- 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.
- Producers can only sell products that
- they have raised or grown in Iowa.
- Or is a value added products that are made in Iowa.
- For example – members may not buy tomatoes from someone else and retail the product through IFC. Producers may buy tomatoes from someone else to make a value added product such as salsa.
- For all value-added products, such as baked goods, salsa, spaghetti sauce, or jam producers are encouraged to source ingredients from other Iowa producers, especially those that are members of the Iowa Food Co-op. Full ingredients disclosure will be required. Information on the location of the kitchen or processing facility for each product is required in the producer profile page. Copies of needed licenses will be required from value-added producers.
- Lines 5-7 pertain only to meat producers
- 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 finished, slaughter-ready 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 the final 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 the final 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. 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 of Certified Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, Fair-trade 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. IFC policy is that non-food items cannot account for more than 15% of all products listed for sale. 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.
- Producer members are required to disclose information on their products and practices so consumers can make informed buying-decisions. This information is required as part of your Producer Profile and product descriptions. Examples include the use of hormones or antibiotics in livestock, or the application of herbicides or insecticides in fruits or vegetables. An IFC guiding principle is full disclosure so consumer members can choose from among the product offerings based on both production practices and prices.
- The process to become a producer is to join as a member and complete a Producer Application form. The information from the Producer Application form will be reviewed by the staff, then passed to the IFC’s Executive Committee for final approval. Producers who are eligible to sell through the IFC will be notified. If the executive committee isn’t unanimous the application is passed to the IFC board for approval.
- A producer is only approved to sell the Product Types on their original Producer Application form; if they want to add a new Product Type, they must re-apply. An example would be a producer approved to sell produce who now wants to sell eggs.
- 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.
Producers who do not conform to these standards can inquire about being granted a variance. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All approved variance may be reviewed by the Iowa Food Co-op annually to insure the variance granted is still appropriate.
Producer product and variance approval – the executive committee (President, VP for producers and VP for consumers ) will review all applications brought forward by the staff. The executive committee’s approval must be unanimous. If the executive committee isn’t unanimous the application is passed to IFC board for approval.