Members of Iowa's largest grassroots farm organization will gather at the 96th annual meeting of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Dec. 2 and 3 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines. To mark the occasion, Governor Terry Branstad has declared Dec. 1-7 as 'Iowa Farm Bureau Week' to honor the many accomplishments and contributions of the organization.
"Our annual meeting theme, 'Seeds of Growth,' highlights the sustainability and growth of Iowa agriculture and celebrates the dedication, accomplishments, and potential of our diverse farm families that help move the state forward," says IFBF President Craig Hill. "Today's responsible farmers are always looking for ways to improve what we grow and how we grow it, while being exemplary caretakers of the land."
Hill adds, "This year, we're bringing in a high caliber group of experts to share new knowledge, including acclaimed environmentalist Mark Lynas, a former GMO opponent who changed his mind after learning how biotech crops protect the environment and play an instrumental role feeding the world's growing population."
Lynas spent years speaking out against GMO crops
Mark Lynas is a respected environmental writer from England who has a large following. He spent years speaking out loudly against genetically modified crops and he even destroyed test plots to delay research into genetically modified organisms or GMOs. But after realizing that biotech crops are a key to protecting the environment and feeding the world's growing population, Lynas became a strong supporter of biotech crops and publicly apologized for his earlier actions to discredit them.
Lynas spoke last year at the World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines. "We believe Mark Lynas is someone who can help our members understand the importance of supporting biotech crops for farmers, the environment and the world," says Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community relations. "Mark is very well connected with decision makers around the world. He sees the debate over GMOs from a global perspective and has a thorough understanding of biotech opponents and their tactics. That's why we are very excited to have him speak to Iowa Farm Bureau members at our annual meeting this year."
Educational seminars on conservation, new technology and more
In addition to innovative speakers, the 96th IFBF annual meeting will also feature nine different 'hands-on' educational seminars to help Farm Bureau members navigate important issues like conservation and water quality, rural transportation, farm transition planning, health care and new technology including Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Iowa's best and brightest young farmers will also take the stage for the IFBF Young Farmer Discussion Meet Dec. 3, competing for the state title, a John Deere X320 riding lawn mower, and the chance to advance to the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention, Jan. 11-14, in San Diego, Calif.
Farm Bureau will honor members' achievements and contributions
IFBF president Craig Hill, a Warren County farmer, will address members and special guests on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 8:15 a.m. The organization will celebrate the achievements and contributions dedicated Farm Bureau members have made with a recognition luncheon Tuesday, Dec. 2 at noon and will hold a young farm leaders' achievement luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 12:30 p.m. Farm Bureau's voting delegate sessions will be on Tuesday, December 2, from 9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m.
Grant Golliher, known as the 'Horse Whisperer,' will showcase his remarkable trust-based training techniques on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 5:15 p.m. in Hy-Vee Hall B. During demonstrations, Golliher quickly develops a relationship with an unbroken horse, and is typically able to ride the horse within the hour. The Dec. 2 events will conclude with a concert, sponsored by Farm Bureau Financial Services and IFBF, featuring country recording artist Jason Brown beginning at 8:00 p.m. Gayle Becwar, a comic and musician¸ will close out the 2014 annual meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 3, following the Young Farmers Luncheon.