Monday, August 14, 2017

Des Moines Register's 'Changing Iowa' series leads to statewide and community forums

Reporter Donnelle Eller
The loss of mid-size farms depopulating rural Iowa, according to an ongoing series in The Des Moines Register called "Changing Iowa." "The quality of life in rural areas is inextricably linked to the vitality of nearby cities, which supply jobs for off-farm income, merchandise, medical care and other services," Executive Editor Carol Hunter writes in an editorial.
The reporter on the series, Donnelle Eller, is married to a corn and soybean farmer and lives in rural Iowa. She must drive up to an hour to get to places like a grocery store or a Walmart. So when rural farms shut down or consolidate, businesses in the city where farmers shop also take a hit in profits.

Not content to simply write about the problem, the Register is partnering with the Iowa Rural Development Council for a series of forums around the state so Iowans can "discuss the sweeping changes confronting our state and how we can rise to meet these challenges." Here are the first three events, starting at the Register’s Soapbox stage at the Iowa State Fair. On Friday, columnist Kyle Munson will interview young Iowans about their thoughts on making a life and a career in the state, and on Saturday, Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and U.S. secretary of agriculture, will discuss rural development and agriculture policy.

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