The annual Iowa Farm Bureau young farmer summer trip shifted gears this year, heading north to Minneapolis instead of east to Chicago to learn more about agriculture industries and network with other beginning farmers.

A visit to the Chicago Board of Trade typically highlighted the trip to the Windy City, but the transition from open-pit trading to an electronic platform removed that attraction. Instead, about two dozen Farm Bureau members from across Iowa headed to Minneapolis last week for tours of a CHS barge terminal on the Minnesota River, Bayer’s seed treatment equipment manufacturing center and the Gedney pickle factory.

"It was good to see other aspects of agriculture, like cucumbers, that you don’t see in Iowa," said Sam Bennett, an Ida County Farm Bureau member.

But the main attraction of the two-day trip was the opportunity to talk to other young farmers, said the 27-year-old Bennett, who grows corn and soybeans on a sixth-generation family farm.

"It was good to interact with other people in the same situation I’m in and talk about markets, and what worked and what didn’t," he said....