State Senate passes food bank measure

A measure to aid food banks in Iowa has been approved by the state Senate and awaits action in the House of Representatives.

The measure was supported by Senate Democrats, like state Sen. Daryl Beall, of Fort Dodge.

Beall described the bill as ”helping emergency food programs simply because it’s the right thing to do.”

State Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone, voted against the measure because it called for spending $2 million on food banks.

”I think it literally discourages individual donations,” he said.

The bill would provide a tax credit to farmers that donate produce to food banks. The credit would be limited to whichever is lower: $5,000 or 15 percent of the value of the food donated during the year.

The $2 million expenditure includes $1.7 million for buying food, $200,000 for transporting and storing food and $100,000 for starting nutrition education programs.

Behn said he had introduced an amendment to remove the spending from the bill. That amendment failed.

The measure’s impact on local food pantries like the Lord’s Cupboard in Fort Dodge remains undetermined. Efforts to contact Suzanne Schwendemann, director of the Lord’s Cupboard, were unsuccessful Wednesday.