WELCOME TO CHOOSE IOWA
Choose Iowa is a statewide program created to encourage consumers to buy Iowa grown, raised, made and processed foods and produce across the state, which was authorized by the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds in June of 2022
Choose Iowa strives to connect consumers to Iowa ag products by:
1/ Increasing supply/availability of the products across the state.
2/ Increasing promotion/sales of the products through the Choose Iowa brand.
Choose Iowa grants are helping build capacity to meet the continually growing demand of Iowa ag products through. In addition, the Choose Iowa brand will help consumers easily identify local Iowa food products and support the Iowans who are offering those products.
In the short time since the program was established, Choose Iowa has gained traction across the state and has already achieved several significant milestones.
Choose Iowa cost-share grants were created to assist Iowa farmers, businesses and non-profits with efforts to increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings, expand markets and shorten the supply chain.
Due to the high level of interest in the Choose Iowa grant program, the application process has been very competitive. During the first year of the program, Choose Iowa received grant requests totaling nearly $3.3 million, far exceeding available funds.
In addition, the program leveraged additional private investment, which helped boost Iowa’s economy. Budgets for the 41 projects that received Choose Iowa grants in 2022 and 2023 totaled more than $2.2 million. Choose Iowa awarded a total of $711,000 grant funds to these projects, with grantees contributing the balance.
- Spring of 2022
- Choose Iowa received 113 grant applications totaling $2 million in requests.
- Nearly $250,000 in Choose Iowa cost-share grants was awarded to assist 13 Iowa farmers, businesses and non-profit organizations to increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings.
- Grantees included dairy farms, direct-to-consumer meat businesses, a food hub, a CSA, and a brewery, among others.
- December 2022
- Choose Iowa received 73 grant applications totaling more than $1.3 million in requests.
- $463,000 in Choose Iowa cost-share grants was awarded to assist 28 Iowa farmers, small businesses and non-profits.
- Projects included cider production with Iowa grown apples, Iowa grown flowers, hydroponic lettuce, beer produced from Iowa honey, and much more.
- Artwork should feature at least one aspect of Iowa agriculture, with an emphasis on food, livestock or crop production. Submissions will be judged on creativity and the connection of agriculture to everyday life.
With the addition of a program director in the fall of 2022, efforts have focused on building a solid foundation for the program, including infrastructure, guidelines and processes. Plans are also underway to launch the statewide marketing component of the program.
Choose Iowa has several exciting projects and initiatives on the horizon and plans to implement the following strategies in 2023.
BRANDED MARKETING PROGRAM
Farmers, businesses and non-profit organizations who participate in the Choose Iowa branded marketing program will have access and permission to use the Choose Iowa logo as well as additional branded items and materials. The Choose Iowa logo will make it easy for consumers to identify high quality, local Iowa food products and also connect them to the Iowans who grow, raise, make and sell the products. Choose Iowa plans to launch the branded marketing program in 2023.
Choose Iowa is in the process of developing a website, which will serve as an excellent resource for consumers searching for Iowa food products and the Iowans who offer them (Choose Iowa program participants, grantees and other producers). The website is also scheduled to launch in 2023.
School-age students are encouraged to participate in the 2023 Choose Iowa Calendar Contest hosted by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
- Entries must be postmarked or e-mailed to the Department by June 1, 2023.
- Winners will be announced Tuesday, Aug. 15 at the 2023 Iowa State Fair.
- For more information and to submit artwork, visit https://iowaagriculture.gov/news/naig-invites-students-choose-iowa-calendar-contest
For more information on Choose Iowa, contact Beth Romer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-281-8601.