Farm Progress

Children’s author Katie Olthoff has written a book about raising corn on an Iowa farm.

March 17, 2017

3 Min Read

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

The story follows Presley, a young farm girl in Iowa. She lives with her family on a corn and swine farm. Presley takes the readers on a tour of the farm and discusses how corn is grown for livestock feed, human food, industrial uses and ethanol production. The book is written at a third-grade reading level and has supplemental text that gives additional background information for more advanced readers.


KIDS AND CORN: The book features a farm girl explaining how
her family raises corn on their Iowa farm. Written at a third-grade
reading level, the book has supplemental text on each page for
older kids, teachers or parents.

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

“People have a desire to find out how their food is grown,” says Olthoff. “The My Family’s Farm series is the perfect solution to telling the food production story and providing more nonfiction 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 ag 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.

Book suitable for classroom
“This book introduces students to the everyday lives of Iowa’s farm families and what it takes to grow a corn crop,” says Larry Buss, a western Iowa farmer who serves on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “It demonstrates what a major driver corn is to Iowa’s economy. 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 the ICPB. The book also has two lesson plans 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.

“Few places raise more corn than Iowa does,” says Will Fett, executive director of IALF. “Iowa has ideal climate and soil for field corn production. This resource helps make learning real and relevant for Iowa students.”

For more information about this book or other education resources contact the IALF at [email protected].

Source: Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation


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