Fresh Pickings Magazine | Summer 2022

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EXPLORE WASHINGTON COUNTY NICHE AGRICULTURE TAKES ROOT FARM ANIMALS LIVING THE GOOD LIFE

SUMMER 2022
VISIT IABEEF.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS YEAR’S CHAMPION IN
BEST BURGER CONTEST
IOWA’S
takes down competitors

Welcome

In the summer 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.

SECRETS OF IOWA’S ARTESIAN WELLS

Iowa’s artesian wells offer a fascinating glimpse into the vital role groundwater plays in our state.

NICHE AGRICULTURE TAKES ROOT

Meet three Iowa agripreneurs who are thriving in Iowa with herbs, wheatgrass and maple syrup.

THE

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Discover innovative ways farmers, veterinarians and nutritionists
good
30
attractions
14 Features
LIVING
GOOD LIFE
help farm animals live the
life.
WANDER OVER TO WASHINGTON COUNTY Experience spectacular sunsets and abundant
with an Iowa staycation to southeast Iowa.

FAMILY TABLE: EGG-STRAVAGANT SPREADS

HEALTHY BITES: FIRST FOODS FOR BABIES

POINT OF INTEREST: IOWA 80 TRUCKSTOP

FRESH PICKED: FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE

DESTINATION

BRAZIL A learning journey for Iowa soybean growers will help them better compete in a global marketplace.

POWER HOUR Make meal prepping a cinch by pairing nutritious proteins with key ingredients for balanced options.

ON THE COVER: Washington County is known as the Barn Quilt Capital of Iowa and features diverse and colorful styles throughout the region.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 3
SUMMER 2022 | ISSUE NO. 14 In Every Issue
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EDITOR’S NOTE: BUCKETS OF OPPORTUNITIES
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BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IOWA FOOD & FAMILY PROJECT

IOWA FOOD & FAMILY PROJECT

FOUNDERS

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

SUPPORTERS

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

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complete the form at iowafoodandfamily.com/magazine/feedback.

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IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 5
Challenging all Iowans to improve their well-being through purposeful engagement. 10 Week Wellness Challenge • Live Healthy Iowa 5K • Strut Your Pup Challenge • Burst Your Thirst Challenge The Next Step Challenge • Go the Distance May • LHI Kids Track Championships • Fall Fitness Day LiveHealthyIowa.org info@livehealthyiowa.org 888.777.8881

Buckets of Opportunities

Great Akron Scarecrow Festival in Akron or the Adel Sweet Corn Festival. Or, check out Iowa’s Farm & Fun Passport from the Iowa Tourism Office, which features an Iowa Dairy Trail.

Grill up Goodness

I t seems like almost everyone has a bucket list. Maybe yours includes traveling, trying new foods, making a big purchase or something else that will push you out of your comfort zone.

Summer into early fall is the perfect time to find new experiences and make long-lasting memories. The state comes to life with festivals, amusement parks, water recreation and extra time to spend with family and friends.

This time of year in Iowa is simply magical. I want to share a few things from my bucket list that I hope will inspire you!

Tourism in our Backyard

Many cities and towns in Iowa put on amazing festivals and events. Often celebrating what is unique to their area, these events support local communities and offer fun and engaging activities for visitors. Consider visiting a small-town festival, such as Oktoberfest in the Amana Colonies, Boom-Fest in Vinton, the

Summer is prime grilling season! Iowa farmers provide a bounty of products perfect for putting on the gas, charcoal or electric grill. Aside from traditional burgers and brats, consider what else you can cook on the grill for your family or a crowd. Pizza gains an added level of smoky-rich flavor, veggies like zucchini and romaine lettuce become lightly charred and tender, and stone fruits like peaches and plums become caramelized and sweet.

Water for the Win

A wise person once told me that if your kids are having a tough day, take them outside or add water. Why not do both? Iowa has hundreds of opportunities to get outside and enjoy being near or in the water. Many state parks have kayak and paddle board rentals as well as beaches available for a day of fun in the sun. Waterparks like Adventure Bay in Des Moines or Lost Island in Waterloo provide thrills and chills with winding waterslides and lazy rivers.

Iowa has a wealth of opportunities for family fun. While you’re enjoying a juicy hamburger or a canoe trip down a waterway, know that Iowa farmers likely had a hand in the food being served and in protecting and enhancing Iowa’s waterways through sustainable soil and water management practices.

Enjoy the issue,

Win a $100 Hy-Vee gift certificate to purchase Iowa-grown meats and other grilling essentials. Visit iowafoodandfamily.com/magazine/summer-hyvee and enter to win.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 7 editor’s note

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.

Egg-stravagant Spreads

TWO TANTALIZING TWISTS ON A CLASSIC STANDBY

A t nearly any Iowa potluck, you’ll find one of my favorite appetizers – classic deviled eggs. The basic filling of this creation contains hard-boiled egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard and spices. However, I’ve never been known to leave well enough alone when it comes to food. I’ve discovered I enjoy my deviled eggs a bit on the wild side with additional ingredients that may pique your interest.

Here are a few tips on making the best deviled eggs:

Use the right equipment . You’ll need a large pan with a lid and a large mixing bowl filled halfway with ice cubes. I also like to use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs out of the hot water and into the ice bath.

Fresh eggs are not required. The fresher your eggs are, the harder they will be to peel. This is because the egg white or “albumen” in a fresh egg has a relatively low pH level, making it acidic. These fresh egg whites bond strongly to the inner shell’s membrane when cooked, making the eggs frustrating to peel.

Start with cold water. Starting the eggs in cold water will allow the white to cook slowly and avoid a rubbery result.

Don’t overcook the eggs and have an ice bath prepared. Place the eggs into the pot, and cover

with cold water 1 inch above the eggs. Bring the pot to a boil and immediately remove from heat, cover and set aside for 13 minutes. At the 13-minute mark, scoop the eggs into the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Chill eggs in the ice bath for about 15 minutes, then peel.

Flavorful ingredients are key. I like to try different ingredients in deviled eggs, but before committing to making a whole batch based on a hunch, I use these ideas as garnishes on top of a classic deviled egg recipe. A simple taste test reveals a lot. A garnish of a piece of crisp bacon, a half of a cherry tomato and a chunk of creamy avocado was the genesis of the recipe you’ll find on the next page.

I fail at this step more than I don’t, but it is a great idea to chill the deviled egg filling before piping or scooping. Doing so also helps to develop better flavor.

Add texture and a burst of flavor with garnishes. Texturally, the deviled egg is a smooth operator. Try adding texture to enhance the final product. The basic principles of flavor are salt, richness, sweetness and acid. Be sure to check off as many boxes as you can with various ingredient additions to create a complex and appealing deviled egg of your own!

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family table

Bacon Avocado and Tomato Deviled Eggs

• 12 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

• 1 avocado, pitted and mashed well

• 1/4 cup AE Dairy Sour Cream Dip, Toasted Onion flavor or plain sour cream (the secret ingredient!)

