As intense summer storms continue to trek across the state, Iowa farmers know that weather is one factor they can't control, but emerging technology is helping today's farmers scout fields, spot and fix rain-washed areas of their field and can even help them make more efficient use of fertilizer or pesticides.
The upcoming 2014 Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit, "Finding the Next Set of Market Drivers for Agriculture," brings the nation's leading experts on drones, big data and agriculture technology and marketing to the Scheman Center, July 21-22, in Ames to help Iowa crop and livestock farmers make the most of emerging technology.
"We are on the cusp of change in a lot of technologies and we don't know all of its potential yet. In fact, in a lot of cases, we don't even know yet what questions to ask about technology, so it makes sense to bring in some of the experts at the IFBF summit to provide insights into the potential opportunities and pitfalls of the drone and big data technology," says IFBF director of research and commodity services Dave Miller.
Will feature national experts on new trends and technology
The 2014 IFBF Economic Summit brings in national experts to help Iowa farmers explore a number of areas which have potential to greatly influence profitability of Iowa-grown commodities. The two-day IFBF Economic Summit features several national experts, including: David Oppedahl, economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Mary Kay Thatcher, farm policy expert for the American Farm Bureau Federation; Kevin Price, a national expert on the use of drones in agriculture; and Will Zhang, an Iowa-based expert on China.
Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch on both days, is $50 for Farm Bureau members. For non-members, registration completed before July 11 is $150. Registration costs increase after July 11 to $75 for Farm Bureau members and $175 for non-members. For more information or to register for the event, log on to www.iowafarmbureau.com or call Lavonne Baldwin at 515-225-5633 or email [email protected].
Iowa groups seek Vilsack's help on Clean Water Act rule
In other news, the Iowa Farm Bureau and nine other Iowa farm groups wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last week to express their concern regarding the USDA's involvement in a new controversial "waters of the United States" rule that is being proposed by two federal agencies.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers recently proposed changes to the way navigable waters of the U.S. are defined under the Clean Water Act. Along with that proposal was an interpretive rule that requires farmers to follow Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical standards in order to qualify for the Clean Water Act's 'normal farming practices' exemption.
The interpretive rule essentially turns voluntary NRCS technical standards and cost-share programs into enforcement mechanisms for Clean Water Act compliance, the letter said. "We believe these actions will impede soil and water conservation progress," the groups said in asking Vilsack to request withdrawal of the interpretive rule.