Fresh Pickings Magazine | Spring 2022

Page 1





Nicely done, beef. Substituting your taste is beyond impossible.

Beef is a high-quality protein that is authentic, real and responsibly raised. Browse recipes, cuts and cooking tips for this protein like no other at


In the spring issue of Fresh Pickings magazine, you’ll find stories that celebrate the incredible food, farms and families that make Iowa a special place to live.

This quarterly publication is brought to you by the Iowa Food & Family Project. We are an initiative that invites Iowans to explore how food is grown and raised around the state and meet the farmers who make it happen; 24/7, 365 days a year.

We network with nearly 35 food, farming and healthy living organizations who are proud of Iowa’s homegrown foods and hometown values. You can learn more about our partners on Page 5.





With thoughtful planning and advice, urban and rural dwellers can master the art of gardening.




Iowa farmer “Coke” Anderson is an innovator in poultry and egg production.



Iowa gardeners and farmers are helping to reverse a trend of declining pollinators.



Whether it’s grilled to greatness or smoked to perfection, pork is a nutritious, versatile protein.




Atlantic is a quaint southwest Iowa community, boasting an energetic vibe and many attractions.

In Every Issue











Discover 10 ways the Wiese family from Manning works to produce the best beef possible.


Whether it’s flowers or vegetables, there is a recipe for a bountiful garden. It combines equal parts of soil quality, proper planting and fertilizing, suppressing weeds and pests, and proper harvesting along with a dash of help from Mother Nature. Find gardening tips and tricks in this issue.

Photo credit: B&G Productions

SPRING 2022 | ISSUE NO. 13


To a farmer, the land is everything.

One way we protect the soil is through planting cover crops. Farmers care about the water we share, for our families and yours.










Thelen Public Relations


Food & Swine


Farm Roots & Chore Boots


Darcy Maulsby & Co.


CommonGround Iowa



Iowa Soybean Association

Iowa Beef Industry Council

Iowa Pork Producers Association

Midwest Dairy

Iowa Corn Growers Association

Iowa Poultry Association

Iowa Egg Council

Iowa Turkey Federation

The Soyfoods Council


Anderson Erickson Dairy


Cookies Food Products

Corteva Agriscience

Earl May Nursery & Garden Center

Farm Credit Services of America

Heart of America Group


Iowa Grocery Industry Association

Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant

Iowa State Fair

Key Cooperative

Latham Hi-Tech Seeds

Live Healthy Iowa



Thank you to the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Midwest Dairy, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Egg Council, Iowa Turkey Federation, Farm Credit Services of America, Cargill, Corteva Agriscience, Key Cooperative, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, Live Healthy Iowa and Earl May for the financial investment that makes this publication possible.

Fresh Pickings is published four times a year by: Iowa Soybean Association, 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, Iowa 50023

For advertising information, complete the form at

Advertising space reservations must be made through the above form. In consideration of the acceptance of the advertisement, the agency and advertiser must, in respect of the contents of the advertisement, indemnify and save the publisher harmless against any expense arising from claims or actions against the publisher because of the publication of the content of the advertisement.



Something to be Proud of...

Boasting rankings, such as the top producing state of many foods and crops, including pork, eggs, corn and soybeans, and strong in beef, turkey and dairy production, farmers in Iowa play an essential role in feeding the U.S. Along with being ranked as the best state for opportunity, home to top universities in agriculture, medicine and law, and a strong focus on the arts and culture, Iowans can feel confident in the state being, in my opinion and one others appear to share, the best place to live, work and play.

Accomplishments, whether big or small, are something to be celebrated. Thinking back to when my children were babies, every milestone was special. Their first smile, crawling, waving goodbye, first words, and of course, those memorable first steps. All of those “firsts” signaled growth and a new stage of life, full of opportunity.

As we move into a beautiful spring season and the landscape becomes green again, I think back upon my first year with the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP). Coming into this position as a self-proclaimed “city-girl,” I have learned so much in this rewarding time.

Engaging with farmers, visiting local businesses and family farms, coordinating consumer tours and events, and developing a deeper understanding of Iowa FFP’s partners have given me a whirlwind of amazing opportunities.

I’m so grateful for all the ways Iowa FFP has allowed me to expand my knowledge and passion for food, farming and agriculture. From farmers to industry leaders to engaged consumers, Iowa truly is a leader in so many sectors.

Each year, Iowa FFP conducts a Consumer Pulse Survey. Approximately 700 Iowans who are the primary grocery shoppers in their households participate. The questions gauge perceptions of Iowa agriculture, farmer performance and grocery buying habits. Respondents’ demographics closely follow the state’s population.

The survey shows that 93% of shoppers are satisfied with Iowa agriculture, 84% feel that Iowa farmers are on the right track with providing safe foods to Iowa communities, and 84% think about how the food they eat is grown and raised. You can find a complete summary of the results on our website.

These survey results give Iowa FFP direction to drive editorial and partnership decisions. Consumer feedback is vitally important to programming choices, and we continue to seek new ways to engage with diverse groups of Iowans.

Looking at the areas in which Iowa leads the nation makes me feel honored to be part of an initiative, such as Iowa FFP, which embraces and celebrates the strengths and opportunities Iowa offers. As the Montgomery Gentry song goes, “That’s something to be proud of.”

Enjoy the issue,

Win $75 in gift certificates to the Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market plus a merchandise package. Visit and enter to win.


Cristen Clark is a pig farmer, creator of the Food & Swine blog and an award-winning baker and cook. She lives on a farm near Runnells with her husband Mike and children Halle and Barrett.

Build Gourmet-Style Burgers


Several years ago, I was flown out to the heart of wine country in Napa Valley to compete in the Sutter Home Winery Build a Better Burger competition. I found my way onto the trip after submitting a recipe for Sour Apple Pork Burgers. The burger featured a ground pork patty, candied bacon, tart green apple compote, thinly sliced onion rings and spicy apple butter on a grilled and buttered bun. I entered my creation in the “Alternative Burger” category and won.

No one had thought of trying a pork burger, nor had other contestants ever met what they considered a “real farmer.” I introduced them to pork burgers and shared more about farming in Iowa.

When I returned home, I found myself experimenting with various burger ideas and low-key party spreads. Growing up, we enjoyed classic burgers with a bun, grilled beef patty and slice of American cheese. If it was a birthday or other special occasion, topping the juicy burger with a couple of slices of bacon was a special treat. Now, classic burgers are just one of the many types I create for family and friends. I love sharing tips on making a simple backyard cookout fun with a bountiful burger spread where everyone can customize their sandwich.

Try these tips for your next gathering:

Choose a flavor profile or theme but keep the basics accessible. Have an assortment of condiments and

garnishes available so your guests can be creative. My favorite outside-thebox burger recipe is a Mediterraneaninspired recipe. I also adore an Italian-style burger with melted fresh mozzarella and a dollop of basil pesto served on a slice of toasted and buttered baguette. I like to offer a classic burger for kids and guests with less adventurous palates.

Select the ground meat you’d like to use or create a combination. Together, ground beef and ground pork make a fun patty melt topped with smoky bacon. Choose a complementary all-purpose seasoning and refrain from adding too many ingredients to the ground meat base. Simple is best for the patty; the tasty Iowa protein will speak for itself!