• 3 tablespoons regular mayonnaise

• 1 teaspoon sugar

• 2 teaspoons lemon juice

• 12 small cherry tomatoes, halved (or 6 regular-sized cherry tomatoes, quartered or one small tomato, chopped)

• 4-6 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled

Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove hard yolks carefully into a separate bowl. Add avocado, sour cream, mayonnaise and sugar to the egg yolks. Use a hand mixer to beat until smooth. Chill.

Scoop a generous amount of mixture into each egg white half. Right before serving, garnish with small cherry tomato half or quarter and crisp bacon crumbles. Makes 24 deviled eggs.

Dill Deviled Eggs

• 12 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

• 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles (or sweet pickles for a different flavor)

• 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery

• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

• 3 tablespoons AE Dairy Chive Sour Cream Dip

• 2 teaspoons pickle juice

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

• Garnishes: fresh dill, paprika or dill pickles

Cut cooked eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove yolks into separate bowl and add remaining ingredients. Chill.

Scoop chilled mixture into egg white halves. Serve garnished with additional chopped dill, sprinkle of paprika or a slice of dill pickle, if desired. Makes 24 deviled eggs.

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BABY'S FIRST FOODS

Iowa’s homegrown foods can play a vital role in fulfilling nutritional gaps in infants and children.

Protein and dairy support nutrition for children under the age of 2, who are at a crucial period of growth and development.

Make every bite count with foods containing the nutrients needed for brain development and growth!

Visit www.iowafoodandfamily.com for more information and tips.

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MAKE EVERY BITE COUNT

5 reasons to integrate proteins and solid foods into the diets of infants and toddlers

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publish Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).

For the first time, the DGA (2020-2025) recommends introducing solid foods, like meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and soy foods, to infants and toddlers to pack in every bite with protein, iron, zinc and choline. Highquality nutrients in these foods support growing bodies and healthy brain development in babies and toddlers. The DGA joins the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Women Infants and Children’s Program in making these recommendations.

Data within the study shows why integrating solid foods is essential, including these five key reasons:

1 5

The time from birth until a child’s second birthday is a critically important period for proper growth and development and establishing healthy dietary patterns for the life course. During this period, nutrients critical for brain development and growth must be provided in adequate amounts.

2 3 4

In the U.S., a lack of some common nutrients, such as protein, iron, zinc and choline, are of public health concern for infants and toddlers. Animal source foods are a fundamental food for healthy growth in the early years, prioritizing the consumption of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy along with soyfoods to help children close the gap on critical nutrient shortfalls.

A 9-month-old infant needs nine times more iron than an adult male, yet, only 10% of infants are starting to eat meat – a key source of iron – at this age. There are safe and wholesome ways to introduce meat into infants’ diets, and Iowa’s protein-rich commodities can serve as excellent mealtime resources.

Protein supports nutrition for children under the age of 2, who are at a crucial period of growth and development. Iowa-produced foods can play a vital role in fulfilling nutritional gaps in infants and children.

Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, seafood, nuts, seeds and soy products are essential sources of iron, zinc, protein, choline and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically omega-3 and omega-6, influence the infant’s fatty acid status and are among the key nutrients needed for the rapid brain development that occurs through the infant’s first two years of life.

For more information, visit iowafoodandfamily.com.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 11
healthy bites

Keep on Trucking

Refuel, relax and recharge at Iowa 80, the World’s Largest Truckstop

Stretching east to west from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, Interstate 80 is home to miles of rolling Iowa farmland and roughly one-third of the state’s sprawling urban centers. Along the busy route, thousands of cross-country trucks haul freight and deliver essential goods and services while ordinary traffic weaves in and out.

At mile marker 284, just north of Walcott and near Davenport, the history and daily ongoings of this high-performing highway system collide at Iowa 80 – the world’s largest truck stop.

Destination for All Drivers

Since 1964, Iowa 80 Truckstop has served as a home away from home for countless truck drivers and everyday travelers. Bill Moon, Iowa 80 founder, initially scouted the location for Standard Oil as sections of the first interstate highway systems were being built.

Situated just six hours from Detroit and Omaha, and only three hours from Des Moines and Chicago, the site was an ideal pit stop for truckers looking to refuel their rigs along the interstate.

A year after Iowa 80 opened, Moon took over as the location manager. He spent

the next two decades getting to know the needs of his customers as Interstate 80 was completed and the number of daily truckers and travelers grew.

In 1984, Standard Oil decided to sell the facility. Recognizing the potential to expand the business as their own, Bill and his wife Carolyn eagerly leveraged everything they had to purchase the truck stop.

What started as a small store, restaurant and dusty gravel parking lot quickly grew into a thriving roadside epicenter focused on providing specialized services and amenities for drivers.

point of interest
Photo credit: Iowa 80 Truckstop.

“It was never the Moon family’s goal to expand Iowa 80 into the world’s largest truck stop,” says Heather DeBaillie, vice president of marketing at CAT Scale Company/Iowa 80 Group. “It was just something that happened as a result of Bill and Carolyn’s passion for the business and desire to reinvest in their customers.”

“Iowa 80 Truckstop continues to operate and maintain its title as the world’s largest using the same philosophy on which it was founded – providing a safe, clean and welcoming environment that offers something for everyone,” she shares.

Going the Extra Mile Today, Iowa 80 sits on a 225-acre plot with 75 acres of the site currently developed into 900 parking spaces, 42 gas islands, 16 diesel lanes and a 100,000square-foot main building that welcomes approximately 5,000 customers per day.

Many grab-and-go menu options are available at the truck stop food court and convenience store, and the Iowa 80 Kitchen can seat up to 300 hungry travelers who stop in to enjoy a home-cooked meal.

To accommodate the nomadic lifestyle of truckers, the truck stop

houses a dentist, barbershop, chiropractor, private showers, workout room, laundry facilities, TV lounge and a 60-seat movie theatre. A gift store, custom embroidery and vinyl shop, fuel and service centers, truck wash, scale and pet wash are also available.

One of the more recent expansions includes the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, which displays a large collection of antique trucks, original petroliana signs and vintage gas pumps.

Perhaps even more impressive than the expansive scale of the facilities and conveniences offered, Iowa 80 is proudly open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – a feat made possible by 500 dedicated employees who work around the clock to provide a high level of service to customers.

“We’re a family-owned company, and as co-workers, we support one another like family,” says DeBaillie. “The novelty of being the world’s largest truck stop certainly attracts visitors, but it’s the work ethic, knowledge and hospitality of our employees that keep drivers coming back.”

Visit Iowa 80 Truckstop on I-80, Exit 284.

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Artesian wells, , like this one at Spring Park near Osage, offer a remarkable glimpse of the vast, largely unseen world of groundwater beneath our feet. Photo credit: Duane Klipping, Bonfire Photography.

Go with the Flow

Unlocking the secrets of Iowa’s artesian wells

The future of any farm or community is tied to adequate supplies of fresh water. Iowa’s amazing artesian wells offer a fascinating glimpse into groundwater’s vital role in our state.

Maybe you’ve heard advertisements from water companies selling “artesian-well drinking water.” Is this water unique?

