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October — Iowa Corn Harvest

Posted October 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm by Kristin Porter

One thing my husband Ben and I loved to do PB (pre-baby) was hop in the car and take a drive. For pleasure, that is (driving through the dark neighborhood at 1am trying to soothe a crying infant doesn’t count as pleasure!) We enjoy scoping out houses, open lots, and especially driving through Iowa's countryside. As a fellow Iowan I'm sure you can relate to how relaxing it is to simply stare out the car window at endless rows of blurry corn, past rolling hills dotted with grain bins and barns, with the window down and cool breeze whooshing in…until you get adventurous and turn onto a dusty gravel road.

Cough.

Anyway, as a fellow Iowan you might also know that corn is big business for Iowa – our corn industry is the 3rd largest in the world (THINK about that!) and #1 in the US (click here to learn more about Iowa's corn industry!) – but our corn operations are being run by multigenerational family farmers like Mark Kenney from Story City.

I visited Mark a few weeks ago during corn harvest. Although Iowa's corn production is up 13% from last year, many farmers are just now getting a chance to harvest their bumper crops due to late season rain. Even with 12+ hours of combining ahead of him Mark was eager to share about his family's farming legacy and best practices for land conservation when we met on a chilly yet brilliantly sunny fall day.  Located just two miles away from the original, still operational, family farm his great-great-grandfather started in 1880, stood Mark and I amongst the corn on the land his father bought in the 1980s.

While Mark is an 11th generation farmer, and 5th generation farmer in Story City, it's safe to say a lot has changed over the years. The fields once plowed by horses are now efficiently harvested by combines whose computing power would have been beyond imagination to his relatives farming 100 years ago. Now more than ever farmers are realizing they have a larger impact on our land than you and I do at our homes in the city, for instance, and Mark realizes that it's his responsibility – or opportunity, rather – to take care of it for his kids and grandkids. Click here to learn more about Mark's passion for farming.

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