IFU Convention focus on Iowa’s farm future
DES MOINES – The Iowa Farmers Union will be hosting its 99th annual state convention, “Food for Thought: Envisioning the Future of Family Farming & Food Policy in Iowa,”Friday and Saturday at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines.
The first day of the convention will feature workshops focused on the challenges and opportunities for beginning farmers in Iowa, including:
1.) Federal Programs for Beginning Farmers, with John Whitaker, Iowa’s executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
2.) Improving Farmland Access and Affordability in Iowa, with John Baker and David Baker of the Iowa State University Extension Beginning Farmer Center.
3.) Risk Management Considerations for Beginning Farmers, with Vallery Eisenmann, Iowa territory manager for Hastings Mutual Insurance Co.
4.) Regulatory and Social Policy Considerations in Marketing Local Foods, with Matt Russell, of the Drake Agricultural Law Center.
5.) The Impact of Food Safety Regulations on Local Foods Agriculture, with Roger Noonan, president of the New England Farmers Union
“The people I meet starting out in farming today are hard working,” said IFU Managing Director Jana Linderman, “innovative and full of hope for the future of food and farming.
“If we are serious about keeping family farmers on the land, we need to make sure that this new generation of farmers has a strong and educated voice in the policy process and that we are giving them all the tools that they need to be successful.”
The second day of the convention will include remarks from Roger Johnson, NFU president; debate and approval of IFU legislative policy and priorities for 2014; and a keynote address by New England Farmers Union President Roger Noonan.
The day also will feature a workshop on Implementing Iowa’s Nutrient Management Strategy, featuring Bill Stowe, chief executive officer and general manager of the Des Moines Water Works, and Ralph Rosenberg, executive director of the Environmental Council.
“We are at a transition point in family farm agriculture,” said Linderman. “With so many of our current farmers nearing retirement age, the conversations that we have and the priorities that we set now will determine what our landscape, what our food looks like in coming generations.”
“Our upcoming convention is a chance for farmers and advocates to advance that conversation.”
For additional information visit: iowafarmersunion.org/convention.
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