Create a layer of richness with cheese. Cheese on burgers is one of the most classic food combinations. Consider the theme and offer cheese types that follow suit. Beyond traditional cheeses, offer hard cheeses or crumbled soft cheeses, like Maytag Blue Cheese, to elevate the final burger.

Add condiments, garnishes and bun alternatives for a finishing touch. Serve an Italian-style burger on a wedge of sliced focaccia. Choose condiments to complete the desired flavor profile. For a French-inspired burger, serve classic béchamel or garlic herb aioli along with caramelized onions and spicy arugula for a burger “c’est magnifique!”

family table

Mediterranean Pita Burgers

Tzatziki Sauce

• 1 cucumber (English seedless or hothouse variety with thin skin)

• 1½ cups sour cream

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill)

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Grate cucumber and squeeze excess liquid out with paper towels. Place grated cucumber in a mixing bowl. Add sour cream and dill. Smash minced garlic and salt together with the back of a knife to turn into a paste and add to mixture along with black pepper. Stir well, cover and refrigerate until serving.


• 3 pounds ground beef, pork or turkey (or a combination)

• 2 tablespoons

Cavender’s Greek seasoning, divided

• 2 teaspoons oregano flakes

• ¼ cup Greek vinaigrette dressing

• 1 large or two small tomatoes, sliced

• 1 small red onion, sliced

• ½ small head iceberg lettuce, cut into large shreds

• 1 small container feta cheese crumbles

• 8 pita rounds, warmed

Shape ground meat into half-moon shapes the size of pita flatbread folded in half. Combine Greek seasoning and oregano flakes. Sprinkle evenly over all burgers.

Grill burgers to desired doneness, or at least 160 degrees

F, as measured by a digital instantread thermometer. Brush with Greek vinaigrette in the final stages of grilling.

Place pita round on a plate; add a layer of tzatziki sauce, burger patty, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and feta. Fold pita over, wrap with foil or food paper if desired. Serve immediately.

Make s 8 pita burgers.

Photo credit: Kelsey Byrnes, Dance Around the Kitchen.

History in the Remaking


If the one-of-a-kind items at West End Architectural Salvage could talk, they would tell spectacular tales from eras gone by – stories of the craftsmen who skillfully hand-carved, etched and assembled the quality materials from which they were made. Listeners would learn of the functional or decorative purposes they served before time altered the aging patina, chippy layers and meaningful imperfections of the pieces.

Centrally located in downtown Des Moines, West End Architectural Salvage is home to an ever-changing

collection of carefully curated antiques and an expansive inventory of rescued doors, mirrors, lighting, stained glass and more.

While many of the items give a nod to Iowa’s agricultural roots, rarities sourced from New York, England, India and beyond give the shop an eclectic and worldly charm.

Even the walls of West End Architectural Salvage preserve a storied past. Constructed in 1913 as a grocer’s warehouse, the building now occupies more than 50,000 square

feet of unique stock, organized on four floors for customers to shop, wander and explore.

On the lowest level of the warehouse, a team of carpenters, welders and restoration artists craft customized furniture from reclaimed barn wood and other recycled materials.

Don Short, owner of West End Architectural Salvage, says the experience is all about giving people an opportunity to add their own chapter to the story an antique piece can tell.

point of interest

“From the heating element of a chick brooder reimagined into a light fixture, to an airplane wing transformed into a bar top, our customers bring us their design ideas and it’s our job to make them come to life,” he says.

Turning Trash into Treasures

In a disposable age where things are regularly replaced rather than cherished, Short and his crew have found creative ways to salvage the relics and remnants others have gone out of their way to save.

“We’ve always been big on repurposing items and keeping them out of the landfill,” he says.

“There’s a history there that can’t be replaced, and I think people have grown to appreciate it and recognize what we do is of value.”

Before opening West End Architectural Salvage, Short got his start restoring old houses and auctioning off materials he tore out of other homes.

The Marshalltown native and co-owner of the iconic Taylor’s Maid-Rite has renovated 27 houses, including Marshalltown’s 100-yearold, 10,000-square-foot Willard Mansion and two homes on Grand Avenue in Des Moines.

A successful tag sale in 2005 convinced Short to open a

storefront. Two years later, West End Architectural Salvage moved to its current location, where today, the space doubles as a coffee house and event venue.

The shop quickly became an Iowa destination after starring in two seasons of the show “West End Salvage” on HGTV.

“Filming the show was great for business, but the real driving force behind our company has always been the support of our customers and the community,” says Short.

“It has been the most rewarding aspect of this work – being a part of people’s lives and giving them an experience they’ll never forget.”

Don Short, owner of West End Architectural Salvage.

Dig In and Grow

Let our experts bring your gardening and landscaping ideas to life. From flowers and vegetables to trees and shrubs, it’s time to dig in and grow together!


Tips for growing plentiful produce and flourishing flowers

Growing your own food can be immensely satisfying, yet it can be intimidating for first-time gardeners and even challenging for those with the greenest thumbs. Tomatoes are often feast or famine, broccoli and cauliflower are fussy, and herbs can quickly take over a space.

With thoughtful planning and advice from experts, urban dwellers and those with vast spaces can master the art of gardening.

The recipe for a bountiful garden combines equal parts of soil quality, proper planting and fertilizing, suppressing weeds and pests, and proper harvesting along with a dash of help from Mother Nature.

Digging In

Cristen Clark is well-versed in agriculture. She lives on a

farm near Runnells, where her family raises pigs and grows soybeans and corn. She’s also an award-winning baker and cook, but was a gardening novice. Last spring, with the help of Earl May Garden Centers, Clark decided to dig in and grow a new hobby.

“This was my first effort at a real garden, which ended up being about 5,000 square feet,” says Clark, who enlisted the help of her husband Mike and children Halle and Barrett. “The highlight was growing everything we liked and having an abundance of food to share with family and friends.”

In addition to the vegetable garden, the family planted flowers to attract pollinators. With bees buzzing and butterflies fluttering, wings were at work, enhancing the environment.

Ten-year-old Barrett fell in love with gardening and rushed to the plot each morning to do weeding and watering chores. Those tasks were secondary to the thrill of finding new cucumbers growing under their leafy vines or picking a perfectly ripe tomato. Reaping the rewards of an abundance of produce, he started “Pup’s Produce,” selling vegetables and flower arrangements to friends and neighbors to raise money for college.

Ryan Case, manager of the Earl May Garden Center in Ankeny, worked closely with Clark on all aspects of the garden, from planning and planting to fertilizing and harvesting. Whether working with a large garden plot, a suburban space or container gardening, Case’s steps for success are universal no matter how large or small the space.


Step 1


Planning your garden is essential to maximize yield, especially in smaller gardens. Follow the package guidelines for spacing and seek out information about what to plant next to each other. If space is limited, look for compact, bushy varieties of vegetables that will take up less room.

“A lot of different vegetables and herbs grow well in containers, including tomatoes and peppers,” Case says. “We even see people grow potatoes in buckets or containers on decks and patios.”

If you have plenty of room, a southern exposure will produce the earliest crops. Avoid locating a garden where large trees or buildings would shade it.

