Each season holds its own treasures, waiting to be re-discovered each year.
With the official arrival of fall, I am reminded how much I enjoy the season and its charm. From the crisp air and Friday night football to the colorful leaves and, of course, harvest.
Many of Iowa’s hardworking farm families fill autumn days – and often nights – hustling to safely harvest and haul their corn and soybeans while caring for their livestock. They are seeding cover crops and building other conservation practices, all of which help to protect our rich natural resources.
And while our production of corn, soybeans, pork, eggs, biofuels, beef, dairy, turkey and many other products makes us a global powerhouse, Iowa agriculture also includes a broad diversity of other crops and livestock. This time of year, these farm families may not be driving combines and grain carts, but they are busy preparing their apple orchards, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, wineries and country stores for the scores of visitors who will be stopping throughout the coming weeks.
Consumers want experiences that connect them to agriculture, and Iowa agritourism blends some of our greatest assets: our incomparable agriculture, beautiful landscapes, genuine people and high-quality food and ag products. Iowa agritourism is on the rise – both in the number of locations and the variety of unique experiences available.
And soon, your map to finding these treasures will be the state’s new Choose Iowa program and website.
Choose Iowa is the state’s new branded program to connect consumers with Iowa grown, raised and made foods. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is actively encouraging these agritourism-focused farms to become Choose Iowa members. As members, they will be included in a new and dynamic online directory that will be free to all consumers looking to enjoy some of the best that Iowa has to offer.
As families navigate hectic school schedules, non-stop extracurricular activities and pressing work commitments, they can also look for fun ways to re-connect. Whether it’s a horse drawn hayrack ride, listening to live music at an Iowa winery, or picking apples and the perfect pumpkin, these experiences create memories that will last a lifetime.
Iowa treasures dot our countryside from river to river and border to border. This fall, our hardworking farm families are ready and eager to welcome you for your own adventure.