The sand sculpture at the Iowa State Fair is always one of the highlights. Here's last year's rendition.
The sand sculpture at the Iowa State Fair is always one of the highlights. Here's last year's rendition.

American farmers and ranchers aren’t recognized often enough for their hard work, dedication and significant contributions, but that won’t be the case at this year’s Iowa State Fair. Farmers will be front and center in the Varied Industries Building throughout the fair.

The Iowa Food & Family Project, supported in part by the soybean, pork, dairy, beef, egg and corn checkoffs, will celebrate great food and the people who grow it at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11-21. Their “Vote Farmers!” exhibit will be featured in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building during the state fair in Des Moines, Iowa.

According to a news release from the Iowa Soybean Assn., the exhibit will feature a must-see sculpture carved from 50 tons of sand. Artists Greg and Brandi Glenn, co-owners of Sandscapes, will create their work of art featuring farm scenes and other fun caricatures using just water, trowels, other small tools and their imagination. Sculpting the centerpiece will begin on opening day of the fair and continue for one week, standing nearly 14-feet tall when completed.

Visitors to the booth will receive a woven food and farming-themed tote bag “perfect for holding treasures collected during time spent at the fair” stated the release. Numerous activities and prizes will provide fun for people of all ages.

Visitors to the display can register to win $500 in farm-fresh pork, beef and turkey, $250 in Hy-Vee groceries and Casey’s pizza for a year; and they can spin the Iowa FFP trivia wheel to test their knowledge of food and farming topics.

Attendees also can embark on a scavenger hunt throughout the fair to learn more about agriculture. “AgVenture Discovery Trail” maps are available throughout the fairgrounds and can be turned in to the Iowa FFP booth for a special prize upon completion.

Also, farmers will be on hand at various times throughout the fair to share their personal and first-hand knowledge of food production including a commitment to conservation, sustainability and animal care.

“Iowa farmers work from the ground up, both literally and figuratively, in an effort to provide quality food while caring for their animals, the land and their communities,” said Iowa FFP coordinator Lindsey Foss of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) in the release. “The exhibit will be a visual reminder of all that farmers do and provide a unique opportunity for consumers to learn about today’s farms and the food system in a fun and inviting way.

Iowa FFP partners assisting with “Vote Farmers!” exhibit include the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Casey’s General Stores, ISA and the United Soybean Board.

The Iowa FFP champions the continuous improvement of Iowa’s farm families and their dedication to providing wholesome food for everyone for the purpose of building greater understanding and confidence among food-minded Iowans. It also sponsors Live Healthy Iowa and supports the Iowa Games and is backed by more than 30 partners including farm organizations, restaurants and retailers throughout the state.