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ISU add hort expert for central, western Iowa

By Staff | Jan 14, 2011

Joe Hannan was named as the new horticulture field specialist for central and western Iowa for Iowa State University Extension.

By KRISS NELSON

Farm News staff writer

ADEL – Fruit and vegetable production is on the rise in Iowa and to assist those growers, Iowa State University Extension has announced a new horticulture specialist.

Joe Hannan has been serving as ISU Extension commercial horticulture specialist for central and western Iowa since Nov. 1, and is based out of the Dallas County Extension office in Adel.

In addition to conducting research at the Iowa State Horticulture Farm near Gilbert and the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, Hannan said he will be working with farmers in the areas of fruit and vegetable production and management; putting on workshops and is also a co-leader for the Leopold Center’s Fruit and Vegetable Working Group.

Hannan has also initiated the development of a web site that will be primarily designed to assist commercial fruit and vegetable growers as well as their consumers with production practices and research.

The site he said is expected to be up and running by spring.

Hannan earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from ISU in 2005 and is currently working towards his master’s degree in horticulture and will be finishing up with that in May.

After earning his B.S. degree, Hannan served as an agriculture specialist at the Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm in Fruitland for four years. While he was there, Hannan served as research assistant working with commercial vegetable and fruit production and managed the vineyard at the Southeast Research Farm near Crawfordsville.

“I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the growers in the central and western parts of the state,” said Hannan. “During my first month I have met people who are asking for ISU that will help them address some of the issues that they are facing.

Others are wanting ISU materials and information to be more easily accessible.”

Hannan said the fruit and vegetable industry is growing and a typical fruit and vegetable farm, he said is usually from two- to three-acres up to about 12-acres in size.

“The fruit and vegetable industry in Iowa is definitely growing,” said Hannan. “I am seeing more and more farmers markets and new growers getting into the industry.

“The big issue is the push for buying local produce. There’s more of a demand for local produce than there is supply.”

Hannan said he also noticed a huge expansion of high tunnels, or plastic hoop buildings which allows producers to extend their growing seasons both earlier and later.

Hannan can be reached by calling the ISU Dallas County Extension office at (515) 993-4281 or by e-mailing jmhannan@iastate.edu.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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