A few weeks ago my daughter and I drove to Spencer in northwest Iowa to the 2012 Clay County Fair. I hadn't attended the fair in 10 years. Billed as the World's Greatest County Fair, it's still one of the biggest and best truly agricultural fairs. A regional event, it attracts a lot of people (farm as well as nonfarm folks) from northwest Iowa and neighboring states. This year's fair ran September 8 through 16.
We attended a customer appreciation event put on by the Case-IH dealers of northwest Iowa at the Case-IH exhibit at the fair. The dealers asked my daughter to talk to farmers and dealers about The World Food Prize Foundation where she works, headquartered in Des Moines. She explained the purpose of the foundation and its many activities. The $250,000 prize is awarded each year to a person or persons who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Created in 1986 by Iowa native and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, the prize is an international award, recognized as the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture.
Farmers and machinery dealers were gathered at the fair
The 26th annual World Food Prize "Borlaug Dialogue" international symposium will be held in Des Moines October 17-19, 2012. Last year it was attended by 1,500 people from 75 countries who heard experts discuss food, ag policy and related issues. Actually, there is a week's worth of related activities taking place in Des Moines during the World Food Prize week in October in addition to the symposium held downtown, and the ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol.
Joe Montag, the Case-IH dealer at West Bend, invited the World Food Prize Foundation to send a representative to the Case-IH customer appreciation event at the fair to tell farmers and machinery dealers not only about the World Food Prize, but about other related activities, too, such as the World Food Prize Youth Programs and the annual Iowa Hunger Summit.
WFP youth programs help students learn about food and ag issues
The WFP youth programs include the Iowa Youth Institute, the Global Youth Institute and the USDA Wallace-Carver Internship. You can find out more online about those programs and how your children or grandchildren who are high school students and are interested in food and agriculture issues, can participate. For example, there's a new Iowa Youth Institute sponsored by the World Food Prize and held at Iowa State University for a day each April, which gives high school students the opportunity to:
* Present a research paper and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges, in a short speech and in small group discussions with local experts
* Connect with other students from across Iowa to share ideas
* Interact with global leaders in science, industry and policy
* Take part in educational sessions and interactive tours at ISU to explore current research and issues in international development and life sciences
* Meet innovative researchers, professors and college students in Iowa working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world
For information on this and other opportunities for students, including scholarship opportunities, go to www.worldfoodprize.org and click on the youth programs button.
Why the machinery dealer hosts wanted this topic presented
Normally at a farmer-customer appreciation event hosted by farm machinery dealers, you'd hear a talk about innovations in new machinery or precision farming technology or perhaps an economist talking about world grain demand, crop price outlook and economic issues. But Joe Montag wanted a speaker this year who would talk about something a little different.
"Especially after this summer's historic drought in the U.S., it is obvious to a lot more people how Iowa and the Midwest are more connected to helping feed the world than ever before," says Montag. "Of course, farmers play a key role in producing food. There are also people, some of them farmers, who volunteer and are working locally through their churches and other organizations in Iowa helping to alleviate hunger. There is hunger right here in our local communities, it's not just the world's poor nations. The World Food Prize symposium and the Hunger Summit help bring people together each year in Des Moines in October to share ideas and listen to others who have the same goals. So we invited someone from the World Food Prize to come speak to us at our gathering at the fair."
Bright future for young people in farming and ag-related careers
Montag also points out, "There is a bright future for young people to pursue careers in food and agriculture, and farming, too. Students can explore those opportunities and prepare for them by looking into scholarships and learning more by participating in programs such as the World Food Prize Youth Institute. We, as machinery dealers planning our annual customer appreciation event at the Clay County Fair, wanted to help make more folks aware of food and ag-related issues and opportunities that are out there to do some good."
The Iowa Hunger Summit: October 16, 2012
There's still time to register - click here!
If you are interested, there's still time to register for The Iowa Hunger Summit, to be held in Des Moines October 16, 2012. Free and open to the public, it provides a chance to learn what churches, organizations and agencies across the state are doing to fight hunger in Iowa. This year's summit focuses on coalitions and collaborations to end hunger, with a special emphasis on hunger among senior citizens. This is the sixth annual Iowa Hunger Summit, a unique event that brings together community, business, civic and religious leaders from across Iowa united by their interest and involvement in the fight against hunger.
For a look at speakers, topics, schedule of events and more information go to www.IowaHungerSummit.org. The Iowa Hunger Summit is organized by the World Food Prize Foundation and sponsored by FBL Financial Group, Inc. and Iowa Farm Bureau.
Share your story: Are you and your community doing something to help fight hunger? Report your contributions and activities online. The Hunger Summit organizers will total the results for a special announcement at the Hunger Luncheon on October 16.