The national travel seminar kicked off Sunday, March 6. IALP participants from throughout Illinois departed O’Hare International Airport bound for a week in Washington D.C. Despite a rough flight, we arrived refreshed and excited to the home of Gary and Ann Baise, our hosts for the evening. The evening was spent in conversation with Jack Block, Secretary of Agriculture from 1981-1986; Lee (IALP ’88) and Twyla Strom, Chairman of the Farm Credit Administration; Michael Dykes, Monsanto; Scott Shearer, Bockorny Group; Jon Scholl, American Farmland Trust; and Bob Thompson.
Both Gary and Lee highlighted the opportunities provided through IALP as well as the importance of networking. Secretary Block discussed the early stages of his years as Secretary of Agriculture and how President Reagan wanted a farmer as Secretary of Agriculture. At the time Secretary Block was the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Both Michael and Scott discussed the future of agriculture- challenges and opportunities as well as the next steps of the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. Scott highlighted three important numbers- 50, 100 and 70- by 2050 farmers will need to feed 100 times more people and 70% of that increased production will come from enhanced technologies.
Our appreciation goes out to Gary and Ann for a delicious meal and great company as well as all Secretary Block, Lee, Twyla, Michael, Scott, Jon and Bob who spent their Sunday evening with us. We’re looking forward to seeing Lee later in the week when we visit Farm Credit Administration.
We, especially, want to thank Monsanto for sponsoring the National Seminar!