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Why Local Foods Make Good Economic Development Sense Creating Our Own Vision for the Future Food, Farm, & Jobs Act Task Force Springfield, Ilinois June.

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Presentation on theme: "Why Local Foods Make Good Economic Development Sense Creating Our Own Vision for the Future Food, Farm, & Jobs Act Task Force Springfield, Ilinois June."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Local Foods Make Good Economic Development Sense Creating Our Own Vision for the Future Food, Farm, & Jobs Act Task Force Springfield, Ilinois June 4, 2008 Rob Marqusee Director, Rural Economic Development


3 Woodbury County Population Breakdown Loss In Population: Unincorporated Areas: 11.2%/Rural Cities: 9.7% However: 20%+ Decline Outside of Corridor Forecast: Accelerated Decline After 2000 (DM Reg)

4 Woodbury County Ag - Rural Statistics Sales of Livestock & Livestock Products 1969: $358Mvs.2003: $80M 78 percent decline over 35 years Sales of Crops & Livestock : $145M loss from crops & livestock Farms & Average Farm Sizes (Farms/Acreage) 1975: 1,930/268 vs.2004: 1,140/387 78% Increase in Number of Farms 1000 Acres+ Woodbury County Losses & Subsidies Annual Loss: $24M Annual Subsidy: $23M Difference of $1M Made Up By Additional Jobs (Statistics Provided By: Ken, Meter, Crossroads Resource Center, 2005 & U.S. Census) Statistical Impact of Policies

5 Iowa Ag Stats & Forecast Iowa Ag Statistics 50%+ Of Farmland To Transfer in 10 Yrs 25% Farmland Belong to Those >75 Age Average Farmer Age 55+ (Woodbury: 60+) Iowa Forecast Fewer Owners of Land Faster Decline in Rural Population Less Income in Rural Areas More Strain on Environment (Des Moines Register: July 17 & July 24, 2005)

6 Non-Localized Food System Money Flowing Out of Local Area Federal Government Farmers Non-Local Corporate Ag Processing Consumers Money Flows From Federal Government to Farmers to Grow Crops At A Loss (Cost of Production > Price Paid) Ag Interests Buys At Low Price = Makes Lions Share of Profit on Food Products In Effect: Federal Government Provides Indirect Subsidy of Large Corporate Ag Interests Non-Local Inputs Manufacturers $ $


8 Current Economic Development Strategies Economic Development Programs Are Based On: Priority: Urban Projects (i.e., Industrial, Commercial, Residential) Priority: Wage/Benefits Criteria Priority: $ Incentives-Outside Prospects Priority: Rural Programs Subject To Grant Writing Process Small Farm Production Not A Business/Object of Business Retention Focus: Transforming Rural Communities Into Another Purpose Programs Do Not Address Causes For Rural Decline

9 Examples of Current Economic Development Strategies Billions of Taxpayer Dollars (…without a peep) Biodiesel Project: IDED Gives $535K to Major Corp: 4-9 Jobs Ethanol Supports: Five Subsidies ($4M): Sioux City Example Regulations Favor Large Processing Houses/Seed Patents Ethanol: 70¢ / per Gallon : $70M on 100M Gal. Facility (Mostly Non-Local) Farm Subsidies: $275B / 10 yrs Average With Stated Impact on Local Economies Primary Beneficiary: Non-Local Owners/Processing Environment is Severely Compromised: Water/Top Soil Less Local Control National Health/Obesity Crises

10 No official tally of business subsidies exists, but in separate studies Peter S. Fisher of the University of Iowa and Kenneth F. Thomas of the University of Missouri estimated that state and local subsidies aimed at creating jobs total about $50 billion annually.University of Iowaouri More subtle subsidies … are not counted in those figures and may be even larger. Assisting the Good Life 6/15/07

11 A Better Economic Development Option

12 Localized Approach: We Are In Control! Address Market Forces (Which Caused Decline) Localize Economy As Much As Possible: Integration Diversify Production & Processing Business Retention: Small Farms = Business Troll For Outside Business Relocation ( Least Efficient )| Creating a Local Economic Development Context Benefits to Local Economy of Local Food System: Primary Beneficiaries: Existing Local Producers –Supporting Local Talent & Community Building –Low Cost Compared to Current Economic Development Strategies –Low Volume/High Margin Economic Development Strategy Localized Development Example: Organics Conversion Policy

