Monday, December 28, 2009

America's New Farmers: Policy Innovations and Opportunities

The Drake Forum on America's New Farmers: Policy Innovations and Opportunities will take place Thursday and Friday March 4-5, 2010, at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington DC. This two day meeting will bring together policy advocates, government officials, and beginning farmers from across the nation to consider how best to support policies creating the next generation of America's farmers. Drake University is pleased to have the financial support of USDA Risk Management Agency, the Farm Credit Council, and others in making the Forum possible. A dozen agricultural groups and institutions involved with new and beginning farmers are cooperating with Drake on this initiative. Registration for the conference is now open and can be found on the conference website.

The Forum will begin with a panel of new farmers talking about their hopes and needs for public policy. Discussion sessions are planned on: land access and availability; innovations in finance and credit; lessons from beginning farmer efforts; new farmer training and education programs; opportunities for new farmer communities; and markets and sustainable rural revitalization. The closing plenary will address the road ahead in identifying opportunities for national policy action.

Senior leaders from Congress and USDA have been invited to provide keynote presentations. A local food reception and a new farmer film festival are planned for the evening of March 4th.

Forum organizer, Professor Neil Hamilton is working to finalize the agenda of speakers and panels and reports that he is pleased to have several new national organizations joining Drake as co-sponsors for this event. Anyone with questions or suggestions for the Forum should e-mail americasnewfarmer@drake.edu or call 515-271-4956.

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