“Artesian water is really not different from other groundwater, except it flows to the land surface because pressure in the rocks underground forces it to the surface,” notes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Iowa’s early settlers valued these naturally flowing artesian wells, which supplied drinking water for people and livestock. “Artesian wells were highly sought after because they were more reliable than surface wells,” says Abbey Conrad, a naturalist and park ranger with the Calhoun County Conservation Board.

An artesian well installed in the 1800s near the historic Rainbow Bridge southwest of Lake City continues to flow near the Racoon River. “Years ago, it was thought that having an artesian well on or close to your property would increase the land’s value when it came time to sell,” Conrad says.

Understanding Iowa’s Liquid Assets

Artesian wells offer a remarkable glimpse of the vast, largely unseen world of groundwater beneath our feet. Most Iowans (80%) depend on groundwater for their household water supply, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 15

Artesian wells occur where a porous layer of rock filled with water lies between impermeable rock layers. The impermeable layers surrounding the porous layer prevent the water from reaching the water table (the boundary between water-saturated ground and dry ground).

When a hole is drilled to tap into this water source, water in the porous level rises in the well to reach the water table. The higher the water table, the greater the water pressure. According to the USGS, this pressure powers artesian wells, which are named after Artois in France (the old Roman city of Artesium), where the best-known flowing artesian wells were drilled in the Middle Ages.

“Jumbo” Made Belle Plaine World Famous

A massive artesian well in Belle Plaine, Iowa, became known as the “eighth wonder of the world” for a time in the 1800s. Belle Plaine was already known for having many artesian wells, which farmers used to water their livestock, says Mitch Malcolm, a historian from Belle Plaine. By the late 1880s, Belle Plaine drilled new wells to provide

additional water supplies for residents of the growing town.

Belle Plaine contracted with William Weir & Sons of Monticello to drill a well in the south part of town to provide water and fire protection for a nearby school. The contract called for a 3-inch well, but Weir only had 2-inch drilling equipment as he drilled a 195-foot well. Unfortunately, the water started gushing out on Aug. 26, 1886, and Weir did not have the equipment to stop it.

“No one knew what kind of force the well would produce and how hard it would be to stop the flow,” Malcolm says. “It seems the system is contained by a layer of clay, not rock, so it can be hard to cap once it is ‘popped.’”

An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 gallons per minute burst out of “Jumbo,” which flooded the southern portion of Belle Plaine. Weir tried several times to control the flow, but Jumbo was completely out of control. Weir skipped town that Friday night, Aug. 27, 1886, never to return.

The well also hurled up tons of sand, along with petrified wood and

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When Belle Plaine drilled a new well on Aug. 26, 1886, thousands of gallons per minute started shooting out of the well, which earned the name “Jumbo.” Not until Oct. 6, 1887, were crews able to cap Jumbo. Photo credit: Darcy Dougherty Maulsby. A plaque commemorates the Jumbo Well. Photo credit: Brian Abeling, Abeling Photo. A massive artesian well in Belle Plaine became known as the “eighth wonder of the world” in the 1800s.

stones. Local boys gathered up bits of the debris, which they sold to curious onlookers.

On Aug. 29, 1886, Belle Plaine’s Palmer Brothers Foundry tried to control the flow by pile driving 110 feet of boiler flues plus a 16-foot-tall smokestack into the well. Then came one last tap of the pile driver – and disaster. Onlookers gasped as Jumbo devoured the flues, smokestack and all.

“Belle Plaine hired another company to stop the well, and they made a sideshow of the event, putting up fencing around Jumbo and charging people to see it,” Malcolm says. “They even donned a deep-sea diving suit to go inside the well.”

Not until Oct. 6, 1887, were crews from Palmer Brothers Foundry able to cap the well. While Jumbo was tamed decades ago, its legacy lives on through artifacts and photos at the Belle Plaine Area Museum, along with a historical marker and mural downtown.

There are still several artesian wells around Belle Plaine, including one at Hole No. 5 at the Belle Plaine Country Club’s golf course. “There’s a hand pump there, and the water is nice and cold,” Malcolm says. “On a hot day, you really look forward to reaching the well.”

Indispensable to Healthy and Decent Living

Iowa has a variety of artesian wells, from towns near the Mississippi River to parts of western Iowa. While some of these wells have been capped, others are tourist attractions.

An artesian well delights visitors at Spring Park near Osage. The first cylinder tube was installed in this well in 1890, notes the Osage Chamber of Commerce. “The park’s spring has maintained a constant flow to this day,” adds the City of Osage’s website. “The water is tested frequently and tastes great at a temperature of 52 degrees.”

Like any water supply, the quality of artesian well water makes it valuable. “Pure water is not a luxury but a necessity,” notes a publication called “Artesian Wells of Iowa” published in the early 1900s. “It is indispensable to healthy and decent living.”

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Belle Plaine’s “Jumbo” well became untamable in the late summer and early fall of 1886. Along with water, it hurled up sand, petrified wood and stones. Boys gathered up bits of the debris, which they sold to curious onlookers. Photo credit: Belle Plaine Area Museum.
Iowa has a variety of artesian wells, from towns near the Mississippi River to parts of western Iowa. While some of these wells have been capped, others are tourist attractions.

Niche Agriculture Takes Root

Meet three “agripreneurs” who are cultivating creativity and tapping into nature’s goodness

Iowa’s soils are rich and abundant.

The sky is clear and vast, with rays of perfectly timed sunshine stretching to embrace lush rolling landscapes. Across the state, it’s a fertile canvas for agriculture to flourish. Beyond the valuable rows of soybeans and corn, and intertwined among farms producing wholesome proteins, lie spaces of prospering niche agriculture. Three of Iowa’s agripreneurs share how they are thriving by cultivating fresh herbs, growing nutrient-rich wheatgrass and tapping into sweet maple syrup.

Pickle Creek Herbs Infusing Flavors with Culinary Chemistry

About 15 years ago, Jocelyn and Tim Engman traded their Chicago-area chemistry jobs for what might have been deemed crazy and impossible at the time –creating a thriving business on a 100-acre Iowa family farm near Fairfield.

“I grew up on the farm, and even though Tim grew up in a Chicago suburb, his parents were raised on farms in South

Dakota,” Jocelyn explains. “When my dad retired from farming, we quit our jobs as chemists and moved to Iowa.”

Today, the couple is the proud owner of Pickle Creek Herbs. They grow herbs, berries, tomatoes and garlic, which they then use to create herb-infused olive oils and vinegars, soaps, salves, deodorants and lip balms. The products are available online and in nearly 80 Iowa retail locations, plus the Engmans are regular vendors at the Des Moines’

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Downtown Farmers’ Market and Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Market. Homegrown plants sprout in Pickle Creek Herb's greenhouses.

The Engmans take the process from seed to store and make everything themselves, using recipes perfected over the years. Jocelyn’s educational background – earning a degree in chemistry alongside her husband at Central College in Pella – is especially handy when pairing and infusing herbs.

All of Pickle Creek’s products are made in a State of Iowa-certified kitchen near the farm. Infusing oils and vinegars can take anywhere from a day to a week depending on the flavor character Jocelyn is working to create with products.

