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.
Greenwashing our diets: Why you don’t have to stop eating meat to reverse climate change
Greenwashing extends into the grocery aisles. We’re all bombarded with messages about what to eat and how we should eat if we care about the environment.
How to cook flavorful beef ribs
Pork lends itself to a satisfying fall-off-the-bone experience, however BBQ enthusiasts are also curious about beef back ribs, also known as “brontosaurus” ribs, from cattle.
Now you can buy real meat (and coffee) with a story
“Farmers have a good story to tell. And the meat helps them tell it.”
Mental health is health
If there’s one thing I want people to know during May Mental Health Month, it’s that mental health, like physical health, is part of our overall wellbeing.
Omitting facts on water quality misleads Iowans on progress
Every year like clockwork, as sure as spring rains come, so does a flood of innuendo about Iowa’s water quality, misleading Iowans.
Farmers make environmental strides beyond Earth Day
For farmers, thinking about the environment isn’t a one-day movement; it’s an everyday part of the gig.
How farmers are reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with each meal served
How do we feed more people while minimizing our greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental footprint? Fortunately, America’s farmers have a pretty remarkable, well-documented history of doing that.
Iowa's fluffy cows explained
What breed is it? What's its name? CAN I HUG IT? Learn about Iowa's famous fluffy cow (it's actually a bull), "Texas Tornado," and how it's so adorably fluffy.
Celebrate livestock sustainability with “Meat on the Table”
With nearly all Iowa grocery shoppers putting “meat on the table” weekly, according to Iowa Farm Bureau’s Food and Farm Index, the consumption of animal-based proteins will undoubtedly extend year-round
Celebrating ‘opportunity’ during National Ag Week
Agriculture is an expansive area of opportunity in our state, given 20 percent of the state’s workforce is involved in this industry, an impressive number worthy of celebration during National Ag Week, March 21-27
On this year’s National Ag Day, I’ve never been more thankful for farmers
One thing that struck me the most, while I adjusted to my new work-from-home reality, was how farmers along my route to the grocery store continued their work to plant crops in the spring – no matter the collective panic that was happening outside their tractor cabs.
Biofuels: an effective and ready climate change fighter
It will require years, maybe decades, for electric cars to make much of a dent in GHG emissions. But there’s a great solution out there already: using more renewable, clean-burning biofuels.
Three reasons an E-10 (ethanol) standard makes sense for Iowa
Iowa has long been the nation’s leader in ethanol and biodiesel production, turning homegrown corn and soybeans into cleaner-burning fuel. Which raises a question – why does our state’s promotion of biofuels lag behind other Midwestern states?
Want to travel more sustainably? Choose ethanol
As the pandemic as shown, we can make a difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – one gallon of E10 at a time.
Farmers are doing their part to slow climate change
Agriculture’s success is a very encouraging story as the world works to reduce GHG emissions.
USDA dietary guidelines acknowledge role of meat for young children
The latest USDA guidelines underscore the importance that real meat, dairy and eggs on everyone’s plate—even if that plate has cartoon animals and trucks on it!
Resolve to avoid restrictive diets in 2021
If your goal is to get healthier in 2021, ignore the lure of the social media diets, and instead focus on small, easy nutrition changes for health.
Hope for our future: How farmers use technology to improve food and protect the environment
If there’s anything we have gained in 2020, it’s a new appreciation for how technology can help solve some of our world’s most pressing challenges, whether it is developing safe vaccines, improving our food or reducing agriculture’s environmental impact.
Remembering the Japan hog lift while recovering from the derecho
The devastating summer derecho of 2020 hearkens back to a massive storm in Japan in 1960, and Iowa's response to that: the "Japan hog lift."
No BS: The truth about how farmers are improving sustainability
Unfortunately, there are a lot of cow patties to step around when it comes to misinformation about agriculture and how our food is grown and raised.
What are the steps of harvesting?
What exactly is harvest season, and what do farmers do before and after? Learn about harvest from a local Iowa farm family.
Why Americans are more positive about farming than any other business sector
A recent Gallup poll tracking Americans’ views of business and industry sectors caught my attention when it concluded “farming and agriculture is the clear leader” in positive public sentiment – for the first time in the poll’s 20-year history.
What are the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions?
Everyone has a part to play in promoting a sustainable planet. For the family farms I work with, sustainability is a top goal.
Standing tall in a terrible windstorm
Satellite imagery showed the storm significantly impacted about one-quarter of Iowa’s corn acres, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The storm path trekked across 57 of the state’s counties from border to border with the most severe impact occurring on 3.8 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans in 36 counties, the agency said.
