NORTHWOOD, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey toured North Iowa on Wednesday to look at the role farmers play in local communities and the challenges some farmers and food pantries have in the area.
Northey said the Department of Agriculture doesn’t have direct responsibility for food banks, but he believes it was important to stop at food pantry Manna of Worth County to hear the issues those in rural communities are facing.
“To be able to know a little bit about this makes it a little bit easier to tell them (farmers) what the need is and encourage contributions,” he added.
Manna of Worth County volunteer Terri Sculley said any help is appreciated. She said roughly 12 percent of families in Worth County are food insecure.
Sculley said the pantry offers everything from pancake mix to canned food. She said farmers could help provide more options.
“It would be wonderful if we could have fresh fruits and vegetables — meat would be great to hand out to the families also,” said Sculley. “That we currently do not have.”
Northey encourages local farmers to help out if they haven’t already. He said it’s been a good growing season and all our summer rain really hasn’t been that hard on the crops.
“We’ve gotten the moisture we’ve needed up until now, in some cases too much. In most cases the crops have been able to handle it, and we think generally one of the better sets of corn and soybean crops we’ve had in Iowa.”