Day in the Life – Careers in Agriculture Research

Whether you realize it or not, research conducted in a variety of industries impacts your daily lives. From the newest cell phone technology to the food you eat, the fruits of thousands of hours of research efforts touches all aspects of your life.

When it comes to agriculture, research plays an important role in ensuring American agriculture remains a competitive leader and is positioned to address the world’s growing needs. Investments in agricultural research have led to exceptional gains in productivity over the years but to remain competitive we need investments in research. One of those main investments needs to be in people. We need an educated workforce ready to tackle tomorrow’s agricultural challenges. Who will be doing this work, you might ask? Maybe you or someone you know. There are many opportunities in agriculture research that may interest you as a career path.

Plant Breeder
If you’re watching a sci-fi movie and are more interested in the cool looking plants (Feed me, Seymour!) than the romantic lead, a future in plant breeding may be up your alley. field_research1 -- 220  Plant breeders are responsible for researching different seed characteristics that may be beneficial to a plant. Breeders work on developing the best traits that are most desirable for yield performance, maturity, quality, size and are resistant to factors such as drought and pests. Some of the responsibilities of a plant breeder include the ability to develop and manage a breeding program schedule, conduct technical interaction with marketers and end-users and use new technologies such as Global Positioning Systems.

Research Associate
If you like to dive deeper into specific areas of research, then a research associate position might interest you. Every day, seed companies are trying to improve various lab1 220aspects of a seed so that it performs better for farmers. Research associates perform and document research trials on a particular trait and then provide that data to the plant breeder to develop a new hybrid. Research associates also try to improve the process by lowering costs, giving higher number of data points for the breeders to analyze and they also can identify if a certain part of a gene is present or not. Plant breeders use the information provided by the research associate to make decisions on how best to produce that gene in a new hybrid. In a seed company, research associates work in many different areas of the company including trait and technology development, process improvement, product characterization, regulatory science, compliance and more.

Agricultural Scientist
As an agricultural scientist you’ll spend your days in the field, lab and greenhouse studying the DNA of a plant to look for ways a particular gene makes one plant perform better than another. Work will include taking measurements on plant growth traits, conducting greenhouse experiments under controlled conditions and lab work on a smaller scale. You’ll try to identify which genes are present that are helping a particular plant perform better. You’ll also investigate different characteristics such as drought tolerance and how you can increase yields so farmers have better production results. As the world’s climate continues to change, agricultural scientists need to have an understanding of the environment and its impact on plants.

Soil Scientist
field_research6 - soil 220Soil is the foundation for the food we eat – whether it’s a plant or an animal. A soil scientist contributes toward food production by investigating the best ways to keep soil healthy. These professionals collect soil samples to conduct surveys, recommend soil management practices, advise others on the capabilities and limitations of a particular area of land based on the soil traits and evaluate nutrient and water availability, among others.   

Entomologist
Were you the little kid walking down the path stopping to see each little bug you encountered? Maybe you were the first to be willing to pick up an insect and see it crawl across your skin. If so, entomology could be for you. An entomologist is a type of scientist who focuses specifically on the study of insects. They examine growth, behavior, nutrition and how they interact with plants. As part of their work, they design and implement research plans to support the selection of new Entomologist - 220insecticide products. Part of your daily responsibilities would include monitoring insect feeding behavior and insect feeding biology, visiting farms and other research trial plots to collect insect samples and monitoring application of experimental and commercial insecticides to targeted pests and their habitats, among others. Entomologists work with these sometimes quirky insects so you need to have a willingness to try ideas, have patience, and the ability to think outside of the box. 

Microbiologist
Microbiologists look at the small organisms that can affect plant health. Professionals in this career analyze soil, crop or food samples to identify if microorganisms such as lab11 - 220bacteria, fungi viruses and parasites are present. Part of their work is to monitor the growth of these organisms and how they affect various parts of the plant.  

Education required
For students currently in high school, be sure to take classes associated with science such as biology, chemistry and physics, as well as mathematics, business and computer science. Many of these positions require a bachelors degree in crop science, plant genetics or agronomy. In many cases a PhD or masters of science in plant science is also required. Participate in as many labs and research trials as you can. For some positions such as an entomologist you’ll be required to have a specific degree such as one in entomology, biology or zoology related to that work. Education also includes mentoring. If you’re currently in the agriculture field, what can you do to spark an interest in agriculture careers to those upcoming students around you? Maybe it’s attending career fairs or giving presentations to local high school classes. The effort you put forth today to help secure a workforce for agriculture could mean the difference between meeting the world’s needs and not meeting them.