“There are a lot of timing issues with infusion to get everything just right,” she explains. “Some are created by temperature heating. The State of Iowa has strict guidelines for shelf stability of food products, so we’re rigorous with our processes.”

While the seeds for the herbs and heirloom fruits and vegetables get started in tunnel greenhouses, everything is moved directly into the ground for the growing season. The couple loves growing heirloom varieties due to the remarkable genetic diversity and taste.

The concepts for pairing herbs with one another or different foods come from ideas and experimentation. Jocelyn tells people to do the same thing when cooking with infused oils and vinegars.

“It always comes down to what flavors you want in a food or dish. The vinegars – with their acidic nature – make exceptional marinades,” she explains. “One of my pork recipes calls for marinating the pork and apples used in the dish in our balsamic vinegar. It creates an incredibly delicious meal.”

For more information, visit picklecreek.com.

Mini Caprese Salad

• 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

• 1 package mozzarella pearls

• 1 handful Greek basil leaves

• 2-3 tablespoons Pickle Creek infused olive oil

• 2-3 tablespoons Pickle Creek infused balsamic vinegar

• Sea salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

Place cherry tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Toss well and spoon onto a large, shallow platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with the fresh basil.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 19
Tim Engman sells Pickle Creek's products at the Des Moines' Downtown Farmers' Market.

Fresh Wheatgrass Girl

Changing the World with Wheatgrass

Kerri Rush is widely known throughout Iowa as “The Wheatgrass Girl,” with a knack for making healthy taste great. Flourishing in a career working as a graphic artist for Adobe, her path to building a successful business was somewhat a twist of fate.

She started growing wheatgrass in 1996 when her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon, liver and lymph node cancer. After researching alternative healthy ways to boost her mom’s immune system, she discovered wheatgrass and juicing. She became hooked on the benefits of wheatgrass, and

today, her mom is thriving and so is Kerri’s business.

Kerri opened the Fresh Cafe & Market and a fresh juice stand at the Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market in 2006, where she continues to be found every Saturday morning during the market season. An award-winning chef, she specializes in juices, smoothies, salads and anything that can be made with fresh produce.

“While I can’t legally make any health claims about wheatgrass, I simply know how much better I feel and how others tell me it makes them feel,” Kerri explains.

“In just 2 ounces of wheatgrass, there are 12 grams of protein, and the nutrients are equivalent to having 3 to 5 pounds of a dark green leafy salad.”

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Kerri Rush harvests her wheatgrass, which she turns into nutritious green juice.

Wheatgrass is a plant grown from the red wheatberry, which produces high concentrations of chlorophyll, active enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients. Chlorophyll, which makes up more than 70% of the solid content of wheatgrass juice, is the basis of all plant life. It is often referred to as “the blood of plants” and closely resembles the molecules of human red blood cells.

“When I started my business, I told my mentor, ‘I’m going to change the world with wheatgrass. It’s the king of all vegetables,’” Kerri explains.

That mantra guides Kerri every day as she strives to make wheatgrass

common by helping people learn how to grow it themselves, integrate it into fresh foods and reap the nutritional benefits.

Whether traveling throughout the metro area delivering wheatgrass in potted plants for customers to use in their juicers or as readyto-use frozen pods or juice, Kerri’s passion for her ag niche is contagious.

“I don’t believe in telling people what they should or shouldn’t eat, but rather I love to share the benefits of adding one really great thing to what you’re already doing,” Kerri says.

For more information, visit freshcafeandmarket.com.

Berry Popsicles

• 1 ounce Fresh Wheatgrass Girl wheatgrass juice, fresh or frozen

• 1/3 cup Fresh Wheatgrass Girl heartbeet juice

• 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Combine all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and place the wooden popsicle sticks three-fourths the way down. Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Run the popsicles under warm water for about 15 seconds to remove from the molds.

Kerri Rush juices fresh wheatgrass at her Des Moines' Downtown Farmers' Market stand.

Great River Maple Syrup

Tapping into a Tree’s Gold

Near the Mississippi River, the small northeast Iowa town of Garnavillo is home to Great River Maple, a company tapping into the sweet success of maple syrup.

The company, aptly named for the Mississippi being the “Great River” and located right off the Great River Road, is prospering with products not typically produced in Iowa.

“The business was started about 12 years ago by my in-laws Dan and Dorinda Potter,” explains Jeremy Turek, who along with his wife, plays

a significant role in business today. “My father-in-law is a former dairy farmer and dairy nutritionist. We make the syrup on the original dairy farm that’s been in the family for several generations.”

The 100% natural maple syrup comes from the sugar bush trees inherited from Dan’s great-grandfather. Many of the farm’s original buildings are still standing and have been repurposed to fit the needs of the maple syrup-making business, such as a state-certified commercial kitchen. A barn from the 1800s serves as the host site for the family’s Annual Maple Festival, which takes place each March and draws approximately 650 attendees annually.

“To make our syrup, we tap about 4,000 sugar maple trees over four to six weeks,” Jeremy explains. A maze of 34,000 miles of connecting lines takes the sap downhill with gravity power and into the sugar shack, a farm building initially built for sheep between 1914 and 1920.

To make maple syrup, trees are tapped when the sap naturally starts flowing in the spring. It’s maple syrup-making time when the leaves start coming back onto the precious maples, which are at least 8 inches in diameter. When this happens, the trees pull sugar from the roots to bud the leaves.

“When the trees are tapped, we take about 1% of the sugar out of the tree,

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Great River's 100% natural maple syrup comes from the sugar bush trees on the family’s multigenerational farm, which was originally a dairy farm.

and it replaces itself naturally,” Jeremy explains. “When the sap comes out, it’s 98% water and 2% sugar. It takes about 43 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of 100% pure maple syrup.”

Great River Maple’s products are available online and across Iowa in grocery stores, specialty stores, the Iowa State Fair and Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market.

One of Jeremy’s favorite parts of the business is sharing how

people can use their syrup products, including maple sugar and maple cream.

“Beyond the traditional uses on pancakes, waffles and French toast, maple products are also delicious on pork, salmon, desserts and as a natural sweetener in coffee and lemonade. There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy pure maple syrup,” he adds.

For more information, visit greatrivermaple.com.

Visit iowafoodandfamily.com/magazine/niche-ag to win $75 in products from one of the businesses featured in this article.

Bourbon Maple & Black Pepper Smoked Salmon

• 2.5 to 3 pounds salmon, skin on and cut into 4-inch strips crosswise

BRINE:

• 1 quart water

• 3/4 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 cup kosher salt

• 1/2 cup Great River Maple Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

PER FILLET:

• 1 tablespoon Great River Maple Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix brine ingredients until completely dissolved. Put salmon in zip-top bag and pour in brine. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. Drain brine and pat salmon dry; continue to dry salmon in refrigerator for another 4 to 6 hours or overnight to form a pellicle (a sticky layer on the outside that helps absorb smoke).

Once pellicle is formed, brush each fillet with maple syrup and add freshly ground black pepper on top.

