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Iowa State University Extension

Community conversations take on food, feed and fuel issues

Bioeconomy Community Conversations II

The bioeconomy is tied to a host of “green” as well as economic development issues and remains one of Iowa State University’s top educational and research priorities. In November ISU Extension is hosting community conversations to help Iowans understand the state’s role in meeting national demands for food, feed and fuel. The conversations continue ISU Extension’s effort to provide a research perspective and stimulate discussions that lead to a better understanding of the facts surrounding the economic, social and environmental ramifications of the bioeconomy.

Counties are offering “Bioeconomy Community Conversations II: Food, Feed and Fuel” Nov. 10-21. The 90-minute conversations are bringing community sectors together to talk about the opportunities and the challenges associated with food security, feed production, fuel prices and the growth in the renewable fuels industry. Research needs, policy issues and educational concerns are fair game for these discussions.

The conversations are a follow-up to similar discussions in spring 2007, when more than 950 Iowans in 96 counties voiced their hopes and concerns about the bioeconomy. Then the participants represented a range of business owners, farmers, county government officials, agency representatives and other community leaders. A similar mix is expected at the November conversations.

In 2007 Iowans called the bioeconomy the “biggest change in agriculture since the plow” and encouraged ISU Extension to stay objective.

“It isn’t Extension’s job to change our opinion about the bioeconomy,” one participant said. “It’s Extension’s job to present data that people can use to form good decisions and opinions.”

For more information about Bioeconomy Community Conversations II: Food, Feed and Fuel, contact your ISU Extension county office.

This article appeared in November 2008 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter