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Farm Fresh Blog Welcome to Farm Fresh, Iowa Farm Bureau's blog about the people who bring you your food, fuel, and fiber, and the issues they face.

Farm Fresh blog

Welcome to Farm Fresh, Iowa Farm Bureau’s blog about the people who bring you your food, fuel, and fiber, and the issues they face. Learn more about the purpose of this blog and its relevance to you here.

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Reporting the truth - the whole truth - about farming and conservation

6/21/2018

It seems that some reporters have adopted a "no good news makes the news" approach, especially when it comes to conservation progress in Iowa. Laurie Johns says Iowans deserve to hear about that progress.

Farmers sweat the details to keep livestock comfortable in the heat

6/18/2018

Hot days with temperatures 90 degrees and higher means our family takes a dip in the pool to stay cool or finds activities indoors where it’s air conditioned. Just as we adjust our activities to keep our family cool and safe, livestock farmers are also adjusting to keep their animals safe during the soaring temperatures.

Antibiotics: OK for our families, but not livestock?

6/18/2018

The truth of the matter is, even if antibiotics were not an option to treat sick animals, the case of antibiotic resistance in humans would not go away.

A protein boost for baby

6/14/2018

While there are plenty of fruit and vegetable baby food options, proteins are harder to come by. But that may be changing after a new study from the University of Colorado was released touting the benefits of meat in an infant’s diet.

Backyard poultry, is it safer for human health?

6/12/2018

Rather than “chicken out” on raising poultry, it’s important to take the time to learn about how to protect your family’s health.

What’s on your ag summer bucket list?

6/7/2018

While a trip to a waterpark or a ball game is likely on your family’s summer bucket list, it’s also a perfect time of year to embark on hands-on learning about Iowa agriculture.

Betty Crocker bakes up some GMO sanity

6/5/2018

Here's another big reason to cheer for Betty Crocker: the brand has placed itself firmly on the side of sanity about GMOs.

Lessons from trailblazing Iowa women — teaching the next generation to unite, not divide

5/31/2018

In her new "Between the Lines" column, Laurie Johns explores the lessons from Iowa's trailblazing women that we can apply today.

The money-saving, economy-helping, environmentally-friendly choice at the pump

5/25/2018

If your family will be on the road this holiday weekend, and your vehicle allows for it, I encourage you to try a higher ethanol or biodiesel blend at the pump and feel good knowing you’re making an environmentally-friendly decision and supporting Iowa communities, and saving money while you’re at it.

Four myths that need addressed this May Beef Month

5/25/2018

It’s a good time to address a few myths about beef production, so we can all feel good about the summer grilling staple we love!

A century of strengthening Iowa’s youth

5/22/2018

A lot has changed since 1918, but our commitment to the people, progress and pride of Iowa remains. There’s no better proof of that commitment than Farm Bureau’s decades-long investment in Iowa’s youth.

Nothing to sneeze at: research shows farm proximity can reduce allergy suffering

5/7/2018

New research from the Netherlands shows that living on a livestock farm, or even close to one, may help protect people from common allergies.

Whether talking diet or conservation, it’s not one-size-fits-all

5/3/2018

There’s so many factors that can affect success, that no single approach works for all.

From cow spotting to healthy food choices, ag lessons last a lifetime

5/1/2018

Ag literacy aims to help us understand the role of ag in our daily lives - in the choices we make every day at the grocery store, the gas pump or the voting booth. That way, we can make informed decisions on important issues like water quality, farm production and nutrition...

Three surprising ways trees benefit Iowa’s landscape

4/25/2018

During Arbor Day, both urban and rural-living Iowans should take time to appreciate the contributions and many purposes of trees in rural Iowa.

A “report” says avoid non-organic spinach—should you?

4/17/2018

Spinach is a superfood packed with nutrients. Eat up!

It’s no surprise why Winneshiek County ranks #22 in the U.S. for healthiest community

4/3/2018

See why this designation is a testament to agriculture.

Agriculture supports choices—and pregnancy diets!

3/29/2018

There’s so many things to think about when you’re expecting your first baby, but I’ve promised myself not to drive myself too crazy over food.

Monarch conservation takes flight in Iowa

3/26/2018

A collaborative effort called the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium is working to increase the habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators in the state.

You don’t farm, so why should agriculture and Farm Bureau matter to you?

