Soils Conference notables
Maybe the packed room of 200 attendees was giddy with togetherness. Maybe the message of community and accountability has found its day. Maybe climate change and corporate greed have stomped one step too many on the hand that pays the bills. Maybe who knows why the Drake University Agriculture Law Center event (Nov. 17, 2021) gave clear voice to change on the Iowa landscape starting from the bottom up. I don’t see proceeds listed as of late November – the program with speakers can be viewed HERE!
Here are some nuggets from the day:
* A theme of community- farmer- and citizen-level action versus top down dictates permeated presentations alongside the theory that top buy-in has a critical role in especially marketing and sometimes financial incentives for new practices.
* There were standing ovations for a condemnation of voluntary conservation by farmers and for an innovative conservation easement for soil health (and the land that successfully sold to local buyers with the easement in place).
* Agricultural regulations – the inevitable need, a collective timidity to demand – provided a recurring theme.
* A case was made for two different but complementary approaches to water quality research. Volunteer citizen scientists become active water advocates and change the culture of science even as prescriptive water research produces more measurable change in water health.
* And yes, that “great clamoring” to return people to their local waters through fun and play, as and a group of conservationists who meet weekly to figure out how to imbue their passion for Iowa resources with life and meaning to all. Pat Boddy and Christine Curry offered a spirited rendition of the why and how of the group’s “Soul, Soil, SPARK!” theme. They took the message into the night at a benefit dinner that evening that also featured Art Cullen, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from Storm Lake, IA. Please see the Iowa Report for details of the evening and pictures.