While Iowa’s bread and butter lies within the agricultural industry, Iowans still have questions about the health of their foods, how it was raised and if it is environmentally friendly. That’s why Iowa Farm Bureau launched Real Farmers. Real Food. Real Meat., an initiative that brings real stories of sustainable agriculture, animal care and nutritional benefits of meat and dairy products to Iowans.
Through the campaign’s newly launched video series, Iowans will find themselves on farms across the state, including those of Jarad Weber of Lee County and Mitchell Hora of Washington County and at a future release date, Colin Johnson of Wapello County followed by many others.
These environmental stewards will share with audiences the sustainable practices found across their farm acres. Many of today’s livestock farms are continuously improving to meet low- or net-zero emission goals. The United States is a world leader in sustainable livestock production with only 4% of total U.S. emissions coming from this sector.
“We’re at such an exciting time right now to be part of a wide array of solutions. Iowa farmers have the opportunity to offset carbon footprint, improve water quality, reduce flooding and improve the nutrition of our crop that we’re providing to the global market,” says Hora in one of the videos.
According to research from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virigina Tech, meatless diets have little effect on reducing carbon footprints, and if all livestock in the U.S. were eliminated, emissions would only reduce by 2.6%. However, on-farm practices related to animal welfare, genetics and feed have allowed beef production in the last 30 years to increase by 18% while per-unit emissions have fallen by 8%, and pork production has increased by 80% with a 20% per-unit reduction. Likewise, dairy and milk production have a bold story to tell with production increases of 48% in the same timeframe with per-unit emissions falling by more than one-quarter.
The Real Farmers. Real Food. Real Meat. initiative also highlights animal-based proteins as natural sources of the high quality, complete proteins needed throughout a person’s lifespan. From vitamin B12 to zinc, real meat and dairy are superior sources of the vitamins and nutrients that promote brain development, nervous system functionality and support immune systems. Across the state, travelers will be reminded of these health benefits on 50-foot Fareway semi-trailers that feature photos of Iowa livestock farm families with slogans like “Meat. The Original Health Food.” and “Iowa Meat. Nature’s Perfect Protein.”
“It’s funny to have friends and neighbors tell me they saw me on Interstate 80,” says Amy Wilkerson, a cattle farmer in Dallas County who, with her husband Chad, is one of seven family farmers featured on Fareway’s trucks. “I appreciate Iowa Farm Bureau putting a spotlight on livestock farmers around the state. We have great stories to tell about how we raise our animals and do so with the environment in mind, and this helps amplify that message.”
Farm families currently featured on Fareway semis include Ben and Susan Albright of Calhoun County, Brian and Jen Feldpausch of Grundy County, Chad and Amy Wilkerson of Dallas County, Colin and Dawn Johnson of Wapello County, Daniel and Sabrina Pidgeon of Henry County, Randy and Jenni Christensen of Greene County, Sam and Mary McKnight of Union County and Tim and Lisa Graber of Washington County.
Watch for more farmer stories and learn more about how meat and dairy products contribute to a healthy lifestyle by visiting www.realfarmersrealfoodrealmeat.com.