Published Jan 23, 2012

What one change?

By Teresa Opheim

What one change to Iowa agriculture could do the most good?

About 20 hearty souls gathered at the end of the PFI annual conference to talk though this question. This session was a “U-Pick” one, meaning a conference goer had suggested the topic on her registration form and PFI then organized the session. It was an interesting discussion; here are some of their comments:

Focus on food
“Aggregate local food, build food hubs” … “Feed yourself–grow 100 pounds of your own food this year” … “Take pride in your local community of food” … “Know your food and where it comes from”

Educate (there were at least four teachers in the group assembled)
“Educate on the benefits of eating local fruits and vegetables” … “Maximize value (not just profit) with our decisions” … “Help more people get connected to the land. Education is key!” ”

End policies that support high input use
“Get rid of the biofuels mandate” … “End cheap energy” “Remove all commodity subsidies and mandates”

Just enforce existing environmental regulations we do have
from a farmer whose organic crops have been hit by spray drift

Recognize there is room for all styles of agriculture
from a farmer whose operation includes both conventional and organic crops

Encourage small and mid-sized farms
“Work for smaller farms so we have more vibrant communities and schools” … “End the concentration of ownership of land that is occurring” … Educate farmers to see that they can diversity, break through mindsets to realize there is another way”