ACTION ALERT: Contact your legislator to help expand small and mid-size meat processing in Iowa (March 22, 2021)
Expanding small and mid-size processing options has long been a priority for Iowa organic producers and consumers - and this need has been heightened both by COVID and increasing consumer demand for local and organically produced meat.
A new bill, HF 787, drafted by Rep Chad Ingels and introduced by the House Committee on Economic Growth, has advanced to the House Appropriations Committee. IOA is working in collaboration with the Iowa Farmers Union and Practical Farmers of Iowa to expand awareness and support for this bill. The bill has bi-partisan support and your phone calls and emails can help the effort succeed.
Please call or email your local legislators and share why expanding meat processing capacity is important for Iowa organic farmers, businesses and consumers. A phone call might have a better chance of connecting with a legislator; and for email, it's recommended that you indicate that you're a constituent in the subject line of the email. ("From your district", "Your Constituent", etc.). Find your legislator.
This bill does two things:
- It would create a state fund and program for the purposes of providing financial assistance (grants, loans, etc.) to eligible businesses to expand access to small(er) scale meat processing options.
- The bill would also create a task force to investigate creating an artisanal butchery program or other workforce development initiatives to meat local and regional processing needs.
Why this bill is important to the organic community:
- A lack of meat processing capacity threatens existing business; farmers cannot meet current demand (let alone expand) due to inability to process animals and risk losing long-standing customers. *Some farmers can't get a locker date until the end of 2022!
- Farmers are unable to capitalize on unprecedented and increasing consumer demand for locally raised and processed meat.
- A lack of processing capacity hampers business growth and development for Iowa farmer entrepreneurs.