Iowa Farmers Union

Iowa Farmers Union logo


Mission: Since 1915, Iowa Farmers Union (IFU) members have worked together to strengthen the independent family farm through education, legislation and cooperation and to provide Iowans with sustainable production, safe food, a clean environment and healthy communities. IFU is a grassroots member organization of family farmers and ranchers, advocates, and consumers committed to promoting family agriculture in Iowa. The key to our success is our grassroots structure, with policy positions and priorities initiated and approved by our members.

Location: Ames (66 miles from Grinnell College)

Needs: IFU welcomes students as members and volunteers. Indeed, we have a slot reserved for a Student Representative on our Board of Directors. Students are welcome to volunteer to serve on any of our committee – Policy, Education, Convention and Growth. We are also often in need of volunteers to organize and staff events such as Iowa State Fair, Farm Progress Show, On-Farm Field Days, tabling at various events throughout the summer; volunteering at convention and working phonebooks during our annual fundraiser.



  • One-time events: yes
  • Ongoing: yes


When is service needed: Our busiest time of year is August through December. It’s a non-stop run of events, all of which could use volunteer support.

Number of hours: Flexible hours, as much or little as is possible for the volunteer


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: yes
  • Fully virtual possible: yes


Background check required: no

Equipment/logistics needed: Transportation to in-person service work (note that travel of more than 10 miles is reimbursed).


Training supplied: Training would initially consist of an interview in which we provide information about our organization, flesh-out details of what event(s) are coming up and stating mutual expectations.

Equipment or logistics supplied: We will provide all that is needed. E.g. tabling – we’ll provide table, chair, all materials, etc. Most often people only need to bring themselves. Travel of more than 10 miles will be reimbursed.


How to apply: Contact Deborah Bunka via e-mail at

Contact: Deborah Bunka, (515) 451-8492,


Operation information: IFU promotes our member priorities in Des Moines & Washington, DC with a powerful & effective combination of advocacy efforts: A high-quality professional government relations team that brings the voices of our members directly to policy makers; he grassroots advocacy of our members, including the annual IFU Farm & Food Lobby Day at the State Capitol and the annual NFU Fall Fly-In in Washington, DC. Our legislative policy and priorities originate with our members and are debated and voted on each year at our annual convention. Youth & adult education form the foundation of the Farmers Union mission.

The traditional symbol of the Farmers Union – the triangle – has “Education” at its base, with “Legislation” and “Cooperation forming the two sides. We recognize that education and leadership development are essential to our success and the growth of our Union. Iowa Farmers Union offers a variety of youth and adult educational and leadership opportunities for our members each year, including many programs offered in partnership with the National Farmers Union and other state chapters. IFU educational programs are sponsored via the IFU Education Foundation, a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1998 to carry out the educational portion of the IFU mission.

From its founding, the Farmers Union has promoted farmer-owned cooperatives as a way to level the economic playing field for family farmers. The Farmers Union itself is a service cooperative formed for the benefit of its farmer members. Over the past century, the Farmers Union has helped organize farmers to form: Purchasing cooperatives, where farmers join together to purchase their supplies and inputs; Marketing cooperatives, where farmers join together to sell their milk, crops and meat to consumers; and services cooperatives, which include rural electric cooperatives and credit unions.

With the rapid growth of local and regional food systems in Iowa, we see a renewed need for the development of farmer-owned cooperatives to allow farmers to pool their resources to achieve an economically viable scale for distribution, marketing, processing and storage – without sacrificing local ownership and control. The Iowa Farmers Union works with its members to provide education and resources on cooperatives business development and to support a new generation of farmer-owned cooperatives.

Address: PO Box 1883 Ames, IA 50010-1883

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