Welcome to the Urban-Ag Academy
State legislative bodies across the country are becoming more urban and inclusive of more minority groups--this is a drastic change from just a few decades ago, and many policy discussions continue to take shape around urban versus rural interests. Agricultural education and outreach have not kept pace with this change in the legislative landscape as rural legislators have retired or are faced with declining populations.
This urban vs. rural disconnect in Iowa is a microcosm of the “Ag vs. Urban” relations in legislatures across the country and at the federal level. Policy makers, both rural and urban, need to have an opportunity to reach outside their traditional audience to new, fresh faces, conduct educational outreach, and collaborate on solutions to mutual concerns. 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.
With the change in the rural-to-urban makeup of the population and their legislative bodies, it is time to create an environment for interactive problem-solving and the exchange of ideas related to agriculture, animal production, energy, conservation, ag education, and new technologies. This is the essence of the mission of the Urban-Ag Academy.