Career outlook
The world’s population is projected to grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050. With an increased need for food and fuel, the agriculture industry has a daunting task in front of it to meet those growing needs. According to a 2015 United State Department of Agriculture study, there are nearly 60,000 high-skilled agriculture job openings expected annually but only half that amount of available graduates to fill them. The outlook for careers in agriculture is bright, particularly with the growing world needs. Research jobs will be at the forefront of meeting these needs.

~Melissa

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Why do they do that? Fall Fieldwork

Corn and soybean farmers breath a sigh of relief once they finish harvesting crops in the fall. But that doesn’t mean their work in the field is done for the year. Depending on their type of operation and soil conditions, they have several more weeks of field work left before they can park their tractors in the shed for the winter.

So what type of field work do farmers do after harvest and why?

  • Tillage. While no-till is a common practice, many farmers choose to till some or all of their of crop ground for multiple reasons. Fall tillage can alleviate compaction caused by combines and other large, heavy equipment;break-down and incorporate plant residue, like corn stalks, into the soil; and help heavier soils warm up and dry-out quicker in the spring. Farmers consider factors such soil type, soil moisture, ground slope, and next crop rotation when deciding to till and what tillage equipment tool to use.
  • Seeding cover crops. Unless farmers choose aerial application, cover crops must be planted after the fall crop is harvest. Cover crops are used to add organic matter to the soil and hold the soil in place to reduce erosion.
  • Fertilizer Application. Many farmers choose to apply manure, anhydrous and other fertilizer in the fall. Farmers consider the 4Rsof nutrient management when deciding when and what to fertilizer apply.
  • Installing & repairing fences. Many beef cattle farmers let their cattle graze on harvested corn fields after harvest. The cattle clean-up any corn that fell before or during harvest. This can give their pastures additional late-season growing time and provide an additional food source after pastures are covered with snow. Before they can move cattle to the fields, they need to ensure that the fields are well secured by installing new or fixing existing fences.
  • Baling cornstalks. While corn residue is incorporated or left on the soil surface in most fields, some producers bale the residue for use as livestock feed and bedding. This is a particularly common practice for beef cattle producers who rise cattle in open lots, hoop barns, or mono-slope buildings.
  • Soil Sampling. Fall is a good time to collect soil samples and test the soil to help make future decisions. Farmers and agronomist use the results from soil tests to determine fertilizer application rates and if it is necessary to apply lime to increase the soil PH.
  • -Cindy

    Grain Cart: What is it and why do farmers use them?

    The equipment used to harvest corn and soybeans has changed a lot since my childhood days of riding along in the combine with my dad for hours on end. And I’m not only talking about the low-tech, 150-bushel, six-row combine compared to the eight-row, 320-bushel combine with mapping technology, a real-time yield monitor, and surround-sound stereo system that my brother runs today. How farmers haul grain in and from the field has changed just as much and played a significant role in improving harvest speed.

    Thirty years ago, three pieces of equipment were commonplace in fields during harvest. A combine, a gravity flow wagon or two, and a tractor to pull the wagons. When the combine hopper was full, the farmer would drive the combine to the end of the field, wait for the corn to unload, and then drive back across the field to continue picking corn. While this worked well, the combine operator could spend just as much time driving to and from the wagon and unloading as they did picking corn. If ground was dry, the wagons could be parked at the end field, relatively close to where the combine was working in the field at the time. But if the field was wet, they would have to be parked in a dry spot close to the field driveway or even on the road. Pulling a stuck wagon full of corn out of the mud never ends well, so it is best to play it safe.

    Resized_20181113_135348

    While some grain farmers still use gravity flow wagons today, most do not usually unload the combine directly into wagons. Instead they use a grain cart, also called an augur cart, to bring the corn from the combine to the wagon or truck at the end of the field. Grain carts have large, flotation tires or tracks, which enable them to be easily pulled nearly anywhere in the field – even in muddy conditions. A grain cart can increase harvest efficiency by more than 25 percent because they enable the combine to keep picking corn almost non-stop.

