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.




It’s OK to be the World’s Okayest Mom


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


National Grain Bin Safety Week is February 18-24.

I propose "Meat Lovers Monday"


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?


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


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


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


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?


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


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


Why is rural entrepreneurship in Iowa seeing a revival?

Farmers work to keep livestock warm during Iowa cold


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Farmer wave more than gesture—sign of support


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

#KeeptheStubble during No-Tillage November


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?


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


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


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

Our farm, her legacy


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


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


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?


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


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


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


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


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

Northern Iowa farmers share RAGBRAI route sites


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

What’s better? Iowa or California?


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


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


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


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


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


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…


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?


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


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


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


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

Food choices are good for all


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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

Young farmers engage in ‘food fight’ to beat hunger


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?


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

Iowa: A nationally-recognized pioneer in rural entrepreneurship


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


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

Bringing physicians to rural Iowa


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Slow down, let farm equipment pass, and enjoy Iowa this fall


With harvest underway, it’s even more important to be careful on the roads.

Why ANF matters to you, even if you don’t farm


While it’s a source of pride for those of us with a farm background, I can’t blame you for asking why ANF should matter to you, thirty-one years later.

Growing more food, using fewer resources


Smart people from all over the world will gather in central Iowa this week during the World Food Prize celebration to discuss the best ways to feed the world’s growing population, while protecting the environment.

The report card is in; water quality progress shows through


Iowa’s three-year-old Water Quality Initiative is off to a strong and very promising start. How do we know that? Simple: it’s the report card.

Organic, natural, or conventional: so many choices for new parents


A few weeks ago, my daughter came down with a nasty case of eczema after getting sick from a cold. I searched the baby aisle of Target, trying to find anything to stop the itching and make her more comfortable. I discovered that there are “natural” or “organic” versions of nearly every baby product you can imagine – from diapers to baby wipes, shampoos to cold medicines, rice cereal to baby food.

Americans’ great deal on food is getting even better


As the weather cools and we head into autumn, food is top of mind for Americans. Folks will get out the slow cooker to prepare savory roasts and stews for cooler fall nights. They’ll simmer up the perfect chili to tailgate at the big football game. And, of course, it won’t be long until it’s time to plan for the bountiful Thanksgiving feast.

Agriculture is key to learning


Schools are back in session and students are hitting the books! We all want to see our kids succeed, and a solid foundation in subjects like reading, math, science, and social studies leads to that success. Regardless of the subject, kids connect to learning so much better when it is relevant to them and their lives.

Iowa family’s heritage strengthened by determination and years of conservation


Sustainability may be a buzz word today, but it was alive and well last week at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa Farm Bureau’s Century and Heritage Farm Awards at the Iowa State Fair.

Illinois farmers impressed by Iowa’s collaboration, aggressive adoption of water quality practices


The Governor, Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources director, and mayor of Cedar Rapids walk into a room… It’s no joke. As 15 Illinois farmers learned last week, Iowa is pursuing water quality solutions in ways that may seem laughable in other places.

Spotlighting farmers’ water quality efforts at the Iowa State Fair


I’ve been around Iowa agriculture a long time, but last week was a first for me: I visited a field where a farmer was having a saturated buffer and a bioreactor installed side-by-side. It was pretty cool to see all of that water quality improvement action in one spot. But it might not be the last time dual installation happens around the state, given the way that farmers all over Iowa are tackling the challenge of improving water quality.

Listening and learning about a great opportunity for Iowa


Over the years, I’ve been to a lot of public hearings about Iowa livestock projects. But I’ve never been to one quite as open and informative as last week’s hearing about the proposed Prestage Foods pork processing plant in Wright County.

Different Landscapes, Common Values - A World Apart


As different as Japan is from the Iowa countryside, we share many similar values with the people. One of the most profound similarities that struck a chord with me was the value the Japanese place on their land.

Similarities between Iowans and Japanese create opportunities


It’s easy to notice differences when you first set foot in a place like Tokyo or Yamanashi, Japan. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take too long to find similarities either.

A grateful neighbor half-way around the world


It’s a long-standing Iowa tradition that neighbors help neighbors in times of need. It’s what makes our state special and it was the driving force of the renowned Yamanashi hot lift in 1960.

When Pigs Fly: Hog Lift Legacy Connects Iowa, Japan


“When pigs fly” is one of those sayings reserved for something so ridiculous, so impossible it will never happen. It makes sense—until you travel to Japan like I did recently. I saw how the legacy of one Iowan’s kindness to the people of Japan more than 50 years ago reflects what can happen when pigs fly.

Iowa’s friendship to Japan stands the test of time


A gesture of friendship and caring from Iowa to Japan—in the form of a couple dozen breeding hogs and some sacks of feed—has stood the test of time. And, as a group of Iowan farmers found out recently, the aid effort 56-years ago is renowned at the highest levels of U.S. diplomacy in Japan even today.

Finding familiar treats far from home


A trip to Japan in preparation for a visit by Iowa Farm Bureau presidents has revealed a lot about why passage of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, or TPP, trade deal is so important for Iowa agriculture, and all of Iowa.

Iowa agriculture is not just corn and soybeans anymore


This Fourth of July weekend, my family will make our annual trek along Interstate 35 to my hometown of Northwood, more commonly known as the last Iowa town you pass through on the way to a Minnesota Twins game.

WoMEn in Agriculture


Nestled in the very northwestern corner of Illinois, you will find the place I call home.

Virtual tours help farmers host far-flung visitors


Technology is helping Iowa agriculture bring school kids and others right to the farm. And there’s no need to worry about sunburns, bug bites or long trips on the bus.

GMO versus organic? Why not both?


Can somebody be both a backer of biotechnology in agriculture and a supporter of organic farming? I think so. In fact, I see myself as one.

New study reaffirms GMO safety, Dr. Oz and GMO opponents pivot


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine just published an extensive report reviewing more than 900 GMO studies and data covering 20 years. Among the conclusive findings: food from GMO crops is just as safe as food from conventionally bred crops and it poses no added risk to the environment.

Des Moines Water Works’ great idea to reduce nitrates in water


I recently read that Des Moines Water Works is creating a one-acre wetland test site to help remove nitrates from the Raccoon River (which provides drinking water for central Iowans).You don’t need to...

Getting beyond the ‘mom guilt’ over what my child eats


This Sunday, I will be celebrating Mother’s Day with a whole new perspective – as a first-time mom to an amazingly perfect little girl.Back when I was a kid, my dad used to warn me not to get between...