"How does government policy on agriculture and food affect me?" will be topic of public informational meeting Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in the 4-H Building co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Purdue Extension Service. The program will provide a look at how our government has made agriculture and food policy in the past and the issues that are shaping current discussions for future policy.

If you like to eat food, you should be interested in this program! Why does the government set policies on things like agricultural commodities, crop insurance and environmental regulations? How do government regulations and policy impact our economy, our food supply or the environment? What questions do you have about government policy impacting the use of agriculture technology?

Come learn more about issues like Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), environmental impact of agriculture production and food safety? The purpose of the program is to open a dialogue with the public, farm community and agricultural experts from Purdue University to explore policies which matter most to our community. What policy alternatives will be most beneficial for Montgomery County, Indiana, and our country.

Audience participation will be an important part of the program, so the public is encouraged to bring questions, concerns and opinions.

Otto C. Doering III, a professor and public policy specialist in the Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University, will be presenting an overview of the history of the agricultural policy and what it all means to our economy and to our food and agricultural production system. He will discuss how these policies affect our neighbors who are involved in farming and other areas of agriculture, as well as what they mean for our economy and how they impact citizens who are not professionally engaged in agriculture.

After his presentation, Professor Doering will entertain questions about all areas of governmental policy on agriculture, food and the environment. He will open dialogues about the issues that we should be considering, and will discuss the consequences of some of the various policy alternatives that our lawmakers can adopt.

Professor Doering has extensive background. He has served the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture working on the 1977 and 1990 Farm Bills. In 1997, he was a Principal Advisor to USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service for implementing the 1996 Farm Bill and worked with NRCS in 2005 on the design and implementation of conservation programs. In 1999, he was the economic analysis team leader for the White House's National Hypoxia Assessment that focused on the Gulf of Mexico. He serves on EPA's Science Advisory Board and chaired EPA's Integrated Nitrogen Committee. He has served on National Academy of Sciences committees and Department of Interior's Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

LWV Coordinator for the program is Donya C. Lester, Executive Director Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association and Director of Public Engagement, Purdue College of Agriculture. This year the LWV nationwide is studying agriculture and food policy and this public meeting is the Montgomery County's kickoff to this study.

Rhonda Walker, Purdue Extension Educator/ Montgomery County is program coordinator for Purdue Extension.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join LWV where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmontco.org or send a message to lwvmontco@gmail.com or P.O. Box 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.