13 Woodbury County Approach Policies & Programs

14 Woodbury Policies Organics Conversion Policy: % Tax Rebate on Ag Land Converted to Organic Sustainability, Environmental, Diversification Smaller Farms, More Labor, Higher Income Woodbury Health Initiative: (Sen. Harkin) Local Foods/Mobile Farmers Market Rural County School Wellness Food Programs & Attack Obesity Local Food Purchase Policy: Mandatory Purchase of Locally Grown Organic Supports Local Farmer, Local Broker & Markets

15 Woodburys Tax Rebate Program Addressing The Cause of Decline

16 Woodburys Tax Rebate Policy Details 100% Real Property Tax Rebate - 5 Years Application Process Land Owner Must Reside in County County: $50K p/yr Total Potential Investment Certification Required After Third Year Refund Penalty: If Fails to Comply With Program Source of Funds: Option Sales Tax/Gen. Funds

17 Woodburys Tax Rebate Policy Sale to County Zero Up Front Cost to County Size of Potential Food Market in Area Increase Number of Farmers County Markets Local Products (Brand) Marketing of County

18 Anatomy of Woodbury Tax Rebate Policy Analyze the Causes of Local Decline Inventory Citizen Resources (Champions) What Can Be Produced & Possible Markets Inventory Available Buildings/Donors Create a Vision of the Future Identify Obstacles/Is It Still Practical? How Can Local Government Help

19 Obstacles: Woodbury Tax Rebate Policy Age of Farmers (60+ years old in county) Who is Going to Convert? Who is Going to Farm Organically? Education/Mentor - Support Networks Board of Supervisors: Targeting Organics Unfair to Other Businesses? How Will We Get a Return on Investment? Marketing of Produced Crops/Meat

20 Woodburys Local Food Purchase Policy Creating a Local Food System - Jump Start the Market

21 Woodburys Mandatory Local Food Purchase Policy Mandatory for County Government Facilities Creates Immediate Market for Products Creates Need for Local Foods Broker (POC) Negotiations With Food Service Contractor(s) Local = 100 mile radius/beyond if no production Pricing & Reporting Provisions

22 Anatomy of Woodbury LFPP Policy Create First Market: Immediate $300K Market Lead By Example - Schools/Hospitals Multiplier Effect to General Economy: 1.5% Insure Policy Cost Does Not Exceed Benefit Instill Discipline in Broker Opening Up Markets for Producers

23 Obstacles: Woodbury Tax LFPP Policy Practical Barrier: Working With Food Services (general industrial food system barriers) Learning the Food Business Processing & Presentation Issues Supply Dependability Issues Menu Obstacles to Use More Local Practical Barrier: Qualified People Practical Barrier: Demand - Then Supply

24 Community Buy-In Partnerships

25 Community Partners & Results $40M Organic Soybean Processing Facility Local Community College - Organic Courses/Lab Whole Foods Market of Omaha Local Foods Broker & Market, & Ed. Center Organic Farmer Networks - Mentoring Annual Organic Growers Conference Organic Market: Project With Chamber, City, & County Northwest Iowa Farm/Farmer Exchange Local Foods Brand: Sioux City Sue U.S. House of Representatives Testimony Sustainable Foods for Siouxland – Education 501(c)(3) Leopold Center Study Grants


27 The Big Hurdle Where are the Farmers?

28 Fixing the Farmer Shortage Removing the Cost Barriers Tentative Program Benefits to New Farmers 5 to 40 Acres to Eligible New Farmers No Principal or Interest Payment for 3 yrs Loans at 4% Interest - 15 yr. Term Free Buildable Lot from Community Must Buy Home (Habitat for Humanity) Equipment Cooperative

29 Programs In Action & Accolades


31 Partnership Between Woodbury County, City of Sioux City, and Siouxland Chamber of Commerce


33 Expanding Local Business

34 NACo Award Winner

35 New Movie Release

36 Testimony Before U.S. House of Representatives

37 Organic Farming Is Economic Development! What we are doing, as a community, is supporting our farmers and giving them a fair opportunity to serve our citizens and provide food at fair, competitive prices and making a decent living in the process.

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