    The big benefit of using a grain cart is the ability to unload the corn from the combine’s hopper into the grain cart while the combine continues to pick corn. The person driving the tractor pulling the grain cart carefully pulls up next to the combine and drives the same speed as the combine. Once their speed is matched, the combine driver pushes a button to begin unloading corn. They both continue to drive and in about two minutes the combine hopper is empty. The grain cart operator pulls away from the combine and the combine continues to harvest corn solo until the hopper almost full again. After a few loads the grain cart operator drives to the end of the field and unloads it into a semi-truck or wagons.

    Efficiently running the tractor and grain cart takes skill and is a fast-paced job. The cart operator is always doing something – getting grain, driving to and from the truck, or unloading grain. The operator needs to be able to think ahead and anticipate when and where they need to be. When heading across the field, they should drive to where the combine will be, not where it is now. Their goal is to keep the combine running non-stop.

    A 450-bushel grain cart was the first big purchase my brother made when he began farming with my dad in 1994. Today he owns a 1,000-bushel grain cart that will fill my dad’s semi-truck trailer in one load. My brother runs the combine, his wife operates the tractor and grain cart, and my dad drives the truck to haul the grain from the field to where they are storing or selling the grain. While my brother technically harvests all of the family’s corn, it takes the whole team to keep the operation running.

    -Cindy

    Farming for Safety

    The greatest delight of family farming is being able to have your family with you as you farm. Days spent together, working for a common goal. Nights coming in from a long day, and relishing a job well done. Together. It takes a team to move the herd, put up the hay, harvest the crops, or raise the barn. The school-age children, eager to get off the bus, change into chore clothes and hop on whatever tractor that is running at the time. But, in order to do that safely, certain practices must be observed.

    To be safe around equipment:  Children and anyone approaching a moving vehicle should make eye contact with the driver who can then indicate if it’s okay to climb aboard or to wait until the driver is ready for passengers.‪tractor step Visibility from a tractor seat does not always allow the farmer a good view of what is on the ground. A piece of equipment that can weigh tens of thousands of pounds does not stop on a dime. Stay back and wait for the machine to come to a complete stop before climbing on. Never mount a stair step while the equipment is moving.

    There should be no riders on the fender of the tractor. An open station tractor (versus one with an enclosed cab) should not be treated like a ride at an amusement park. Riding on one can have dire consequences if safety procedures aren’t followed. As a rule, there should be only one rider per seat.

    momma cowTo be safe around livestock:  Many farms have various types of  livestock and even the most docile animals can be provoked or dangerous in the wrong situations. A mother cow with a new calf can be overly protective and not comfortable with people being near the newborn. When walking in a field with animals, take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

    To be safe around grain:  Grain bins and wagons are never a good place for children to play. When grain is being moved by auger from one place to another (i.e. bin to truck) the grain can trap and suffocate a person in just a few minutes. Even grain in a bin that isn’t being moved isn’t stable underfoot.

    unloading grain

    The grain can act like quicksand. If you were to stand on it, the corn could shift and a person could sink into it. The danger is if a person would sink in up to their chest or over their head the weight and pressure of the grain would prevent them from being able to expand their chest and breathe appropriately. There is a danger the person would then suffocate. A farmer should always let someone know when they are checking a grain bin, how long they will be gone, and when they are safely clear of the grain bin. No one should ever enter a bin or wagon that is being unloaded.

    chemicals

    To be safe around chemicals:  Chemicals and dangerous liquids on the farm should be safely stored and not in a highly trafficked area where they could get knocked over and spilled. When handling chemicals on the farm, it is important to where personal protective equipment like gloves, goggles, and long sleeves and pants. Different chemicals have different recommended personal protective equipment so be sure to read the label.

    ‏iron pileTo be safe around debris:  Sharp metal scraps and nails in boards are commonplace around a farm. Work areas should be cleaned up regularly to minimize these sharp items. But it is also good to take the precaution to wear proper footwear with sturdy, thick soles.

    Most family farms are passed on from generation to generation, each passing on lessons learned from their experience. We want to help ensure that those experiences are positive so it is never a bad idea to take a refresher course on farm safety. Even one accident is one too many. Be safe!

    -Melanie

    Scarecrows and Agriculture? Say What?

    porch scarecrowFall is in the air. The farmers are out combining their crops in the fields, and fall decorations are set out. Mums, pumpkins, and scarecrows add a festive touch to porch stoops. Scarecrows are now often used as fun fall decorations, but did you know they once served an agricultural purpose?

