Some months ago I wrote about an important new documentary film related to agriculture, "Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman," based on the book of the same name. The film was being previewed at the 2017 Commodity Classic, and I said it was the most evenhanded look at the difficulties and successes of land and water stewardship to ever hit the screen. I also applauded the union of the National Corn Growers Association and the Environmental Defense Fund for making that San Antonio preview possible.
Since then, the movie has played in a number of film festivals across the globe, and continues to bring together agricultural and non-ag environmental interests in positive, forward-moving discussions around protecting the environment while preserving the economic stability of farm families.
Farm audiences have two chances to be part of that conversation in the coming days, as the film and the book will be centerpieces for discussions on farming and conservation issues, one in Missouri and one in Iowa. The events are co-hosted by NCGA, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the EDF.
The first is Aug. 22, 4-6 p.m., at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. The event is free, but registration is required, and available here: https://mocollaborativeconservation.eventbrite.com/….
The event starts with a panel discussion on farming and conservation issues featuring Kraig Westerbeek of Smithfield Foods, farmer Tim Richter of the Saratoga Partnership, and Jason Jenkins of Missourians for Monarchs.
The second event, in Des Moines, is Aug. 28, from 1-3 p.m. at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. It also is free, and reservations can be made here: https://iacollaborativeconservation.eventbrite.com/….
The Iowa discussion panel will include Dean Meyer, Iowa Corn Growers Association; Dave Coppess of Heartland Co-op; Steve Bradbury, a professor at Iowa State University and leader of the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium; and Dave Nelson of Nelson Family Farms and co-owner of Brokaw Supply Company.
As I said in earlier comments about the documentary and book, so many times conversations around these subjects fall down to laying blame and pointing fingers. These meetings are signs of what I hoped for when the film was first announced: Honest, substantive conversations about what can be done, and what doesn't work, as we try to balance the environment with economic realities.
Hope you can be part of that conversation by making one of them. I plan to be in Des Moines, so I may see some of you there.
By the way, if you've missed any of these showings, the documentary film will have its global debut on Aug. 31, on the Discovery Channel.
Greg D. Horstmeier can be reached at email@example.com
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