Are you cooking more at home? Tips for getting healthy meals on the table fast
Tips on meal prepping and stretching your grocery budget.
Burger King serves up a whopper with its reduced methane cow commercial
That was fast. Only a week in and Burger King has already promised to alter a wacky marketing campaign it started to promote an unproven hypothesis to address an issue that it wildly overstates.
4 stats that prove Iowa’s water quality progress
Are we making clear and significant strides? Definitely, and we have the numbers to prove it!
How do I grill meat and chicken safely in the summer?
As we enjoy our favorite summer foods, remember to ensure it's cooked safely and handled properly to prevent food-borne illness.
Enjoy safe, healthy foods at Iowa’s farmers markets
As our state resumes business after the COVID-19 shutdowns this spring, one of the first places that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds allowed to reopen was the local farmers markets.
Plenty of pigs on farms and meat shortages at the grocery store – how does that happen?
Meat comes from the farm, so recent meat shortages at your local grocery store must be caused by problems on the farm, right? False!
How does coronavirus impact your food?
No question, our lives and routines have changed within the span of a few weeks, and perhaps nowhere is this more evident than how we choose to fill our grocery carts, fridges and pantries.
Thanks to the heroes who provide safe, nutritious food
Thank you to our local heroes in schools, fields, and everywhere for keeping us fed and safe during the coronavirus outbreak.
Meat: The perfect brain food
Research shows animal-based proteins like meat, dairy and eggs help our brains function.
Iowa Cover Crops: Answers to 8 Common Questions
Cover crops are relatively new to most of Iowa’s landscape, so (naturally) Iowans have lots of questions. We’ve answered some of the most commonly Googled questions about cover crops with help from some Iowa experts.
Sneaky diet culture: How food labels can be misleading
Diet culture isn't about health. It's about making money.
Are there antibiotics in meat and poultry? Why farmers use antibiotics to treat animals
USDA testing ensures that meat and poultry are free of antibiotic residue, and farmers cannot use medically important antibiotics to "fatten" livestock.
How agriculture will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over the next five years
In 2019, a group of university researchers and other experts representing government, agriculture and environmental organizations concluded that agriculture is on a trajectory to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50%.
Is eating meat sustainable?
While there’s nothing wrong with adding plant-based foods to your meals—in fact, you should eat fruits and veggies!— there is also no shame or guilt necessary for also eating meat.
The Roaring 2020s: A decade of optimism for food and farming
It’s going to be a tremendous decade of progress, not only for Iowa farmers but for all of us who want to make strides toward protecting our natural resources, improving the quality of our food and providing farm animals with the best care possible.
Coach Fry's legacy lives on through ANF
America's farmers lost a legendary champion when former Iowa Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry passed away earlier this week.
Farmers shouldn’t forget how valuable they are
All the holiday celebrating this season has got me thinking about food – how much we love it, how much need it and, all to often, how much we take it for granted.
America needs food — and farmers
One thing is for sure, Americans and Iowans need food, and we certainly need the farmers who raise and grow our food now more than ever.
Stop the food shaming: Why there isn’t one “right” way to eat healthy
Healthy eating isn’t about eliminating food choices. It’s about eating a wide variety of foods...
To meet 2050 global demands, we need new technology, research and open minds
How will farmers, not just in Iowa but around the world, be able to keep up with a growing population?
10 billion people in 2050? We’re going to need more food and a lot less waste
If food waste was a country, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says it would be the third largest global greenhouse gas emitter.
What will the future of food look like? How farmers are taking on the challenge of feeding the world – and how you can help
If you want to do your part to combat climate change, ignore the food labels that marketing use to get you to buy their product. Instead, you can help reduce food waste by making a meal plan, buying what you need, using up what food you already have on hand, eating leftovers and giving away any food you don’t plan on using to a local food pantry.
"America Needs Farmers" still rings true with today's farming challenges
At a time when farmers face a slew of challenges from weather, trade, low prices in commodity markets and other “uncontrollables,” the sentiment of “America Needs Farmers” still rings true today.
Why America needs more locally-grown (and globally-sustainable) food
Former Iowa Hawkeye star Matt Kroul grows conventional corn and soybeans and raises cattle on his family’s 150-year-old eastern Iowa farm. He also grows pumpkins and “vegetables from A to Z,” and he’s part of a community supported agriculture (CSA) exchange that allows locals to buy seasonal produce from his farm. He’s your "typical" Iowa farmer...
Share the good news: Why meat isn’t bad for you
Think back to your last meal: How many servings of meat did you eat, on average, per day? Honestly, do you know how big a serving size of meat is?
Pork is an excellent source of protein
if you’re a meat eater, pork is a great real meat choice-- not just during October Pork Month, but every day.
