Agriculture's best is showcased at 2016 Iowa State Fair

Agriculture's best is showcased at 2016 Iowa State Fair

New this year, an Iowa artist is painting a mural highlighting soil conservation and water quality efforts.

Iowa artist Karen Doty will be painting a six-panel, 8-foot tall by 24-foot long mural highlighting conservation and water quality efforts in Iowa in the Agriculture Building at the 2016 Iowa State Fair. The mural will be part of the “Ag Park” on the first floor of the Ag Building. The “Ag Park” exhibit will have information from the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and other Iowa agriculture organizations.

IOWA STATE FAIR: It’s an opportunity for people to learn more about what farm families do on their farms and why. Throughout this year’s fair, you can visit exhibits and learn about soil conservation and water quality practices farmers are using.

More than 1 million visitors attend Iowa State Fair each year
“The state fair is a wonderful showcase of Iowa agriculture and we are excited to welcome Ms. Doty to share with us her talent and showcase the beauty of our state, everyday throughout the 2016 Iowa State Fair,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.  “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.”

He adds, “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.”

Watch an artist paint conservation and water quality mural
Doty will be painting live throughout the state fair and fairgoers are invited to check out her progress at these times in the ag building:

•Thursday, August 11: 1 – 4 p.m.
•Friday, August 12: 3 – 6 p.m.
•Saturday, August 13: 1 – 4 p.m.
•Sunday, August 14: 1 – 4 p.m.
•Monday, August 15: 9 a.m. – Noon
•Tuesday, August 16: 10 a.m. – Noon
•Wednesday, August 17: 10 a.m. – Noon
•Thursday, August 18: 10 a.m. – Noon
•Friday, August 19: 4 – 6 p.m.
•Saturday, August 20: 3 – 5 p.m.
•Sunday, August 21: 10 a.m. – Noon

Exhibits show Iowans how they can help protect water quality
The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship’s display in the ag building is part of the “Ag Park” and will have information available about the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and will be handing out tech cloths with CleanWaterIowa.org on them, a website that was created to help all Iowans learn about what they can do to help protect water quality. The cloths can be used to clean phone screens or glasses.

There will also be a “selfie” station where fairgoers can take photos in front of a rural scene and use props showcasing the different aspects of Iowa agriculture. Everyone attending the 2016 State Fair is invited to share their experiences using the #GetYourAgOn hashtag on social media.

Farm and commodity organizations have interesting exhibits
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 the Iowa Ag Department will also have a display to educate Iowans about the activities of the department and continue the tradition of weighing fairgoers on a scale certified by the IDALS Weights and Measures Bureau.

Iowa Century and Heritage Farms will be honored with awards
The annual Iowa Century Farm and Heritage Farm Awards will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 18 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.

This year is the 40-year anniversary of the Century Farms program and the 10-year anniversary of the Heritage Farms program. There are 320 Century Farm winners and 103 Heritage Farm winners that will be recognized this year. The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau.  The full list of families being recognized is available at IowaAgriculture.gov under “Hot Topics.”

Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award winners to be honored
On Wednesday, Aug. 17 starting at 10 a.m. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Ag Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp will recognize 94 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award winners for 2016. These annual awards will be presented at the Penningroth Center inside the Cattle Barn. These awards recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.

“These 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,” says Northey. Hagie Manufacturing sponsors a luncheon for these 94 environmental leader award winners following the ceremony at the Farm Bureau shelter. Northey will also attend. A full list of award recipients is available at IowaAgriculture.gov under “Hot Topics.”

“From the Farm to You Calendar” is a drawing contest for kids
At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16 the state ag department will be recognizing the winners of the 2016-2017 “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 ag department’s booths in the ag building and the Varied Industries Building.

Governor’s Charity Steer Show raises money for Iowa families
Northey and other state government leaders will participate in the 2016 Governor's Charity Steer Show on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 4 p.m., in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair. Northey will be showing a steer owned by Kelsi Crooks from Charles City. Immediately following the competition the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

The 2016 Iowa State Fair runs from Aug. 11 to 21 at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines.

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