Common Ground Recap: Creating Dialog and Action

August 26, 2016

By Morgan Ball, ISU Women in Ag Student Assistant 

Women in ag meeting Joni Ernst

Monday, August 22, 2016- Veterans, family, service providers, and policy makers came together to create a dialog during the 2016 ISU Veterans in Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Conference. Men and women sought a common ground while searching for a networking and educational opportunities.  

The objective of the conference was to provide our participants a community-focused resource fair that provided a place to exchange new ideas and to further influence our policy makers and service providers with solutions that best fit the needs of Veterans and their families. 

Organizations, at the resource fair, communicated the importance of program, education, and finance opportunities that are available for Veterans and their families as they enter into agriculture or entrepreneurship.

A panel of policy leaders consisting of: Senator Joni Ernst; Major General Tim Orr, Adjutant General of the National Guard; USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Alexis Taylor; and Barb Carson, Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development discussed programs available for Veterans.

“We are working for a cause greater than ourselves,” said Senator Joni Ernst, as she addressed the connection between serving in the military and working in the agriculture industry.

There is a strong correlation between feeling that moral obligation to serve in the military and to create food to feed our growing planet.

Statistics show that the number of veterans entering into agriculture is growing and with that being said, the percent of women veterans entering into agriculture is also increasing.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Agriculture had the privilege to meet with the USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Alexis Taylor, to discuss all of the great Women in Agriculture events, programs, and resources that are available in our state. Three ISU students also joined the women in ag conversation. During this, they had the chance to share with Alexis their farming stories and their future agriculture career aspirations.

Forming connections is a powerful tool and networking with others may just create a common ground.