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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.
This is the time of year on our farm that we reflect on our past growing season and consider the take-aways we can use going forward. We work hard to accept the lessons that came with failures and then resolve our feelings connected to loss. We also highlight the things that went well and give them equal footing to provide ourselves a healthy balance for the future.
This is also the time of year where we indulge in a little bit of what we jokingly call the “Farmer Delusional Syndrome.” We allow ourselves to build up anticipation for the perfect growing season that is to come. All seeds will germinate and mature into productive plants. The weeds and pests will not harm our crops, and we will get rain in proper measures exactly when we need it. There will be rainbows, butterflies, and tasty green beans and peppers.
Such is the process of renewal. We integrate what has gone before into our knowledge base and we use it to build a plan for the perfect season. For those who work the soil, this is our cycle of hope — and we value the energy it brings us to do the work that needs doing.
This past year has been a difficult one for many of us, and I don’t think I am wrong to say we could all benefit from seeking out renewal in the coming year. Farmers do not actually delude themselves into thinking there will be no problems in the future as we look forward. What we do is paint ourselves a picture of what we are working toward — what we want the future to be. This future becomes the guiding star that helps us know that we are moving in the right direction.
This is a key reason why I joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in April. Part of PAN’s role in Iowa is to help compose the ideal picture of agriculture and food systems in the state. It feels like we have lost sight of the image of a diverse and healthy landscape, and even our farmers are beginning to lose touch with the soil that nurtures the crops they grow. We need to indulge in the hope that vision-building can bring us — so we can point ourselves towards that goal each and every year to come.
PAN’s Communications Associate
Owner/Operator, Genuine Faux Farm, Tripoli, IA
Online Drift Reporting
Together with our partners, we were able to move forward legislation that would have increased access to drift reporting via an online portal — up until the point the legislature was forced to shut down due to the pandemic this spring. We are pleased to report that there is sponsorship in the legislature for an online drift reporting bill for the 2021 legislative session. With your support, we are hopeful that this bill could be successfully passed into law next year.
Vilsack returns as Secretary of Agriculture
Iowa’s Tom Vilsack will return to his role as the Secretary of Agriculture in the new Federal administration. As fellow Iowans, we have an opportunity to point the USDA towards the image of what the USDA should be, not what it was during prior administrations, including his last tenure in that office.
Practical Farmers of Iowa will be hosting their 2021 Virtual Conference beginning January 21. The conference will include new features, such as short ‘lightning sessions’ and farm stories. Registration is open now.
The Real Organic Symposium will hold multiple speaker sessions on Sundays through January. I encourage you to check the anticipated list of speakers.
Iowa’s George Naylor has a worthwhile essay on the new Disparity to Parity website that was recently launched.
Build the Vision Together
You can be a part of helping build the vision for agriculture and food systems in Iowa. I would like to ask you to encourage an interested friend to join in receiving Iowa News and other PAN publications. Point them to this link to sign up!
And, I would like to encourage you to include PAN among the fine organizations you support with your year-end giving. Your gift will support our efforts as we move with determination into the year ahead.