Making the Farm-to-Fork connection:
Calhoun County Farm Bureau creates cookbook, videos
Anyone who eats has a connection to agriculture three times a day. While it’s easy to think that food comes from the grocery store, there’s so much more to the story. That’s why the Calhoun County Farm Bureau’s board of directors has published a new, full-color, 8-page booklet called “The Calhoun County Farm-to-Table Cookbook.”
“We’re always looking for wayas to help farmers connect with consumers and find common ground,” said John Rosenboom, a Pomeroy-area farmer and president of the Calhoun County Farm Bureau board. “The cookbook features stories of local farmers, local photography and great recipes featuring products raised right here in Calhoun County, including pork, beef, turkey and vegetables.”
The cookbook is available for free at the grocery stores in Calhoun County, including the Lake City Food Center and Manson Hometown Grocery, along with Heartland Bank in Manson. The cookbook features local farmers’ recipes for Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes, Cheesy Egg Puffs, Sensational Salsa, Hearty Garden Vegetable Soup, Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole, and Iowa Ham Balls. The book also includes a number of ag facts, including:
• Iowa has roughly 87,000 farms and 129,000 farm operators. More than 97 percent of Iowa farms are owned by families, according Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).
• Ag-related jobs drive the economy in Calhoun County and Iowa. One in five Iowans go to work because of agriculture.
• Iowa farms grow more corn, raise more pigs, and produce more eggs than any state in the nation. Iowa is also a leading producer of soybeans, beef cattle, sheep and lambs, turkeys and dairy.
• In 1960, the average American farmer produced enough food to feed approximately 25 people. Today the average American farmer feeds about 165 people worldwide, according to the IFBF.
The cookbook was published to coincide with National Ag Day. Every year, farmers, agricultural associations, businesses, universities, government agencies and others across America join together to honor agriculture’s many contributions. This year’s Ag Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 23.
“The cookbooks offer a unique way to spread the word about the good that local agriculture does, not only on Ag Day, but throughout the year,” Rosenboom said.
Truck wraps and more share ag’s story
The Calhoun County Farm Bureau uses a variety of methods throughout the year to help consumers learn more about where their food comes from. Board members host a middle school Ag Day in the South Central Calhoun and Manson Northwest Webster school districts to help students learn about a variety of ag careers, from precision ag to veterinary medicine.
Board members are also filming a series of videos this year to show real-life views of crop and livestock production, direct from the farm. The videos will be shared through the Calhoun County Farm Bureau’s Facebook page.
An innovative outreach program that started in 2020 is also encouraging people to take a second look at agriculture in Calhoun County. Just ask Lake City-area farmer Dwight Dial.
“People tell me, ‘Hey, I saw you up on Highway 20 today,’ even when I wasn’t anywhere near Highway 20,” said Dial, who raises corn, soybeans, hogs and sheep and is a long-time conservation advocate. “It catches me off guard at first, but then they tell me they saw me on the billboard on a truck.”
These “moving billboards” are part of a unique partnership involving the Calhoun County Farm Bureau, local farmers, Landus Cooperative and NEW Cooperative. Farm Bureau worked with area farmers like Dial who were willing to have their photo printed on a large vinyl banner attached to the side of the co-ops’ grain trucks.
There are two versions of the side banners, which measure 4.5 feet tall by 12 feet long. One that features Dial in one of his no-till fields highlights Iowa farmers’ efforts to improve water quality. The other banner features the Brad Black family and the economic impact of agriculture in Calhoun County. Each grain semi-truck featuring these banners also includes a 3-foot by 3-foot banner on the back of the truck to provide some key facts that quantify farmers’ conservation efforts and local ag’s economic impact.
Photos of the truck wraps are showcased on the back cover of “The Calhoun County Farm-to-Table Cookbook.”
“Agriculture is critical to Calhoun County’s communities, schools and businesses, because it’s such a key part of the economy,” Rosenboom said. “The truck wraps, the cookbook and the videos our Calhoun County Farm Bureau board members are filming are helping bring ag’s amazing story to a wider audience.”