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High tech agriculture in Iowa

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY LAURENT ABADIE A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows a drone flying over vineyards of the Pape Clement castle, belonging to Bordeaux winemaker Bernard Magrez in the soutwestern French town of Pessac. Magrez is the first winemaker to have bought last February a drone equipped with a infrared camera to determine the optimal maturity of the domain's grapes and thus harvest them at different times. AFP PHOTO JEAN PIERRE MULLER. (Photo credit should read JEAN PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross are visiting Iowa to talk about how high-tech Ag equipment and farm management are making the industry super-efficient.

Longtime Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley commented on the president’s trip to Cedar Rapids.

“He’s going to make two appearances. One at the agricultural division of Kirkwood Community College where he’s going to talk about agriculture. He’s also going to emphasize technology in farming, and that relates to GPS farming and everything connected with GPS. And I hope he’ll talk about the farm bill and trade.”

The president will also hold a rally in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Grassley says he expects the administration to announce Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for next year, this week, though he didn’t think the president’s trip had anything to do with RFS volumes.

Meantime, Grassley argues farmers need to do more to educate an Ag illiterate public.

“People are ignorant about farming because only two-percent of the people are involved in farming, and the two-percent of us that are farmers don’t speak up often enough to educate people. We better talk up our importance to the community.

A key reason Grassley didn’t mention is the farm bill, which every five-years or so, requires an uncomfortable marriage of farm programs with food stamps to win enough urban votes to pass.