TIP: Before sowing seeds, read the packet instructions for proper spacing and depth. Some types will only need to be slightly covered. Keeping the soil moist is critical to starting seeds.

Step 2


“Having the best soil possible is the fundamental key to growing great vegetables,” Case explains. “Often in suburbs and communities, the soil has a high clay content and needs to be amended. Soil tests are helpful to understand the composition and nutrient profile of the soil.”

Soil amendments help break apart clay and allow for better water drainage in any setting. Adding other organic matter, such as compost or manure, adds nutrients that are not in the soil and don’t come from fertilizers.

“For a new garden, we often recommend adding two to three inches of organic matter over the entire space,” Case explains. “For more established gardens, an inch of coverage each year is typical, and it can be tilled into the soil.”

For container gardening, purchasing garden soil eliminates the need for soil amendments or organic matter.

Step 3


Plant tall-growing crops (like corn) or those that are staked or trellised (like pole beans) along the north side of the garden so they will not shade low-growing vegetables. Plant early-maturing crops together.

After harvest, this strategy opens up space for succession planting or a fall garden.

“Succession planting is spacing out your plantings, so you have yields throughout the year,” Case says. “It works well with cold-temperaturetolerant crops that mature really quickly. For example, radishes can be planted several weeks in a row, so you have yields throughout the season.”

In Iowa, coldtemperature crops that tolerate a hard frost include broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.

If planting from seeds to start plants indoors, visit with a garden expert to discuss optimal growing conditions and tips for transplanting outdoors.

Step 4


Nitrogen, phosphorus and potash are the key ingredients in most fertilizers. Organic matter provides nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium, essential for fruits and vegetables.

“Adding calcium to your garden is very important. It can help with fruit development, and it helps prevent blossom end rot on your tomatoes,” Case

says. “Fertilizing is so important with things like vegetables because they have such a short season, and you want to try to maximize the yield.”

Step 5


Weed suppression in a garden is critical, so weeds aren’t competing for the same nutrients the plants need.

“Cleaning the garden area is the first step. Then, we recommend using Preen or a similar product to prevent weed seeds from germinating,” Case explains.

A word of caution: If you're planning to plant flowers or vegetables directly in the garden from seeds, don’t use something like Preen because it will prevent all seeds, including vegetable or flower seeds, from growing.

Step 6


Harvesting vegetables at the right stage of maturity results in high-quality, nutritious produce that will store well if conditions are right. For example, leaf lettuce is most crisp when outer leaves are four to six inches long. Peas are tender and flavorful if picked when pods are well filled but not hard and starchy. Kohlrabi will have the mildest flavor when thickened stems are two to three inches in diameter.

TIP: On average, spending $70 on garden seeds will give you $600 worth of fresh produce!

Things Kids Love to Grow


Crist en’s Tips for First-Time Gardeners

1 Plant what you love to eat.

2 Keep it simple. Pick one or two varieties of your favorites, and then stick to it.

3 Manage the soil to keep plants healthy.

4 Weed a little bit every day.

5 Plant f lowers to attract pollinators and add beauty to your garden and table.


Plants for Pollinators

Imagine a world without flowers, fruits, vegetables and more. The importance of pollinators has never been higher. Declining bee populations are a problem, but they aren’t the only ones who pollinate. Birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, wasps and flies all play a role in pollination. Along with farmers who frequently devote land to creating pollinator habitats, backyard gardening enthusiasts can also plant flowers to attract nature’s flying friends.








Sweet William

Attracts Bees:















Sweet William


• 12 cups of chopped fresh garden lettuce, cleaned

• 4-5 green onions, chopped and divided

• ½ cup sugar snap peas, strung and roughly chopped

• 8-10 regular thickness bacon strips, chopped, cooked and drippings reserved (approximately 1/3 cup)

Win a $100 gift card to Earl May Garden Centers for your planting project. Visit and enter to win.

Visit to watch a series of videos from Cristen Clark’s garden project.

• 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

• 1½ tablespoons sugar or sugar alternative

• 4 to 8 hard-boiled eggs

• Salt and pepper to taste

• ¼ cup salted sunflower kernels, optional

In a large bowl, add lettuce and half the green onions. Keep the bacon grease warm in a skillet over mediumlow heat; add sugar and vinegar. Stir and heat for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add remaining green onions, chopped snap peas and cooked bacon. Dress salad with this mixture. Divide among four plates. Top each plate with a sliced hardboiled egg, salt and pepper. If desired, add sunflower seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

home is where the flock is

Meet Colleen

“Coke” Anderson: Educator, Iowa farmer and poultry pioneer

When Marvin and Coke Anderson bought their first farm – a picturesque tract of land tucked among the rolling terrain of southern Clay County – they envisioned a lifestyle that would allow them to raise their two daughters in the countryside while juggling their jobs as schoolteachers.

They never dreamed their operation, M&C Anderson Pullets, would grow from a small venture to a thriving enterprise acclaimed for its farming practices or that they would be recognized as innovators in one of Iowa’s most important industries – poultry and egg production.

Of course, the Anderson’s success didn’t arrive overnight. Their legacy was built on five decades of hard work, good help and a dedication to delivering a wholesome, healthy product.

From Classroom to Farm

Both natives of northwest Iowa, Marvin and Coke Anderson met in college. Marvin was studying at Iowa State University to become a vocational agriculture instructor, while Coke was pursuing a degree in journalism at the University of Iowa.

As the pair made plans to share their future, Marvin convinced Coke to change her major to English. She finished her schooling after transferring to Buena Vista University. The couple married in 1961 and moved to the Spencer area.

Together, they supported one another’s teaching careers –Coke would often step in to help Marvin’s FFA students prepare for public speaking events – but Marvin also had aspirations of farming.

Coke Anderson is nationally known as an innovator in poultry and egg production. Photos submitted by Coke Anderson and the Iowa Egg Council.

In 1968, the Anderson’s purchased 270 acres along Willow Creek just north of Sioux Rapids. They planted their first crop and began raising livestock, first sheep before switching to cattle.

“I planned to continue teaching while raising our two young girls who were 3 and 4 years old at the time,” says Coke. “I imagined it would be similar to how Marvin and I grew up, putting in extra work with chores or in the fields before and after school.”

Hatched a Bigger Plan

The long hours paid off. Before long, Marvin and Coke were presented with an opportunity to add extra income to their operation

by constructing a 30,000head house for young female chickens, also known as pullets.

At first, Coke was skeptical. She had a bad run-in with a wily rooster as a child but agreed to the plan as long as she would be spared from ever having to touch a chicken.

The pullet house was built in 1970, and soon after, Coke’s role evolved from record keeping and lending a helping hand, to all-hands-on-deck.

“I proved that one can overcome phobias,” Coke jokes. “Ultimately, I learned to enjoy working with the chicks. Little did I know, we would end up shipping millions of birds to all corners of the U.S.”

lifecycle of a laying hen

Life for most hens begins at a hatchery. Fertilized eggs are kept warm in enclosed incubators until the chicks hatch in 21 days.

After the chicks hatch, they are sorted by sex.

Young female birds (pullets) are transferred to a rearing facility until around 16 weeks of age.

Once the pullets have matured, the hens are moved to a laying facility where they will begin producing eggs.

