The head of a powerful Iowa Senate committee is critical of a stateinvestment in an organic bakery. The Iowa Ag Finance Corporation made thetwo-point-two million dollar investment last week from a special 25-milliondollar fund. Senator Daryl McLaren of Farragut, the chairman of the SenateAppropriations Committee, says that money was mis-spent.With the investment, the state has gained a 40-percent stake in a “Rudi’sBakery” plant in North Liberty. McLaren says the special “AgriFutures” fundwas not to be used as venture capital.The loan specifies that Iowa farmers own five percent of the stock in thenew bakery company, but McLaren says that’s worth little more than a “plugnickle”.Senator Bob Dvorsky, a democrat from Coralville, defended the loan to theColorado-based bakery. Dvorsky says the organic food market has grown at a rate of more than 20-percent since 1990. He says that shows there’s a market for the organic products.Over one-hundred will be employed at the bakery, with pay at over 12-bucksan hour. And Dvorsky predicts more Iowa farmers will begin to raise organicfoods to supply the bakery with wheat, tomatoes and the like.
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