A new non-fiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff is now available and tells the story of raising corn on a modern Iowa farm. My Family’s Soybean Farm is available by request free for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. 

The story follows Isaac and Alexander, two brothers that live on a farm in Iowa. They help their family raise corn, alfalfa, pigs, cattle, and soybeans. Isaac and Alexander take the readers on a tour of the family farm and discuss how soybeans are produced for livestock feed, human food and industrial uses. They also discuss technology used on modern farms and conservation practices. The book is written at a 3 rd grade reading level and has supplemental text that gives additional background information for more advanced readers.

The book is the fourth in a series by Olthoff who is a former teacher and understands the importance of having high quality, relevant non-fiction books for students. Iowa Core educational standards require that up to 50% of student reading be informational or non-fiction. In elementary classrooms there is a lack of these non-fiction resources.

“People have a desire to find out how their food is grown,” said Olthoff. “The My Family’s Farm series is the perfect solution to telling the food production story and providing more non-fiction resources for teachers.”

Olthoff lives on a working turkey farm in central Iowa with her husband and family. Her first book detailed how turkeys were raised on their family farm. She currently works for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association as director of communications. She is active in the agriculture community in Iowa and beyond as a volunteer for Common Ground, a national network of farm women who share information on food and farming with consumers across the country. She has experience teaching and communicating about agriculture with her blog, On the Banks of Squaw Creek.

This book showcases the technology and conservation practices used on modern farms,” said Iowa Soybean Association Producer Services Regional Coordinator, Bre Wagner. “It demonstrates the best practices that modern farmers are using. We are excited to offer this educational resource to teachers and their students.”

Copies of the book are being made available to all Iowa elementary schools and additional copies are available on request. The book is a special project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation with financial support from Ag Ventures Alliance and the Iowa Soybean Association. The book also has two lesson plan companion resources that will help teachers integrate the book into a science lesson or a language arts lesson. The lesson plans are aligned with Iowa Core standards and easily fit into an approved course of study.

“Soybeans can be used to make so many different food and industrial products,” said Will Fett, executive director of IALF. “Iowa is a leader in producing this valuable commodity.”

For more information about this book or other education resources please contact the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation at info@iowaagliteracy.org. 

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About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture. The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. Iowa is a leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than 9 billion by 2050. IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. IALF will support existing agriculture education efforts such as FFA, 4-H and Ag in the Classroom. IALF was created through a joint effort of agricultural stakeholders, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Silos and Smokestacks Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, GROWMARK, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council. For more information visit IALF online at IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Will Fett, Executive Director
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation