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Award-winning syndicated columnist Alan Guebert on breaking free of corporate agriculture at JFAN annual meeting

Oct 10, 2017

Factory farming has a stranglehold on rural Iowa, but can that grip be broken? Celebrated syndicated columnist Alan Guebert will dive into the realities and the possibilities during the JFAN annual meeting Breaking the Grip of Corporate Agriculture on Rural Iowa on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7:15 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, 200 N. Main Street, Fairfield.

Penned an “agricultural insider” by Civil Eats, Guebert will take a hard look at the role of factory farming in the corporate food system and it’s widespread influence throughout society. Not escaping his attention is the failure of governance to address these issues because “Big Ag” often controls the agenda on the state and national level.

Guebert, author of the popular syndicated column “Farm and Food File,” said current farming policies fit the definition of insanity.

“It hasn’t worked in the past, so let’s do more of it and see what happens,” Guebert wrote about current policy trends. “Instead, we should be talking about how to fix what’s broken, not how to patch it.”

Guebert, though, sees change as inevitable. “I really do believe there is a way out of this mess,” and he will role out how he envisions that can come about. Guebert contends that there is a role for everyone in driving change, and he will outline how Iowans can play an important part.

Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry also will underscore the need for taking action. He will share why his county recently passed a resolution in support of a factory farm moratorium, elusive here in Jefferson County, and other ways his county is addressing the CAFO issue. A strong advocate of regenerative agriculture, Carberry will speak on ways Iowans can and must wrestle back control from the corporate agriculture agenda to force needed changes that protect people and the environment.

Alan Guebert is an award-winning agricultural journalist with his finger on the pulse of agribusiness. With early roots on a 720-acre, 100 cow dairy farm, he currently authors the popular syndicated agricultural column, “The Farm and Food File” that he began in 1993. It appears weekly in over 70 U.S. and Canadian newspapers. He’s also a contributor to the online publication The Daily Yonder, and worked previously as a writer and senior editor at Professional Farmers of America and Successful Farming magazines. His numerous awards include the prestigious Writer of the Year and Master Writer from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association.

Guebert, along with his daughter Mary Grace Foxwell, are the authors of The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey. The book chronicles his childhood on the farm and what Guebert sees as a blueprint for the future of farming over the next 50 years — a trending back to smaller scale farms.

Dr. John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri at Columbia and a member of the JFAN board of directors, will start the meeting with a brief overview of the myriad ways industrial livestock corporations influence the well-being of rural communities and what can be done to structure change. Attorney David Sykes, JFAN legal counsel, will give a legal update on an Iowa Supreme Court challenge to the Iowa Right to Farm law.

The JFAN annual meeting is co-sponsored by community partners Southeast Iowa Sierra Club, solar powered KRUU — 100.1 FM, Southeast Iowa Food Hub, Radish Magazine, and Little Village Magazine.

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