Chicks hatch from fertilized eggs in approximately 21 days.

An expansion of M&C Anderson Pullets came in the form of a 50,000-bird egg layer building, at which time Marvin and Coke both quit teaching to pursue farming full time. Eventually, the Andersons more than doubled their capacity and shifted their focus back to only managing pullets. Today, M&C Anderson Pullets is home to 10 specialized bio-security facilities designed with scrape boards, or manure belts, ventilation and other animal health controls that protect the nearly 5 million pullets housed annually.

The couple acted as equal partners in the business, sharing decision-making. Industry peers began to take notice of their animal husbandry practices and environmental stewardship, such as daily removal and composting of manure, planting hundreds of trees to prevent soil erosion, and installing grass

waterways and ponds to control runoff from heavy rains.

Coke has always believed that caring for the land would reap results. In addition to following sound manure management practices and land conservation recommendations on their farm, she has served on local, state and national environmental committees. In 2019, she was recognized with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association awarded her a Family Farm Environmental Stewardship award in conjunction with the 2020 International Poultry Expo.

Education and Advocacy

Just as the Anderson’s operation grew, so did their leadership roles and advocacy efforts.

Over the past 50 years, the poultry and egg industry has reduced its environmental footprint by approximately 50%.

For several years, Marvin and Coke served as members of the United Egg Producers and were active in attending annual legislative meetings in Washington, D.C.

In 1985, Coke was the first woman to be awarded the Iowa Poultry Association Hall of Fame Award. And, in 1999, she was elected as the first woman to chair the American Egg Board.

“I never thought I’d get elected; I just wanted to break through so the next woman who came along would have a better chance,” she shares. “It was a wonderful experience; the people I met were marvelous and always welcoming.”

On a local level, the Andersons bridged their passions for education and agriculture by

an egg-cellent superfood

establishing scholarships, supporting area schools, and funding trophies and exhibits at the Clay County Fair.

Coke is a current board member of the Iowa Poultry Association. While much has changed in poultry and egg production during her career, she is proud of the progress made to meet industry challenges.

“Over the past 50 years, our industry has reduced its environmental footprint by approximately 50% thanks to efficiencies in natural resource use, disease control and housing advancements,” she says. “Eggs serve an important purpose as a nutritious and affordable protein, and as farmers, it has always been our mission to produce them safely and sustainably.”

Eggs are a natural, nutrientrich source of high-quality protein. Each egg is a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, such as the superstar nutrient choline, as well as lutein. Beyond promoting eye health, lutein has joined choline as a powerhouse for cognition.

High-quality proteins have all essential amino acids, which are not produced by the body and are needed for children to grow and for a body of any age to function properly. When protein is eaten, it’s broken down into amino acids, which are then used to help the body with various processes, such as building muscle and regulating immune function.

Eggs serve an important purpose as a nutritious and affordable protein. Farmers work hard to produce them safely and sustainably.

Pollinator power


When Jana Erickson steps outside her home south of Des Moines, the landscape is abuzz – literally – with activity. From spring through fall, bees of all types, butterflies and moths hover around the blooms that abound at Wit’s End Gardens near Prole. This pollinator paradise provides an essential link in the food chain at a critical time.

“Pollinators are vital to the food web and the entire ecosystem,” says Erickson, who specializes in perennials for pollinators. “Without pollinators, we don’t eat.”

Even with the important role pollinators have in our food supply, they are in trouble. Pollinator populations worldwide have been shrinking in the last 10 to 20 years due to habitat fragmentation and other challenges. Consider the plight of monarch butterflies. The eastern monarch butterfly population has experienced an 80% decline during the past two decades, according to the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium (IMCC) at Iowa State University (ISU).

The annual North American monarch migration is one of the

longest and most spectacular insect migrations globally. “Iowa is in the center of the monarch’s summer breeding range,” says Nicole Shimp, a program specialist with the IMCC, which was created in 2015 to advance monarch butterfly conservation efforts in Iowa.

Roughly 40% of all monarch butterflies that overwinter in Mexico are estimated to come from Iowa and neighboring Midwest states, according to the IMCC. Expanding monarch habitat plays a major role in the recovery of the species. “There are glimmers of hope since the

The eastern monarch butterfly population has declined 80% in the past two decades.

monarch population in the western United States is starting to rebound a little,” Shimp says.

Partnerships Benefit Pollinators

The IMCC supports voluntary conservation efforts to create more pollinator habitat in Iowa. The group has 53 members and partners, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and other ag organizations.


“Partnerships are essential,” Shimp says. “Everyone brings their unique expertise to help reach the common goal of protecting pollinators.”

ISA is also working with The Nature Conservancy, Syngenta (a global provider of agricultural seeds and crop protection products) and other partners to restore much-needed habitat in Iowa for the rusty patched bumblebee. This bee was listed as endangered in 2017 after surveys found that populations had dropped by nearly 90%, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The rusty patched bumblebee needs unique habitat, which is one reason why its numbers have struggled,” says Brandon Iddings, ISA field services manager/ conservation resources.

HabiTally App Helps You Help Pollinators

Want to play a crucial role in monarch conservation? Try the HabiTally app.

For the past few years, ISA has worked with farmers, landowners and Habitat Forever, a subsidiary of Pheasants Forever, to establish multiple wildflower plantings in eastern Iowa to benefit the rusty patched bumblebees. In 2022, ISA is working with the City of Ames to add one acre of pollinator habitat in Brookside Park, near the ISU campus. Plantings will include a diverse mix of flowering plants and grasses, including goldenrod, black-eyed Susans, various milkweeds and more.

“While the seed mixes we use benefit rusty patched bumblebees, they create little ‘fueling stations’ from May to October that attract many other pollinators, too,” Iddings says.

“HabiTally lets you enter data about monarch habitat conservation efforts in your yard or on your farm,” says Nicole Shimp with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium. “You can also note locations where groups are creating new pollinator habitats, like churches or parks.”

The app is a free download for iOS and Android devices. Go to the App Store and search HabiTally.

Data collected by HabiTally will be housed at Iowa State University and shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help guide future conservation and protection decisions.


Take 3 Simple Steps to Promote Pollinators

Creating a better world for pollinators doesn’t have to be complicated or require lots of land.

“It doesn’t take much to make pollinators happy,” says Jana Erickson, owner of Wit’s End Gardens in Prole. “Being a lazy gardener is one of the best things you can do to help pollinators.”

Three simple, pollinator-friendly practices can make a big difference:

1 Focus on a healthy environment, not a perfect landscape. Maintaining a perfectly manicured lawn can be expensive and time-consuming, plus it’s not the best habitat for pollinators. “Leave your leaves on the ground because they provide a safe spot for bumblebees and other pollinators,” Erickson says. Also, provide some bare soil in a sunny, south-facing spot. Many of Iowa’s native bees aren’t hive dwellers. “They need bare spots to lay their eggs,” Erickson says.

2 Plant pollinator-pleasing perennials. Areas that receive at least six hours of full sun a day work well for a pollinator garden. Perennial salvia is a good option for spring blooms. “It’s easy to grow, plus you can choose from pink, purple or blue flowers,” Erickson says. In the summer, common milkweed, swamp milkweed (with pink blooms) and butterfly milkweed (with orange flowers) attract pollinators. In the fall, asters and “Fireworks” goldenrod provide a buffet for pollinators. Have allergies?

