Agriculture is Iowa's Masterpiece

By Lydia Zerby, Iowa Soybean Association

The iconic Iowa State Fair is the perfect way to celebrate food, family and farming! This year at the Iowa State Fair, immerse your family in the art of agriculture with the Iowa Food & Family Project.

Whether it’s meeting baby calves, catching a food demonstration in The Kitchen or enjoying a new fair food, fairgoers from both rural and urban communities can make lifelong memories during the incredible 11-day event. From Aug. 11-21, visitors can engage with the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) in the southeast atrium of the Varied Industries Building.

It’s a chance to “Find your Fun” by engaging with area artists who will be creating colorful and larger-than-life murals. Visitors to the display can double their fun by hunting for hidden objects in each design. Kids of all ages (adults, too!) can spin the wheel for fantastic prizes, play ag trivia, step inside an “ag-citing” photo booth or pick up an exclusive coloring sheet. Plus, there will be a special art contest for kids to enter!

Once again, Iowa FFP will be handing out its wildly popular reusable tote bags and visitors can enter to win some blue ribbon-worthy prizes. This year’s “Grand Champion” prizes include:

  • Iowa Pork gift basket courtesy of the Iowa Pork Producers Association
  • Iowa Corn gift basket courtesy of the Iowa Corn Growers Association
  • Earl May Nursery & Garden Center gift card
  • Hy-Vee grocery store gift card
  • The Machine Shed restaurant gift card
  • Framed photo of Iowa agriculture courtesy of Joseph L. Murphy

The Iowa Food & Family Project is all about celebrating families, uniting rural and urban communities and providing the information and experiences consumers need to make informed food choices. The initiative involves a collaborative network of nearly 35 food, farming and healthy living organizations who are proud of Iowa’s homegrown foods and hometown values. Iowa FFP is funded by the soybean, pork, beef, egg, corn, turkey and dairy checkoffs, as well as non-checkoff resources.

Approximately 135,000 food-minded Iowans engage with Iowa Food & Family Project monthly through social media, eNewsletter and magazine channels.

See you at the 2022 Iowa State Fair, where visitors will “Find Your Fun!” #ISFFindYourFun




  • 3-pound beef chuck roast
  • 2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mashed potatoes, 4-6 cups prepared (two packets of instant mashed potatoes)
  • Sweet corn, 3 cups prepared
  • 1-pound package of egg noodles cooked to package directions, drained
  • One bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • One small container of cherry tomatoes

Cook roast, salt, pepper, bay leaves and 1½ cups of beef stock on low in the slow cooker for 8 hours. Remove meat from pan, shred and discard excess fat. Set aside.

With remaining juices, strain 3 tablespoons fat off and place in large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk together, cook for one minute. Add remaining liquids that have been strained of excess fat, whisk well. Add remaining beef stock and continue whisking while gravy comes to a simmer. Simmer gravy for a couple of minutes until thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat. Fold in cooked egg noodles and shredded beef.

In serving vessels (bowls, ice cream glasses or layer in a large casserole dish and serve family style) add a generous amount of mashed potatoes, a layer of corn, layer beef and noodles with gravy, and a cherry tomato or two on top. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve warm.