Iowa Farmers Invited to Dine and Discuss Farming and Conservation

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking input from Iowa farmers on farm and conservation programs throughout the month of March. We’ll host a series of six roundtable discussion and dinner conversations with farmers across the state, beginning at the Eagle Grove Memorial Library in Eagle Grove, Iowa on March 7.

Our purpose is to hear about your goals and challenges relating to conservation, beginning farming, and other farm bill programs. Each meeting will consist of two short presentations, followed by a facilitated discussion on farm policy and advocacy ideas around all of these issues.

We’ll also provide dinner. We hope discussions continue, perhaps more informally, during that time as well.

The annual funding debates over the past few years have cut billions from federal conservation programs at a time when farmers need greater access to conservation tools and resources. With these cuts, we have lost all the additional funding we gained for conservation programs since 2008.

One solution is for Congress to make conservation program funding a priority not only in the annual funding debates, but in the next farm bill. We would like to vet this idea with Iowa farmers, and we’re looking forward to hearing your ideas, as well.

At the end of this process, we hope to gain ideas that will offer additional support to farmers who are working hard to meet nutrient reduction goals, as well as for policies and programs that can help the next generation of family farmers overcome common barriers such as access to land, credit, and training. We hope to find ideas we can come together on and advocate for in annual funding battles and the next farm bill debate.

The meetings will take place at the following locations and times:

Monday, March 7, 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
Eagle Grove Memorial Library
101 S. Caldwell Ave.  Eagle Grove, IA 50533

Tuesday, March 8, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce
102 Chestnut St. Atlantic, IA 50022

Thursday, March 10, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Sioux Center Public Library
102 S Main Ave, Sioux Center, IA 51250

Monday, March 21, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Washington Public Library
115 W Washington St, Washington, IA 52353

Monday, March 28, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Brew & Brew
213 1st Ave. E, Dyersville, IA 52040

Tuesday, March 29, 5:30-7:30 pm
Emmetsburg Community Center - The Shores at Five Island
14 N Lawler St, Emmetsburg, IA 50536

To ensure enough food is provided, please RSVP to Stephanie Enloe at 563.875.0066 or Stephanie is based in our Dyersville, Iowa, office.

Feature image: Native grasses and trees in a conservation buffer along Bear Creek in Story County, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Natural Resources Conservation Service