MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa- Eight years ago Iowa Choice Harvest was an idea, but Friday the idea was recognized as a success. USDA Secretary, and former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack along with Congressman Bruce Braley (D) of Waterloo came to Marshalltown to recognize the co-op.
In order to get off the ground Iowa Choice Harvest got a planning grant and a marketing grant and loan monies totaled over $650,000. The coop and it’s 28 members hope to fill the demand for locally produced foods in Iowa schools, restaurants and grocery stores. The firm processes apples and corn.
ICH CEO Penny Brown Huber shared the story of how the firm grew from an idea to reality thanks in large part to help from USDA programs, people, as well as local bankers. “We’re totally grateful to the USDA,” said Huber.
Congressman Braley said,”thats what the farm bill is all about- it’s about raising hope.”
Secretary Vilsack said, “we are proud of corn and beans, in reality we wanted to provide opportunities for fruit and vegtable production.” He want on to layout the huge scope of the new Farm Bill’s impact on the state of Iowa.
Vilsack gave a list: 16,000 rural home loans, 10,000 conservations contracts worth over 370 million dollars, 1800 renewable energy projects, 200 business and industry loans, 92 wastewater projects, 50 broadband projects, and 25 rural electric projects. Total spent under the farm bill in Iowa alone, according to Vilsack, 4 billion dollars.