Wednesday, January 20, 2016

10 Ways Iowa Corn Changed My Life

Every day graduation is one step closer. As my last semester races by, I think of all the people that have changed my life over these four years. That list is long, but the men and women at Iowa Corn are certainly near the top. Here are some of the best memories we've made together.

There's just something about that Hilton Magic! All Iowa State
students should experience the thrill of a CyHawk game!
1. CyHawk Series - You're not getting the full Iowa State student experience if you skip the CyHawk games. Whether it's standing in the deafening student section at Hilton or handing out 8,000 t-shirts at Jack Trice, Iowa Corn has touched every corner of my student experience. The Iowa v. Iowa State rivalry is fun in itself, but seeing my favorite farmers and reminders of all their hard work at the games is the cherry on top. Plus, who's day isn't a little better after a high five from Captain Corn?

Meeting Marco Andretti was one of the biggest highlights of the
Ethanol Powered Weekend, but there were so many cool parts!
2. Ethanol Powered Weekend - I never have been much of a racing fan, so if you told high school me that one of my college highlights would be a whole weekend at the Iowa Speedway I would have laughed in your face. Well, college senior me is here to say it's true! Being that close to such fast cars, fueled by ethanol from corn produced on farms of the fans that surrounded me was really neat. Between meeting farmers and munching on sweet corn I learned all kinds of cool facts. Did you know, today over 95% of all fuel sold in the U.S. is blended with 10% ethanol?! To top it off I got to ride in the pace car, meet Marco Andretti and tour the pits! (We’ll save the story where I spill a whole cooler of butter patties in the middle of an intersection for another blog post.)
I've had such a good time serving as an officer of ISU Corn Growers with
these ladies.

3. Network - Iowa Corn has given me an incredible network that I'll keep in touch with for years to come. Because of them, I know people who are passionate about agriculture, just like me, across the country. I've had the opportunity to work next to some of the most passionate agvocates (like Carrie and Janelle) while at Iowa Corn. Everyone in the organization inspires me with their work ethic and dedication to Iowa's farmers.
Meeting these Iowa bloggers at #AgChat Conference was truly
life changing! I can't wait to see where this blog takes me after all
 their advice.

4. ISU Corn Growers - For the last four years, when I wasn't in class, chances are I was at a club activity. Iowa State University Corn Growers Association (ISUCGA) has given me a chance to grow my friendships and leadership skills. With my fellow members, I've put on large events, cleaned up the local highway and traveled around the state. Serving as this group's secretary challenged me to grow creatively and as a teammate. Together, we made many memories that will last a lifetime.

Pump promotions with Iowa Corn were such a fun way to travel the state
and talk to people about ethanol.
5. Ag Chat Conference - If you follow my social media, you know I traveled to Nashville in November for an AgEI trip and #AgChat conference. The conference inspired me and was the last push of motivation I needed to tackle re-branding this blog. In just two days, my photography and writing improved. So many ladies generously shared their advice with me. It was also awesome to meet bloggers I've admired for years in real life. None of this would have been possible without Iowa Corn's generous sponsorship. Extra shout out to my new friend Alicia at Pork Diaries for driving me all the way back to Iowa!

During my internship I went on some really neat farm tours with foreign
teams. It was awesome to see them learn about American agriculture.
6. Internship - For many college students, internships are the highlight of their college career. I'm no exception. The summer after my sophomore year I had the privilege of spending three months as the Market Development intern in Iowa Corn's office. In that short time I experienced so much! More importantly than mastering Excel or learning how to ship thousands of t-shirts, I began to understand the global impact Iowa corn farmers make. By attending the Governor's Livestock Charity Steer Show, Ethanol Powered Weekend and hosting foreign teams I learned how important corn is to the livestock, fuel and export industries. There's no way I could remember all the facts and figures I heard that summer, but I will admit has been cited as a source for more than one of my course papers. 
Last year our ISUCGA group went on an industry tour to Pioneer in
Johnston, Iowa. I learned so much!

7. Twitter Takeover 
- Anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows I'm passionate about sharing the stories of agriculture, especially on social media. That's why I was so giddy when Iowa Corn asked me to take over their Twitter account for a day last semester. It was so much fun to share how the organization and ag community have impacted my life with all their followers.

8. Wardrobe 
- This is one of those unintended benefits of involvement with Iowa Corn. I lost track of how many Iowa Corn shirts I've collected a long time ago, but I'm confident I could get through a week or two without repeating a one.

9. Farmland 
- Last spring, ISUCGA pulled off a wonderful Farmland Screening and Panel event. That night, guests watched the documentary Farmland, and had the opportunity to ask questions of six local Iowa farmers. Organizing this event is one of my biggest accomplishments of the last four years, but it wouldn't have been possible without the support of Iowa Corn. They lent us Captain Corn and the 8 foot farmers, plus donated cups (made from corn) so everyone could enjoy popcorn and drinks with the movie. The experience just wouldn't have been complete without popcorn!! 

10. Industry Visits
 - The Market Development internship and ISUCGA opened doors to visit many ag businesses. I've learned more about livestock and seed corn production thanks to Iowa Corn related trips. You can read more of what I learned at a cattle feedlot, dairy days, egg facility and Pioneer in their individual blog posts.

It's safe to say college wouldn't have been the same without Iowa Corn. I'm so thankful they've been part of my agricultural journey so far, and I can't wait to see where the future leads. To learn more about their organization and how it can change your life go to To keep up with all they're doing with farmers and college students like me around the state follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thanks for reading!


  1. Your passion for agriculture is inspiring, Natalina! I value your friendship and can't wait to see and be part of your next chapter! We've definitely shared many great memories and I look forward to many more! Kudos to you and thank you for helping farmers tell our story!

  2. What an inspiring post! Good luck in your future!!

  3. Sounds like you have had a great time with lasting memories!