Iowa Learning Farms’ Webinar Focuses on Farmer Identity

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms is again hosting a series of webinars on the third Wednesday of each month in 2012, a continuation in the series from 2011. The webinars will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will run approximately 45 minutes. Please note that this is a new time from the 2011 webinars. They are offered through Adobe Connect; all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access.

The topics discussed will be beneficial for technical service providers, watershed project coordinators, extension specialists and anyone else interested in the topic of the month.

The January webinar will be held Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 11:30 a.m., and will feature Jacqueline Comito, an anthropologist with the Sociology Department at Iowa State University.

Comito’s webinar focuses on the rationalization of two widely circulated aspects of a farmer’s public identity as articulated by corn and soybean farmers in Iowa: the farmer as a steward of the land and the farmer as a shrewd business person. Using qualitative data from 28 listening sessions conducted in Iowa between 2008-2011, Comito will examine how, through an analysis of “public” data, farmers maintain their identity as good stewards of the land even though their business identity has them implementing practices that may result in soil and water degradation.

"If there is any hope in resolving this tension between economic and ecological challenges, farmers will need to take the long view and think about what kind of legacy they will leave," Comito said.

To connect to the webinars, go to  The ILF website,, contains links for archived webinars from previous months. Please contact ILF with topic ideas for future webinar sessions.