The production of organic foods promises many millions of dollars for Iowa growers and a new non-profit group has formed that will work to advance the growing industry in the state. Jerry Rosman, a part-time farmer from the Harlan area, is executive director of the fledgling Iowa Organic Association. Rosman says “The goal of this organization is to pull the other assorted groups that are out here into one unifying voice on behalf of organic agriculture, and that includes not just the farmers but consumers, retailers, processors and handlers.”
Rosman says the demand for organic crops continues to grow in Iowa, not just in vegetables but in products ranging from beef to poultry to milk and even organic flax seed oil. Rosman says “The figures that are thrown around nationally are that it’s coming close to a 20-billion dollar business and it’s growing at the rate of 15 to 20-percent a year. There’s approximately 100-thousand acres in Iowa that are certified organic plus we’ve got a lot of smaller operations that are adhering to all the rules but haven’t certified yet.” He says Iowa’s always been at the forefront of agricultural advancements and now the time has come to provide renewed leadership so the organic industry can continue to grow and prosper.
Rosman says organic agriculture is one of the best solutions for maintaining a family farmy system in Iowa. Rosman says “It’s one of the bright spots out here. They talk about how we have to develop markets for our ag products. With the organic aspect, there’s a huge vacuum at the moment. It isn’t that ‘Is the market going to be there?’ the debate is, ‘Who is going to fill this market?’ Will it be done locally or are the WalMarts going to start bringing it in from overseas?” The I-O-A will work in four key areas: education, research, promotion/market development and policy.
Related web sites:
Iowa Organic Association