Fourth Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture Planned

February 9th, 2004

The fourth John Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture, which honors a retired Iowa State University agronomy professor, will be March 3-4.

Daryll Ray, Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy and director of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center at the University of Tennessee, will be the featured speaker at two events.

Ray's presentation is titled "Agricultural Policy for the 21st Century and the Legacy of the Wallaces." His first presentation will be from 2:30 to 4 p.m. March 3 in the Oak Room of the Memorial Union on the Iowa State campus in Ames.

The second event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. March 4 in the Center for Energy and Environmental Education Auditorium on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.

At both events, questions and discussion from the audience will follow the formal program. Both sessions are free, open to the public and will be followed by receptions.

Ray earned a bachelor's degree in farm operations and a doctorate in economics from Iowa State. While a faculty member at Oklahoma State University for 20 years, he developed a computer model of the U.S. crop agricultural sector. This model evolved into an analytical system that is used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies to model the impact of various policy options on the U.S. crop sector.

Ray has published more than 450 professional articles and publications. His most recent work, "Rethinking U.S. Agricultural Policy: Changing Course to Secure Farmer Livelihoods Worldwide," was completed in collaboration with faculty colleagues. In this publication, Ray challenges policy makers, agricultural economists and farmers to step back and reexamine their commitment to free-market fundamentalism by recognizing the unique characteristics of the crop agricultural sector.

The colloquium honors Pesek, who served terms as president of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America. His research led to a better understanding of the effects of farming practices on the environment.

In the late 1980s, Pesek chaired a National Research Council committee that produced "Alternative Agriculture," a groundbreaking report that documented how farming systems that used less pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and fuel could be productive and profitable.

The Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture are the main sponsors of the Pesek Colloquium, along with several other ISU programs, including the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, ISU Extension and Global Agriculture Programs. Other sponsors are the biology department at the University of Northern Iowa and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

Editor's note: A photo of Ray is available by contacting Ed Adcock, 515-294-2314 or


Gretchen Zdorkowski, Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture office, (515) 294-6061,
Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705,