We're Feeding the World
Read the story We're Feeding the World. It tells
the wonderful story of ordinary people whose accomplishments were extraordinary.
Connecting Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
The story of Iowa agriculture is about connections, connections between
yesterday and today, between today and tomorrow. As one generation nurtured
the next, Iowa agriculture was transformed from the hard labor of pioneer
farming to an international industry. Today Iowa feeds the world with
farm products shipped to every continent of the world.
story of Iowa agriculture is also about common individuals. It is about
a young woman named Etta Budd who nurtured the work of famous scientist
George Washington Carver. It is about George Washington Carver befriending
Henry A. Wallace. It is about how the work of Henry A. Wallace led Norman
E. Borlaug to become a world famous agriculturist.
Henry Wallace and Norman Borlaug
As important Iowans, Henry
Wallace and Norman
Borlaug were leaders who not only made a difference for Iowans but
for the world as well. They helped to develop agricultural practices that
changed farming in the 20th century.
Another Iowa-born leader, Aldo
Leopold, also helped to change agriculture in the 20th century but
in a different way. He wanted to find a balance between using the land
and preserving the land.
Aldo Leopold was born in Burlington, Iowa, on January 11, 1887. As a
child he developed a keen interest in the natural world. He spent countless
hours on adventures in the woods, prairies, and Mississippi backwaters
As an adult, he got a degree in forestry from Yale University and went
on to become the founding father of wildlife ecology. He wrote many
books about the value of preserving
"There are idle spots on every farm, and every highway is
bordered by an idle strip as long as it is; keep cow, plow, and
mower out of these idle spots, and the full native flora, plus dozens
of interesting stowaways from foreign parts, could be part of the
normal environment of every citizen."
From A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here
and There, 1948, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987, pp.
wanted to preserve nature so that agriculture and nature could work together.
He devoted his life to planting seeds of thought about how farming should
be productive but not interfere with nature.
The Aldo Leopold Nature Center
at Monona, Wisconsin works to teach people about respecting the land.
Iowa State University is home to The
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. It was created in 1987
to reach three goals:
- to identify and reduce negative impacts of agriculture on natural
resources and rural communities;
- to develop profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources;
- to work with ISU Extension and other groups to inform the public
of new research findings.
Aldo Leopold died in 1948. But through these centers, he is still helping
to preserve nature and conserve natural resources.
Looking to the Future
Iowans like Henry Wallace, Norman Borlaug and Aldo Leopold worked to
make the world a better place to live for those that would follow them.
So too, Iowans today are planning with the future in mind.
2010 Project gives all citizens the opportunity to be involved in
the creation of a vision of Iowa for the 21st century. Another forward-looking
2020, seeks to address the following challenges for the future of
Iowa as a leader in food production:
What will be the critical issues facing Iowa in 2020?
- How to produce enough food to feed a growing world population;
- How to make nourishing food accessible and affordable to all;
- How to improve food safety for consumers worldwide;
- How to make appropriate choices regarding biotechnology;
- How to produce food and fiber on farms that are profitable and also
protect the environment and natural resources;
What will be the major concerns regarding the food system in 2020?
What new knowledge and skills will be needed in the production, processing,
and distribution of food in 2020?
Photos used by permission from the USDA
Online Photography Center.