Links for Landowners & Local Food Fans
Links for Farmers

Links for Landowners & Local Food Fans

Landowners – see our growing list of professionals who can help you decide the best course for you.

Leopold Center’s Report on an Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan

2015 figures on land ownership in America

Serosun Farms – An example of a development and organic farm incorporated into one another – in Kane County IL.

NPR & Harvest Public Media: Forget the golf course, subdivisions build around farms

Land Trust Alliance: Beyond Agricultural Conservation Easements

“Thirteen years ago the Land Trust Alliance’s National Land Trust Census reported that the percentage of land trusts identifying farms and ranches as the primary types of land they protect was 46%. The 2010 Census shows that figure rose to 61%. As the land trust community matures, so do the methods for protecting land.”

American Farmland Trust: Farming on the Edge

Our food is increasingly in the path of development. – An astounding 91% of our fruit and 78% of our vegetables are produced in urban-influenced areas.

Wasteful land use is the problem, not growth itself. – Wasteful land use is the problem, not development itself. From 1982 to 2007, the U.S. population grew by 30 percent. During the same time period, developed land increased 57 percent.”

Oakland Institute: Down on the Farm

On soil loss:

Erosion estimated to cost Iowa $1 billion in yield 

About the premise that Iowa’s corn farmers are feeding the world

Commodity farming’s impact on Iowa’s economy


Land Prices

Climate change’s impact on ag

Links for Farmers

Resource Guide for Beginning Farmers from the Leopold Center

Agroforestry for Food Production – the latest research from the University of Illinois.

Agroforestry templates from Backyard Abundance in Iowa City provide great beginnings for perennial production for Iowa.

International efforts to maintain and build biodiversity start with the famous Svalbard Seed Vault. See the work of the Crop Trust that runs it.

A Farmer’s Guide to Working with Land Trusts – published by the National Young Farmers Coalition

EWG: About nonprofits owning farms – does it undermine other farmers?

“No one wants non-profit ventures to drive out commercial farm entrepreneurs, but in our experience, foundations and other charities have rarely financed farming operations that undercut farm businesses. If anything, charities have invested in efforts to create and widen demand through marketing channels for fresh local food – such as the growing movement to get local food into our schools – or to make urban farmers markets attractive for food stamp beneficiaries.”

USA Today: State of Iowa Farmers in 2014 (moving toward growing food)

On the economics of local food production

A series of reports from the Crossroads Resource Center, which has done regional reports that cover most of Iowa: Statewide Food Systems Assessments

Conventional farming and soil loss

Erosion estimated to cost Iowa $1 billion in yield 

About the premise that Iowa’s corn farmers are feeding the world

Commodity farming’s impact on Iowa’s economy


Land Prices

2015 Land Prices – Isn’t there a better way to run a farm economy?

Climate change’s impact on ag

Where the debate must start – a piece by the first director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

This note below and many other resources we’ll post here are from Grant Adviser Deirdre Birmingham at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute: You can get on Deirdre’s email list by writing her at

Looking to transition to organic farming? Curious which cover crops will work in your region? Look no further than PubAg, the National Agricultural Library’s (NAL) newest search engine.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has unveiled this free search engine tool for USDA and peer reviewed agriculture-related research publications. Their digital collection features 40,000 full-text articles from the USDA as well as 300,000 citations available to the public at no charge. While Phase I consists of documents from 2002-2012, Phase II to be released later in the year will contain the remainder of NAL’s records.

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) specializes in information pertaining to sustainable food systems including ecologic pest managementaquaculturebuilding soil, on-farm renewable energy, and much more. Founded in 1985, AFSIC is perfect for a farmer looking to move towards more sustainable practices with practical guides and tools. Stemming from the Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture (LISA) program that eventually became Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), AFSIC was one of the first USDA programs to focus on sustainable and organic agriculture.

NAL has been digitalizing century-old documents forming the Organic Roots Collection. Originating from a time before pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, these documents are rich with information on conservation techniques and organic farming. Searching through the 800+ digital documents, information about beekeeping, the importance of cover cropping and crop rotation, and early techniques for pest management are available in plenty. At a time when organics are trending across the country, these resources are excellent for farmers interested in using century-old techniques to grow more nutritious and less fossil-fuel intensive foods while simultaneously building their soil to increase productivity for future harvests.

The NAL also hosts the website that includes a database of resources and programs for beginning farmers, including insights into finding financing and services. The site was funded by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, an NSAC developed and championed farm bill program that is currently open for project applications.

Added Feb. 11, 2015

The CSP program is offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA.

These guides and the information alert were prepared by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a nonprofit in Washington DC that works to make these programs work for farmers and the sustainability of US agriculture.