Plenty of Blue Sky & "Strawberries in a Cloud" for this Iowa Farm Family

Scott Jencks farms with his father, Warren, and his brother, Mark, in Fayette County.  They farm some of the best ground in the state of Iowa, and then again, some of their fields present more than a few growing challenges.

Seed technology and equipment technology has come a long way in a few years.  We’re looking forward to using Latham’s Seed-2-Soil® program to organize all of our data in hopes of increasing our overall productivity and efficiency,” says Scott.  “We’re running populations between 27,000 and 37,000 for the first time this year.  We’re pushing populations where we can and bringing them down where we can’t.  I’m really looking forward to this fall when we’ll see how it works!

Variable rate planting is just part of the plan that the Jencks developed with the help of Latham Regional Sales Manager Nick Benson and Seed-2-Soil Team Lead Peter Bixel.

“We’ve been working with Nick for four years now, and his recommendations have proved so valuable that we don’t even question him anymore,” says Scott.  “Nick creates a prescription planting plan for each field and places Latham® corn and soybean products where they will work best for our soil and farming conditions.  One of the things that we like best about working with Nick is that he’s interested in more than just selling us seed.  He also has walked us through planting populations, tillage system and residue management.  He’s become a real partner in our operation.”

The Jencks family: Scott, Linda, Seth, Megan and Kelsey

Figuring out how to make things work better is Scott’s true passion.  He earned a degree in Automotive Technology from Hawkeye Community College and worked for five years as a mechanic.  His time away from the farm made him realize just how much he missed it, so Scott began farming full time in 1993.  Then he and his wife, Linda, were married one year later.

“Scott and I both grew up on farms around Hawkeye and love the freedom of living in the country,” says Linda.  “Once the chores were done, my siblings and I found something to do outside for the rest of the day.  It was such a carefree childhood, and I always wanted that for my kids.”

Dream it and you can achieve it, as the old saying goes.  Today the Jencks are the proud parents of 14-year-old triplets, who enjoy playing outside with their pets and spending time by the creek.  Their son, Seth, also keeps busying playing baseball, football and basketball.  Their daughters, Megan and Kelsey, enjoy participating in band and choir.  They’re really looking forward to starting high school next year and having the chance to become involved with speech and drama.

Because they all enjoy being outside, the Jencks’ extended family enjoys spending time together each summer at a cabin in northern Minnesota.  Adults and kids alike go fishing, boating, tubing and water skiing.  They also go for bike rides and spend time reading.

“Every time I say that I’m going to make Strawberries in a Cloud, my kids get excited.  It makes a great potluck dish, too,” says Linda.  In addition to being a busy mom and wife, she also works as a speech pathologist for Keystone AEA in the New Hampton School District, pre-school through 12th grades.

Summer is definitely a time of potlucks and family gatherings.  What’s your favorite go-to dish?

Strawberries in a Cloud



  • 1 package (8 ounce size) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tub (8 oz. size) whipped topping
  • 1 angel food cake
  • 2 quarts fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 package strawberry glaze



  1. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a different bowl, mix glaze and sliced berries.
  6. Tear cake into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Put half of the cake pieces into a large clear glass bowl.
  8. Cover with half of cream cheese mixture.
  9. Layer other half of cake and remaining cream cheese.
  10. Cover with strawberry mixture.
  11. Keep refrigerated.

COOK’S TIP:  This dessert can be made a day ahead.


Photo from The Cooking Mom