Isaac and Alexander, two brothers who live on an Iowa farm, explain and discuss technology, conservation practices and how soybeans are produced for livestock feed, human food and industrial uses.
THE STORY: Isaac and Alexander, two brothers who live on an Iowa farm, explain and discuss technology, conservation practices and how soybeans are produced for various uses.

The story of ‘My Family’s Soybean Farm’

New book by children’s author Katie Olthoff helps teach kids about modern farming.

A new nonfiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff tells the story of raising crops on a modern Iowa farm. “My Family’s Soybean Farm” is free by request for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. 

The story follows Isaac and Alexander, two brothers who help their family raise corn, alfalfa, pigs, cattle and soybeans. They take readers on a tour of the family farm and discuss how soybeans are produced for livestock feed, human food and industrial uses. They also discuss technology used on modern farms and conservation practices. The book is written at a third-grade reading level and has supplemental text giving additional background information for more advanced readers.

Telling farming, food story
The book is the fourth in a series by Olthoff, a former teacher who understands the importance of having high-quality, relevant nonfiction books for students. Iowa Core educational standards require that up to 50% of student reading be informational or nonfiction. Elementary classrooms lack of these nonfiction resources.

“People have a desire to find out how their food is grown,” says Olthoff. “The “My Family’s Farm” series is the perfect solution to tell the food production story and provide more nonfiction resources for teachers.”

Olthoff lives on a working turkey farm in north-central Iowa with her husband and family. Her first book detailed how turkeys were raised on the family farm. She works for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association as director of communications. She is active in the ag community in Iowa and beyond as a volunteer for Common Ground, a national network of farm women who share information on food and farming with consumers across the country. She has experience teaching and communicating about agriculture with her blog, On the Banks of Squaw Creek.

Educational resource
“This book showcases the technology and conservation practices used on modern farms,” says Bre Wagner, producer services coordinator for the Iowa Soybean Association. “It demonstrates the best practices modern farmers are using. We are excited to offer this educational resource to teachers and their students.”

Copies of the book are made available to all Iowa elementary schools; additional copies are available on request. The book is a special project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation with financial support from Ag Ventures Alliance and the Iowa Soybean Association. The book also has two lesson plan companion resources to help teachers integrate the book into a science lesson or a language arts lesson. The lesson plans are aligned with Iowa Core standards and easily fit into an approved course of study.

“Soybeans can be used to make so many different food and industrial products,” notes Will Fett, executive director of IALF. “Iowa is a leader in producing this valuable commodity.” For more information about this book or other education resources, visit [email protected].

Source: Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation

TAGS: Education
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