Preheat smoker to 170 degrees F. Place salmon fillets on the grate, skin side down. Smoke with apple or pecan wood until the fillet reaches 145 degrees F (about 4 to 6 hours). At about 3 hours into cooking, drizzle more syrup over the fillets (do not brush on as it will remove the pepper).

This recipe won first place in the Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup Category at the 2019 Iowa State Fair.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 23
Danielle Turek, daughter of owners Dan and Dorinda Potter, creates unique recipes that incorporate her family’s maple products. Cow comfort is a top priority for Scott Stempfle, a third-generation dairy farmer from Maynard. Dr. Anna Johnson walks through the swine barns at the Iowa State Research Farm to analyze the pigs' food, environment and stress levels, making sure they’re happy and healthy.

Good Life Living The

5 Ways Farmers and Specialists Promote Livestock Comfort and Health

While there are no “spa days” for cows, pigs and chickens, you might be surprised by the innovative ways farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists and other specialists help farm animals live the good life.

If you want to boost your health and well-being, do you make self-care a priority? Maybe you take a walk to de-stress or book an appointment at the spa. If you’re a veterinarian like Dr. Blake Schulte, you apply wellbeing concepts to livestock and view the world through a cow’s eyes.

“When I go to a dairy or beef farm, I try to put myself into the farmer’s boots and see things from the animals’ perspective,” says Schulte, a partner in the Winthrop Veterinary Clinic located in northeast Iowa. “Cow comfort is king.”

Schulte grew up on a 100-cow dairy farm near Norway, Iowa, and knows

firsthand how animal comfort contributes to animal well-being. “I would much rather minimize animal stress to prevent health issues than treat disease,” says Schulte, who spends about 60% of his time working with dairy cows and 40% with beef cattle.

He loves working with farmers who share his passion for animal care, including Scott Stempfle with Stempfle Holsteins near Maynard. When the family remodeled their dairy barns about six years ago, Stempfle and his parents, Paul and Jody, treated it like a home remodeling project in terms of attention to detail.

“My number-one focus is animal comfort,” says Stempfle, 26, a thirdgeneration dairy farmer. “This means providing a low-stress environment where the cows have easy access to feed and clean water.”

The Stempfles, who care for nearly 1,500 Holsteins, carefully designed the barns’ pens and flooring for cow comfort. A mechanized scraper system helps keep the floors clean. The family also invested in 1-inchthick rubber mats so the cows don’t have to stand on concrete.

“If your foot hurts, you don’t want to stand,” Stempfle says. “It’s the same for a dairy cow. When their feet are sore, they want to lie down a lot, they don’t want to eat, and they don’t produce as much milk. We’ve seen much better hoof health by using these rubber mats.”

LOWER STRESS + LIFE ENRICHMENT = HAPPY, HEALTHY ANIMALS

In many ways, proper animal care isn’t all that different from self-care for people. It’s not a luxury or an indulgence; it’s a practical approach to healthy living.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 25

Various specialists help farm animals live the good life through several proactive processes.

Customized nutrition.

Healthy, nutrient-dense foods are essential to wellness. Farmers often work with a livestock nutritionist to develop feed rations that are nutritionally balanced and tailored to the season.

“A lot of science goes into farm animals’ diets,” says Dr. Trey Kellner, a swine nutritionist at Audubon-based AMVC, which provides veterinary support, nutritional counseling and other services for livestock farmers. Kellner designs diets based on the animals’ growth stage, health status and the weather. “Just like you don’t want to eat a heavy, rich meal on a hot summer day, neither do pigs,” says Kellner, who earned his doctorate in animal science with an emphasis in swine nutrition from Iowa State University (ISU). “We tailor diets that encourage animals to consume enough nutrients. It’s all about ‘health by nutrition.’”

Farm animals’ diets are sustainable, Kellner adds. Feed rations for sows (mother pigs) can include 30% to 40% distillers dried grains, a corn-based co-product from ethanol production. Along with corn and soybean products, livestock feed can also include some surprising ingredients. “Pigs are similar to humans in many ways, including their gastrointestinal tracts,” Kellner says. “That’s why you can include bakery by-products and breakfast cereal fines – the small particles that result from cereal processing – in swine rations.”

Farm animal diets are tailored to encourage animals to consume enough nutrients.
“Just like you don’t want to eat a heavy, rich meal on a hot summer day, neither do pigs.”
– Dr. Trey Kellner

Comfortable surroundings.

Like people, animals need to get enough rest and relaxation to thrive. It starts with bedding that’s clean, dry and comfortable. Stempfle favors sand bedding for his family’s dairy cows, whose milk is made into cheese at the Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence.

“Sand is easy to clean, so you can wash out the manure, let the sand dry and reuse it for deep bedding,” Stempfle says. “Recycling the sand lowers our farm’s carbon footprint.”

The right bedding offers one more way to promote the humane treatment of animals, adds Schulte, who admires Dr. Temple Grandin, an internationally recognized leader in animal welfare. “Her insights have influenced everything from how cattle chutes are designed to proper lighting in barns. You literally get down on the animals’ level so you can understand what they’re experiencing and how to better meet their needs.”

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2
Scott Stempfle makes sure his young group of heifers are cool during a hot summer day.

Pain and stress relief.

3Farm animals living in low-stress environments tend to stay healthier. Schulte visits his clients’ farms every week, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the farmer’s needs, to check the animals’ health. “You have to build trust with each other and get to know each farmer’s needs,” Schulte says. “If there’s a health issue with an animal, we try to do what’s necessary and important.” This may mean using antibiotics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires veterinary oversight when livestock receive antibiotics via feed or water. “These protocols help keep the food supply safe,” Schulte says.

Dr. Anna Johnson spends time with her pigs to understand
their behavior.
“By working together, we can provide farm animals with the best care possible.”
– Dr. Anna Johnson

Personalized care.

Every cow at Stempfle Holsteins wears a collar that helps track the animal’s activity level and health. “If a cow isn’t moving much or isn’t chewing her cud like normal, the computerized system pops up an alert on my cell phone, so I can check on her,” Stempfle says. “This helps animals live longer, healthier lives. Our oldest cow is 12 years old, and I’ve had cows older than this in the past,” Stempfle says. This level of personalized care isn’t unique to Stempfle Holsteins, Schulte adds. “On many of my clients’ farms, the animals are treated like family.”

Enriching activities.

Both mental and physical health contribute to well-being. That’s why Dr. Anna Johnson and her colleagues at ISU are studying biologically relevant enrichment for farm animals. “It’s all about giving animals choices that fit with their natural behaviors,” says Johnson, an expert in farm animal behavior and welfare. To help weaned pigs transition more easily to starter feed, ISU researchers are combining the feed with flavors like strawberry jam. Then they shape the feed into balls (similar to bath bombs) and hang them on small ropes near the feeders. This appeals to pigs’ natural curiosity and rooting behavior. “Biologically relevant enrichment gives pigs more of a chance to be a pig,” Johnson says.

