation-minded approaches to land stewardship which can give farmers seeking land a competitive advantage when speaking with potential landlords.”

The program also includes the Speaking with Your Landlord series of conversation guides. These targeted publications provide farmers with key facts related to topics ranging from no-till and edge of field conservation practices to financial management of a farm.

“Many landowners prefer to partner with farmers who will preserve and improve their land,” noted Juchems. “This series helps facilitate conversations which will help ensure the farmers and landowners are moving forward together with mutually beneficial practices.”

The Emerging Farmers program is funded in part by grants from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop and deliver tools the help new farmers be successful and operate profitable businesses.

The Emerging Farmers materials are available here.

To learn more about Iowa Learning Farms outreach and education programs, please visit us on the web at

About Iowa Learning Farms:

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA Section 319), ISU’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Practical Farmers of Iowa and GROWMARK, Inc.



Elizabeth Juchems

Iowa Learning Farms