Former Govs. Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, New York businessman Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are the first prospective 2016 presidential candidates to confirm their participation in the first-ever Iowa Agriculture Summit on March 7.
"We're delighted with the level of interest we're seeing and the importance that summit participants are placing on issues that are vital to the future economic direction of our state and nation," said Iowa entrepreneur and philanthropist Bruce Rastetter, organizer of the event to be held at the Elwell Family Food Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines.
Rastetter said the goal of the bipartisan event is to highlight and promote agriculture in a setting that will allow elected officials and public policy leaders to have a public discussion on issues including modern production agriculture, renewable fuels, biosciences, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), grain and livestock markets, land conservation and federal subsidies. Each speaker will appear on stage for 20 minutes with Rastetter to field questions on those and other ag-related topics.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said he was pleased with the initial round of confirmations. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa are also in the line-up of speakers.
"This is a unique opportunity for candidates and potential candidates to talk specifically about agricultural and economic issues. I couldn't be happier to see the number of people who have agreed to participate and I continue to encourage candidates in both parties to come share their message and vision for the country's economy and the agricultural sector," Branstad said.