    Origin 

    The origin of the scarecrow dates back to the time of the Egyptians. Farmers installed wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets. As birds would enter the field, the farmer would scare them into the net and capture them.

    Greek farmers also used scarecrows. In 2,500 B.C., Greek farmers carved wooden scarecrows to look like Priapus, the daughter of Greek goddess Aphrodite. She was believed to be ugly enough to scare birds away from the vineyards and ensure a good harvest. One hand held a club to scare the birds away, and the other hand held a sickle in hopes of a good harvest.

    DCF 1.0Japan had their own version of scarecrows called a kakashis. This scarecrow closely resembled a person. It was dressed in a raincoat and a round straw hat. Farmers added bows and arrows to make the kakashis appear to be more threatening.

    Scarecrows were also used in the Middle Ages in Europe. Their original purpose was to england scarecrowfrighten away birds from eating crops in the field. For thousands of years, farmers have tried to keep pests like crows from eating the seeds and plants in their fields. Before scarecrows were around, during the Middle Ages, in England, young boys would walk through the wheat fields making loud noises with wooden clappers to scare the birds away. This was the child’s main job on the farm. They were called bird scarers. When the fields got larger, they started to build wooden stands throughout the field for children to sit in during the day. While they sat in the stand, they would bang pots, make noise, and throw rocks at any animals or birds that attempted to eat their crops.

    During the Great Plague, many children died and few were left to stay in the field as bird scarers. Farmers had to be creative and find something else that would deter the pests from the fields. Thus, the scarecrow was born in that region. England scarecrow bodies were made from stuffed sacks of straw and their faces made of gourds. Their bodies were leaned against a pole to scare away birds.

    homemade scarecrowMake your own scarecrow

    You can make your own scarecrow for your garden at home! It is a simple process. Garden scarecrows must stand tall in the wind, rain, or heat so they need to be made from sturdy materials. Start with a strong frame. A wooden poll, PVC pipe or metal fence post works well. Be creative and use recyclables to create your scarecrow! Old milk jugs work well to create a head for your scarecrow. You can even paint a face on it.

    The next step is to to create a body for your scarecrow. Use old clothes to dress the scarecrow. Fill a shirt and old pants with straw, hay, or grass clippings. Tie the ends of the clothing items shut so the filling stays inside. Colorful duct tape can be used to secure the scarecrow to the frame. Attach an old straw hat or wig to make the scarecrow even more life-like.

    Attach noise makers to frighten pesky birds away from your crops. Metal objects and reflective products work well to keep birds away.

    Just in time for fall celebrations, your new scarecrow can serve two purposes! First it can add to your fall décor, and secondly it can help keep birds from disrupting your crops.

    Happy fall!

    ~Laura

    What’s Cookin’?: State Fair Sweet Edition

    The average American consumes approximately 222 pounds of meat per year – more than 46 pounds of which is pork. Pork is something Iowans know a lot about. We raise 22.8 million pigs each year. If each of those pigs was raised to a market weight of 300 pounds, we could expect approximately 144 pounds of meat from each pig. That means each pig could provide meat for three people over the course of a year. There are only 3.1 million people in Iowa so to feed Iowans we only need to raise one million pigs. What do we do with the other 21.8 million pigs? They get sold to other states and other countries around the world. Iowa truly does have a role in feeding the world!

    This is why we celebrate the productivity of the state. Iowa is a major producer of several agricultural commodities. Corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs are what I call the ‘big four’. Each year we host a cooking contest at the Iowa State Fair. Aspiring chefs and cooks can enter dishes – sweet and savory. Each dish has to include one or more of the big four ingredients in the recipe. Kudos to those cooks who are able to include all four! The entries are judged by a panel of experts representing each of the commodity organizations that are responsible for helping farmers (Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Soybean Association and the Soyfoods Council, and the Iowa Egg Council).

    This year’s winning recipe in the sweet category was Butterscotch Cream Pie submitted by Jamie Buelt from Polk City, Iowa. This recipe uses lard from pork and four eggs as well as Iowa cream.