Her colleague, Dr. Liz Bobeck, is studying the benefits of installing small, red laser lights on the ceilings of barns housing broilers (chickens raised for meat). Each laser shines random, red dots on the floor, moving them at the speed a bug would walk. The lights intrigue the birds and lead them to the feeders. “We’re studying the right timing to know how often to shine the laser and how long to run it each time,” Johnson says. “Our goal is to improve livestock performance.”

Farmers are interested in these studies, adds Johnson, who conducts a large amount of onfarm research. “Producers are eager to gain new knowledge. They also ask important questions, like how to make this research practical in a farm setting and how to manage the cost.”

All these efforts help farm animals live the good life, contributing to a safe, healthy food supply. “It takes a team effort between farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists and other specialists,” Schulte says. “By working together, we can provide farm animals with the best care possible.”

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 29
“You have to build trust with each other and get to know each farmer’s needs.”
– Dr. Blake Schulte

wander Over to Washington County

Experience spectacular sunsets and abundant attractions with an Iowa staycation

Washington County’s landscapes come alive with pops of primary and jewel-tone colors adorning barns. Celebrating the area’s agricultural roots, the county is known as the Barn Quilt Capital of Iowa.

With a history as rich as the fertile soils, vast acres of cropland, and magnificent sunrises and sunsets that hug the rolling hills, Washington County offers a mecca of attractions.

Nestled in one of the most prosperous agricultural regions of Iowa and the Midwest, this county continues to blossom with a wholesome and energetic vibe.

Rooted in Agriculture

Glaciers are responsible for carving Washington County’s landscape into a series of drift plains, rolling hills and shallow landscapes.

Pioneers of the land were surrounded by prairie grasses and wildflowers, which are still visible across 2,100 protected acres. Stunning flowers, like Virginia Bluebells, Wild Bergamot and Yarrow dot the landscape and

a buffet of beautiful milkweed varieties – spanning a rainbow of colors – provide a delightful haven for Monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

The communities of Ainsworth, Brighton, Coppock, Crawfordsville, Kalona, Riverside, Washington, Wellman and West Chester serve as destination anchors for visitors to Washington County. Agriculture – corn, soybeans, pigs, cattle, turkeys and sheep – remains the county's principal economic activity and is the thread uniting the region.

If you’re looking for a delightful staycation for a day or long weekend, explore all that this county of nearly 22,000 residents offers with this itinerary.

Explore the Outskirts Starting on the western edge of

the county between Keota and West Chester, take a step back in time with vintage chic nostalgia. Like a commercial beacon on the plains, you can't miss Hal Colliver’s acreage and sign extravaganza . The collection of antique signs continues to grow from year to year and is a must-stop photo spot for people passing by. The seed and gas company signs along with gas pumps totaling in the hundreds are a reminder of advertising from a bygone era. According to Colliver, he purchased the signs from every corner of the U.S. while working as a truck driver during a career that spanned decades.

The 14-mile Kewash Nature Trail was once a former railroad right of way and connects in the middle of West Chester. It’s the perfect spot for a seasonal stroll.

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With diverse attractions and beautiful landscapes, Washington County offers opportunities for a delightful staycation.

In Keota, visit Wooden Wheel Vineyards , a tasting room and event center, which operates on a 170-year-old farm. Mike and Connie Vincent purchased the farm from Mike’s father in 1978; however, the property has been in the Vincent Family since 1854. While the farm crisis in the 1980s took Mike and Connie away from the farm, they always wanted to return with a viable agricultural enterprise.

In 2010, they sold their insurance agency in Altoona and returned to the farm, planting their first vines and beginning the construction of the winery and event center. Rich with stories of pioneer life, many of Wooden Wheel Vineyards’ wines are dedicated to the Vincent ancestors.

If you like pizza with friends, family, laughter and rustic Iowa charm, then Pizza on the Farm in Wellman is for you! Julia McNurlen hosts pizza-rich events on Friday evenings (May to September), and it is an opportunity for Iowans to connect with their farming roots. The home, which was her grandmother’s, has incredible views of the countryside. The pizza is made in a brick oven her husband built using reclaimed materials from the area. Parking is in a pasture dotted with cow pies, so visitors must watch their step, but that is part of the fun.

While in Wellman, also enjoy the nostalgia of roller skating on a historic wood floor at the town’s roller-skating rink.

Fuel your next Iowa road trip! Visit iowafoodandfamily.com/magazine/ road-trip to win a $100 ethanol gift card.

Nestled in one of the most prosperous agricultural regions of Iowa and the Midwest, Washington County blossoms with a wholesome and energetic vibe.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 33
Photo credit: Brian Abeling, Abeling Photo.

At the county’s northern edge, Kalona is home to the largest Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River. At the Kalona Historical Village , visitors learn about the local Amish settlement and discover the great respect the Amish have for family and their elders and the considerate way the Amish provide care for seniors. The scenic 1800s village also showcases pioneer life in 13 authentic buildings. Each structure was painstakingly restored and is filled with interesting and informative displays depicting the rugged years immigrant settlers spent taming the Iowa prairie.

Kalona Creamery Shop & Deli opened its doors in 2017. The building, formerly the Kalona Cheese Factory, was an iconic local establishment with roots dating back to the mid-1940s but closed in late 2014. The Kalona Creamery Shop & Deli, located on Highway 1, features numerous

products made in Iowa, including cheese curds, specialty meats and cheeses, pastries and much more.

The Best of Iowa Bakery and Golden Delight Bakery offer locals and visitors gourmet cupcakes, artisan breads, cinnamon rolls, donuts, pies and other delightful desserts.

As you tour around the perimeter of Washington County, visit Riverside to see where the city has dubbed the future birthplace (March 22, 2228, for Trekkies!) of Captain James T. Kirk from the famed Star Trek series. Grab a home-cooked meal at the Four Corners Restaurant & Fuel Stop , operated by a local family for more than 60 years in Ainsworth.

Nature lovers will be enamored with Lake Darling State Park in Brighton. Named after J.N. “Ding” Darling, a champion of conservation and nationally renowned editorial cartoonist, the

Located in the northern part of Washington County, Kalona is home to the largest Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River.

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Photo credit: Brian Abeling, Abeling Photo.

Washington’s downtown square reflects an active Americana feel and features unique retail shops.

park provides opportunities for family picnics, lake recreation and woodland hikes. It also offers winter activities, including snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, and visitors are encouraged to cozy up in a year-round cabin for a weekend getaway. From its 302acre lake to its wooded hills and valleys, Lake Darling State Park offers something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Barn Quilts Paint the Landscape

Amid the lush green landscapes, the horizons come alive with pops of primary and jewel-tone colors adorning barns. Celebrating the area’s agricultural roots, Washington County is known as the Barn Quilt Capital of Iowa

A joint project between Iowa State University Extension of Washington County and the Washington Chamber of Commerce led to a tour featuring more than 110 barn quilts. Four “loops” – Amish, Nature, Ag and Liberty –encompass different sections of the county and feature the heritage of each loop.

A guided map with the addresses and quilt names is available from the Washington Chamber of Commerce.

A City and County with the Same Name

The hub of the county is a city with the same name. Recognized as a “Main Street Community,” Washington’s downtown square reflects an active Americana feel and features unique retail shops.

