Monday, July 21, 2014

Northwest Iowa Dairy Days

One of the reasons I finally decided to begin my blogging journey has been my internship with Iowa Corn. I'm so blessed to be able to work in the Market Development department and surround myself with so many experts in agriculture. Later this summer, you'll hear more about my big projects like pump promotions, foreign teams, and the Iowa Corn Indy 300. 

Every once in a while, to help out other departments in the office, I get to go on their trips. Several weeks ago I traveled with our Communications intern to Northwest Iowa for a Dairy Days event. Because it wasn't my project I didn't know what our night would entail, but as soon as we arrived realized I was in for a treat!

The educational event was hosted by Plymouth Dairy Farms near LeMars, Iowa. The 2,700 head dairy farm invited families of all ages to join them for an open house that included tours of the dairy, kids activity tent, and a free meal. I was so disappointed we ran out of time before I got the chance to hop on the tour, but was really impressed with the neat and clean facilities on the farm. Western Iowa Dairy Alliance and Midwest Dairy Association were excellent sponsors. Many passionate volunteers directed visitors, passed out literature, and offered a helping hand to those of us setting up booths.

The Iowa Corn display was inside the children's tent along with tables from Iowa State Extension, a petting zoo, the corn pools and other commodity group's information. I loved watching little ones squeal with excitement as they pet young calves, bunnies and kittens. A large crowd of children enjoyed burying themselves in the corn pools. 



At our table families lined up to make corn necklaces for a solid two hours. Despite heavy rain the line was steady. It was so exciting to see eager young faces curious about corn. As the children filled their small baggies with soil, selected a corn seed, watered it and clipped it on a lanyard we asked them questions. "Is the corn hard or soft? Do you eat this kind of corn? Why are you putting water in there?" As they moved down the line Sarah, the other intern, and I explained, "This corn is hard, not soft and juicy like sweet corn. You eat sweet corn at your house, but these cows eat hard corn. The corn helps the cows produce the milk you drink. If you tasted their corn you'd think it was yucky. Corn plants need water just like you to grow big and strong." By the time the kids proudly held their finished project they were repeating all they'd just learned to their parents.

At the end of the night, over 200 corn necklaces had been made. According to an article in the local newspaper, more than 2,000 visitors completed the tour. Several employees of the nearby ice cream plant, Wells Blue Bunny, brought their families to see where the products they make start out. After our display was torn down and the Escape was packed up we enjoyed burgers and ice cream bars.

I truly enjoyed my visit to Northwest Iowa and agvocating with so many others in the ice cream capital of the world! Thanks for reading!

For more photos check out the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance Facebook album here.

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