    Entry15.jpgCrust
    1 Cup Flour
    1/4 Cup Cake Flour
    1/3 Cup Lard
    2 Tablespoons Butter
    1 Tablespoon Baker’s Sugar
    3 Tablespoons Very Cold Water

    Filling
    1/4 Cup Real Butter
    1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
    4 Tablespoons Wondra Flour
    1/2 Cup Milk
    11/2 Cup Heavy Cream
    4 Large Egg Yolks, separate eggs
    1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
    1 Pinch Salt
    3 Drops of Butterscotch Oil

    Whipped Cream
    1 Cup AE Whipping Cream
    1/4 plus 1 Tablespoon Confectioner’s Sugar
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients and then cut butter until mixture has the consistency of cornmeal. Then cut the cold lard and butter into pea-sized pieces and cut in with pastry cutter. Move mixture to one side of the bowl and using a fork, rake about one-sixth of the dry-butter lard mixture into the other half. Add one tablespoon of cold water and combine. Repeat with each tablespoon of cold water. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is brown.

    Stir brown sugar and butter in a saucepan until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook 2-3 minutes longer on low-medium heat, and then remove from fire. Beat egg yolks. In separate large bowl, mix flour with 1/2 of milk, until smooth. Then add beaten egg yolks and salt and mix well. Blend remaining milk with this mixture. Add milk-flour mixture to saucepan with sugar/butter mixture and cook on low/medium heat until thickened (anywhere from 30-45 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and blend in vanilla extract and butterscotch oil. Stir constantly until well-blended and slightly warm and then pour into a prepared piecrust and chill.

    With a mixer, cream with sugar. When cream has thickened, add vanilla and beat until soft peaks form. Top chilled butterscotch filling with whipped cream. A flourish is nice.

    2nd and 3rd

    Second place was submitted by Sharon Gates of Des Moines, Iowa and was a Corn Custard Brulee with Candied Bacon Crumbles.

    IMG_4413.JPG1/2 Cup Bacon Crumbles
    2 T Brown Sugar
    1 T Light Corn Syrup
    1 Cup Fresh Sweet Corn (removed from cob)
    3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
    1/4 Cup Whole Milk
    3 T White Sugar
    3 Egg Yolks
    1 Egg
    1/2 T Salt
    1/4 T Freshly Ground (fine) Black Pepper
    1/8 T (scant) Chipotle Chile Morita Powder
    Sugar for Bruleeing

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together bacon, brown sugar and corn syrup. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool. Put remaining ingredients except heavy cream and brulee sugar into blender and liquefy all. Add heavy cream pulse blender to incorporate. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a ramekin sprayed with non-stick spray. Place ramekin in a baking dish on the middle rack of oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish to halfway up the outside of ramekin. Bake 45 minutes or until the center of the custard registers an internal temperature of 170°F. Remove from oven and let cool. Just before serving sprinkle a layer of sugar over the top of each custard and brulee with a torch. Serve candied bacon on the side.

    Third place was also a Corn Creme Brulee submitted by Diane Rauh of Des Moines, Iowa. Considering these two winners – clearly these are recipes we should try.

    IMG_4441.JPG1 Can (15 oz) Whole Kernel Corn, drained
    4 Teaspoons Butter
    3 Cups Whipping Cream
    1 Cup 2% Milk
    8 Large Egg Yolks
    1¼  Cups Sugar plus 4 Tablespoons for topping
    2 Tablespoons Vanilla Bean Paste

    Preparation
    Heat oven to 325°F. In large saucepan, cook corn and butter over medium-high heat until all liquid is evaporated. Spoon out and set aside 1/4 cup of the corn. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in cream and milk; cook until bubbles form around sides of pan. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Pour in blender container. Cover and blend at high speed until smooth. Strain through wire mesh strainer and discard corn pulp. Return cream mixture to pan. In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and 1¼ cups sugar with wire whisk until blended. Whisk in a small amount of the hot cream mixture. Return egg mixture to pan, whisking constantly. Stir in vanilla. Sprinkle reserved corn in bottom of 8 (6-8 oz) ramekins or custard cups. Place in baking pan. Add 1 inch of hot water around the ramekins. Bake uncovered 40 to 50 minutes or until centers are set but still jiggle slightly. Remove from water bath. Cool 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or until well chilled. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons sugar over each ramekin. Using brulee torch, caramelize the sugar. Serve immediately.

    Enjoy the recipes!