3/20/2018

Yes, farming and an organization that supports farmers probably don’t matter to you in the same way they mattered to your great-grandparents. But they do matter, differently (and just the same).

Is there a Russian accent to the opposition to GMOs?

3/7/2018

The protests by activists against foods made with genetically-modified or GMO crop have always been a bit of a mystery to me. Why are activists so adamantly against crops developed through genetic modification which are proven to provide true benefits to consumers and the planet?

Women’s History Month: Recognizing Iowa’s "sheroes"

3/6/2018

March is Women’s History Month, and the Iowa Farm Bureau is also celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018. From its beginnings, the Iowa Farm Bureau has provided leadership opportunities for women, even before women had the right to vote in the United States.

Between the Lines -- Quality of Life in Iowa; A Glass Half-Full

3/2/2018

People who call Iowa ‘home’ get it: it’s the land, the people, the wide-open spaces and yes, even the changing seasons that make Iowa great. For all these reasons and more, Iowa is the best place to live in the nation.

Less than honest tactics to sell? I’m not buying it

2/26/2018

Research shows no matter what grocery shoppers choose, Iowa farmers are happy to provide, and there’s no need to “demonize” each other in the process.

It’s OK to be the World’s Okayest Mom

2/22/2018

You know that “a-ha” moment when you stumble upon a piece of advice that completely describes what you’re dealing with in life right now?

Conquering one of my biggest farm fears

2/21/2018

National Grain Bin Safety Week is February 18-24.

I propose "Meat Lovers Monday"

2/19/2018

Instead of "Meatless Monday," I propose "Meat Lovers Monday" to celebrate the nutritional, tasty choices that meat and poultry provide.

Why are young farmers still flocking to a 100-year-old organization?

2/14/2018

Like Farm Bureau, the Young Farmer Conference is constantly evolving (with new content, experts and entertainment each year) to continue to appeal to the latest crop of young farmers.

The raw milk debate: It’s not about choice, it’s about safety

2/5/2018

Milk pasteurization, which is required by federal and Iowa law, is a process that heats up milk to kill any food-borne bacteria that could make us sick before the milk is bottled. Unfortunately, today’s “clean food” trend has made some people leery about processed foods, or any food that’s not sold in its natural state, including pasteurized milk.

Why does Iowa’s new water quality bill matter? Q & A with two Iowa farmers who attended Governor Reynolds’ bill signing

1/31/2018

On January 31, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed her first bill, a bill that commits long-term, dedicated funding ($282 million over 12 years) to conservation and water quality improvements. Mark Kenney, a corn and soybean farmer in Story County, and Doug Adams, a Humboldt County farmer and soil conservation technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), were two farmers on-hand for the bill signing.

A career and lifestyle in agriculture is attractive to younger generations

1/30/2018

There’s an emerging trend happening in the United States—millennials leaving cushy, 9 to 5 jobs in temperature-controlled office buildings to get their hands dirty, outside on the farm.

As a self-proclaimed cheese lover, do you know these "cheesy" facts?

1/18/2018

It’s no secret our family is cheese fans, and we are not alone as 100 percent of Iowans say their households also eat cheese!

Celebrate Iowa Farm Bureau’s centennial by sharing your Farm Bureau story

1/15/2018

When I say Farm Bureau took my career to great heights, I literally mean it...

Technology that saves piglets is rural Iowa’s latest triumph

1/9/2018

Why is rural entrepreneurship in Iowa seeing a revival?

Farmers work to keep livestock warm during Iowa cold

1/5/2018

Iowa’s livestock farmers are always “on-call” to to keep their animals healthy and comfortable, even during the worst of conditions.

This New Year, resolve to focus on healthy living, not a number on a scale

12/29/2017

Even before the Christmas decorations are down, I hear my friends and family talking about how they plan to lose weight, start exercising and eat healthier in the New Year.

Like a teacher in a classroom, farmers raise livestock because it’s their passion

12/19/2017

Farmers have always focused on animal well-being from a health, quality and food safety standpoint. But now, farmers are focusing more on animal behavior – for example, trying to give a cow what it needs “to be a cow.”

Iowa Farm Bureau is its members

12/14/2017

It’s very clear to me that Farm Bureau’s success and legacy comes from the diversity and value our members bring to the organization.

The Iowa Farm Bureau: Nearly 100 years old and still young at heart

12/11/2017

Our organization, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, just completed its 99th annual meeting and is getting ready for its centennial celebration in 2018.

