A new non-fiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff tells the story of raising crops on a modern Iowa farm. “My Family’s Soybean Farm” is available by request free for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.  

The story follows Isaac and Alexander, two brothers who live on a farm in Iowa. They help their family raise corn, alfalfa, pigs, cattle and soybeans.

Isaac and Alexander take the readers on a tour of the family farm and discuss how soybeans are produced for livestock feed, human food and industrial uses. They also discuss technology used on modern farms and conservation practices.

The book is written at a third-grade reading level and has supplemental text that gives additional background information for more advanced readers.

The book is the fourth in a series by Olthoff, who is a former teacher and understands the importance of having high quality, relevant non-fiction books for students. Iowa Core educational standards require that up to 50 percent of student reading be informational or non-fiction. In elementary classrooms, there is a lack of these non-fiction resources.

“People have a desire to find out how their food is grown,” said Olthoff, who lives on a working turkey farm in central Iowa with her husband and family. “The My Family’s Farm series is the perfect solution to telling the food production story and providing more non-fiction resources for teachers.”

The book is a special project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation with financial support from Ag Ventures Alliance and the Iowa Soybean Association.

“This book showcases the technology and conservation practices used on modern farms,” said Iowa Soybean Association Producer Serv­­ices Regional Coordinator Bre Wagner. “It demonstrates the best practices that modern farmers are using. We are excited to offer this educational resource to teachers and their students.”

Copies of the book are being made available to all Iowa elementary schools, and additional copies are available on request. The book includes two lesson plan companion resources that will help teachers integrate the book into a science lesson or a language arts lesson. The lesson plans are aligned with Iowa Core standards and easily fit into an approved course of study.

For more information about this book or other education resources, contact the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation at info@iowaagliteracy.org.