Iowa Soybean Association to Engage Fairgoers on Food, Farming

Hands-on learning opportunities headline presence at Iowa State Fair Aug. 9-19

Ankeny, Iowa – With more than one million fairgoers expected to attend the 2018 Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) takes to the ground to engage Iowans about the many ways soybean production and agriculture positively impacts their lives, whether at work or play.

“Follow A Farmer!” with the Iowa Food & Family Project

The Iowa Food & Family Project ( exhibit in the South Atrium of the Varied Industries Building will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and offers fairgoers a unique perspective about agriculture, farm families, food and food retailers.

More than 250,000 fairgoers are expected to “follow a farmer” through a one-of-a-kind, home-in-barn where they will learn about the process of bringing food from the field to the table. Visitors can then complete a short quiz and enter to win a $500 meat & dairy bundle, $500 Hy-Vee Gift Card, $500 Earl May Dream Garden or Casey’s Pizza for a Year.

Visitors of all ages can also take their turn at the Food and Farm Trivia Wheel and meet celebrity artists such as Governor Kim Reynolds, mascots Cy and Herky, and former Hawkeye quarterback Chuck Long as they paint a larger-than-life mural celebrating Iowa and the families and food that grow here.  “The iconic Iowa State Fair is the perfect opportunity to unite Iowans and celebrate our state’s rural and urban communities,” says Kelly Visser, Iowa Soybean Association Communications Program Coordinator. “The lineup of fun, hands-on activities ISA is involved in gives fairgoers the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and connect with the farmers who grow it.”

Ag Building and Animal Learning Center

ISA will also sponsor activities at the Ag Building and Animal Learning Center – two popular State Fair destinations. Soybean farmers will be in the Ag Building Aug. 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to share insights about the soybean industry and answer questions about production, environmental stewardship and trade. Visitors can test their agricultural knowledge and win a special prize.

Activities at the Animal Learning Center will reinforce the important partnership between soybean farmers and the livestock they feed. A display with lift tabs will offer unique insights about the many foods and household products made with soy.

Little Hands on the Farm

The ISA is proud to sponsor the Little Hands on the Farm Kids Zone on the fairground’s north side. Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way.

Children ages two to ten become farmers at this free, hands-on exhibit. Children obtain a gathering basket and proceed along a path that includes a garden, grain bin, soybeans, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, sheep barn and dairy barn.

After gathering items along the way, children will get the chance to sell these items at the Little Hands on the Farm Farmers’ Market for a Little Hands dollar to spend at the Grocery Store for such items as a piece of fruit, a granola bar or an ice cream sandwich.

Biodiesel Powering the Fair

ISA and home-grown biodiesel will also power the State Fair trams, raising awareness on the importance of this biofuel. Biodiesel is America’s first Advanced Biofuel, it’s renewable, clean-burning and reduces America’s dependence on imported diesel.

Farm to Fair

On Sunday, Aug. 12 nearly 100 farmers will welcome 400 guests as they gather around the largest dinner table ever set at the Iowa State Fair. The table will be set in the middle of the Grand Concourse and encourage farm and city fellowship. The ISA is proud to help sponsor this unique event where farmers will share how food is grown and makes its way from the farm to the fair.

Partially funded by soybean checkoff

The Iowa Soybean Association ( develops policies and programs that help Iowa’s more than 40,000 soybean farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The association was founded in 1964 and is governed by an elected volunteer board of 22 farmers. It strives to be honest and transparent, fact-based and data driven and committed to environmental stewardship, collaborations and partnerships.