Looking Back to Look Ahead: Perspectives on Sustainable Agriculture

On Wednesday, Iowa Learning Farms was fortunate to have Dr. Mark Rasmussen of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture present a webinar focused on his career-end perspectives on Iowa agriculture. Drawing on his expertise as he retires from a storied career in sustainable agriculture, we learned about Rasmussen’s perspective on how Iowa agriculture has changed over years past and areas of challenge and opportunity as we move forward in the years ahead.

Rasmussen focused initially on the importance of preserving Iowa’s agricultural and natural resources, particularly our soils. To do this we need to learn to use technology safely and effectively, Rasmussen continued, offering insight on finding the optimal balance between cost and benefits of technology as agriculture continues moving forward.

Rasmussen’s presentation then shifted to focus on the evolution of agricultural markets in Iowa—emerging markets, business mergers, and the concentration of market power—as they affect Iowa farmers and agriculturists.

Biological resistance was Rasmussen’s final topic, and one of great interest to him as a microbiologist. He spoke to the effects of resistant weeds and other pests while briefly suggesting some potential practices for addressing this growing threat in the years ahead.

To learn more about Dr. Rasmussen’s extraordinary career and his perspectives on Iowa agriculture, check the ILF webinar archives. Be sure to join us next week on Wednesday, June 30 at noon, for the webinar, Weed Management in Iowa: 40 Years of Progress?, with Dr. Bob Hartzler, retired professor in the Iowa State University Department of Agronomy.

Riley Wilgenbusch