Who’s up for an Ice Cream Road Trip? I took one this week in celebration of spring.
During the first official week of spring, our nation recognizes the contributions of America's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses. This year’s Ag Day theme is “Food Brings Everyone to the Table.” (I appreciate a good play on words. As a state representative, FarmHer and agribusiness owner, I especially appreciate the 2021 Ag Day theme.)
National Ag Day is celebrated annually to encourage every American to:
- Understand how food and fiber products are produced
- Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
- Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
Hands-on activities at Enchanted Acres help our farm visitors understand how food is produced. For example, we offer educational and fun field trips each fall for school groups. We also hold public events, such as “Peeps in the Patch,” to teach little farm hands and their families about chickens. Iowa farmers raise more eggs than any other state in the nation. Our state also ranks #1 in corn and pork production. Depending on the year, we rank first or second in soybean production and fourth in cattle production. In addition, taxes generated from local farms and agribusiness help fund schools and libraries in our local communities.
Although most Iowans are no longer full-time farmers, one in five Iowans goes to work because of agriculture. Biochemists, biophysicists, veterinarians and environmental engineers will be the agricultural jobs most in demand, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There is a need for agricultural engineers and food scientists, too.
Speaking of food scientists… The Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at Iowa State University in 2009 hired Dr. Stephanie Clark, who holds a Ph.D. in Food Science. Dr. Clark teaches dairy food science courses and conducts dairy research. In 2020, Dr. Clark re-established the Iowa State University Creamery. The Creamery offers hands-on training for students and short courses to entrepreneurs. Signature flavors of ice cream are sold four days weekly: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m. Starting Saturday, April 10, The ISU Creamery Retail Store will be open every Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.