The Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­eration’s (IFBF) annual meeting Dec. 1-2 will highlight the partnerships, both locally and statewide, that make Iowa a great place to live, farm and grow a business.

The theme for the 2015 IFBF annual meeting, "Growing for the Greater Good," recognizes the successful efforts by Farm Bureau members to work in cooperation with their neighbors to find solutions and achieve common goals to benefit all Iowans.

"We want to celebrate programs that are lifting up Iowa for the greater good – the ways Farm Bureau members are making a difference in their communities and collaborating with conservation groups, with rural entrepreneurs and others," says Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community re­­sources. "Let’s showcase how great those kinds of efforts are and the positive impact they have for our state."

This year’s annual meeting will be held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.

Click here to visit the event website

Keynote speaker

On Dec. 2, keynote speaker Aaron Thomas will share his message of overcoming adversity and turning a tragedy into an opportunity to help others. Thomas is the son of the late Aplington-Parkersburg Coach Ed Thomas, who inspired countless student-athletes before his untimely death.

The IFBF annual meeting will also offer educational seminars featuring experts and insights on the latest agricultural trends. The first session of education seminars will begin Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. and will be repeated at 2:15 p.m.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett will join Linn County farmers and conservation partners in discussing collaborative efforts to benefit water quality in the Cedar River watershed.

Iowa entrepreneurs Toby Miller of TelePharm, Tony Halsted of Hoover’s Hatchery and Elizabeth Caven of UpCraft Club will discuss rural innovation.

Farm neighbor communication will be the topic of an educational seminar featuring Iowa livestock farmers and Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award winners Jason Russell, Keith Troyer, Brian Sampson and Mike Paustian.

The second session of educational seminars will begin on Dec. 2 at 9:30 a.m. Speaker Damian Mason, an Indiana farmer, will discuss ag trends and how farmers can connect with today’s consumers.

Paul Trombino, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, will share how state agencies are working together with farmers and local communities on projects that benefit the state.

Michael Castellano, an Iowa State University (ISU) agronomy associate professor, and Matt Helmers, an ISU agricultural and biosystems engineering professor, will "bust myths with real science" by discussing the science behind water quality in Iowa.

In addition to the seminars, the first day of the IFBF annual meeting on Dec. 1 will include the voting delegate session, a recap of Farm Bureau’s 2015 Brazil Market Study Tour and the recognition luncheon, featuring the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award recipients and the county Farm Bureau awards.

The evening entertainment on Dec. 1 will spotlight Iowa talent with local musicians Whitney Maxwell and Tony Bohnenkamp of "Dueling Pianos." Bohnenkamp is also a member of the popular Iowa band, "The Nadas."

The second day of the annual meeting will begin Dec. 2 with Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill’s annual address to members and the caucuses for districts 1, 3 and 5. The final voting delegate session will wrap up at 12:15 p.m.

Young farmer awards

Members are encouraged to watch the semifinal and final rounds of the Young Farmer Discussion Meet starting at 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 2, with the winner announced at the Young Farmer Luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

The luncheon, which will conclude the annual meeting, will also recognize the winners of the Young Farmer Achievement Award and Bob Joslin Leadership Award.

Contact your county Farm Bureau office to register for the 2015 annual meeting and for hotel information. And keep checking Iowa Farm Bureau’s website at for more meeting details and updates.