Forget Black Friday, the best deals are on Thanksgiving Thursday

11/21/2017

Sure, Black Friday deals are great. But I’d say Americans get an even better deal when they gather with their families for the traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

Aquaculture offers exciting new market in Iowa, but not without some obstacles

11/20/2017

Four short years ago aquaculture surpassed beef production, creating opportunity for farmers looking to add value to their farms.

Beware of health advice from Dr. Google

11/17/2017

If you have questions about your health, such as whether you need to be tested for glyphosate toxicity, then please talk to your doctor – and I don’t mean “Dr. Google.”

When it comes to food, grandmas do know best

11/13/2017

When I scan the news about food trends these days I often wonder what my no-nonsense late grandmothers would think...

GMOs have purpose in food system

11/9/2017

For about two years I followed a Facebook page run by a family farm in Iowa. Then, recently, they posted something that prompted me to unfollow them.

ISU student-athletes earn “Farm Strong” title away from the spotlight

11/9/2017

The new Farm Strong Squad isn't your typical All-Conference or All-American team...

Farmer wave more than gesture—sign of support

11/7/2017

I think the world could use a little more kindness, and it could all start with a simple wave.

#KeeptheStubble during No-Tillage November

11/2/2017

The key points NRCS hopes to drive home with farmers is that bypassing tillage helps farmers save money, time, improve soil health and provide wildlife habitat.

Is the state of Iowa full of manure? Or, is that just hog wash?

10/18/2017

I often hear people spouting off how much hog manure is produced on family livestock farms and making outlandish claims on how it is used. I’ve decided it’s high time we all consider new, factual sources to shed some light on the subject.

Seven things media needs to know about Iowa farming

10/10/2017

A list of things reporters need to know to tell a credible story about Iowa agriculture.

Go slow, stay patient and be kind when sharing the road this harvest season

10/9/2017

The bottom line: Farmers can’t see you, but you can see them. Slow down, stay patient and be kind.

Our farm, her legacy

10/3/2017

To make it as a farmer, you need to be Farm Strong, filled with determination and a conviction that will lead you through life’s trials. To leave an enduring legacy, you need the strength, wisdom and foresight to foster those attributes in others.

A pig gave me 10 more years with Grandpa

10/2/2017

I've always had an appreciation for animal agriculture, but I was floored by this revelation

Make a fresh start this fall with heart-healthy beef

9/12/2017

A new study showing that lean beef can help in weight loss and weight management also caught my attention as I aim to eat healthier this fall.

What is my role on the family farm?

8/23/2017

There’s so many ways that women contribute to agriculture, and I’ve come to find that there’s no such thing as a small job on the farm.

Celebrate Farmers Market Week! Meet the farmers who grow your food

8/8/2017

My daughter and I started a new Saturday morning routine this summer. Whenever we have a free weekend and beautiful weather, we make a stop at the downtown Ames farmers market for a “second breakfast” (the best part of toddlerhood, if you ask me) before heading to the nearby kiddie pool.

How Yoga Pants Changed My Mind about Chemicals

8/7/2017

As a gardener, I know that "chemicals"- such as pesticides and crop-protection products- are a necessity in growing safe, healthy food. Without pesticides, farmers would lose a significant portion of their food crops, which leads to food waste and rising costs at the grocery store

Poll finds Iowans trust Farm Bureau

8/2/2017

I wasn’t aware that the Register had added Farm Bureau to a poll of Iowans about trust, but I’m not all that surprised about the result.

This home DIY brought to us by agriculture

7/31/2017

A bathroom remodel takes muscle, time, patience and Iowa-grown crops and livestock

Northern Iowa farmers share RAGBRAI route sites

7/12/2017

From crops to conservation and landmarks, cyclists have a chance to appreciate Iowa's diverse agriculture and beauty

What’s better? Iowa or California?

7/6/2017

How a traveler's fascination of California agriculture and landscape turned into increased Iowa pride

Sharing the beauty of Iowa on a visit to Poland

7/3/2017

In Poland, folks may not understand the fierce rivalry of Cyclone and Hawkeye fans or Iowa farmers’ dedication to either red or green tractors. But they can clearly see the pride that Iowa farmers have in their farms, their state and helping to sustainably feed, clothe and fuel the world.

