WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Iowa, kicking off a series of events focused on conservation and food security in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Marshalltown through Friday afternoon.
Vilsack will make a major announcement 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Dr., in Des Moines, pertaining to the United States Department of Agriculture’s work to conserve natural resources and protect water quality throughout the state. Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $2 billion in efforts to conserve and protect Iowa’s land, water and air resources, and Thursday’s announcement will further USDA’s engagement with Iowa on these important issues.
Vilsack will host the Secretary’s Roundtable discussion on open data for agriculture and nutrition 3:15 p.m. Thursday at Marriott Des Moines, Iowa Ballroom, 700 Grand Ave., in Des Moines at the World Food Prize. The secretary will be joined by Alexander B. Howard, senior editor for technology and society, Huffington Post; Brady Deaton, executive director, Deaton Institute, University of Missouri and Member PUSH Steering Committee; Alfred Busolo Tabu, director general of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority of Kenya; and Gavin Starks, CEO, Open Data Institute. He also will address the World Food Prize Foundation that evening at its annual award ceremony and dinner. All World Food Prize events will be livestreamed.
On Friday, Oct. 16, Vilsack will meet with local and state partners in La Porte to discuss an innovative project designed to reduce nitrates in the Cedar Rapids water supply. The locally led project, funded by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, brings together 16 partners in the Middle Cedar Partnership Project to reduce nitrates. Vilsack will review key conservation practices used to protect water quality in the Middle Cedar watershed and highlight the role the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) plays in helping local communities and private partners target natural resources concerns in Iowa and across the nation.
Later on Friday, Vilsack will host a roundtable discussion on the White House Rural Council’s Rural IMPACT initiative in Marshalltown. Rural IMPACT takes a two-generational approach to addressing the challenge of rural child poverty by forming a learning community for coordinated health, human service and workforce development service deliver. Marshalltown was designated one of ten demonstration sites at the launch of Rural IMPACT on Sept. 25.