I enjoy spending many hours traveling throughout the Iowa countryside each year – to all 99 counties, to my family’s farm in the northwest corner of the state, and to our three sons’ many activities, including baseball games.
During the summer months, when the corn stands tall and ballparks are abuzz, the famous line from the iconic Field of Dreams movie comes to mind: “Is this heaven?” And although I appreciate the big screen answer, “No, it’s Iowa,” I would also suggest this addition: “But, it’s pretty darn close.”
Field of Dreams captures many of the things I cherish most about our great state – the people, the agriculture, and, of course, the baseball. Whether you’re shivering in 50-degree rain or sweltering in 90-degree heat, there’s something special about cheering on your favorite team. The friendships and memories forged by the players and their families are truly timeless and unique. I’m thankful ‘America’s Pastime’ is a part of our Iowa summer.
And I’m glad the best of Iowa’s summers can also be found at the grill or around the table at family picnics and neighborhood barbecues.
Iowa farmers produce some of the highest quality, most nutritious and delicious beef, pork, lamb, turkey and chicken that you’ll find anywhere. Consumers here and around the world demand the very best in quality, freshness and taste, and there’s no substitute for real Iowa meat raised by real Iowa farmers.
While your freshly grilled burger, pork chop or chicken breast might be at the center of your plate, there is much more that goes into making your summer meal memorable. Our Iowa eggs go into many picnic favorites, including potato salad. Iowa dairy producers take pride in ensuring you have cheese for your burger, real butter for your fresh Iowa sweet corn, and big scoops of ice cream for all the kids and kids at heart. Many fruits and vegetables will be in season throughout the summer, and you can find fresh, locally grown produce at farm stands, farmers markets and grocery stores across the state.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will continue to support Iowa farmers by building and developing markets for their products and assisting them in offering more choices to consumers. We are excited to administer a newly created Dairy Innovation Fund, which was designed by the Iowa Legislature to help support smaller dairies by increasing on-farm processing. We strongly support the ongoing efforts to add more capacity at small, local meat processors and lockers across our state. And, finally, the full launch of the Choose Iowa program later this summer will be an impactful way to connect consumers to many great products grown, raised and processed here in Iowa.
As you plan summer events, we can be thankful that Iowa’s farmers do what they do. Look for ways you can serve more meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and other delicious foods that are raised and grown or picked and made right here in Iowa. Whenever you have the chance, “Choose Iowa” products, which supports our families, strengthens our communities and enhances our quality of life.
“Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa. But it’s pretty darn close.” Enjoy your summer, Iowans!