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Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:32 p.m. CDT

AMES — As demand for local and organic produce rises, vegetable growers face the challenge of scaling up the size of their operations. A new online tool provides information to growers in the Upper Midwest about the methods and equipment available for transplant production. 

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture awarded a grant to the Iowa Organic Association in 2010 to compile the online tool, which includes profiles of six vegetable farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as photo galleries of infrastructure, equipment and crops. A one-page matrix summarizes the costs, skill level, benefits and drawbacks of various options for transplant equipment. 

The Transplant Production Decision Tool is on the Leopold Center website at: It also can be found on the Iowa Organic Association website at: