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Feb. 1, 2008

Panelists to discuss future of Iowa agriculture

by Paula Van Brocklin

Iowa State graduate students in sustainable agriculture and agronomy want to know what the future holds for Iowa agriculture. So, they organized a panel discussion with Iowa's agricultural elite to find out.

"The Future of Agriculture in Iowa," will feature Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture; Jerry DeWitt, director of the Leopold Center; Aaron Putze, director of the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers; and Kevin Miskell, vice president of the Iowa Farmers Union. Jerry Perkins, The Des Moines Register's farm editor, will moderate the discussion, which will be held Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall auditorium.

The Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture Student Association (GPSASA) and the Agronomy Graduate Student Club started planning the event jointly last year.

"We looked at projects for this year, and we wanted to talk to people about different issues related to the agriculture industry," said David Correll, a graduate student in sustainable agriculture and co-chair of GPSASA. "We're excited that something this big has come together this fast."

According to Stefan Gailans, a graduate student in sustainable agriculture and agronomy and co-chair of the Agronomy Graduate Student Club, panelists will discuss a range of issues, including biofuels, the environment, water-quality concerns, farm expansions and alternative crops.

Correll suggests ag students, current agriculture professionals and farmers attend the discussion, which is free and open to the public. Gailans hopes for strong attendance from the university and beyond.

"This is an opportunity to have all sides, all opinions addressed," Gailans said. "We hope it will open people's minds to topics that aren't always in the mainstream."


"We hope it will open people's minds to topics that aren't always in the mainstream."

Stefan Gailans