Legislators are currently considering a bill that would support farmer-led efforts to promote and expand local food systems in Iowa. The subcommittee for SSB 3142 is scheduled to meet Wednesday, February 17 at 10:30 AM.
The development of local and regional food systems in Iowa has created an important economic opportunity for Iowa’s independent family farms. SSB 3142 would provide much needed support for Iowa farmers producing food for local and regional markets. Specifically, SSB 3142 would:
- Create a small farm operator financial assistance program to provide financial assistance to small farms to improve or expand or to engage in cooperative marketing or processing ventures with other small farms
- Create a small farm marketing and processing program to expand processing and promote new markets for specialty crops, livestock and dairy produced by small farms.
- Establish a state government purchasing preference to encourage the purchase of specialty crops, livestock and dairy produced by small farms.
- Establish programs within the Economic Development Authority for certified small farm operators who are producing specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, nuts, horticulture, floriculture and nursery crops), livestock, or dairy for local and regional markets in Iowa.
The subcommittee members are Sen. Rich Taylor (chair), Sen. Mark Chelgren, and Sen. Todd Bowman. Senate Economic Growth Committee chair Rita Hart introduced the bill for us and seems very supportive. Not in their district? Check the Senate Economic Growth Committee membership list to see if your rep is on the committee. Not sure who your rep is? Find out here.
Ask them to to support passing SSB 3142 before the funnel deadline on Friday. Tell them SSB 3142 would create important economic opportunities for beginning farmers and rural businesses, decrease Iowa’s dependence on on imported food, increase the availability of healthy, nutritious food for Iowans, and improve the economic and ecological resilience of our state.