Many Voices, Many Opinions, One Goal

John Davis

You don’t have to agree to come up with agreeable solutions… that seems to be the theme for the latest Farm Foundation Transition to a Bioeconomy Conference.

This is the third in a series of these Farm Foundation-sponsored meetings designed to get a handle on the changing farm economy and what the expansion of biofuels, particularly ethanol and biodiesel, means to rural America. The focus of this week’s meeting has been the ramifications of the bioeconomy on the environment and rural development.

President of Farm Foundation, Neil Conklin, says bringing together a diverse group of government, academic and industry leaders, who might not agree on everything, is key to the success of these forums.

“We like to call ourselves a catalyst for better food, agriculture and rural policy.”

Conklin says, first of all, they want to address issues affecting the rural economy, especially as it pertains to the bioeconomy, and second, what are the environmental effects of these actions. He says there are often times unintended consequences as people rush to keep up with the changing bioeconomy.

“[We want to] bring people to the table who have a deep understanding of these issues to talk about the [direct and indirect consequences] and how can we deal with those.”

Two more conferences are coming up in this series of Farm Foundation conferences. The first, late next winter, will look at the global implications of the bioeconomy and the second, early next spring, will consider how extension services help rural communities make the adjustment as we make this transition.

For my entire interview with Neil, click here: [audio:]

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Farm Foundation, News