AMES, Iowa – The third week of August will bring some new faces to Iowa as more than 1,100 people gather in Des Moines for the 108th Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Program of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Comprised of agricultural extension educators and specialists from across the country, the attendees represent 48 states and two United States Territories. The group members provide technical assistance and education in the areas of 4-H and youth, agricultural economics and community development, agronomy and pest management, animal science, horticulture and turfgrass, natural resources and aquaculture, and sustainable agriculture.
The five-day conference at the Iowa Events Center features 160 professional development seminars selected from the best extension educators. Attendees will learn about topics and trends that impact communities across the country. In addition, the conference includes a trade show highlighting Iowa agriculture, awards and recognition programs, and general sessions featuring keynote speakers.
Iowans can plan on meeting some of the attendees elsewhere, as they travel across the state for conference tours, leisure and personal interest events. The participants have all been invited to museums and parks across Iowa, special attractions and Iowa restaurants. A visit to the Iowa State Fair will be a conference highlight for many agricultural agents coming to Iowa.
Many of the attendees will be traveling with their family, including their children, and will be seeking out family-friendly experiences. Prescheduled tours include stops in all parts of Iowa, with a heavy focus on agricultural and natural resource destinations.
“We’ve spent countless hours preparing for this year’s conference and are confident that the people who attend will be in for great learning experience and a real Iowa treat,” said Kapil Arora, field agricultural engineer with ISU Extension and Outreach and chairman of the 2023 NACAA conference planning committee. “The first order of business is the conference, but we know our members like to be entertained as they learn, so we encourage them to seek out unique Iowa experiences while they are here.”
This year’s conference is being hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and this is the first time Iowa has hosted the conference in the organization’s 100-plus year history.
“It is an honor for Iowa to host the 2023 NACAA AM/PIC,” said Carter Oliver, president of the Iowa chapter of NACAA and director of ISU Extension and Outreach in Harrison County. “The past three years have been full of excitement as staff all throughout ISU Extension and Outreach have been working hard to put together a memorable experience for everyone traveling to Des Moines.”
Keynote speakers include Iowa’s own Jolene Brown, internationally recognized for her presentations on estate and family business planning, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, and acclaimed Iowa opera singer Simon Estes. Invitations have also been sent to state and national dignitaries.