The iconic Centennial Fountain was constructed and dedicated in 1939 for the city’s Centennial Celebration.

It remains the only one of its type in the continental U.S. The fountain features a multicolored light show and provides the focal point of the city’s Central Park. Time a visit when the open-air bandstand is hosting a municipal band concert, which always draws a big crowd.

While enjoying the atmosphere of small-town America in Washington, visit the State Theatre , the world’s oldest continuously operating cinema theatre. Showing movies since 1897, it’s a must-see stop.

Several vintage homes and buildings in Washington are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the 1840 DAR log house in Sunset Park , the Blair House , Conger House Museum and F-troop Military Museum .

While walking around the historic downtown , look up at all the building facades, notice the doorknobs, walk into the courthouse and note the buildings across the street with mail slots in the doors. Walk down the alley and you will find two murals behind the library.

Before wrapping up the day, treat yourself to ice cream at the Korner Kreamery or an authentic Italian-inspired cuisine at Cafe Dodici . Before enjoying the main course at this popular restaurant, patrons are tempted by a variety of antipasti (appetizers), including goat cheese torta, bruschetta, mussels or an appealing selection of other mouth-watering dishes.

If you visit Washington County, be sure to take some pictures and tag @foodnfamilies when posting to social media.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 35
≈e.

Destination Brazil

Iowa farmers size up the competition with a trip to world’s largest soybean producer

Story and photos by Aaron Putze, APR

At first glance, Brazil would appear to be an unlikely destination for Iowa farmers. It is, after all, the world’s leading producer of soybeans and thus, the American farmers’ chief competitor in the global marketplace for soy.

But measuring up to the competition is critical to ensuring Iowa farmers and the communities that depend on their stability and profitability remain on top of their game as the world’s appetite for protein intensifies.

“It’s tempting to think you’re the only one who knows your business best,” says Warren Bachman, a soybean farmer from Osceola. “But you can always learn and improve, especially from farmers who are the world’s leaders in growing soybeans.”

With more than 1,800 registered bird species, Brazil is considered the second richest country in the world in terms of bird variety.

Green Desert No More

The 4,600 miles that separate Osceola from the heartland of Brazil melts away upon arriving in Mato Grosso. The Brazilian state is the country’s breadbasket, much like Iowa is to the U.S. The state boasts a land area equivalent to Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and the Hawkeye State – combined – with agricultural productivity on an equally prolific scale.

Once described as a “green desert” due to its lush landscape but minimal production of food for human consumption, Mato Grosso has sprung to life over the past 40 years.

Stand at an intersection in the heart of the Brazilian state and you’ll see soybeans being harvested by a fleet of 10 John Deere combines outfitted with 45-foot drapers. Glance to the left and a four-wheel drive tractor with a 24-row planter is seeding second-season corn. Behind you, a field of cotton is maturing. And to your right, 5,000 hectares of sugar cane are ready to be harvested and processed into ethanol and food and beverage sweetener.

Welcome to Brazil, home of 24/7, 365 days a year agriculture.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Robb Ewoldt, a farmer from Davenport. “The sheer enormity and pace of activity boggles the mind. You can’t even believe it when you see it.”

Nelore, a breed of cattle originating in India, are popular in Brazil. Mato Grosso produces 32 million head of cattle annually. A driver for Bom Futuro, the largest producer of crops in Brazil, dons an Iowa Soybean Association cap.

The two-week journey through Brazil’s most productive farm country included visits to farms, food, sugar and biofuels processing facilities and time navigating the country’s inland waterways. Bachman and Ewoldt were joined by fellow soybean farmers Tim Bardole (Rippey) and Brent Swart (Spencer).

“The success of Iowa soybean farmers depends on knowing the present and understanding what the future might hold for the nation’s biggest soy producer,” says Bardole, who farms with his father and son just a 40-minute drive from Des Moines. “We’re always looking for a competitive advantage,

and it begins with knowing what might challenge other farmers in terms of production and getting their product to international markets.”

These issues include soil fertility, pest and disease management, environmental stewardship, carbon intensity and the condition of roads, bridges, rail and ports.

Ag Mecca

Entrepreneurs from the country’s southern regions migrated north almost 35 years ago, drawn by seemingly endless tracts of Cerrato and abundant natural resources. Land previously thought to be inhospitable

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 39
ISA directors and staff enjoy exploring a waterway near Santos in Sao Paulo. Manaus, Brazil is located in the center of the world's largest rainforest.

U.S.:

U.S.:

U.S.:

U.S.:

U.S.:

U.S.: 18.7% Brazil: 21.8% Brazil exports to U.S.: 12.3%

TAXES

U.S.: 17% of GDP Brazil: 35.7% of GDP

RAILWAYS

U.S.: 140,300 miles Brazil: 17,732 miles

ROADS

U.S.: 4.08 million miles paved: 2.67 million miles Brazil: 981,766 miles paved: 132,226 miles

WATERWAYS

U.S.: 25,481 potential miles Brazil: 31,068 potential miles

for food production quickly became productive with the use of fertilizer, modern farm equipment, ingenuity, growing global demand for protein and, at times, favorable government policy.

Today, Mato Grosso and its 7,000 farms are prolific producers of soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar cane, popcorn, sunflower, cattle, pigs and assorted vegetables and fruit.

Despite being just one of 26 Brazilian states, Mato Grosso accounts for nearly 26% of the country’s soybean acres and roughly 30% of an estimated 130 million metric tons of soybean production. Nearly 60% of that production is exported.

Mato Grosso also ranks first in cotton and beef production and second in field corn (for comparison, Iowa ranks first nationally in pork, egg and corn production, second in soybeans and top 11 for beef, turkey and dairy).

“Many of the farms of any size and consequence are new farms – 20, 30, maybe 35 years old,” says Swart. “Like U.S. farms, they’re modern, business-minded and focused on growth, sustainability and diversification.”

Environmental Concerns

Despite efforts to forgo tillage and generate more solar power, the state’s environmental scorecard is mixed. Nearly 40% of the Amazon rain forest is in Brazil. The ecological wonder is often referenced as the world’s “lungs” as it’s responsible for producing almost 20% of the planet’s oxygen.

Since 1970, one-fifth of the Brazilian rainforest has been repurposed. Native Cerrato is also being converted into pasture for cattle production. In 2001, the Brazilian government mandated that land area developed from the Cerrato for agricultural purposes must maintain 20% in a legal preserve. That requirement increased to 35% two years ago and can be as much as 80% if heavily forested.

United States vs. Brazil: A Comparison POPULATION
326 million Brazil: 210 million LIFE EXPECTANCY
(2019)
80.3 years Brazil: 74.7 years UNEMPLOYMENT
DOMESTIC PRODUCT (2021)
U.S.: 3.5% Brazil: 11% GROSS
AREA
$22.7 trillion Brazil: $1.5 trillion AGRICULTURE
(pasture)
17.4% Brazil: 7.8% GRAIN PRODUCTION
430 million metric tons Brazil: 252 million metric tons EXPORTS
U.S.: $1.6 trillion Brazil: $217 billion EXPORTS TO CHINA

Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. Together, they make up the largest waterfall system in the world.

