Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who is serving as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture this year, will host his fellow state ag department leaders from across the country this week. They are gathering in Des Moines for NASDA's 2012 annual meeting. The events begin on September 12 and end September 17.
It's a week filled with discussions focusing on current issues in agriculture. The NASDA members will also tour sites and attend events that will showcase the key role agriculture has played in Iowa's history and also highlight the ongoing importance of Iowa's and our nation's agriculture and ag-related businesses to the world.
The full agenda and more information about the meeting can be found at www.iowaagriculture.gov/NASDA2012.asp. Two of the bigger events featured as part of this 2012 NASDA gathering in Des Moines are the 2012 Presidential Ag Forum and a meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force.
Presidential Forum On Agriculture to be held September 12 in Des Moines
A forum to discuss agricultural issues and the positions of the two major political parties—Democrats and Republicans—in the upcoming presidential election will be held in Des Moines on September 12. Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, currently a U.S. Senator from Nebraska, will represent the Romney campaign. Former Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge, who previously has served as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, will represent the Obama campaign.
The forum will go from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, 100 Locust Street, in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The event is being sponsored by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the Farm Foundation.
"It is a challenging time in agriculture and it is exciting to see the presidential campaigns engage directly on these important issues with leaders from across the country," says Northey. "This forum will highlight the impact agriculture has on nearly every aspect of our economy. I encourage voters to tune in and learn more about where each candidate stands on important issues affecting agriculture."
Purpose of forum is to learn more about where candidates stand on ag issues
"As a non-advocacy organization, the Farm Foundation has an important role in providing this opportunity for voters to learn more about the platforms of the respective candidates," says Neil Conklin, president of the Farm Foundation NFP. "This forum is an important opportunity to focus on the candidates' attention to the enormous challenges facing the global food system, agriculture and rural communities."
The forum will open with remarks from Johanns and Judge, questions from the moderator and questions from the audience. Mike Pearson, host of Iowa Public Television's weekly Market to Market show, will moderate the forum. The weekly Market to Market program, which airs on PBS stations across the nation, covers the $100+ billion business of food and agriculture and the issues affecting the 56 million citizens of rural America.
The presidential forum is open to invited guests only. The forum will be streamed live online at www.iptv.org and will be broadcast on IPTV on Sunday, September 16, at 1 p.m. following Market to Market. It will also air at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19 on IPTV WORLD. Questions can be submitted by viewers watching online via twitter using the hashtag #AgForum.
Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force to meet in Des Moines as part of NASDA
NASDA members will join the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force to learn more about new science and technologies that are becoming available to farmers to reduce nutrient transport from farms into streams, rivers and eventually into the ocean. This task force meeting will take place on September 11 and 12. More than 75 federal and state government officials and organization representatives are expected to participate in the task force meeting.
The Task Force is made up of members from five federal agencies and twelve state agencies and is working to address the environmental concerns associated with the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia zone, also known as the "dead zone."
Many factors contribute to hypoxia in the Gulf, with nutrient loads from upstream watersheds being one area of concern. Nitrogen and phosphorous loads entering the Gulf from the Mississippi River contribute to the hypoxic zone by spurring the growth of algae which deplete the water of oxygen when they die and decay. This is one of several areas that the Task Force coordinates activities on to reduce the size, severity, and duration of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf.
Task Force will hold a public meeting in downtown Des Moines September 11
The Task Force will hold a public meeting at the Hotel Fort Des Moines from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on September 11. The Task Force will then participate in a science expo focused on new technologies to improve water quality from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12.
"The Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force members will be joined by members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to learn more about new science and technologies that are becoming available to farmers to reduce nutrient transport from our farms," says Northey. "A wide variety of private and public sector exhibitors will demonstrate the broad cross-section of new technologies and emerging science that offer promise to reduce nutrient transport in the water that moves from cropped lands into streams and rivers."
Here are details about the Hypoxia Task Force events:
Tuesday, Sept. 11: Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force Public Meeting. This meeting will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, 1000 Walnut Street, in downtown Des Moines. It will be a discussion among the five federal agencies and twelve state agencies that make up the Task Force. Topic will include updates on the progress of state nutrient strategies, update on Mississippi River Basin Initiative or MRBI targeted monitoring efforts, and a public comment session.
Wednesday, Sept. 12: Science Expo focused on New Technologies to improve Water Quality. This event will run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm, 1327 U Avenue, near Boone, Iowa. NASDA members will join Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force members to learn more about new science and technologies that are becoming available to farmers to reduce nutrient transport from our farms. A wide variety of private and public sector exhibitors will demonstrate the broad cross-section of new technologies and emerging science that offer promise to reduce nutrient transport to water from cropped lands.
About the Hypoxia Task Force: The Federal agencies that are part of the task force are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey. The states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky and Arkansas are also represented on the Task Force.
The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force was established in the fall of 1997 to understand the causes and effects of eutrophication in the Gulf of Mexico; coordinate activities to reduce the size, severity, and duration; and ameliorate the effects of hypoxia. Activities include coordinating and supporting nutrient management activities from all sources, restoring habitats to trap and assimilate nutrients, and supporting other hypoxia related activities in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico watersheds. More information about the Task Force can be found on EPA's Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia site www.epa.gov/msbasin.