Visitors to the 2017 Iowa State Fair can play Plinko, shoot hoops and learn more about Iowa agriculture by visiting the Ag Park on the first floor of the Agriculture Building. Kids will also have the opportunity to experience “driving” through rural Iowa and see how all roads lead to agriculture with a simulated truck experience.
Those are just a few of the new things to see and do at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s displays and presentations at this year’s fair Aug. 10-20 at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
“The state fair is a wonderful showcase of Iowa agriculture, and we are excited to have fairgoers stop by and have some fun and learn a bit about how important agriculture is in our state,” says Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture. “I hope Iowans will stop by our booth to have some fun, but also take the opportunity to engage in a conversation about our exciting and diverse agriculture industry.”
Iowa commodity groups participating
The Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Egg Council, Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Pork Producers and the Iowa Beef Industry Council will also be present in the Ag Park and have information available about Iowa agriculture. The Iowa Egg Council will be offering eggs on a stick to fairgoers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the fair.
In the Varied Industries Building at the fair, IDALS will have a display to educate Iowans about the activities of the state ag department and will continue the tradition of weighing fairgoers on a scale certified by the department’s Weights and Measures Bureau. The department will also be handing out tech cloths with CleanWaterIowa.org on them, a website that was created to help all Iowans learn what they can do to help protect water quality. The cloths can be used to clean phone screens or glasses.
Century Farm and Heritage Farm awards
The Iowa Century Farm and Heritage Farm awards will be presented Aug. 17 starting at 9 a.m. at the Livestock Pavilion. Everyone is invited to attend and help recognize the families receiving the awards. Century Farm awards recognize farms that have been in the same family for 100 years, and Heritage Farms awards recognize farms that have been owned by the same family for 150 years.
There are 354 Century Farm winners and 119 Heritage Farm winners that will be recognized this year. The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Farm Bureau. The full list of families being recognized is available at IowaAgriculture.gov under “Hot Topics.” A full list of all past Century Farm recipients is available at iowacenturyfarms.com.
Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards
On Aug. 16 starting at 10 a.m. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Northey and Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp will recognize 81 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award winners. The awards will be presented at the Penningroth Center inside the Cattle Barn and recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.
The awards recognize the exemplary actions of farmers that improve and protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success. Hagie Manufacturing sponsors a luncheon for award winners following the ceremony at the Farm Bureau shelter, which Northey will also attend. A full list of award recipients is available at IowaAgriculture.gov under “Hot Topics.”
Farm calendars, Charity Steer Show and more
At 10 a.m. Aug. 15, IDALS will be recognizing the winners of the 2017-18 From the Farm to You Calendar drawing contest in the Agriculture Building. Kids from across the state submitted pictures for the calendar. Copies of the calendar are available to fairgoers at the state ag department’s booths in the Ag Building and the Varied Industries Building.
Northey will participate in the 2017 Governor's Charity Steer Show on Aug. 12 at 4 p.m. in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. Northey will be showing a steer owned by Jayden Jorgensen from Charles City. Immediately following the competition, the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to help fund the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.
“More than 1 million visitors attend the fair each year, and it is a great opportunity to learn more about what we do on our farms and why,” says Northey. “Seeing the animals in the livestock barns, visiting the animal learning center, seeing the 4-H and FFA students compete, or just enjoying some of the amazing food, everyone at the fair will be able to experience the very best of Iowa agriculture.”
Young farmers host kid-focused activities
At yet another attraction, Farm Bureau Park, you have a chance to learn how “Farmers Help Produce More than Produce.” This year’s theme is designed to show Iowans that Iowa agriculture provides numerous products we rely on every day. What do toothpaste, batteries, shoes and aspirin have in common? They are all items farmers help produce. Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Advisory Committee has special kid-focused activities to help children and their parents understand the importance of ag.
With the help of special “decoder” glasses, fairgoers visiting Farm Bureau Park will see more examples of this as they view displays of livestock and farm equipment that have hidden images on them made from Iowa-grown crops and livestock.
Iowa State Fair 2017 runs from Aug. 10 to 20 at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines. For information on schedules, livestock shows, grandstand shows, admissions and anything else you want to know about the fair, visit iowastatefair.org.