    -Will

    IMG_4442.JPG

    What’s Cookin’?: State Fair Savory Edition

    The average American consumes just under two bushels of corn per year (including corn used to make other products). Americans eat approximately 222 lbs. of meat per year and those animals were largely feed with corn and soybeans. Let’s assume that it takes six lbs of feed to produce each pound of meat. This is an over estimate because beef, pork, and chicken all require different amounts – beef is the highest at 6.7. So let’s assume the 222 pounds of meat consumed required 1,300 pounds (or 23 bushels) of corn to be produced. Again this is an over estimation because it doesn’t account for the soybeans, forage, or other additives mixed into the feed ration. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume each person uses 25 bushels of corn every year. Approximately 2.6 billion bushels of corn is produced in Iowa each year. There are only 3.1 million people in Iowa.

    Iowa is a major producer of several agricultural commodities. Corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs are what I call the ‘big four’. The 3.1 million people living in Iowa eat/use roughly 77.5 million bushels of corn. Where do the other 2.5 billion bushels of corn go? It is sold to other states and other countries. Iowans truly do help feed the world. Iowa raises more pork, more eggs, and more soybeans than the people living here could ever use. So it is all sold and traded domestically and internationally.

    That’s why we celebrate the productivity of the state. Each year we host a cooking contest at the Iowa State Fair. Aspiring chefs and cooks can enter dishes – sweet and savory. Each dish has to include one or more of the big four ingredients in the recipe. Kudos to those cooks who are able to include all four! The entries are judged by a panel of experts representing each of the the commodity organizations that are responsible for helping farmers (Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Soybean Association and the Soyfoods Council, and the Iowa Egg Council).

    The winning recipe in the savory category – Bacon and Corn Custard – was submitted by Diane Rauh of Des Moines, Iowa.

    Entry8.jpg1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
    6-8 strips of smoked bacon (fried and then diced)
    4 teaspoons butter
    3 cups whipping cream
    1 cup 2% milk
    8 large egg yolks
    1/4 cup sugar

    Preparation:
    Heat oven to 325°F. In large saucepan, cook corn and butter over medium-high heat until all liquid is evaporated. Spoon out and set aside 1/4 cup of the corn. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in cream and milk; cook until bubbles form around sides of pan. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Pour in blender container. Cover and blend at high speed until smooth. Strain through wire mesh strainer and discard corn pulp. Return cream mixture to pan.

    In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar with wire whisk until blended. Whisk in a small amount of the hot cream mixture. Return egg mixture to pan, whisking constantly.

    Sprinkle reserved corn in bottom of 8 (6-8 oz) ramekins or custard cups, then top with diced bacon. Place in baking pan. Add 1 inch of hot water around the ramekins. Bake uncovered 40 to 50 minutes or until centers are set but still jiggle slightly. Remove from water bath. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

    2nd and 3rd

    Second place was a Celebrate Iowa Summer Salad recipe submitted by Marta Burkgren of Ames, Iowa. All of Iowa’s big four commodities were represented in this refreshing summer salad. Fresh sweet corn and corn chips (corn), edamame (soybeans), hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise (soybeans, cornstarch and egg yolks), and bacon (pork).

    Entry9.jpg2 cups cooked Iowa sweet corn kernels (you can substitute one can of yellow kernel corn, drained or frozen corn)
    1 cup edamame, (fresh frozen)
    1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
    2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
    1/2 cup red onion, diced
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    3 ounces corn craps

    Preparation
    Mix all ingredients except the chips. Arrange the eggs on top. Add the chips just before serving so they do not get soggy. Serves 6 to 8.

    And third place was awarded to Kris Johnson of Altoona, Iowa with a Summer Succotash Saute.

    Entry7.jpg3 Slices Bacon
    1 Cup Sweet Red Pepper, chopped
    1 Cup Onion, chopped
    1 Cup Tomato, seeded/chopped
    1-2 Jalapeno Peppers, sliced into rings, seeds optional
    1T Ground Cumin
    1t Salt
    2t Ground Smoked Paprika
    8 oz pkg Shelled Edamame, frozen
    14 oz pkg Roasted Sweet Corn, Frozen
    2 oz Cream Cheese

    Preparation
    Cut bacon into ¼ inch pieces, cook until brown. Drain, set aside. Discard all but 2T bacon drippings. In the drippings, saute the red pepper and onion until softened over medium-high heat. Add Jalepeno slices and cook 1-2 minutes more. Next add corn and edamame. Mix well. Continue to saute 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes and cream cheese, melting and mixing well. Stir in bacon pieces, saving some for garnish. Serves six.

    Hope you enjoy these recipes!

    -Will

    IMG_4480.JPG