Friday, July 27, 2007

Helping Farmers Make the Switch to Organic

A recent report on Minnesota Public Radio notes that the supply of organic food -- including organic feed for livestock -- isn't keeping up with demand. Farmers have been slow to switch from conventional crops to organic, but a county in Northwest Iowa is trying to do something about that:
"There are efforts underway to encourage farmers to make the leap. In Minnesota, the state helps pay the cost to certify a farm's organic status.

"In Northwest Iowa, there's a more ambitious program. Officials in Woodbury County, the Sioux City area, are trying to build an organic food industry. As part of the effort the county has trademarked the brand name "Sioux City Sue Foods," based on the old country music song. Local farmers can use the name to market their products. The county offers tax breaks and other incentives to farmers who switch to organic production.

"Woodbury County Rural Economic Development Director Rob Marqusee says he hopes to attract a major soybean processor to the area. Marqusee says organic foods are one issue where local governments can lead. ...

"He says Woodbury County is trying to build a farm to market infrastructure for organic foods. Things like processing plants, storage units, shipping links. Already the Whole Foods Market chain has starting buying from county farmers."
Read more and listen to the piece here.

No comments: