US (IA): Farmer uses flowers to diversify income

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Ask Meredith Nunnikhoven and she will tell you, there’s nothing better than diversification to keep a farm successful. The southeast Iowa woman owns Barnswallow Flowers, a fresh-cut flower farm located near Oskaloosa in Mahaska County, Iowa. That business is part of the Barnswallow & Company umbrella, which also includes a chestnut farm that will eventually include 15 acres by 2028.

Nunnikhoven also helps her father on the family’s farm. “We have it set up where we can offer both agritourism and ag education opportunities,” she says. Nunnikhoven says she was influenced by her mother, Kerrilynn, when it came to starting the flower business.

“We really believed diversified farming and small farms were the way to go,” she says. “We loved flowers, but we also wanted an operation that could operate long-term.” They started the business 14 years ago.

“There was not a lot of support at that time,” Nunnikhoven says. “There really was no funding available. We were one of the first adapters of this type of system, and now it’s very popular.”


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