Johnson, S. D.1
1Farm & Ag Business Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension, ALTOONA, IA, 50009


Iowa Net Farm Income on an accrual basis dropped by nearly 41% from 2014 to 2018. This despite above average crop yields and improved livestock production efficiencies. Most every U.S. farm operation faces ever increasing export competition and global trade challenges.

Over the past 20 years, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension of Central Iowa has established 3 successful ag marketing clubs that meet during the fall and winter months. They are coordiated by county Extension office staff.  I addition, in 2010 the Iowa Commodity Challenge web page was developed through a partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. It provides weekly updates and year-round learning opportunities. The site includes 15 videos, a marketing tools workbook, various learning activities, basis tracking tables and editable old and new crop marketing plans.

A goal for 2019 was to improve net farm income of club participants by at least $5,000 per farm operation through improved marketing strategies, tools and market planning.  A total of 338 participants attended an ag marketing club meeting and/or utilized the Iowa Commodity Challenge web page. Completed survey responses were obtained from 110 respondents in March 2020 to evaluate the effectiveness of these educational efforts. 

Respondents indicated that their net farm income resulting from the ISU Extension educational efforts averaged a positive $15,837 per farm operation.  The average farm size of respondents was 750 tillable acres of corn and soybeans. Thus, the impact of this educational program was $21.13 per tillable acre average and over $1.7 miilon for these respondent operations. Plans are to expand the program statewide as a Virtual Ag Marketing Club in 2020 with timely webinars, videos, podcasts and newsletters along with updated material on the Iowa Commodity Challenge web page.

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