Rural leaders and residents from all over the state head to Ames this Friday for the fourth annual Economic-Development Open House at Iowa State University.

Paul Brown in I-S-U Extension says it’s not just for county commissioners or farmers. It’s open to any individual in the state who’s interested in “this new era of development and emphasis in economic and rural development.” He says county economic-development professionals will be there, as well as county supervisors and other regional leaders.

Brown says a new era of agricultural is unfolding in Iowa. He says after making it through the farm-crisis years, many areas went through a time of radical change, and out of the 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties that are rural, many put their emphasis on industrial recruitment. He says while farming’s still part of Iowa’s future, there’s a renaissance in agriculture, combing people and rich natural resources with new opportunities to “ground what we do in the soil.”

He says ethanol and its byproducts offer opportunity to add value to things that come out of the soil — so we could combine manufacturing with the products of the farming industry. He foresees farms in Iowa getting both larger and smaller, as some find niche markets for products like wine or specialty crops, and others grow to take advantage of “economies of size and scale.”

Related web sites:
I-S-U Rural Economic Development Open House