Miller convenes fourth ag academy

AMES – A national conference to enhance the knowledge of urban and minority legislators about agriculture was held in Ames July 17 through 19.

“The Urban Ag Academy helps urban and minority legislators and other policymakers understand the important role agriculture plays in our economy and the challenges facing the agricultural community today,” said State Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, who founded the conference four years ago.

Topics covered included an ethanol update, 2014 farm bill and GMO’s.

President of the Iowa State Board of Regents, Bruce Rastetter, gave the keynote address

The Urban Ag Academy conference had more 70 participants this year from around the country, including more than 30 legislators and 27 high school, undergraduate and graduate school students attending the Iowa State University George Washington Carver Summer Internship program at the School of Agriculture.

They were welcomed to conference with DVD remarks from Iowa sentors Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin.

Representatives of the black, Native American, Asians\Pacific Islanders legislative caucuses; and black women and women legislators were in attendance.

Sponsors of the event include Monsanto, Iowa State University, the Iowa Soybean Association, Summit Group, POET, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Farm Bureau, CropLife America, Iowa Agribusiness Association, Iowa Corn Growers and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

The purpose of the Urban-Ag Academy is to bring urban and minority leaders and policy makers together; inform an ever-increasing number of urban legislators on ag issues; and educate non-rural legislators on the often unseen effects on and potential benefits to their districts.