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What’s More “Iowan” Than Farm Bureau?

What’s More “Iowan” Than Farm Bureau?

My four-month-old daughter and I enjoy reading, and one of her favorite books (as far as I or anyone else can tell) teaches kids about the people, places, and things that define Iowa, from A-Z.

It’s a fun book with a glaring omission; it doesn’t mention Farm Bureau.

Now, before you write me off as a self-serving such-and-such, hear me out. Yesterday marked the beginning of Iowa Farm Bureau Week, and I can argue that NOTHING is MORE IOWAN than Farm Bureau.

Go ahead. Name something.

Farms. Hello? We represent more farmers than any other organization in Iowa. Our members raise everything from hogs and cattle to fish. They grow crops ranging from corn and soybeans to fruits and vegetables, and they live in every corner of the state, which is why we have a Farm Bureau in all 99 Iowa counties (and two in Pottawattamie County).

Conclusion: Farming and Farm Bureau are everywhere in Iowa.

Caucuses. Yes, politicians and national media descend on Iowa every four years to see how the state will set the presidential election’s tone with its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Four years is a long time to wait. Farm Bureau asks its members to share their opinions on important issues – including taxation, education, energy and the environment – every year. Members kick off the grassroots process by sharing those opinions with their county Farm Bureaus. In turn, county Farm Bureaus pass policies that guide Iowa Farm Bureau’s work on state and national issues.

Conclusion: Caucuses give Iowans an opportunity to voice their opinions. Farm Bureau echoes Iowans’ voices.

Iowa State Fair. “Nothing Compares” to the Iowa State Fair, right? The fair has a history dating back to the 1850s, food on a stick, games, and grandstand acts that draw one million visitors annually. Farm Bureau loves the fair too. In fact, Farm Bureau is so involved with the Iowa State Fair that there’s an Iowa Farm Bureau Day at the Fair. Do you know what happens on Farm Bureau Day? For the past 50 years, Farm Bureau has assembled the winners of county cookout contests around the state to grill/smoke their finest pork, beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb creations for fairgoers.

Conclusion: Is fair food more Iowan than free samples of steak, loin, ribs, burgers, and meatballs from Iowa’s best outdoor cooks? I’ll let you answer that.

Iowa’s universities. What kind of fool argues to be included in the same discussion as Iowa’s iconic universities when you can’t turn around without bumping into an Iowan who calls himself/herself a Hawkeye, Cyclone, or Panther?

Here goes.

Like the State Fair, Iowa’s public universities were born in the mid-1800s, decades before the first county Farm Bureau was established in the early 1900s. Combined enrollment for Iowa’s three public universities is roughly 76,500, half the number of Farm Bureau member families in Iowa (153,000).

Students turn to universities to better themselves and the state. Members turn to Farm Bureau for the same reasons. Students enroll in Iowa’s universities for their expertise in medicine, engineering, agriculture, education, liberal arts, and business (to name a few areas). Members sign up for Farm Bureau to be part of an organization that works for farmers, rural communities (Farm Bureau has reinvested more than $80 million in these communities over the past decade), quality healthcare, and, of course, education (Farm Bureau awards nearly $500,000 in scholarships annually).

Conclusion: Students find value in Iowa’s universities. Members join Farm Bureau because of the value the organization places on students and universities (among other things).

Have I satisfied your objections (or at least amused you enough to read this entire blog post)?

Pin it to Pinterest, smear it into a dusty tailgate, or stamp it on a Raygun shirt: nothing is MORE Iowan than Farm Bureau.

By Zach Bader. Zach is the Online Community Manager for Iowa Farm Bureau.