We are standing at the gateway to another growing season, and with it comes a whole host of changes in the life of a farmer. When the gate of Spring opens, I find that the time for planning comes to an end and the moment for doing begins in earnest. In the spirit of doing, I want to get right to the content I wanted to share with you this April.
We all lead lives that are busy in their own ways, so it makes sense that it can be difficult to engage in an extra activity, no matter how much we might agree with its purpose. In my case, it is my job to be involved. But it is also my job — and the job of organizations like IFU and PAN — to encourage you to become engaged in these processes with me. This is why IFU holds lobby day events, and it explains why PAN sends out these state newsletters. Each group is doing what it can to provide access and opportunity so that you can speak up and feel that your voice is heard. Let me encourage you, once again, toward a life of engagement and a life that works to make things better for all of us.
We were driving through what has become an increasingly sparse Iowa landscape on our way from one place to another when we noticed a sign with the farm name proudly displayed — "XYZ Farms."
I have been watching, on and off throughout the last few weeks, as one of our neighbors methodically removes all of the bushes and small trees that populate a fence line between their field and another neighbor’s field.
This is my second year working with the Pesticide Action Network during the end of year giving period that so many non-profit organizations, including PAN, rely on to make their work possible in the coming months. I have been on "both sides of the ball" now and I fully understand how everyone feels when they get yet another appeal for money. However, I also recognize that this IS the season when more people are willing to make a contribution. And, I have also learned that an organization that fails to ask for support will not get it.
A self-sustaining and resilient farm is one that welcomes diversity. Diversity in the products it offers and the enterprises it undertakes. Diversity in the soil. Diversity in the plant and animal life. Diversity in the people that work to keep living farms living.
The challenges and the promise of Spring
Spring in Iowa seems to like sneaking in and out of the room when we’re not looking. Veterans of several Iowa Aprils weren’t fooled by the early warmth, even if they were like me — beginning to feel hopeful that we wouldn’t have to worry about the poultry water freezing. However, things will warm up again and those apple trees will soon be in bloom.
Since our last Iowa News, we have had to manage our way through some very cold weather, and I suspect many of you would agree with me that we’ve had enough of it for now! I am not terribly unhappy to see the snow melt, even if it means the beginning of “mud season” on the farm.
The Iowa Legislative Session is underway, and PAN’s Iowa team is working to assess how we can best participate in the process. With the ongoing pandemic, there are adjustments to be made to navigate contact with lawmakers.
Iowa is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work. We send out regular updates on PAN and partners' work in Iowa and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you'd like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.
As we approach the end of the current year and the beginning of a new one, I hope we are all able to engage in the process of renewal.