The agenda is being finalized for an agricultural policy summit July 6-8 at Iowa State University. The conference is titled "New Directions in Federal Farm Policy: Issues for the 2007 Farm Bill." Current federal farm program legislation, adopted in 2002, will expire in 2007.

The target audience is Iowa producers, state and national farm policy leaders, Iowa's congressional delegation and leaders from Iowa's agricultural organizations and rural groups.

"Goals for the summit are to identify and provide an overview of the key issues and trends in Midwestern agriculture and rural communities, solicit input on what participants would like to see included in the 2007 Farm Bill, and contribute to the national dialogue on needed provisions in the next farm bill," says Paul Lasley, chair of the ISU Department of Sociology and the summit planning committee.

A few sessions will cover overview issues. The first will include members of Iowa's Congressional delegation sharing their perspectives on the farm program debate. Another will look at the current status of Midwestern agriculture.

One session will be a panel of farm and commodity group leaders discussing what they want included in the next farm bill.

Central to the goals of the conference are 12 panel sessions scheduled for Thursday, July 7. Participants will have the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions.

Topics covered in these panel sessions are marketing and transportation, financing and land values, tax policy, domestic commodity policies, landscapes and agriculture, structure of agriculture, cooperatives and value added, rural economic development, faith and community issues and international trade.

Each panel session will be limited to approximately 50 participants. These sessions will provide an overview of the issues that reflect both a state and national perspective of how the panel topic relates to the 2007 Farm Bill, and also analysis of policy options and alternatives. Major issues that surface will be reported back to the larger group in the final session.

"On the final morning, participants will be asked to attend one of five concurrent sessions, which will build on the panel discussions from the previous day," says Lasley. "These sessions will give participants the opportunity to identify key issues that should be addressed in the farm bill. Topics will include the bioeconomy, the next generation of Iowa farmers, rural communities, global competition and customers and implementing conservation incentives."

The summit will be held at the Scheman Center in Ames, beginning at 2 p.m., July 6, and wrapping up with a luncheon July 8. Registration is $175 and covers attendance at all sessions, a Wednesday evening dinner, lunch and dinner on Thursday and a Friday luncheon.

Registration is available online at or by calling (515) 294-6222. For program information, call Paul Lasley, (515) 294-0937.

Iowa State University, Pork magazine