Farmers in Iowa are growing much more than corn and soybeans. Some of the more diverse crops, from grapes to blueberries, will be highlighted at today’s “Farms, Food and the Future” conference in Des Moines. Coordinator Pat Paustian says one of the goals of the summit is get more of Iowa’s commodities processed in Iowa.Paustian runs the Office of Renewable Fuels in the Iowa Department of Agriculture. She says the conference features 38 speakers from across the U-S and a variety of workshops, focusing on the challenges and opportunities presented in processing Iowa’s many commodities.In addition to the conference itself, Paustian says there’s also a free Food Festival and Trade Show underway that’s open to the general public. There’ll be at least 75 vendors there, showcasing Iowa-grown products.Workshop topics include profiting from growing organic and natural foods, the future of ethanol, and building niche markets for products ranging from wine to turkey to popcorn. The conference begins at 9 a-m at the Polk County Convention Complex.
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