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‘Be a farmer’ semifinalists named from 10 states

By Staff | May 26, 2011

ANKENY – A manager of a wholesale sporting goods company in Missouri, clerical professional from Texas, freelance writer from Tennessee and the owner and manager of a food market and fine catering company in New Jersey are among ten semi-finalists named in the “Be Our Guest, Be A Farmer” contest.

Coordinated by the Iowa Food & Family Project with the support of farm, food and retail partners, the “Be Our Guest, Be A Farmer” contest was launched last December in New York City’s Times Square by the Iowa Soybean Association.

The goal of the activity is to inspire dialogue between farmers and consumers about the positive role Iowa’s farm families play in providing safe, affordable and nutritious domestic food choices.

More than 100 people from 31 states registered for the opportunity to win a four-day, three-night trip to Iowa Aug. 17-20. While visiting the state, the grand prize winner and up to three guests will tour grain and livestock farms near Newton and Ellsworth, enjoy dinner hosted by a farm family, help with farm chores and be treated like royalty at the 2011 Iowa State Fair. They’ll also enjoy an evening meal at the Iowa Beef Steak House (Des Moines) and breakfast at the Machine Shed Restaurant.

Contest semifinalists include James Allison from Durham, N.C.; Nancy Conturso from Wayne, N.J.; Abby Estrada from Phoenix, Ariz.; Ted Hartzler from St. Louis, Mo.; and Kim Kennedy from Great Falls, Va. Also, Patti Londre from Los Angeles, Calif.; A.J. McDonald from Yukon, Okla.; Traci Ostrick from Everett, Wash.; and Pam Schuh from Dripping Springs, Texas.

Semi-finalists received an application to be completed and returned by Friday, June 17, and a gift package featuring an assortment of items and memorabilia celebrating Iowa, its agricultural heritage and points of interest. A grand prize winner will be named in June.

Sponsors of the “Be Our Guest, Be A Farmer” contest include the Iowa Soybean Association, Comfort Inn & Suites at Living History Farms, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Beef Steak House (Des Moines), Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa State Fair, Iowa Turkey Federation, John Deere Des Moines Works and the Machine Shed Restaurant.

Nancy Degner, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council said Iowa’s farmers welcome the opportunity to showcase their farms and the quality care they provide their livestock and environment.

“Iowa is unique because it has the resources needed to raise high-quality livestock, poultry and feed grains,” she said. “Iowa’s farmers are also passionate about the environment.

“They depend on the land and its resources for their livelihood so good management of the soil and water is mandatory. These are just some of the stories that are being shared courtesy of the ‘Be Our Guest’ contest.”

For more information about the contest and to view the grand prize trip itinerary, visit www.iowafoodandfamily.com.

The Iowa Food & Family Project is an activity-led movement celebrating Iowa and the miracle of food and the men and women who provide it.

It involves nearly 20 farm, retail, food and food relief organizations dedicated to inspiring positive relationships between farmers and consumers through personal engagement and advocacy to the benefit of human vitality, environmental quality and economic prosperity.

It is funded in part by the soybean checkoff.

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