You are here

Very Interesting Tool: Iowa Produce Market Potential Calculator

This tool, developed by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, allows users to compare what Iowans eat to what Iowa farmers produce. The calculator is designed to "help users determine expanding markets in Iowa if consumers ate more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables rather than produce from conventional sources outside the state."

For example, by selecting the options "demand," "apples," "farm revenue," and "per year," one can see that Iowans demand $6,496,000 worth of apples per year (the demand for each Iowa county is also available). Then, by selecting "market capacity," "apples," "farm revenue," and "per year," one can see that 50% of Iowans' consumption of apples is from local producers.

The calculator is available at


Since many of Iowa's produce growers market locally, however, calculator's values are useful estimates for long-term strategic decisions regarding market potential.

County-level production data for several produce items were missing from the Agricultural Census. Data for these counties were estimated by comparing the undisclosed values for each item with the undisclosed values for each county. For this reason, county-specific production information may not be accurate in some cases and may affect some county-specific estimates of market potential.

Production information (supply) is based on acres planted and multiplied by statewide average yields that were estimated from a single year of data. Users may want to adjust average yield in cases where more specific or recent information is available.

Even though all the produce items that are listed can be grown in Iowa, some perform better (using existing technologies and genetics) in certain parts of the state because of climate and other factors. For example, crops of peaches, nectarines, apricots or sweet potatoes will more likely produce acceptable yields on a consistent basis in the southern portion compared to other parts of the state.