“Ragweed, not goldenrod, triggers allergies,” Erickson says. Concerned about bee stings? “You’re not a flower, so bees aren’t interested in you,” Erickson adds.

3 Spread the word. Live in an apartment with no space to create a pollinator garden? “You can still help by spreading the word about the importance of pollinators,” says Nicole Shimp with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium.

Farmers Plant Acres for Monarchs and More ISA is also working with farmers across Iowa to add more pollinator habitat. Acres that aren’t ideal for agricultural production, and areas dedicated to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), can provide excellent pollinator habitats, especially near soybeans. While soybeans are self-pollinating legumes, an ISU study released in 2021 shows that growing soybeans near pollinator habitat might lead to better yields.

Jim Fitkin has CRP acres in three of his fields near Cedar Falls. He began shifting some of this land into pollinator habitat nearly

six years ago after hearing news stories about declining monarch populations.

“It’s interesting to watch these pollinator acres grow,” says Fitkin, a fourth-generation farmer who raises soybeans, corn and popcorn. “There’s something flowering throughout the growing season, and I enjoy seeing the monarch butterflies.”

The benefits extend beyond pollinators, adds Fitkin, who is interested in adding pollinator strips along the edges of his fields. “These practices help control soil erosion, protect water quality and provide habitat for pheasants and other wildlife.”

Flowers that bloom early each spring provide vital nectar for native bees.

Frank Moore, who raises soybeans and corn near Cresco in northeast Iowa, looks forward to transforming a half-acre of his lawn into a pollinator habitat this spring. “It’s right outside my picture window,” says Moore, who also runs Three Rivers Ag Consulting. “It will add to the aesthetics of my farm, plus I’ll have less grass to mow.”

Moore farms with his father and nephew in Howard County, the “conservation capital” of Iowa, where several farmers have been recognized for their conservation farming efforts by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Farm Bureau.

Continuous improvement is key, says Moore, who has received the Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year award with his father. “One of my consulting clients is a beekeeper, and I enjoy learning from him. When I’ve been in his fields, I’ve started noticing all the insect life instead of just overlooking it.”

That’s the magic of welcoming pollinators to your landscape, says Erickson, a Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market vendor who helps her customers select pollinatorfriendly plants. “It’s fascinating to learn more about pollinators. Watching them in the garden is a joy that’s hard to match.”

Milkweed is an important host plant for the monarch butterfly and the milkweed tussock moth (pictured). Without milkweed the caterpillars would not be able to feed and develop into adults.

Creating a better world for pollinators doesn’t have to be complicated or require lots of land.

Lean into Pork

Embrace this protein’s versatility, nutrition, flavor and balance.

Recipe on Page 29.

Whether it’s grilled to greatness or smoked to perfection, pork is a versatile protein that’s perfect for any meal. There’s a cut – and recipe – to fit every appetite. Pork loves nearly any spice, making simple recipes feel like you’ve been transported across the globe, enjoying Mediterranean, Mexican, Greek and other flavors of the world.

Eating pork provides nutritional benefits for people of all ages. From infants to seniors and everyone in between, there’s plenty to love with pork on your fork.

“Eight cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for lean, with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving,” says Kara Behlke, director of nutrition and dietetics for the National Pork Board. “One of the easiest ways to choose lean cuts of pork is to look for ‘loin’ or ‘chop’ in the name, such as pork tenderloin, sirloin or loin chop.”

In addition to having vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, pork is a canvas for creativity, limited only by one’s imagination.

“Pork is a friend to all foods,” Behlke says. “It has 50 different flavors, so it pairs well with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and other proteins, like eggs, dairy or soyfoods.”

Egg Roll in a Bowl

• 1 tablespoon sesame oil

• 1 small red onion, diced

• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced

• 1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced

• 1 pound ground pork

• 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

• 14 ounces coleslaw mix

• 2 red bell peppers, sliced thinly

• 10 ounces matchstick carrots

• 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

• 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

• Salt, to taste

• Black pepper, to taste

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add red onion, cook 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground pork and sriracha. Cook and crumble until pork is cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.

Add coleslaw mix, red bell pepper, carrots, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, black pepper and salt, to taste, and stir until well combined. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes.

Spoon pork-cabbage mixture into a serving bowl. Drizzle with sauce of choice and garnish, if desired.

Optional for garnish: sliced green onions, sesame seeds and wonton strips.

Optional sauces: hoisin or duck sauce, sriracha, hot sauce or sweet chili garlic sauce. For a creamy sauce, mix Greek yogurt, sriracha, lime juice and salt to taste.

Servings: 4

Photo and Recipe Source: National Pork Board

Four Reasons to Love Pork

Pork’s Full Body of Benefits

Pork is nutritious. One 3-ounce serving is an “excellent” source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, riboflavin, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12, and a “good” source of choline and phosphorus.*

Pork is versatile.

Pork can be enjoyed anytime, from a breakfast quiche to a delicious panini for lunch and grilled pork tenderloin at dinner. It works on the grill, in the oven or Instant Pot and more.

Pork is balanced.

With more than 20 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving of pork, cuts such as the loin, sirloin and tenderloin are easy to pair with veggies or a salad for a balanced meal.*

1 2 3 4

Pork is flavorful.

Pork is a savory protein with a delicious natural flavor accentuated by marinades, dry rubs, sauces and cooking methods. It can be incorporated into a variety of cuisines.

High-quality protein. There are many benefits to consuming high-quality protein, found in pork, as part of a healthy diet.** Key benefits include building strong muscles, helping keep you full, immune support, weight management, prevention of muscle loss and energy production.

B12. Meat, eggs and dairy are natural sources of vitamin B12, which promotes brain development in children and helps the nervous system function properly.

Choline. Pork is a good source of choline.* Choline is an essential nutrient for helping brain growth early in life.

Zinc. Pork is an excellent source of zinc*, which is a key nutrient in helping the body get energy from foods and helping the immune system to function properly.

Selenium. Pork is an excellent source of selenium*, a key regulator of brain function.

* This claim uses NDB# 10093, Pork Composite [Pork, fresh, composite of trimmed retail cuts (leg, loin, and shoulder), separable lean only, cooked]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019.

** McNeill SH. Inclusion of red meat in healthful dietary patterns. Meat Sci Sustain Innov ‘60th Int Congr Meat Sci Technol 17-22 August 2014 Punta Este Urug. 2014;98(3):452-460. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2014.06.028


Kevin and Lisa Rasmussen are third-generation farmers near Goldfield. The Rasmussens, along with their son Joel, finish 8,000 pigs per year and grow about 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans using conservation measures on their land.

“We have run a farrowto-finish operation for more than 30 years,” explains Kevin, who also serves as the 2022 board president for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “We work closely with a veterinarian and our nutritionist to ensure we are producing as safe and nutritious product as possible for our consumers."


Rasmussen Family

Nutritious pork begins on the farm with feeding pigs a high-quality diet. Pigs consume mainly corn and soybean meal – corn for energy and soybean meal for protein. The diet is also balanced with amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other products.

