Iowa may lead the nation in production of farm commodities, but someone else makes a lot of the profit from them, once they’re processed or “value-added” in other ways. How to hang onto more of that value is the theme of the third annual “Farms, Food and the Future” conference next week in Ames. Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge says producers will start to make more and improve their bottom line by making a value-added product, and she uses the example of a grain crop. Adding value, like using grain in a manufacturing or animal-feeding process, earns the farmer more. Judge says that’s a focus of the Tuesday conference at the Scheman Center in Ames. It’ll give people ideas on everything from ethanol and biodiesel to the “niche marketing” of specialty meats, fruits and vegetables, grapes and wine. Judge says though Iowa’s a leader in biotechnology, there’s still plenty of room to grow. She says our imaginations “aren’t big enough to contain” all the changes we’ll see in biotech over the next few years. For more about the conference and a registration form, visit the agency’s site at