*I was provided with an all expense paid trip as part of the Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tour. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.
I realize that it is still winter in Iowa right now but the snow is gone and we have had some really wonderfully warm days lately. Spring is coming and the warmth of the sun will be warming up the local fields. Farmers will be planting and fields will soon be changing from brown to green and I quite honestly can not wait to see that. Today I decided to share a bit more of the fabulous Franklin County Annual Harvest Bloggers Tour with my readers to let you know about some other places we were able to visit on our weekend that was graciously sponsored by Franklin County Farm Bureau and Franklin County Tourism back in October 2014. Even though months have passed since that weekend I still have a warm spot in my heart for Franklin County and the great things that they shared with us.
One stop was a stop at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in Alexander, Iowa. Going through my pages of scribbled notes from that visit make me realize how much I still have to learn about agriculture and how great the folks at Latham were at explaining things to us on a very basic level. The Latham company is family owned and has been in business since 1947 when Willard and Evelyn Latham started the company. Time has brought changes to the company but the family values remain strong and in the forefront and that is one of the things that I loved most about this company.
John Latham, current president, is part of the third generation to be involved in the company’s leadership and offered our group a lot of information about the business and how Latham initially started with cleaning and preserving oats and eventually moved to focusing on soybeans, seed corn and alfalfa. He related how Willard Latham strove for honesty in the organization and “never wanted to take advantage of someone but wanted to be as fair and honest as could be”. Those are principles that I could see are still at work in the Latham business today. John’s wife, Shannon, serves as Vice President and you might recall owns Enchanted Acres which I have shared previously on my blog.
The company has a far reach which includes Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and even has reach into northern Illinois. They can see up to 500,000 bushels of soybeans during harvest and each truckload is inspected by hand in an effort to weed out bad seed. If the seed is not used by Latham it is sold in town for feed.
Did you know that a bag of soybeans contains about 140,000 seeds? A bag of corn will contain about 80,000 seeds. Those were just a few of the facts that I learned as I listened to John Latham. Latham has effectively been able to develop and market hybrid seeds to help build better crops as well as increase yields. As I listened to John Latham I got a much clearer picture of what sometimes becomes a hot topic in the agricultural world and realized that much of the things that I have read and heard are very one sided and skewed. A company like Latham Hi-Tech seeds takes their business seriously and it was obvious from their facilities and the atmosphere that they are a caring company. The most important take away for me from the day was that I need to educate myself on “hot topics” like GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and not just adopt someone else’s opinion as my own. There is a lot of misinformation floating around and the one thing that I learned during this trip is that a lot of what I had “thought” was inaccurate. Education is key.
While we were at the Latham facility we were also treated to a wonderful lunch which was followed by a presentation by Brenda Adams and Linda Anderegg who are a part of the North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom group This is a 501(c) organization that reaches 10,000+ students in grades K-6th grades a year. That is a staggering number, don’t you think? These ladies are amazing. They play games with the children and do hands on learning so that the students gain an appreciation for all things related to agriculture. Some of these children would never have any experience with agriculture if it were not for this program that is free to the schools.
I learned a lot from these ladies as well and know that they are educating our children on the importance of agriculture and how taking care of the land is not just for farmers. Each individual is important in ensuring that the land is well taken care of and that it continues to be healthy for generations to come. Oh and did you know that the typical stalk of corn has one ear of corn on it?
The day was filled with a lot of learning and information and oh yes—did I mention the goodies that they loaded us down with? Everything from cookbooks to oven mitts to pens and cute farm animal toys –thank you to all who provided us with such a great experience.
If you are interested in reading more about our bloggers tour you can click on the following links to be taken to those posts in a separate window.