Making cooking outdoors a fun family event this July 4th

6/30/2017

Finding ways and time to bond and connect with family can be a real challenge, especially with working parents and children involved in countless activities. For many, the upcoming 4th of July holiday presents a great opportunity to gather with family and friends and enjoy some quality time outdoors and share a hot, fresh meal from the grill. For my family, it’s our tradition.

Food allergies, labels and misconceptions

6/22/2017

When you eat out or shop at the grocery store, you probably don’t worry about whether the food you’re buying will give you hives or worse.

Then versus now

6/20/2017

What do you recall about the summers of your youth? When I think of the summer of 1978, I remember bean walking with my ‘Girl Crew’ at dawn, trying to get a field done before the mid-day heat found us.

It’s the summer of pink pineapples

6/19/2017

I find it interesting that in a time when many foods now carry “non-GMO” labels as a marketing gimmick to play up on the all-natural trend, people don’t seem to care much that the pink pineapple is a GMO. Instead, they are thrilled that it looks good on Instagram.

 I scream for ice cream! And shakes… and pie a la mode…

6/12/2017

Although it may be silly, to me ice cream provides not only a satisfying taste but also an emotional connection. Wait, did I just say that out loud?

A wrong or right way to farm?

6/7/2017

Why is it that farmers raise livestock in different ways? Is there such thing as a “right” way and a “wrong” way?

Focus on eating more strawberries, not whether they’re organic

6/5/2017

When it comes to our health, more fruits and veggies is better – whatever your budget or personal preference.

Three super easy ways to celebrate Dairy Month

5/31/2017

Dairy Month offers much to celebrate from the incredible number of products produced from dairy cows and goats to the ways farmers raise dairy more efficiently and with fewer impacts on the environment.

Running is like farming

5/24/2017

Both running and farming are mentally and physically exhausting, requiring an immense amount of endurance.

Food choices are good for all

5/17/2017

We as consumers can see the resourcefulness and innovation of farmers reflected in our food prices and selections, although we may not be aware how this benefits us individually.

E15: It’s a fuel for every season

5/10/2017

These are all good signals that gas stations can get the green light to offer drivers the benefits of E15 every day of the year. Now let’s hope that lawmakers and regulators can bring some common sense and year-round E15 to the finish line.

I’m a “No GMO” shopper – but not by choice

5/8/2017

Why am I still seeing “No GMOs” on the foods my family eats every day? Because like a “gluten free” label on potato chips or a “low fat” label on gummy bears, it’s about marketing. And food companies are struggling with lower sales as consumer preferences change.

Farm Bureau’s investment in small businesses, rural communities is instinctive

5/1/2017

Farmers are no strangers to taking something small and growing it into something that yields tremendous value – for themselves and the communities around them.

Up-and-coming agriculture leaders forecast a bright future

4/27/2017

The second week of April saw blue jackets all around Ames for the 89th annual Iowa FFA Leadership Conference. FFA students from all corners of the state gathered for career development contests and discussions with their peers and agricultural employers in attendance, bringing a wave of excitement and optimism along with them.

Future is bright for FFA students

4/25/2017

Working in the Iowa Farm Bureau booth at the 2017 Iowa FFA Leadership Conference, I met with young students who were not only Farm Strong but farm smart. Unlike me at that age, these young people know exactly where their passion lies, and that’s within agriculture.

8 fresh water quality stats for Earth Day

4/21/2017

Earth Day is a good time for all of us to reflect on the condition of our natural resources, what we’re doing to protect them, the progress we’re making, and how we can do even more to take on the challenge of protecting them in the future.

A true superhero, ethanol fights for good

4/12/2017

I’m really not into the whole super hero craze which seems to dominate movie screens every summer. But if I had to choose a superhero to admire, I’d go with ethanol.

36 hours of rain, wind, and cold means round-the-clock care for baby calves

3/30/2017

These rainy days aren't just a drag on us; they're also an issue for our animals. Cattle farmer Brian Jones explains...

Wildfires spur kindness from all directions

3/28/2017

Iowa farmers are stepping in to aid the many ranchers affected by wildfires that have scorched roughly 1.6 million acres in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, wiping out not only forage but many multi-generation homesteads, entire cattle herds and also causing a handful of tragic deaths.

Did you see that? Don’t overlook Iowa’s water quality gains

3/21/2017

Cover crops, buffer strips, and wetlands might not look impressive, but they are producing some amazing results!