At the supermarket, Iowans go for the real deal
Commonsense Iowans, always good at seeing fads for what they are and cutting through the hype, aren’t buying the sizzle about imitation meat.
If you haven’t visited an Iowa beach, you’re missing out
It always perplexes me when I hear or see comments from folks who say they never visit a beach, go kayaking or eat fish from Iowa’s lakes and rivers because they’re worried about water quality.
Boost your energy with real meat
You don’t need an injection or infusion to boost your energy. You can get all the micronutrients you need from a balanced diet of animal-based proteins.
The morality of eating meat: Why we shouldn’t push our food choices onto others
Recent efforts by animal activists create confusion about the morality of eating meat.
Celebrating Iowa farms that have stood the test of time
More than 480 farm families, from every corner of Iowa, celebrated a milestone this year as they accepted their Century or Heritage Farm awards during the Iowa State Fair. The annual awards, sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, really say a lot of good things about Iowa agriculture.
Is Iowa’s drinking water safe?
Iowa's drinking water quality is great. The Iowa Dept of Public Health says that the public water supply has been safe and clean since reports began in 1996.
The scoop on poop: how Iowa farmers manage manure responsibly
I found it lurking behind the air conditioner in our back yard; was it evidence that the wayward cougar spotted weeks ago in Des Moines was still around?
If you care about natural, then choose real meat and dairy
If you’re like me, and you’re short on time but want to fuel your body with healthy foods, then keep your meals and snacks simple. Focus on adding more whole foods – like lean beef, eggs and milk – in your diet and fewer ultraprocessed foods.
Rain doesn’t dampen tenacity of rural Iowans
Farmers have been overcome by flooding and ongoing rains, and with one in five jobs tied to agriculture in the state, other businesses are feeling the impact, too. Hamburg, in particular, has been hammered. Heavy rains in Iowa and Nebraska once again threaten the small town, as the Missouri and Nishnabotna continue to rise.
Okoboji is a destination for boaters, skiers and great water quality
And thanks to efforts from locals—including farmers—the water this year is ready to enjoy.
Inspiring flood relief efforts are leaving a lasting mark
While Iowa farmers recover from $2 billion in economic losses from spring flooding and face uncertainty around planting a 2019 crop in their flood ravaged fields, the character of Iowa farmers shines through the flood waters with stories of neighbors and communities rallying to support each other.
What’s the most environmentally friendly diet? One that includes beef
Despite claims to the contrary, eating beef in moderation can be environmentally friendly, sustainable, and healthy.
How FFA is training youth to understand “sustainability” in agriculture and rural Iowa
I guarantee if you sat in on one of their conversations about agriculture sustainability, you too would be impressed.
Planting Hope: A Master Gardener’s tips for tree planting
Here are three basic rules Laurie Johns learned this past year, while studying to become a Master Gardener.
Signs of hope: Why monarch butterflies are important to Iowa
The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, launched in 2015, is a community-led initiative with a goal to enhance monarch habitat in the state through collaborative efforts of farmers, citizens and organizations.
Amidst flood tragedy, the spirit of helping remains strong
The one thing that seems to remain unbroken is the helpful spirit of “that’s what you do” Iowans.
It’s OK to report concerns about animal welfare
We live in a “see something, say something” world, and we truly want people to speak up if they see something that seems off.
Go ahead, fuel up at the blue pump! Why you should use E15
If you haven’t tried E15 yet, I encourage you to do so. I’ve been fueling up with E15 all winter, and I haven’t had any problem starting up my car, even when temperatures dipped to a record -20 degrees Fahrenheit in early February.
Be good to your heart, and eat beef
It is true that most of us aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. Yet that doesn’t mean we should give up meat if we want to eat healthier.
Cow farts, climate change and what really stinks about celebrity diet advice
Just when you think you have things figured out, new information comes forward and proves you were wrong. Maybe it all comes down to where you started your search for answers.
Super Bowl ad shows need for education, not outrage
A feeling of dread set in as soon as I saw the words “corn syrup” emblazoned on a massive wooden barrel as one of Bud Light’s numerous Super Bowl commercials flashed on my TV screen.
Historically cold weather puts farmers’ commitment to animal care and water quality on display
In the past 24 hours, it seems like every outside-the-home activity in Iowa has been cancelled – classes, businesses, and even the U.S. Mail. Everything – except for a cover crop workshop in Ankeny last night and the round-the-clock livestock care I’m seeing all over social media.
Take “antibiotics” off your worry list in 2019
As a first-time mom, I've got plenty to worry about. Antibiotic use in livestock though doesn't make the list.
