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Drake Agricultural Law Center to host conference on soil and water conservation policy

September 29, 2015

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center, in cooperation with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, will host a two-day conference to explore soil and water conservation policy.

The conference, titled “Sustaining Our Iowa Land (SOIL): The Past, Present, and Future of Iowa’s Soil and Water Conservation Policy,” is Nov. 19-20 at the Olmsted Center, Drake University.

The event will bring together a wide range of individuals and organizations working to protect Iowa’s soil and water. More than 40 speakers are scheduled to address issues such as: Are Iowa’s soil and water resources adequately protected under state law? Are the soil conservation programs and institutions created over the last 70 years up to the challenge of protecting Iowa’s soil?

“Iowa has a long history of national leadership on soil conservation and stewardship,” said Neil Hamilton, director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center, Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor, and SOIL Conference organizer. “But there is growing concern our commitment to protecting soil and water resources has waned. Our goal is to help re-focus our efforts and consider how well our laws are working to support conservation.”

Many farm leaders in soil conservation will speak at the conference, including the president of the Iowa Soybean Association, the president of the Conservation Districts of Iowa, and the Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year.

The conference will also include a dinner and awards ceremony honoring individuals for their leadership as Stewards of Iowa’s Land.

“Iowans in all walks of life share the state’s bountiful natural resources, and a healthy discussion about how to best preserve and sustain those resources benefits all of us,” said Mark Rasumussen, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. “We are grateful that the Drake Agricultural Law Center is bringing together such a diverse, talented group of speakers to address the issues we face in preserving our beautiful land for future generations.”

Registration is $150 per person and includes all meals, snack breaks, and the awards ceremony dinner and reception.

Sponsors of the conference include: Wells Fargo; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service-Iowa; USDA ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment; Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler and Hagen, PC; Peoples Company; Bob Riley and Feed Energy Company; Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; Practical Farmers of Iowa; Iowa League of Cities; Soil and Water Conservation Society; Iowa Soybean Association; Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust; Iowa Water Center; and Women Food and Agriculture Network.

Founded in 1983, the Drake Agricultural Law Center is dedicated to providing opportunities to study how the legal system shapes our food system and influences the ability of the agricultural sector to produce, market, and utilize agricultural products.

To learn more about the SOIL Conference, registration, and sponsorship, visit drakeaglaw.org/soil-water-conservation-policy-conference.

Media questions can be directed to Neil Hamilton at neil.hamilton@drake.edu.