Understanding key agricultural policy issues
Jonathan Coppess, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program at the University of Illinois opened the seminar with a discussion on “Ag Policy 101 and the New Farm Bill”. He was followed by a panel of industry advocates that included Greg Webb, Vice President at Archer Daniels Midland Company, Adam Nielsen, Director of National Legislation and Policy Development at Illinois Farm Bureau, and Kevin Johnson, Director of Government and Industry Relations for the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. Panelists discussed the most pertinent issues affecting agriculture in Washington, DC, and how to most effectively advocate and approach policy-makers on behalf of agriculture.
Welcoming the IALP Class of 2020 to the University of Illinois was the Dean of the College of ACES, Dr. Kimberlee Kidwell. She addressed the IALP fellows on the importance of being a leader who conveys teamwork, goal realization
John Hardin, Vice Chair of American Farmland Trust, completed the afternoon presentations with a discussion on “Driving Trade from the Ground Up”, stressing the importance of free trade for the benefit of agriculture. Fellows then adjourned and enjoyed an alumni reception and dinner hosted by Nabor House fraternity and sponsored by IALP alumni Bob and Brad Stewart of Stewart Farms.
The second day of the seminar featured discussions surrounding key issues leading policy discussions for agriculture: nutrient management and renewable fuels. Dr. Paul Davidson, Assistant Professor for Agricultural and Biological Engineering, explained the important issues affecting nutrient management and water quality in crop production. He was followed by Lyndsey Ramsey, Associate Director, Natural and Environmental Resources, Illinois Farm Bureau and Trevor Sample of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, who discussed how the agriculture community is working with the EPA and other environmental groups to ensure common goals are understood and met. Participants then engaged in a lunch discussion focused on continuing the effort to find common ground during these times of political polarization.
Dr. Scott Irwin, Lawrence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing with the College of ACES, began the afternoon by presenting the issues and policies affecting renewable fuels focusing on implementation and regulation. Jonathan Coppess returned and held a presentation with Jon Scholl, Instructor, Agriculture and Consumer Economics with the College of ACES, concerning how the IALP fellows can be better involved in effective leadership for public policy.
On the final day of the seminar, the Class of 2020 met at the offices of the Champaign County Farm Bureau in cooperation with IALP alum, Brad Uken. Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman spoke to the IALP Class of 2020 about the importance of engaging new partners in the discussion of agricultural issues and forming policy. That segued into a discussion of “Leadership Perils and Pitfalls”, led by Kenneth McMillan, Pattee Professor, Political Economy & Commerce at Monmouth College. The day’s presentations concluded with Dr. Robert Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois and IALF Board Member. Dr. Easter gave a presentation on the history of Land Grant universities and their roll in research in science and technology, including agriculture. The seminar concluded with a sponsored lunch by Farm Credit Illinois.