The Iowa Legislature created the Beginning Farmer Center in 1994. The Center is a part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The idea for a Beginning Farmer Center developed from a series of discussions with Legislators, ISU Extension and Outreach personnel, and others concerning what could be done to encourage new farmers. These discussions led to the conclusion that it was necessary to have a center to focus exclusively on the needs and issues facing beginning farmers. It was also determined that this Center should facilitate the matching of beginning farmers with existing farmers who wanted to transition their farm businesses to the next generation.
Specifically, Iowa Code Chapter 266.39E states that the Beginning Farmer Center will meet the following objectives:
- provide the coordination of education programs and services for beginning farmer efforts statewide,
- assess needs of beginning farmers and retiring farmers in order to identify program and service opportunities, and
- develop, coordinate, and deliver statewide through the Iowa cooperative extension service in agriculture and home economics, and other entities as appropriate, targeted education to beginning farmers and retiring farm families