Iowa's water quality progress is happening in your backyard

3/20/2017

Cleaner water starts with science and goals, but ultimately it takes teams of individuals, organizations, businesses and government entities committed to getting the job done in communities around the state. That’s where Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative is truly excelling.

Greenway's gridiron success, character stem from "Farm Strong" roots

3/10/2017

Chad Greenway’s gridiron success is well known, but his Farm Strong character that made him the perfect fit for the ANF squad is less reported.

The world’s love of Iowa meats goes way beyond chops and steaks

3/9/2017

While most Iowans prefer chops, steaks and burgers, the overseas demand for what are euphemistically called “variety meats” is a big deal for our state.

5 things I learned about ethanol

3/8/2017

When I read a recent USDA study which stated ethanol reduces Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by about 43 percent, compared to traditional gasoline, I knew for the sake of being a gasoline consumer married into a farm family, I wanted to know more.

Iowa -- the place to be

3/2/2017

Being a lifelong Iowan and a farmer’s daughter, I admit I’m a little biased about our great state.

Power through your day with protein-rich meat, eggs and dairy

2/28/2017

High-quality, or "complete," proteins found in animal-based foods, such as beef, pork, poultry, eggs and dairy, contain all the essential amino acids and are easily digestible.

FFA: For future farmers, teachers, chemists, veterinarians, and more!

2/23/2017

With the agriculture industry expanding over the past few decades, so has the FFA.

Young farmers engage in ‘food fight’ to beat hunger

2/7/2017

As a Cyclone fan, I have to celebrate wins as they come (especially if it’s a win over Kansas at Kansas). So, I’m super excited to announce Cyclone fans triumphed during the Young Farmer Conference “food fight.”

Young Farmer Conference begs question, what makes a real farmer?

2/1/2017

What makes a "real" farmer? Caitlyn Lamm has the answer.

Iowa: A nationally-recognized pioneer in rural entrepreneurship

1/17/2017

Corn, soybeans, pigs, and ethanol; if you live in Iowa, you probably know that our state leads the nation in producing these (and other) farm commodities. But you might not realize that Iowa is quickly becoming a nationally-recognized leader in churning out another important product: rural entrepreneurs.

Water quality: Some assembly required

12/12/2016

Some assembly required. Those three words strike fear in the hearts of parents as Christmas approaches...

Bringing physicians to rural Iowa

12/5/2016

Rural Iowa has an abundance of so many things: friendly people, wide open spaces or historic Main Streets, where one can shop in boutique businesses or enjoy a slice of pie so good it seems to stop time while you eat it. Sure, you can find all those things, and more; but too often, what you won’t find is a doctor.

Farm Bureau: Your neighbor since 1918

12/5/2016

Imagine living in every Iowa community for 98 years (or longer), and you’ll understand why Farm Bureau devotes its energy and millions of dollars annually to the pillars that help support our entire state, from farm families and rural communities to students of all ages.

Celebrity turkeys shine light on superb livestock care

11/21/2016

While I’m looking forward to spending time with my family in northeast Iowa this year, I got an early taste of Thanksgiving when I met a family in northwest Iowa who raised turkeys to be part of a special turkey pardoning tradition at the White House.

The secret ingredient to water quality

11/14/2016

As we have witnessed this year more than any other, life is about change. Whether change is brought about with much hand-wringing or embraced as a bold, new challenge, change can only be successful if it walks arm-in-arm with its old friend: Patience.

5 things veterans and farmers share in common

11/9/2016

My dad was different from other family members who served our country, however. When my dad finished his time in the Army, he came home to farm. He had opportunities to continue a military career in Washington, D.C., but turned it down. The farm called him home. After meeting more veteran-farmers recently, it got me thinking about how service men and women and farmers are a lot alike.

Voting: a privilege that should not be taken for granted

11/3/2016

The unquestioned right to vote that we take for granted here, is not a given around the world.

Farming is sprouting up in urban areas

11/1/2016

Each year, I’m seeing more and more urban farmers at the market. Plus, there are school gardens and neighborhood gardens sprouting up all over the city and suburbs.

ISU students forecasting agriculture’s bright future

10/26/2016

It’s not difficult these days to find stories that paint a gloomy short-term outlook for the agricultural economy. But if a recent career fair at Iowa State University is a barometer, when the clouds part ag’s future will be looking bright.

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