AMES, Iowa — The third annual Urban-Ag Academy conference will be held Thursday, July 17 through Saturday, July 19 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. The goal of the conference continues to be the enhancement of the knowledge and involvement of urban and minority legislators regarding agricultural issues facing the nation.
Rep. Helen Miller, ranking member of the Iowa House Agriculture Committee, will again host the event in partnership with Iowa State University. Legislators from Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia will participate in the conference sponsored by various businesses interested in informing minority and urban legislators about important agricultural issues. Legislative policy staff representing the Black, Native American, Asian/Pacific Islander and female caucus groups also will attend the UAA conference. In addition, stakeholders and educational policymakers will be participating in the discussions.
Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Crops Utilization Research Theater, the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine and the BioCentury Research Farm, and participate in presentations focused on weather and agricultural policy, ethanol update, future of ag research, role of extension and other topics. The keynote speaker, Bruce Rastetter, president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, will focus on the role of agricultural education in providing solutions for tomorrow’s world.
As part of this effort, the Urban-Ag Academy is participating in the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Dr. George Washington Carver, who studied and taught at Iowa State University. Rep. Miller shared the vision and goal of the UAA at the George Washington Carver Life and Legacy Symposium in April. Students from the George Washington Carver Summer Internship Program at Iowa State University will be joining urban and minority legislators at the UAA conference this year.
The goal of this year’s Urban-Ag Academy conference is to provide legislators, stakeholders, educational policymakers and students with a better understanding of the disconnect between urban and rural constituencies, and what can be done to bridge this disconnect by engaging in issues critical to agriculture. By listening, asking questions, and learning how to stay engaged, legislators and other policymakers will be able to help seek solutions and participate as informed and viable voices on behalf of agricultural issues in their respective legislative bodies and work
[Photo caption: Iowa State Governor Terry Branstad signs the proclamation recognizing July 17-19 as Urban Ag Academy Days in Iowa.]