In an effort to foster cooperation and understanding between agriculture and urban areas, State Rep. Helen Miller of Ft. Dodge, who also serves as Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, is hosting the first ever Urban-Ag Academy in Ankeny with leaders from across Iowa on Saturday, November 12th.

“As state legislatures become more urban and inclusive of more minority groups, it is time to create an environment for interactive problem-solving and the exchange of ideas.  We can’t afford to continue the same urban vs. rural debate any longer, policy makers on both sides need to have an opportunity to reach outside their traditional audience and collaborate on solutions to mutual concerns,” said Miller.

Miller said the purpose of the Urban-Ag Academy is to bring urban and minority leaders and policy makers together; inform an ever-increasing number of urban legislators on ag issues; educate non-rural legislators on the often unseen effects on and potential benefits to their districts; and lay the groundwork for a national conference for non-rural policy makers nationwide.

“Both rural and urban districts stand to reap enormous benefits from increased understanding of the benefits of agriculture to urban economies and the issues faced by rural constituencies,” added Miller.

The Urban-Ag Academy will be held on Saturday, November 12 from 9-4pm in Ankeny.  Participants in the Academy include ISU’s Dr. Michael Duffy, ISU Professor Mark Edelman, Sandy Ehrig from the Iowa Farm Bureau, Dr. Don Heck from Iowa Central Community College’s Biofuel Lab, and officials from the Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and US Dept. of Agriculture.