“It’s in the farmer's best interest to keep our pigs as healthy as possible because healthy pigs grow faster and build protein in their bodies,” Kevin says. Sustainability and livestock comfort are cornerstones of the Rasmussen farm.

The corn and soybeans grown on the farm are used for feed, and the manure produced from the pig operation is

used for crop fertilizer, creating a full circle of sustainability.

The pigs are kept in climate-controlled barns with temperatures consistently about 70-80 degrees F yearround. Fans and tunnel ventilation help control the conditions to keep the pigs comfortable in Iowa's ever-changing weather. Every day, each pig is looked at by the Rasmussens.

“When we walk through the barns, we look at each pig’s eyes, ears, feet and overall well-being,” Kevin explains. “The health of our pigs is the ultimate priority.”

Detailed record-keeping on the farm is essential.

The Rasmussens track every ounce of feed from what it takes to grind grains to the miles driven from the feed mill to their farm. The miles to and from taking the pigs to market when desired weights are reached are also impeccably logged.

“We keep track of everything, so we have a baseline for our carbon footprint. Protecting the environment is important to us, and we continuously work hard to reduce our environmental impact,” says Kevin, who was a 2018 national finalist for Pig Farmer of the Year. “In addition, by tracking every detail related to our pigs, we know we are providing the best possible care.”

officto que voluptaque sime et aut accum quatet alique sedi officaborem rerchil intin
Recipe on Page 33.

Aloha Pork Teriyaki Bowls

• 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

• 2 kiwis, peeled and 1/4-inch dice

• 1 Roma tomato, 1/4-inch dice

• 1 lime, juiced, to taste

Putting Pork on Your Fork

Tips, Tricks and Temperature

• 1 red pepper, 1/2-inch dice

• 1 green pepper, 1/2-inch dice

• 1 red onion, 1/2-inch dice

• 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

• 1 lime, zested, divided

• Water, as needed

• 2 cups cooked brown rice

• Cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Place the pork in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour teriyaki sauce over pork and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate for 2 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

In medium bowl, combine kiwi, tomato and a squeeze of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard excess marinade. Add bell peppers and onion to pork, toss to combine. Place ingredients in the air fryer basket. Cook for 10-15 minutes, shaking and gently tossing halfway through.

In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt and half the lime zest. Stir in water 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture reaches drizzling consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining lime zest to cooked brown rice. To serve, divide rice among bowls. Top with pork, kiwi salsa and drizzle with lime/ yogurt mixture and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Servings: 4

Photo and Recipe Source: National Pork Board

Ways to cook. Grilling, broiling, stir-frying and pan-broiling all work well for pork and can help maximize flavor while keeping added fat to a minimum. Broil, grill or roast pork on a rack so natural fat from the meat drips away. Before cooking, season pork with herbs and spices to create flavor variety.

Buy one cut and create a full menu of meals. A large pork loin purchased at the meat counter can be turned into several meals. At home, the loin can be cut into pork chops, a roast, kabobs and stir-fry, to name a few. It’s a convenient and economical way to cook for a family or batch cook for multiple meals. Beyond the traditional favorites, the possibilities are endless. Pulled pork sandwiches, carnitas, grilled barbecue pork pizza, shredded pork burrito bowls or loaded sweet potatoes topped with pork all can be created from this single cut of meat.

Preserve quality

with ideal cooking

temperatures. Today’s pork is lean, making it important not to overcook. The safe internal cooking temperature for fresh cuts, such as pork chops, pork roasts, pork loin and tenderloin, is 145 degrees F (USDA guidelines) as measured by a digital read thermometer, followed by a three-minute rest. Ground pork should always be cooked to 160 degrees F.

Lean Cuts:

Ground pork (96% lean)

New York pork chop

New York pork roast

Pork tenderloin

Porterhouse pork chop

Ribeye pork chop

Sirloin pork chop

Sirloin pork roast


Homegrown Charm

Anchored in rich history and thriving, Atlantic delights as a destination

Local legends tell different tales of how the Cass County town of Atlantic got its name. One popular lore is the Founding Fathers estimated the town was about halfway between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, so it led them to flip a coin. The rest is history.

The nearby Rock Island Railroad was critical in deciding the actual location of the town. To this day, the old depot sits at the north end of Chestnut Street. It anchors a thriving downtown, filled with vitality, charm, and nods to

both nostalgia and a prosperous future. For nearly 100 years, this community of approximately 6,500 residents has been known for being home to the Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which bottles and distributes drinks from The Coca-Cola Company to Iowa and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

“Instead of a town square, we have a seven-block long downtown, and the width of our downtown is about twice the standard size of a street,” explains Bailey Smith,

executive director of the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce. “There are about 15 to 20 trees per block, which provide a lot of natural beauty and shade.”

Often called quaint, the downtown area is filled with boutiques and locally owned restaurants and coffee shops and is the heartbeat of the community. More than a dozen parks and recreation areas line the outskirts of the community and county, adding an energetic and wholesome vibe, which attracts locals and visitors.

In recent years, the Mullers have grown their business of selling hiqhquality meats directly to consumers.

Noble Provisions

Beef and Pork, Direct to Consumers

The Muller Family Farm started more than 150 years ago in Noble Township, near Griswold, which is 14 miles south of Atlantic.

Kelly and Maggie Muller are sixth-generation farmers raising livestock and producing grain while stewarding the land.

“We value the work ethic, resilience, independence, self-reliance and connection with nature that are instilled through farm life,” explains Maggie, who along with her husband Kelly, are raising four children as the seventh generation on the farm.

“We live in the century farmhouse Kelly’s great, great grandfather built. There is an incredible legacy and love for farming here.”

After graduating college, Kelly wanted to return to the place he had always called home. Married to Maggie, who he was friends with in high school and later started dating, the couple has increased their farming operation to 2,700 head of cattle along with growing corn and soybeans. Their cattle come to the farm after they have been weaned, meaning they don’t have a cow-calf operation but rather buy cattle locally from sale barns and raise them to market weight.

“All our animals are started on either corn stocks or pasture because we feel they get more space that way. They get more area to roam and grow,” Maggie explains. “On our farm, we have found it’s best for the animals to be able to grow comfortably and slowly.”

The Muller kids are active helpers on the family farm. Clara, Lucy, Isabelle and Vivian are the seventh generation being raised on the Muller family farm. BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

Working with a nutritionist is key to raising healthy livestock, resulting in highquality, delicious meat. Much of the livestock’s nutritional needs are met by the grain raised on the farm, including corn stalks and grass that are baled for feed throughout the year.

“Once the cattle reach a certain weight, we start them on grain,” Maggie says. “This diet creates tasty, tender, marbled meat, which comes from grain-fed cattle.”

The Mullers have grown their direct-to-consumer business in recent years, selling at Atlantic’s Produce in the Park and specialty markets as well as from their state-inspected meat cases and freezers on their farm. In Oct. 2021, the couple launched Noble Provisions, a website where consumers can select meat products online and pick up at area locations or directly

on the farm. In addition to beef products, they sell various pork products. For consumers interested in bulk buying, Noble Provisions offers custom sales of a quarter, half or whole beef or a half or whole hog.

Noble Provisions is Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified. The rigorous BQA-certified designation means cattle are raised to the best quality standards and demonstrates farmers’ unwavering commitment to food safety and quality.

