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Inaugural Farm to Fair Dinner to be Featured at the 2018 Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa – Have you ever wondered how your dinner got from the farm to your plate? Iowa farmers are inviting 500 lucky guests to join them at the largest dinner table ever set at the Iowa State Fair, Sunday, August 12, 2018 from noon to 2 p.m. on Grand Avenue. The inaugural event focuses on agricultural education and attendees will have an opportunity to eat, learn, engage and discover facts about Iowa farming and food grown right here in Iowa. With only two percent of the population farming today, this is their chance to sit next to a farmer and enjoy a meal made from locally-sourced ingredients. From beef, pork, corn, dairy, eggs, soybeans and turkey, it’s coming straight from the farm to the Iowa State Fair.

“Iowa dairy farmers are proud to bring dairy to life and share their dairy farm stories as part of this new Iowa State Fair tradition,” Jenna Finch, Midwest Dairy farmer relations manager. “Celebrating dairy farmers’ devotion to dairy makes it easy to bring new experiences to the fair. This year we’re excited to partner with other Iowa agriculture groups to share our common voice.”

Dairy foods will be front and center at The Dairy Barn, which is one of the Iowa State Fair’s most popular concessions and owned by Iowa’s dairy farm families. The building, located north of the cattle barn, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Dairy Barn serves shakes, milk and hand-dipped ice cream. In 2017, more than 56,000 ice cream treats – including 21,700 shakes – were served throughout the fair. In addition, hand-dipped ice cream will be served at the second Dairy Barn location, which is in the Ag Building.

While vising the Ag Building, check out this year’s butter cow. Sarah Pratt, a teacher by trade, will be returning to the fair to sculpt 600 pounds of butter. This year, the world-famous Iowa State Fair Butter Cow will be featured beside the Waterloo Boy Tractor to celebrate John Deere’s 100th anniversary of entering the tractor business. Fair-goers can watch and learn about the process of milking a cow every day at the “I Milked a Cow” exhibit presented by the Iowa State University Dairy Science Club. The booth is located in the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds, John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn. For $3, the general public can try out their milking talent on a live cow.

Each year, the Iowa State Fair celebrates the more than 1,100 dairy farmers in the state who are contributing 15,370 jobs and delivering an overall economic impact of $3.88 billion produced and sold in Iowa. To learn more about dairy farming in the Midwest, including Iowa, visit

Editor’s note: Interview opportunities with a local dairy farmer, the Iowa Dairy Princess or other state dairy ambassadors involved in the fair are available. To make a request, please contact Alyson Fendrick at (515) 518-5442 or