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Iowan To Help Steer Future U.S. Food & Ag Policy

Iowan To Help Steer Future U.S. Food & Ag Policy

Iowa Environmental Council's Susan Heathcote, who has a lot of experience following water quality issues, is one of 29 people who will serve as advisors to AGree, a new national ag policy effort.

AGree, a bold new initiative created to transform our nation's long-term food and agriculture policy landscape, has invited 29 experts from across the U.S. to serves as advisors, including Susan Heathcote, Water Program Director for the Iowa Environmental Council, whose office is in Des Moines. The council is a nonprofit coalition of 65 environmental and conservation related organizations in Iowa. AGree will be led by former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman.

"Our food and agriculture systems both at home and abroad face tremendous challenges: feeding a growing population, enhancing environmental sustainability, and ensuring our farmers and rural communities have a bright future," says Lynn Laws, communications director of the Iowa Environmental Council. "This advisory committee is a core component of AGree's endeavor to change the current inertia on agricultural issues by engaging a broad array of stakeholders to develop solutions to improve agricultural productivity and environmental performance at the national and global levels; enhance availability of and access to nutritious foods; and promote opportunities for rural communities to succeed economically." 

AGree's goal is to stimulate debate on an array of agricultural issues

"I am excited to announce such a dynamic list of experts to advise AGree on food and agriculture policy from such varied perspectives," said Deborah Atwood, Executive Director of AGree. "It is an honor that these experts have committed their time and attention to AGree and it highlights a growing consensus that AGree's distinctive and inclusive approach to these issues is needed," she said.

The committee is composed of experts with diverse experience in their respective fields including farmers, ranchers, nutritionists, energy experts, environmentalists, scientists, technology developers, economists, business owners, international development veterans, and public health specialists.

AGree advisor Susan Heathcote has provided technical leadership for the Iowa Environmental Council, since 1996, on a number of issues including agricultural nonpoint source pollution, livestock manure management, water quality monitoring, water quality standards, and restoration of impaired waters.

Heathcote has a lot of experience working on environmental issues

In 2003, Heathcote was appointed by Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to serve as Chair of the Impaired Waters Restoration Subcommittee for the Governor's Water Summit where she worked with a diverse team of stakeholders to develop recommendations to address Iowa's water pollution problems. In March of 2007, she was appointed by Governor Chet Culver to serve a four year term on the Environmental Protection Commission, which oversees Environmental Programs at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Heathcote currently co-chairs the agricultural workgroup of the Mississippi River Collaborative, a partnership of state, regional, and national organizations  working together to reduce pollution affecting the Mississippi River and its tributaries as well as the Gulf of Mexico. 

"The AGree Advisory Committee will provide important input and insight into food and agriculture policy that will allow AGree to produce innovative research and effective policy," said Jim Moseley, AGree Co-Chair, and a former U.S. Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "I look forward to lively discussions with all of the committee members."

For a full list of Advisory Committee members, go to

AGree is funded by Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, W.H. Kellogg Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and The Walton Family Foundation. The foundations are interested, background participants in AGree and will not determine AGree's decisions or policies.

Photo of Susan Heathcote available upon request; email

TAGS: Livestock
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