“We put an enormous amount of care into the comfort and health of our cattle and pigs,” Maggie explains. “There’s significant science that goes into how you want to raise an animal so their body can grow efficiently along with their weight.”

For more information, visit

An enormous amount of care goes into raising healthy livestock.

Janine Knop’s husband Fred is the ultimate taste-tester for Miss NiNi’s delicious desserts.

Miss NiNi’s

Masterfully Created Desserts, Deliciously Defined

Janine Knop – aka “Miss NiNi” – developed a passion for baking in her youth. Through her education and award-winning baking, her passion grew, leading to the establishment of Miss NiNi’s Fine Desserts. Over the years, she’s gained a loyal following of customers from coast to coast, selling her delicacies across the lower 48 states.

While Miss NiNi’s legend has flourished, her biggest fan resides under her roof. Husband Fred, a farmer who tended to soybeans, corn, small grains, hay and prized lambs for decades before recently retiring, has been Miss NiNi's most willing taste-tester since the 1970s. Together, they grew their farming operation, raised two daughters and created a recipe for a successful dessert business. Today, Janine operates from a licensed kitchen built on the same Atlantic area farm the Knops have lived on for decades.

“I’m usually in the kitchen baking by 4 a.m.,” says Janine, who bakes, ships and delivers her homemade goodies to local businesses and Friedrichs Coffee locations and

Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure in Des Moines. Cookies, coffee cakes, cheesecakes and Chunky Chocolate Pumpkin, Almond Poppy Seed and Cranberry Orange dessert breads are fan favorites. The No. 1 seller is always the Chunky Chocolate Pumpkin, which is no coincidence since it’s an Iowa State Fair blue ribbon-winning recipe.

“Our cheesecakes are shipped frozen solid. In the middle of summer, I can ship via FedEx to California, and the product will arrive perfectly frozen,” she explains. “My crumb pies –Cherry and Dutch Apple – and the dessert breads and cakes also ship extremely well.”

Known for her energetic spirit, Miss NiNi also sells her homemade creations during local events, such as Produce in the Park or Atlantic’s holiday markets.

“The people and community atmosphere make Atlantic a wonderful place to live,” Janine says. “Everyone enthusiastically supports local businesses and thrives on the local talent in the area.”

For more information, visit

Dessert breads, including Chunky Chocolate Pumpkin, are fan favorites. BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: A selection of Miss NiNi’s baked goods are shipped across the U.S. to 48 states.

Eat, Explore and Enjoy

Delicious Food and Beverages

Sweet Joy Shoppe specializes in paninis, homemade soup, salads with fresh ingredients and uses locally grown vegetables when available. Daily lunch specials range from pasta with homemade sauces to meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Wake up with breakfast burritos, croissants and pastries.

Wiota Steakhouse is a family-owned icon. With years of local heritage, the restaurant features certified Angus beef and seafood.

Henningsen’s Meat Processing features beef and pork products, homemade beef jerky and beef sticks, Danish lunchmeats and sausage, along with a wide variety of cheeses, seafood and soup. Visitors from Des Moines, Sioux City, Council Bluffs and other locations arrive with large coolers to fill with locally raised meat products.

Outdoor Exploration

Schildberg Recreation Area has three beautiful lakes perfect for fishing, and 6 miles of trails are accessible from Schildberg. The area is full of native grasses and flowers with various wildlife, plus a modern campground.

The longest highway ever created, Historic U.S. Route 6 , stretching 3,652 miles from Massachusetts to California, runs through Atlantic. T-Bone Trail, a popular bike trail, runs through farmland and timber in the Nishnabotna River Valley. The trail begins in Audubon’s Albert City Park, home of Albert the Bull, and ends on Dunbar Road, 5 miles northeast of Atlantic.

A stone’s throw from Atlantic in Cass County, the Outdoor Classroom in Massena delights nature lovers. The diverse 76-acre recreation area boasts fishing, hiking, nature study, native prairie grasses and flowers.

Atlantic is the Coca-Cola Capital of Iowa and annually hosts the U.S.’ second largest mini-convention of Coca-Cola collectors.

Outdoor recreation opportunities abound in Cass County. Atlantic’s seven block downtown is filled with charm.

Sweet Joy Shoppe specializes in homemade breakfast and lunch specials using fresh and local ingredients.

Events and Activities

In mid-August, downtown Atlantic is filled with fun activities for all ages during AtlanticFest! The day includes an annual Road Race, craft and food vendors, carnival games and free entertainment.

Atlantic is the Coca-Cola Capital of Iowa and will host its 30th annual Coca-Cola Days Celebration, Sept. 23-24. The celebration is the second largest miniconvention of Coca-Cola collectors in the U.S., second only to Atlanta, Georgia.

Produce in the Park is a weekly community gathering and farmers market (June through October). In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, patrons will find local meats, baked goods, desserts, jams and jellies. During the off-season (November, December, February and April), several vendors offer products at Atlantic’s wildly popular Holiday Markets.

Win a “Fuel and Shine” gift package to fill your gas tank and get a car wash for a summer road trip

($100 value). Visit fuelandshine and enter to win.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Atlantic is Iowa’s City of Lights! Listed as Travel Iowa’s No. 1 Christmas destination, more than 200,000 LED lights along Chestnut Street dazzle visitors. Santa’s Cabin is located in the middle of the city park, with horse-drawn carriage rides adding to the festive vibe.

Atlantic is Travel Iowa’s No. 1 Christmas destination. The Rock Island Railroad was critical in deciding the location of Atlantic. The old depot anchors Chestnut Street.


Living Ranch Life

10 Ways the Wiese Family

Raises Better Beef

If you’re driving across Highway 141 in western Iowa, you’ll spot a large sign for Wiese & Sons “Good Doin’ Bulls” just east of Manning. If you wonder what that means, the Wiese family is happy to explain, even though they’re extra busy this time of year.

“Spring is our Super Bowl,” says Chance Wiese, 29, who runs the business with his parents, Dave and Diana, and his younger brother Shayne, 27.

The family works around-the-clock during the spring calving season. “It’s a team effort,” says Chance, who works until 1 a.m. or so before Shayne takes over through the night. Then everyone meets up around 8 a.m. to do chores and discuss jobs for the day, from cleaning the cattle bedding to selling Hereford bulls.

What makes these ‘good doin’ Hereford bulls so valuable? “Herefords roamed the range when the American West was settled,” Shayne says. “They are hardy, docile, adaptable, easy keepers that can handle the coldest of the cold and hottest of the hot weather.”

Photos by Joseph

1 Honoring a proud heritage. The Wiese Hereford tradition spans five generations. In 1894, Ed Wiese purchased his first Hereford bull near Guthrie Center. By 1904, he settled near Manning, where he grew his farming operation. In 1912, he and his son Lester began raising registered Hereford cattle and started Ed Wiese and Son. When Lester’s sons, Gene and Sam, joined the operation in 1948, the family changed the business name to Wiese & Sons. After Gene’s son Dave joined the Wiese partnership in 1982, he and his wife Diana raised their three boys on the ranch. All three sons work in the cattle industry today. “Chance and I are so thankful to be part of this family business,” Shayne says. “Its success is a testament to the hard work and vision of generations who went before us.”

