Have you ever wondered how that steak got to your plate? Chances are, you’re not alone. With less than two percent of the U.S. population involved in farming, many consumers don’t understand exactly how their food is raised and grown.

With that in mind, Iowa Farm Bureau invited 20 farmers (and their families) to speak with consumers at the 2009 Iowa State Fair about the steps they take to assure food safety, animal care and environmental protection. Those who visited Farm Bureau Park during the fair got to visit with those farm families and ask questions about modern farming while playing a “Plinko” game and winning prizes. Jennifer Dammann was one of the farmers who volunteered her time to connect with consumers. Below, she shares her experience.

“Every year I am excited for the Iowa State Fair. The food, animals, shows, and, of course, people watching make it a fun experience. So when I was asked to volunteer at the Farm Bureau tent this year, it was easy to answer, ‘yes.’ 

At the Farm Bureau tent we were playing Plinko, but before fairgoers could get chance to play they had to answer questions related to farming. The most famous remark I received was, “I know nothing about farming. I can’t play.” Then I convinced that individual that I would give an easy question to get them interested. 

It seemed that people knew more about farming than what they realized and were surprised that we had nutrition questions. Many didn’t realize that all milk naturally contains small amounts of protein or that Iowa leads the nation in acres devoted to buffer strips, which help improve water quality. I had to explain what buffer strips were and watched as people smiled and said they “didn’t realize” we (as farmers) cared so much for the environment. I thought it was a great fact to pass along because it really shows our urban neighbors that we love the environment too!”

Written by Jennifer Dammann
Jennifer lives on a farm in southwest Iowa with her husband and young daughter. The Dammann family raises white and yellow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, rye, and runs a cow/calf operation.