An accomplished economist and futurist will share his more than five decades of expertise at the 95th annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation meeting.

Jay Lehr will be the keynote speaker at this year’s meeting, which will be held Dec. 3 and 4 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, formerly Veterans Memorial Auditorium, in Des Moines.

Lehr, who has been a part of the Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­­er­ation’s annual meeting in the past, combines a deep understanding of both science and economics in describing the impact of advancing technologies on the local, regional, national and global economy.

During his return to the annual meeting, Lehr will talk to members about innovations in precision agriculture, biotechnology and water quality, said Barb Lykins, annual meeting organizer and community resources director for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

"He’s going to talk about agriculture related to the bigger picture of how many changes there have been … and what’s on the horizon," Lykins said.

His experience in agricultural economics, agronomy, environmental science and business administration, combined with his contagious enthusiasm for the future of agriculture, is sure to further inspire this year’s meeting attendees, Lykins said.

"He’s very enthusiastic about agriculture and the importance of telling that story of innovation," Lykins said.

Lehr’s knowledge of U.S. farm, energy and environmental legislation, as well as international farm support programs and the direction they are moving, allows him to confidently predict a bright future for American farm exports, sustainable energy and for the environment.

Support for biofuels

His vast experience and support for the use of corn in many products including ethanol, the use of soy in many products including biofuels and the long-term safety of advances in biotechnology serve to answer many of the questions on the minds of the average grain farmer and energy consumer.

Lehr, who lives in Ostrander, Ohio, holds a degree in geological engineering from Princeton and was one of the nation’s first to receive a Ph.D. in environmental science from the University of Arizona.

Lehr began his career with the U.S. Geological Survey after serving in the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps in the Far East, rising to the rank of Lt. Commander. Since then, he’s founded and sold two education companies to Fortune 500 companies, written 19 books and more than 99 journal articles in his fields of expertise, and has testified to Congress on 36 occasions to explain the realities of environmental issues as they related to pending legislation.

Attendees at this year’s meeting will hear Lehr speak at the general session on Wednesday, Dec. 4 after Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill addresses Farm Bureau members.