Brazil must also reconcile ag production methods with changes in consumer preferences. In addition to cultivating forest and pasture, farming in a tropical climate requires the use of considerable amounts of fertilizer and pesticides.

While Iowa farmers continue to find ways to reduce both, doing so in a tropical environment is a much greater challenge. Unlike Iowa, Brazil’s winters don’t include freezing temperatures that relieve pest and disease problems.

Poor infrastructure also remains a challenge for Brazilian farmers and ag processors, adding to the carbon intensity of its food production. Roads are difficult to build, maintain and traverse and thus inefficient conduits

for transporting commodities hundreds of miles to ports and processing facilities.

Ewoldt, who farms just a hop, skip and jump from the Mississippi River, says Iowans often hear farmers talk about the importance of maintaining good roads, bridges, rail, rivers (including their locks and dams) and ports. That’s because all are needed to transport what Iowa farmers grow efficiently, effectively and reliably to the 98% of consumers who live somewhere other than the U.S.

“Our infrastructure is our direct point of contact with customers throughout the world,” Ewoldt says. “After journeying to Brazil, it’s evident that our infrastructure remains our competitive advantage. It’s important to keep it that way.”

Power Hour

4 easy steps for meal prepping with protein

Meal prepping is a cinch when starting with perfect proteins and pairing them with other balanced ingredients. Having meals or snacks ready to eat and easily accessible can help you meet your nutritional goals while keeping more cash in your pocket. Planning means you’ll be less likely to turn to fast food during busy summer and back-to-school days.

Follow these simple steps to master meal prepping.

Step 1: Create a Meal Plan

Select a variety of options that include common ingredients from these categories for balanced, nutritious meals. Think about how one cut of meat (e.g., a roast or tenderloin) can be turned into several dishes by using the meat in different ways. Incorporate fresh fruits for snacks and at mealtime.

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Proteins Vegetables Fats Complex Carbs Examples: Beef Asparagus Avocados Bananas Chicken Broccoli Extra-virgin olive oil Black beans Dairy Brussel sprouts Fish Brown rice Eggs Carrots Nuts Farro Pork Peas Olives Lentils Soyfoods (tofu, tempeh) Spinach Peanut butter Quinoa Turkey Zucchini Seeds Sweet potatoes

Step 2: Shop for Ingredients

Before shopping, make a list and organize items by the grocery store layout to save time and stay focused. Or, take advantage of online shopping if offered by your local grocery store.

Stretch your food dollars by buying in bulk according to the recipe choices or items you can freeze for later use. For example, one large pork loin can be cut into a roast, chops and strips or chunks for stir-fry.

Step 3: Pick the Right Storage

Select food storage containers that match your meal plan for the week. Choose stackable and similarly sized containers to make the most of refrigerator and freezer space.

• Airtight containers are great for keeping ready-to-cook ingredients crisp and fresh.

• Compartmentalized containers or bento boxes are ideal for keeping foods separate or storing ingredients that need to be mixed at the last minute.

• Freezer-safe containers are a must for limiting freezer burn and nutrient losses in food.

• Glass containers are popular for keeping food tasting fresher and lasting longer than their plastic counterparts.

• Mason jars are terrific for egg casseroles, overnight oats, soups, salads and more.

Step 4: Let the Prepping Begin

Plan one to three hours to prep for the week’s meals and snacks. This time includes cleaning and chopping ingredients, cooking and assembling recipes.

Organize activities by cooking or prep time. While items are cooking in the oven or slow cooker, multitask by cutting vegetables or making hardboiled eggs.

Be n efits of Protein

You r body needs protein to stay healthy and work its best. Proteins are made up of amino acids that function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Proteins are one of three nutrients that provide calories; the others are fat and carbohydrates.

Keeps you energized and feeling full longer

Boosts immunity

Lowers blood pressure

Helps maintain weight loss

Pr oteinPacked Snack Packs

Keep these foods on hand to satisfy cravings between meals, which each pack a plentiful punch of protein.

Beef or turkey jerky Cheese cubes Chicken salad Deli meat Edamame, in pods Hard-boiled eggs Hummus Pork sticks String cheese Yogurt

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 43
Resea rch shows that proteinrich food:

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.

The Future of Agriculture

IS IOWA AGRICULTURE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

The world of agriculture is ever-changing. My husband Jared and I agree that if our great, great-grandparents saw how we are now farming, they wouldn’t believe it. The way we use technology and the crop yields we harvest from one field would leave them in awe. But like anything, with change, there are good things and there are growing pains. This is true of agriculture.

So, what is the future of agriculture? Most farmers and ranchers would love to know the answer. They would love to know where markets will be and what weather patterns will hold. I think it’s important to be transparent as a producer and share what I see coming down the road. As a consumer and supporter of agriculture, it’s also important for you to know and understand these predictions. If you ask me if I am excited about where agriculture is headed, my answer is “yes.” Do I have concerns about what is happening in agriculture? My answer also is “yes.” Do I still have enough hope, positivity, and passion for agriculture that I hope our children would want to farm one day? My answer is “absolutely!”

In the future, I think we’ll see a consolidation of farms. The average farmer in the U.S. is approximately 60 years old. Many farmers are retiring and transitioning the farm to the next generation – if they choose to farm. There continues to be a trend of children raised on a farm who are not coming back because of the costs to successfully run a farm, combined with the uncertainty and consistency of income based on markets and weather. Because of this trend, there will be farms that consolidate, and there will also be farmers who decide to leave the business altogether. Know that most of these farms will still be family farms, just at a larger level.

Feeding a Growing Population

Farmers will continue to feed an ever-growing growing population.

This is exciting and leaves so many opportunities for those involved in agriculture, from job opportunities to expanding technology and farm practices with the goal of increasing our yields as safely and efficiently as possible.

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fresh picked

Innovation is what has always made agriculture stand out. We will continue to have innovative ideas and be progressive about ways to better serve our farm, livestock and land. Technology will continue to lead the way for planting, harvesting and feed equipment. It will also help us breed plants and create seeds with genetics to thrive in various growing conditions.

Sustainability will still stay at

the forefront of many farmers’ minds. We must grow more food, but we also must do it in the most efficient way possible to protect our land so we can continue to grow food, fuel and fiber for generations to come.

Finally, passion for agriculture will remain strong with the agriculture industry boasting some of the most intelligent, hardworking and dedicated people. The love

and commitment people have for agriculture and farming makes it the cornerstone of our country.

With the help of our past, embracing future generations and utilizing technology and passion for feeding, fueling and clothing the world, Iowa agriculture is in good hands and will be able to accept any challenge and opportunity that may lie ahead.

THE LOVE AND COMMITMENT PEOPLE HAVE FOR AGRICULTURE AND FARMING MAKES IT THE CORNERSTONE OF OUR COUNTRY.

IOWAFOODANDFAMILY.COM | 45
Marjorie Preston, a second-generation farmer from near Swea City, with her great-grandchildren Kash, Nora, Landry, Croix and Maggie.

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Iowa Soybean Association, 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, Iowa 50023