‘Farm to Table’ taskforce hopes to improve supply chain for Siouxland farmers

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Nebraska (KCAU) — The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office announced a new task force aimed at fixing supply chain issues.

Nebraska has had a task force of its own for over two years and South Sioux City farmer John Swick said a lack of available markets in Siouxland has cost him thousands of dollars in wasted tomatoes.

“Just a few weeks ago, we dumped probably 2,000 pounds because we couldn’t get rid of it,” Swick said. “Stores were slow and I didn’t have enough places to take it for extra.”

Jason Grimm is a Des Moines farm owner and member of Iowa’s Farm To Table Task Force. He hopes the state can help local schools afford produce like they did with pandemic relief money last fall.

“But that was just like a one-time thing because the state had this funding, so it would be easy if the state put $500,000 or a million dollars to that annually,” Grimm said. “It would make a huge impact.”

But for some farmers like Swick, the timing complicates opportunities to work with schools.

“Most of our stuff has to be done in the summer,” Swick said. “There is school programs that Nebraska has done. We haven’t gotten involved in that because most of the time in the winter, after Thanksgiving, we’re tearing all our stuff out and starting over for the next spring.”

Grimm was previously on a task force in 2011 and said he hopes words can be put into actions this time.

“That had a lot of great recommendations in it,” Grimm said, “and I have some concerns that we’re just repeating ourselves again.”

Both Grimm and Swick said they hope the task force can improve market availability as well as processing opportunities for Siouxland farmers.

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