Individual producers, corporations, and partnerships can join the Iowa Food Cooperative (IFC) as producer members. If joining as a corporation or partnership, the organization will need to specify who has member voting rights.
Producer members may only sell products through the IFC that they themselves have raised or grown in the state of Iowa. Members may not buy wholesale from someone else and retail the product through the IFC, unless they are buying ingredients for further value-added processing. For example, you can sell tomatoes you grow, but not tomatoes that you buy from someone else.
Members may sell value-added products through the IFC that they themselves make. If you make value-added products for sale through the IFC, you must use ingredients that you either produce yourself or that you purchase from Iowa farmers. One exception to this requirement is when the ingredients cannot be raised or grown in Iowa, such as coffee beans that are roasted and ground for sale through the IFC. Another exception is when the ingredients cannot be raised or grown in Iowa in sufficient quantities or with adequate quality.
For all value-added products, a list of ingredients is required to be submitted to the IFC, with those that are from Iowa farmers noted along with the identity of these farmers. This same information must be listed under its corresponding product on the IFC website. Information on the location of the kitchen or processing facility for each product is required along with current copies of licenses for these facilities.
Beef, pork, lamb, goat, broilers, and other meat products sold through IFC must be processed in a USDA or state inspected plant. Each package must have either a USDA or state approved stamp. Meats processed by custom butchers with packages stamped “Not for Sale” cannot be sold through the IFC.
For meats, you cannot buy animals and have them processed for sale through the cooperative as though it was your own animal. Animals offered for sale through the IFC must have been residing on the member farm for no less than 2/3 of their age at processing (i.e. a 15 month old steer must have been owned and residing on the member farm for no less than 10 months). If you plan on selling animals which were not raised by you from birth, you must have records available detailing when you purchased the animal(s) in question and this must be clearly stated in you member profile. Also, if you are an LLC that is selling meat products through the IFC, the animals must come from LLC member farms.
For meats, you can sell live animals directly to IFC consumer members for custom processing, but these transactions must happen outside the IFC’s operations. This means you and the consumer must arrange for processing, payment, and delivery to happen outside the IFC. For example, the meat cannot be delivered to the IFC distribution sites for pickup by consumers, and the money for the meat cannot go through the IFC banking system. Also, a promotional fee of 5% of the total sale will be required from producers who sell live animals directly to IFC consumers, with this fee due on the first day of the month following the sale.
Every producer member is responsible to know and be in compliance with all appropriate federal, state and local inspections, licenses, statutes and ordinances. Copies of current licenses need to be provided to the IFC to verify compliance.
The products that go through the IFC’s distribution system are owned by producer members, who then sell these products to consumer members. Therefore, the IFC assumes no responsibility for product liability before ordered products arrive for distribution, or for after the products are picked up by consumers.
Producers are responsible for delivering high quality and safe products, and for carrying product liability insurance to safeguard their risks. The IFC strongly encourages all producers to carry adequate product liability through their respective insurance carriers. The IFC also reserves the right to refuse product that looks out of compliance.
Producers of Certified Organic, Certified Naturally Grown or Animal Welfare Approved products must provide a copy of their current certificate.
Producers may sell nonfood items that they themselves make within the state of Iowa. Nonfood products that can be sold through the IFC include items such as clothing, soaps, candles, decorations, jewelry, greeting cards, music, photography, and pet products.However, non-food items cannot account for more than 15% of all products listed for sale, which means food items must account for at least 85% of listed products. If the 15% threshold has been reached, producers wishing to add new non-food items will not be allowed to do until enough food items have been added to drop the threshold below 15% of the total.
Producers set their own prices for their products. The IFC will not restrict the number of producers who are selling specific products through the IFC.
Every producer member must disclose information on their products and practices by using the IFC Producer Registration Form on the IFC website. Examples include the use of hormones or antibiotics in livestock, or the application of herbicides or insecticides in fruits or vegetables. IFC’s guiding principle is full disclosure so consumer members can choose from among the product offerings based on both production practices and prices.
The information from the IFC Producer Registration Form will be reviewed by the IFC’s Producer Care Committee. Producers who are eligible to sell through the IFC will be notified.
To protect the integrity of the IFC’s standards and procedures, the IFC reserves the right to verify the production claims of producer members who sell products through the IFC. Verification can include unannounced farm visits.
The IFC reserves the right to revise or modify these standards if changes are deemed necessary.