Farmer Entrepreneurs Improve Community Vitality

A substantial number of Iowa farm families start and operate businesses in addition to their regular farming operations, according to an ISU Extension study conducted in 2007.  From equipment repair and construction to seed sales and financial services, farmers were finding numerous ways to increase their income and improve their community’s social and economic vitality.  Responses from 144 farmer entrepreneurs who participated in the 2007 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll show more than half of their businesses had been in operation for more than 20 years, and 25 percent of the businesses were construction or retail companies.  The farmer entrepreneurs reported their businesses provided 369 full-time and 201 parttime jobs in their communities.  About one-third of the proprietors were interested in growing their businesses to have an impact locally, statewide or nationally.