ISU symposium to address food and fuel crops at Iowa State April 21-22

AMES, Iowa -- Agriculture industry leaders will gather to learn about current research on food and fuel crops, explore food and fuel crop priorities for developing countries, and examine how climate change plays a role in meeting food and fuel production goals at the sixth annual symposium of Iowa State University's Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP).

The symposium, "Food and Fuel Crops: Issues, Policies and Regulation," is 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., April 21 and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 22 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

Anyone interested in attending can register by calling (515) 294-6222 or going online. The symposium has been expanded to include three sessions this year and is co-sponsored by the Food, Feed and Fuel Initiative: Iowa.

"As always, we have put together a slate of speakers who are on the cutting edge of research and policy in biotechnology," said Jeff Wolt, professor of agronomy and organizer of the event. "This symposium will offer valuable and timely information to anyone involved in food and fuel crop issues, especially as they relate to biotechnology innovation."

Highlights of this year's symposium are a luncheon address by Prabhu Pingali, deputy director of agricultural development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who will discuss the foundation's work in Africa; the keynote address on trends in world agriculture by Josette Lewis, director of agriculture for United States Agency for International Development; and a discussion of tensions in global agriculture by Judy Chambers, president of Emerging Market Solutions.

The opening session will be devoted to "Food, Fuel and Climate Change in the Upper Midwest" and will be chaired and moderated by John Lawrence, professor of economics at ISU and event co-organizer. Speakers will include Gene Takle, professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences at ISU, who will address "Designing Crops for Food and Fuel in a Changing Climate: What is the Target?"; Mariam Sticklen, professor of crop and soil sciences at Michigan State University, East Lansing, who will examine "Genetically Engineered Feedstock Crops for Cellulosic Biofuels;" and Emily Heaton, assistant professor of agronomy at ISU, who will discuss "Biomass Crops for Iowa." The final speaker of the session is Elizabeth Lee, associate professor of plant agriculture at University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, who will focus on "Genetic Enhancement of Corn Productivity."

The symposium was made possible with funds from United States Department of Agriculture.

The Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products provides public-based expertise in risk assessment, communication and mitigation strategies for agricultural biotechnology. For more information about BIGMAP, visit their website.