Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Woodbury County Iowa has become the first local government to offer tax subsidies to farmers who switch from conventional farming to organic farming.

Woodbury County Supervisors voted June 28 to provide property tax rebates for those who convert from conventional to organic farming practices. That action will grant $50,000 a year for five years to those who make the conversion.

The goals of the program are to save family farms and spark economic growth in the area. The program'd sponsers hope it will help build a thriving organic farming industry that would attract organic food processors and other businesses to the area. Rob Marqusee, the county's rural economic development director said,

I studied the economic benefits of organic farming. It just seemed to fit. We're looking at being part of a movement that is gaining ground.

Marqusee said studies done by Iowa State University show organic farming can produce higher profit margins per acre than conventional farming, and on fewer acres.

Plus it eliminates the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers that pollute the water systems, and leads to less soil erosion. Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend.


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