Lecture series will focus on future of agriculture

Gabe Davis

With Iowa’s farm crisis in full force, Iowa State professors and other experts will be theorizing on how to improve the situation as part of an ISU lecture series.

The future of agriculture will be the focus of a three-part lecture series titled “Wither the Farm? Moving Beyond the Current Crisis in Agriculture.” It begins tonight at 8 in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

Paul Lasley, professor of agricultural sociology, will start the evening off discussing the current farm crisis in Iowa and will be joined by a small panel, which will be comprised of a farmer, an economist and a horticulturist.

“The reason for this lecture is the increasing crisis in surplus production, record-low prices and faltering farm family income that has contributed to high levels of stress and increasing economic hardships,” Lasley said.

The panel members will discuss possible solutions or steps that could be taken to help the state escape from the crisis.

“I’m going to suggest that we have to return to basic values about food production and that we need to develop a food system instead of a moderating system,” Lasley said. “We need to create a food system responsive to farm families and needs of the consumer that strengthens rural communities and rural culture.”

When the speech is over, the panel members will have the opportunity to agree, disagree or add points.

The panel consists of Kathleen Delate, assistant professor of horticulture; Mike Duffy, professor of agricultural economics; and Nan Bonfils, farmer and Practical Farmers of Iowa program assistant.

Duffy will give the financial take on the issue.

“The majority of the problems in the farm crisis are economic problems, and I hope to give an economic perspective,” he said. “I’ve had the benefit of working with farmers in financial trouble, so I have an understanding and empathy of people in that situation.”

The next two lectures will be of the same format, with a speaker and panelists, and they will be held in the Sun Room on Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. and on Nov. 30 at 8 p.m.

The lecture series is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by ISU’s sociology department and the Committee on Lectures.