ANKENY, Iowa – When the Iowa State Fair opens Aug. 9 in Des Moines, it will be hard not to notice the presence of Iowa’s dairy farmers.
To kick things off, Midwest Dairy Association, which puts together the fair’s activities on behalf of dairy farmers, is participating in the fair’s Grand Opening ceremony on Aug. 9 by bringing former National Football League wide receiver Eddie Kennison and Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf in for a Touchdown Dance competition. The event, at 7:15 a.m., highlights Fuel Up to Play 60, the National Dairy Council’s partnership with the NFL to fight childhood obesity.
Throughout the fair, the organization’s concession at the Cattle Barn and in the Agriculture Building offers hand-dipped malts, ice cream and milk.
Midwest Dairy also is featuring six dairy farmers in photo displays at the Boulevard of Breeds in the dairy barn. The six are:
• Brown Swiss – Denise and Barb Mashek, Calmar.
• Holstein – Dan and Rick Reuter, Peosta.
• Guernsey – Don and Glenda Eilers, Scotch Grove.
• Jersey – Joe, Eric and Stuart Lyon, Toledo.
• Ayrshire – Jim and Sharon Tentinger, Remsen.
• Milking Shorthorn – Larry Landsgard, Saint Olaf.
In the Animal Learning Center, Midwest Dairy’s display includes a cow waterbed and a Bou-Matic milking machine demonstration, showing how a cow might spend her day. An AgTivities presentation there allows kids to color, and play Jeopardy and other games. A “Thank A Farmer” presentation also will take place three times daily on the building’s stage.
Other educational offerings are part of a multi-commodity arrangement in the Agriculture Building, and Midwest Dairy helps sponsor the Little Hands on the Farm area and the Blue Ribbon Kids Club.
Concrete ice cream cones standing 3½ feet high are located around the grounds, painted by various groups and companies. Midwest Dairy’s cone is shaped like a barn with a cow stepping through the cone. A QR code on it can be scanned to visit dairymakessense.com.
Midwest Dairy also is part of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, which is using “Farmer Phil” as a new way to engage visitors about the importance of livestock. Fairgoers can pick up a free fan featuring Farmer Phil and Iowa farm facts in the Avenue of Breeds in the northwest corner of the Swine Barn daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., taking it on a "tour" of their adventures around the fair, snapping a picture and posting their experience on Facebook at facebook.com/supportfarmers or tweeting them with hashtag #FarmerPhil.