2 Working together. The Wiese boys grew up helping their parents and grandparents with chores, doctoring calves and handling other farm jobs. “At the time, I didn’t realize how unique it was to get to work with your family,” says Shayne, an Iowa State University graduate. “I appreciate working with my family every day.”

3 Focusing on genetic improvement. Shayne evaluates genetics and develops breeding plans to maintain the highest quality within Wiese & Sons’ herd. Herefords are known for their superior efficiency, which means they require less feed than other breeds to grow and produce exceptional beef. Chefs are taking note. “Some restaurants now only offer Certified Hereford Beef,” Chance says.

Herefords produce tender, flavorful beef. Here are 10 things the Wiese family prioritizes to produce the best beef possible:
Herefords are known for their superior efficiency, which means they require less feed than other breeds to grow and produce exceptional beef. Shayne Wiese is the fifth generation raising Hereford cattle.


Moving beyond monocultures. The Wiese family raises corn and soybeans, which they feed to their cattle. They also grow an array of forages, including alfalfa, sorghumsudangrass, millet and other grasses. “We bale our own hay,” Chance adds.


Helping other cattle producers. While Wiese & Sons sells bulls to buyers in Missouri and beyond, most customers come from Iowa. The Wiese family also enjoys hosting college interns. “We like to help Iowa cattle producers succeed,” Shayne says.


Caring for the land. The Wiese boys learned a lot from their grandfather Gene Wiese who was inducted into the Iowa Hereford, Iowa Cattlemen’s and American Hereford Halls of Fame. “Grandpa always told us, ‘Take care of the land,’” Shayne says. This includes rotational grazing, where pastures are divided into paddocks so cattle can be moved periodically to avoid overgrazing. The Wiese family also seeds cover crops on their row crop acres. These plants grow into the late fall and in the early spring before corn and soybeans fill the fields. “Cover crops help capture carbon, control soil erosion and add valuable organic matter that improves the soil,” Chance says. “Cover crops also provide good grazing for our cattle.”

Rudy, a purebred Border Collie, helps herd purebred Hereford cattle and their newborn calves. Daily documentation of livestock health and activities is essential.

7 Protecting the environment. Cattle are ruminants, which means they are masters at upcycling fiber from grasslands into nutritious protein. “Ruminants, like buffalo, were grazing these lands long before cattle were here,” Chance notes. Gaseous emissions that cattle produce break down in the atmosphere much faster than emissions from cars or airplanes, he adds. “I invite people to tour our ranch and see how cows help improve the environment.”


Using technology to farm smarter. Modern cattle ranching relies on genomic DNA tests and other sophisticated technology to produce high-quality beef. “A lot of science, data and good management practices go into this business,” Shayne says.

9 Telling Wiese & Sons’ story. Chance is the driving force behind the Wiese & Sons website (, which includes a virtual ranch tour. He also handles social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. “We want to give a ‘boots on the ground’ perspective of what daily life is like here and showcase the beauty of rural Iowa,” Chance says.


Looking to the future. Respecting the past while maintaining a forward-thinking mindset is essential to Wiese & Sons’ success, Chance says. “We want to put things in a good position for the sixth generation.”

Since 1912, members of the Wiese family have been raising registered Hereford cattle near Manning.

Sara Preston is a sixth-generation farmer who raises cattle and grows corn and soybeans. She is an active member of CommonGround Iowa and is an educator with North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom. She grew up in the agriculture industry with a foundation in the 4-H and FFA Youth Leadership programs. Sara lives near Swea City with her husband Jared and children Nora, Maggie and Croix.

Fields of Opportunities


If I said ‘agriculture’ or ‘farming,’ what would come to mind? I’m guessing it’s fields of corn and soybeans, a farm with livestock or an individual farmer. Although those thoughts and pictures that may come to mind are the heart of agriculture, many more people are involved in the growing and raising of food, fiber, feed and fuel.

On our farm, we work with many different professionals, such as the following, to make our operation successful.

Seed Dealers. These are the people who sell us our corn and soybeans. Some farmers work with just one dealer and others, like us, work with multiple seed dealers.

Chemical Sales Representatives. To keep our crops weed- and pest-free, we work with experts who know what we should be putting on our crops and when. We want to keep this to a minimum, so product knowledge and timing are essential.

Equipment Dealers. Farms require combines, tractors, sprayers, skid loaders, manure spreaders, augers and other specialized equipment. We rely on these experts to help us purchase the right equipment that best suits our farm.

Precision Specialists. Technology is ever-changing in agriculture and constantly advancing. These specialists help with many important functions, such as creating maps to assist with precise planting or fertilizer placement.

Mechanics. Equipment maintenance and repairs are essentials to keep work on schedule, so mechanics are always in high demand.

Insurance Specialists. We must insure our crops, livestock, buildings, equipment and many other items. As part of our risk management strategy, we work with specialists to effectively cover the farm’s assets.

Co-op and Ethanol Plant Workers. Farmers often sell grain at these locations, and we also get “wet cake,” a cattle feed source, from our local ethanol plant.

Veterinarians. Livestock farmers rely on the expertise of a local veterinarian to keep animals healthy.

Nutritionists. Just like humans, our cows need balanced nutrition. We work with nutritionists to determine the proper diets for our cows, calves and feedlot cattle.

fresh picked

Cattle Buyers. We raise our own cattle; however, we often purchase additional cattle to fill barns. Instead of going from sale to sale looking for cattle, we work with buyers who know the ins and outs of the different sale locations to procure the type of cattle we are seeking for our farm.

Truckers. After purchasing cattle, we work with a trucking company to bring the cattle to our farm and pick cattle up when they are ready for market.

Loan Officers. Having a strong working relationship with your bank and loan officer is necessary for nearly all farmers. When they understand agriculture and your farm, life is so much easier.

Accountants. With all the moving pieces of the farm, it is

essential to make sure everything is covered in our financial records and processes.

All the people who participate in agriculture and work every day to provide services or products, eventually lead back to the farmer. In addition, many other professionals provide behindthe-scenes support, including marketing, human resources and other essential roles.

Another agriculture sector, which is near and dear to my heart, includes those that advocate for the industry and provide education. These roles include high school ag teachers, FFA Advisors, 4-H youth coordinators, extension program directors, commodity representatives, speakers, authors, bloggers or those like me, Ag in the

Classroom educators. These individuals teach others about agriculture and share agriculture’s opportunities and possibilities with passion.

Everyone who plays a role within agriculture makes the industry stronger. When visitors enter Iowa, the “Fields of Opportunities” message is genuine. In Iowa, 1 in 5 jobs are related to agriculture. There are more than 58,000 jobs available in agriculture every year, an industry that continues to thrive as we feed a growing population.

Iowa agriculture is growing. Iowa agriculture is strong. Iowa agriculture has opportunities like no other industry. The skill sets, expertise and passion within Iowa agriculture are second to none.

Off the farm, Sara Preston is an Ag in the Classroom educator, teaching children about agriculture.
Looking for more ways to explore Iowa’s farms, foods and communities? Join more than 75,000 subscribers who already receive the free Fresh Pickings eNewsletter! Iowa Soybean Association, 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, Iowa 50023
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.