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New manual shows growers how to share machinery, cut costs

Posted: 7/25/2014 | Views: 288

Labor remains one of the key challenges for fruit and vegetable growers who want to scale up their operations to serve increasing consumer demand for local produce. A new manual from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture offers one possible solution: sharing machinery.

A new 50-page publication, "Machinery Sharing Manual for Fruit and Vegetable Growers," discusses operational and organizational issues related to sharing specialized farm machinery for fruit and vegetable production. The manual has real-life case studies of growers who shared equipment, sample sharing agreements and worksheets for allocating costs fairly.

“Scaling up production for the retail and wholesale markets requires more land, more labor and often specialized machinery,” said Linda Naeve, Value Added Agriculture Extension program specialist who worked on the project. “To remain profitable, growers need to find innovative ways to improve labor efficiency through mechanization and other labor-saving strategies. But equipment costs can be prohibitive for small-scale growers and often they need several pieces of specialized equipment designed for different crops.” 

Source: Iowa State University

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