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I-Lead Class 7 Alex Edgington

Posted on January 18, 2016 at 7:30 AM by Iowa Corn

Alex Edgington
I-LEAD Class 7, Session 5
I-Lead Class 7 gathered for two days in mid-November to discuss, tour and gain insights about renewable fuels and the impact consumer demands have on today’s agriculture. I’m currently a member of Class 7 of the I-LEAD or the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development program.  I-LEAD is a two-year program to provide men and women who are farmers or in agribusiness professions with the tools they need to succeed as leaders and spokespeople for the agriculture industry.
Session 5 started off by traveling to the Monsanto Learning Center, where we learned about the company’s precision agriculture technology and what the company hopes this will provide farmers.  We discussed how technology is changing the way we farm and how we have become even more efficient to meet the food production needs of an ever growing global population.
We then spent the rest of the day in Ames, the first stop was Iowa State University.  On campus, we heard from Dr. Ruth MacDonald and Dr. Paul Lasey.  During their presentations, we had plenty of time to discuss the culture of rural Iowa and consumer food trends. Both speakers pointed out how the public’s perception of agriculture has changed since they were young and what we can do to bring knowledge of farming back into urban households.
We ended the first day talking about renewable fuels.  We had the opportunity to tour the Iowa State Bio Century Farm where the topic of cellulosic renewable fuels and research was brought up.  At this research facility, we learned how they process the leftover corn plant after the ear has been harvested. This is called corn stover. The stover is baled and shipped to a plant which creates a clean-burning, renewable fuel called ethanol which is produced right here in the U.S.
The second day started with grocery store tours to learn more about what consumers want and food marketing trends.  The class split up into three groups and toured local grocery stores to see what consumers were buying.  We all had quite the learning experience. For me personally, it was an eye opening encounter to see how much many individuals love to have their food and nutrition labeled.
To wrap the second-day, Kevin Murphy spoke to us about the Food Morality Movement.  We discussed how agriculture has been attacked concerning what some call factory farming and the desire for those of us in agriculture to position ourselves as morally and ethnically sound.
I learned a tremendous amount from this tour. I have a new understanding of the technology that could one day be adopted on our farm. I know more about the new and innovative ways for processing renewable fuels such as ethanol.  Lastly, and most importantly, I have a better grasp of consumers’ perceptions of agriculture, their food buying decisions and how we as farmers can do a better job providing them information on how their food is grown and raised.
Applications for I-LEAD Class 8 are now being accepted, click here for more information or contact Alyssa Smola or 515-525-9242for application and program details.





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