5 Things a Bachelorette Should Know before Saying “I Do”

Talk at the water coolers and comments on Facebook have been heavily focused on ABC’s “The Bachelor” since last Monday’s premiere. Even if you’re not a fan of this reality show, chances are you know the 19th edition features Iowa farmer and Iowa State University alumnus, Chris Soules.

In a recent interview with the ISU alumni magazine, Iowa’s most recognizable bachelor answers five questions. Soules’ notoriety certainly provides him with a worldwide stage to advocate for agriculture, and he hopes people understand that most modern farms are still run as family businesses. In fact, 98% of all U.S. farms are family owned. Soules says, “The people who run those family businesses are not just farmers, they are also business people who have a lot of pride in what they do.”

There is something to be said for the person who not only puts food on the table for his own family but feeds 155 people worldwide! One way Americans can gain a better understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to be a successful farmer is to get a real look inside Soules’ life. Will Hollywood producers accurately portray our great state or its “bread and butter” industry?

BachelorSeries2From what I saw during last Monday’s premiere, misperceptions abound. That’s why I put together this list of things I believe all the bachelorettes should learn about Iowa agriculture and life in our state:

  1. Your life will drastically change when you marry a farmer. Chris Soules is a farmer, and he can’t “relocate” his ground. Hopefully, the woman who chooses to marry him wants to become his partner in life – and that includes being a supportive farm wife. As Prairie Californian Jenny Rohrich writes in her blog post, 10 Ways Marrying a Farmer Will Change Your Life, “Date nights during planting and harvest = time in the tractor or combine with your husband. Dates during any other time of the year besides winter = checking crops. If you want to see him or spend time with him, this is where you will be.”
  2. Pork fuels Iowa’s economy. Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the nation. Chris’ farm plus approximately 6,265 more Iowa hog farms produce 49 million hogs per year and employ nearly 40,290 Iowans. We invite all the bachelorettes and The Bachelor fans to learn more about Chris’s role in hog production by following the hashtag #RealPigFarming in social media. This tag is meant to bring together the many ways that hogs are raised on farms across the country and show how farmers focus on management and care of their animals.
  3. Most farmers don’t use a moldboard plow; they practice conservation tillage. Ninety percent of Iowa’s crop land is farmed using some form of conservation practices. Since 1987, farmers have applied conservation methods that have reduced wind and water erosion on American crop land by more than a third (33%). The Iowa Farm Bureau, an organization in which Chris is actively involved, has launched an initiative called Conservation Counts to help more farmers implement new conservation methods. These methods include soil testing, nutrient management planning, tillage and crop residue management, crop rotation and precision agriculture techniques.
  4. Iowa is nicknamed the Tall Corn State. (Kansas is nicknamed the Sunflower State, although North Dakota leads the nation in sunflower production.) Iowa leads the nation in corn, soybean, pork and egg production. Here’s a little known fact: There are 20 times the number of chickens in Iowa as there are people! For more facts about Iowa, including our capitol city and state bird, click here. Be sure to also note the average January temperature here is 15°F, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself facing blizzards with wind chills of 30 below (yes, negative) zero!
  5. Iowa is the Hawkeye State but a CyclONE nation! Chris Soules gives a “politically correct” answer by saying he graduated from Iowa State and is a Cyclone fan but also cheers for the Hawkeyes. But bachelorettes should take note that Soules is the exception, not the rule. Most Iowans root for one team or the other because, well, bragging rights are at stake! If a woman is going to immigrate to Northeast Iowa, she needs to know about the Cy-Hawk Series. She’d be well served to study these tips for hosting a spirited tailgate.

The girls whom Chris is getting to know in California don’t appear to have been “picked fresh off the farm,” but that’s not to say that one of them can’t or won’t play an important role on his Northeast Iowa farm someday. Hopefully, this season of The Bachelor will open these girls’ eyes and allow all of America to enjoy a real look at agriculture in Iowa. Like Chris stated in his interview for the ISU Alumni Association’s magazine, VISIONS, we’d love for viewers to see how important Iowa agriculture it is to our state, our country and our world food supply.

P.S. Watch for Part 2 of this series to post one week from today on Monday, January 19!