Maybe you’re asking – does she really need a blog post about visiting an Iowa Farm? The answer is YES!
There are thousands of students right here in the middle of the Corn State who have never experienced walking through a bean field, milking a cow or chasing a goat.
I am probably a little biased, being a farmer’s daughter and all, but Iowa and her people would not survive without our farmers.
So grab your gang and go visit one today!
7 Ways to visit an Iowa Farm
1) Find a farmer friend! Most farmers are happy to host visitors. Ask around your circle of friends, church, or in your homeschool group.
2) Call your local ISU Extension Office. 4-H families in every county in Iowa would be happy to share their knowledge with you and may even turn Hosting Farm Tours into a project for the county fair.
3) FFA groups through the local high school are another great resource for connecting with a farmer. FFA stands for Future Farmers of America!
4) Apple orchards and pumpkin patches are fun places to find petting zoos and experience the country life. This great website has all the orchards listed in the state and a handy map to find them!
5) Search the internet for Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattleman’s Association, Iowa Poultry Association and basically any other animal or crop that is raised in Iowa and get connected with a farmer who specializes in a specific trade.
6) Iowa State University in central Iowa offers field trips and tours.
7) County or State Fair. You’ll always meet great folks and find wonderful learning opportunities at a local county fair or by visiting the Iowa State Fair in August.
What Not to Wear on your Iowa Farm Visit!
It’s not time for the designer jeans ladies, no matter how “country” they look.
Wear old clothes that will get muddy, dusty, and gross.
Don’t wear flip-flops! Yes, I have seen this more than once!
Wear sturdy closed toe shoes or mud boots around animals.
Tips for a farm visit
- Visit at chore time. Animal chores are done twice daily, morning and late afternoon. It’s a great chance to feed animals, collect eggs and help out around the barnyard.
- Harvest has more opportunities than planting season. Corn and bean farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. During harvest time, students can ride along in the combine or with the grain haulers, see crops being dumped at the local elevator and learn about market prices.
- Ask the farmer if it’s a good day for a visit. Everyday on a farm can be unpredictable from equipment breakdowns, to field fires and animals escaping. It’s a wise idea to double check with the farmer and to be sure it’s still a good day for a visit.
- Come with patience and preparations. Visiting a farmer working in their crop field often takes longer then expected. Bring along snacks and water. Also note, depending on the crop field location, there probably isn’t a bathroom anywhere near by.
- Stop at unmarked gravel road intersections! Use extra caution when driving around in the country, especially at unmarked intersections where visibility is blocked by field crops.
- Thank your farmer! Farming is a tough job and often under-appreciated. Take your farmer a special treat and make sure to follow up with a thank you note!