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Through collaborative leadership we supplied a pipeline of $812 million in new capital investment projects to strengthen and diversify the assets in Iowa. But beyond big number private-sector prospects we also work with the progressive small businesses, nonprofits, civic leaders, workforce, education institutions, utilities, transportation, housing, etc to maximize productivity and long-term prosperity in our evolving economic landscape.

Industry Update: Commission Breaks Bread with Tama County Farmers

Tama County, Iowa has a core competency in agriculture. Contributing factors include having Tama soil which is one of the most fertile soil types in world, combined with having one of the strongest multi-generational transfer of farming skills. Recognizing the importance and ongoing changes of the industry, the Commission sat down with Tama County ag leaders last night to discuss facets of the sub-markets ranging from mature, emerging to start-ups.

After an old-fashioned home style meal, (and dessert!) from Mama Hoyt’s Catering & Bake Shop (an EDIE Winner, 2009), the Commission chatted with four diverse farming enterprises to understand how their respective markets are evolving, and how our partnership with each other can lead to healthy capital investment, job growth and greater efficiency:

  • Iowa Pork Producers Association’s President John Weber farms in rural Dysart and discussed challenges and opportunities in this mature market. He explained the evolving setup of hog farming and the complex networks of smart partnerships that allow Iowa to be the number #1 hog producer. He also explained the growth potential and vulnerabilities of the export market, and their dedication to international relations. Right now one of the National Pork Board goals is strengthening brand equity of the market.
  • Monat Natural Beef: Jim and Nancy Monat own a natural beef farm with a direct to market retail outlet in rural Traer, and discussed opportunities and challenges in this emerging ag market. We talked about the growth potential of the natural and organic foods market, and the regulatory and financial barriers. At this time an influx of marketing resources would especially be of value.
  • Kissing Emu Farms: Sandra McAntire farms exotics in the rural Chelsea area and discussed opportunities and challenges in a start-up market (while balancing a traditional job). At this time resource location and planning are the focus.
  • Meskwaki Agriculture: Planner Alan Kline discussed the Tribe’s traditional farming and buffalo herd operations in rural Tama-Toledo-Montour. Expanding ag related operations is also a natural fit with the Tribe’s economic diversification strategy.

The roundtable concluded with updates from Tama County Economic Development’s partners on grants, loans, workshops, planning resources, working groups etc. specifically in the field of agriculture. If you would like a copy of the Tamaland Food Systems Resource packet, please touch base. It contains materials from: Iowa Valley Corridor Foods, Buy Fresh Buy Local, Leopold Center, USDA Rural Development and Tama County Economic Development.

Click here for a copy of the Tamaland Local Foods Directory.

The next meeting will be a leadership development meeting/workshop with an economic development focus.  All local government leaders, nonprofit leaders, business leaders, emerging leaders and residents with ideas for shaping Tama County’s future are very welcome to be a part of this experience. No cost.
Tue. Oct 26, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
501 Main Street
Clutier, Iowa
Please RSVP to joanne@tamacountyiowa.org or (641) 484-3108 if you have an interest in joining us for an $8 meal at 6 p.m. and/or to let us know how many workshop materials to have on hand.


The focus on this meeting will be in identifying our 24 stand out development stories of 2010 to share in our central communications campaign named the EDIE Awards. Three nominees will be picked in each of our eight categories: 1) Financing Development, 2) Real Estate Investment and Re Use, 3) Marketing, 4) Community Development, 5) Entrepreneurship, 6) Expansions, 7) Workforce Development, and 8) Strategic Partnerships. If you can not attend you are still welcome to submit nominations. Only 2010 partners present at this meeting would be eligible to vote for our featured 24.
Tue. Nov 30, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Meskwaki Tribal Center
349 Meskwaki Road
Tama, Iowa
Please RSVP to joanne@tamacountyiowa.org or (641) 484-3108 if you have an interest in joining us for an meal at 6 p.m. and/or to let us know how many printed materials to have on hand.

Photo (clockwise): John Weber (Iowa Pork Producers Association, Dysart), Arlene Vondracek (Clutier), Mia McAntire (Kissing Emu Farms, Chelsea), Sandy McAntire (Kissing Emu Farms, Chelsea), Ron Smith (Garwin), Merle Parks (Garwin), Mayor Don Lyons (Dysart), Marty Hardon (Tama), Lindi Roelofse (Executive Director), Nancy Monat (Monat Natural Beef, Traer), Jim Monat (Monat Natural Beef, Traer), Midge Horton (Vining), Mayor Roger Ochs (Chelsea), Greg Johnson (Congressman Bosswell’s Office), Alan Kline (Meskwaki), Kendall Jordan (County Board of Supervisors), Ellen Young (Traer).
Out of view: Larry Vest (County Board of Supervisors), Nancy Braasch(Elberon), Joanne Husak (Administrative Assistant).


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