Craig Hill

Craig Hill at the 2014 convention.

As many as 2,000 farmers and farming advocates will be attending the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Convention opening today in Des Moines.

Farm Bureau spokeswoman Laurie Johns says this is the organization’s 97th annual convention and the theme is “Growing for the Greater Good.”

“Whether that’s education seminars, that’s something that our members can come and take in, or speakers on the subjects of growing conservation practices or growing entrepreneurship in rural Iowa or even growing markets on a global scale,” according to Johns.

Johns says this year’s keynote speaker is Aaron Thomas from Parkersburg. He’s the son of Ed Thomas, a respected teacher and football coach who was murdered in 2009.

Johns says, “He took the role as coach but he also helps people with a very strong message on overcoming challenges and overcoming adversity, learning how to move forward and accept what has been, how to overcome things and be a positive person.”

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president Craig Hill will also give an address during the convention. “He’ll talk about how far Iowa has come and the incredible innovation that’s going on across the country and across Iowa,” John says, “whether that’s in growing livestock in various communities or growing opportunities for young farmers, the growing diversity of agriculture in Iowa.”

The convention runs today and tomorrow at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)