What foods are on the keto diet? More than avocados and “fat bombs”
I must belong to a target audience for fitness and weight loss, because I keep seeing ads online for diets promising to lose weight fast and easily.
A look back – and a look forward – as we close Iowa Farm Bureau’s centennial year
As Iowa Farm Bureau's centennial year wraps up, we look back at the past year's celebration - and forward to what's ahead.
Let’s give farmers a chance to do right
I think we all need to give each other a chance to prove we mean what we say and more should trust our best nature.
Who’s your Iowa farmer?
Beth Baudler, a young Iowa livestock and crop farmer, works with a small team to introduce us all to farmers, events and initiatives in the state through a Facebook page called Who’s Your Iowa Farmer?
How can you save money over the holidays? Start with your food choices
If we’re truly honest, a lot of us can’t afford all the holiday spending.
Other countries are thankful for Iowa-raised meat too
Americans aren't the only ones craving it...
If I need it, farmers grow it. That’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving
I’m pretty sure it’s a sign that my husband and I are officially a boring married couple when we come home from the grocery store excited about the deal we found on apples.
There’s no faking it on meat and milk labels
Iowans are known for their common sense and clear-headedness. So, it’s not all that surprising that in a recent survey of shoppers in the state, the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® found that a majority of Iowans believe that marketers of plant-based imitation products shouldn’t be able to use the terms “meat” or “milk” on their labels.
Iowa has more pigs than people? Sounds good to me
As we get ready to wrap up Pork Month—I want to let you in on a little secret…
Why Iowans aren’t buying into lab-grown “meat”
If a plant-based or lab-grown meat substitute was readily available to you at the grocery store, how likely would you be to purchase it, instead of actual meat?
Farmers: Our real-life superheroes
As parents, we want our kids to know that real-life superheroes don’t wear capes. We’re also thankful for the brave firefighters, police officers, military and vets, teachers, health care professionals and more who step up to protect and care for us in our time of need. I also believe that farmers deserve to be on the list of everyday heroes.
Young Iowans and Kosovans bond through agriculture
They are leading the way by seeking the larger picture and by forging international relationships. I’m
CRP may help my son “take his shot” in the future
Latest figures from DNR show this year’s Iowa pheasant population is the highest in a decade, with a projected statewide harvest of 250,000 to 300,000 roosters for hunters.
Road smarts: Sharing the road and keeping safe at harvest
The most important thing drivers can do is to be patient. Everybody has somewhere to be, but following too closely behind a combine or a tractor towing a grain cart or passing quickly could be hazardous. It’s often tough for farm equipment operators to see your car, and tractors and combines often make wide turns.
Hunger in Iowa: Take the #10gallonchallenge
We’ve all seen how the power of social media can turn a small idea into a nationwide movement.
Lean protein: Why pork is good for you
Pork is an excellent source of protein. Pork contains all the essential amino acids humans need and comes in lean cuts full of protein but short on calories.
E15 is back, but why was it gone for the summer?
Finding E15 in Iowa is easy. What's not easy is figuring out why Americans can't buy it year-round.
Why Iowa Farm Bureau supports ANF
This Saturday, through family-friendly tailgate games, about 40 young Iowa farmers will share how they grow crops or raise animals.
The lean years remind us of what it means to be “Farm Strong”
2018 ANF Wall of Honor inductee Aaron Kampman is a reminder that integrity and dedication can’t take a break during the down years.
Parenting and farming, a tale of differing opinions
Both lend their hand to the struggle of trying to find respect for diversity and individual choices
Please don’t feel guilty about your choice to eat meat
I want to assure conscious carnivores, and anyone who chooses to eat meat, that farmers take their role seriously and understand they must act responsibly.
Parents, former athletes can appreciate new concussion insurance benefit for high school athletes
The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), with support from the Iowa Farm Bureau, its title sponsor, announced the HeadStrong Concussion Insurance program for participants in IHSAA-sanctioned sports for the 2018-2019 school year.
Iowa’s Century Farms carry on family farming legacy
This year, more than 360 Iowa families will receive Century Farm awards, and 149 families will receive Heritage Farm awards at the Iowa State Fair.
Farmers markets contribute more than local food to Iowa communities
Iowa farmers markets not only provide customers with fresh fruit and vegetables to purchase but they also help foster community in small towns.
A century of supporting Iowa rural vitality
Iowa Farm Bureau isn't only known for being a leading advocate for agriculture and farm families, but also for supporting rural communities.
Adaptive Sports Iowa athletes truly represent “Farm Strong”
It takes courage to escape your comfort zone and face challenges head-on, whether you are conquering a week-long bike ride or enduring uncontrollable weather, markets and politics to keep on farming.