Growing Up Around Farming, Family and Food

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Megan Lien, the Iowa Food and Family Project Intern, has been involved in the dairy industry her entire life. (Photo Credit: Megan Lien)

By Amber Hammes, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds Marketing Intern

You could say Megan Lien, summer intern for the Iowa Food and Family Project, grew up around three things the IFFP holds most dear: Farming, Family and Food.

Megan grew up on a multi-generational family dairy farm near Calmar in Northeast Iowa. She and her three siblings are the sixth generation to live on Velkommen Valley Farm where her  family currently milks 60 Holstein and Jersey cows.

“I have enjoyed working with my family on the dairy farm,” says Megan. One of Megan’s favorite memories growing up on the farm was preparing for the county and state fairs during the summer. “It was always a team effort to get everything ready, and we made some great memories along the way.”

Megan was heavily involved in the dairy industry as a youth. She showed dairy cattle at the county fair during her 9 years in 4-H and also participated in the dairy show at the Iowa State Fair several years. She was a member of the 1st Place Dairy Judging Team at the 2009 Iowa State Fair and advanced to compete at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. She also received a Jersey heifer calf for the Iowa Jersey Breed Award and is a former Winneshiek County Dairy Princess.

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The Lien family owns and operates Velkommen Valley Farm in Calmar, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Megan Lien)

With the dairy industry being a significant stitch in the fabric of her life, Megan is very passionate about both the industry and the people involved. Being such a great advocate for the dairy industry, Megan wishes consumers knew two things:

  1. “I wish consumers knew how passionate and hard-working dairy farmers are. Dairy farmers work 365 days a year caring for their animals, which takes a lot of dedication and hard work.”
  2. “I wish consumers knew the importance of consuming dairy products every day. Dairy products have many nutritional benefits and it is important to consume at least 3 servings of dairy products like milk, cheese or yogurt every day.”

Megan will be graduating from Iowa State University in December with a double major in Marketing and Management and a minor in Agricultural Communications. She plans to pursue a career in agricultural marketing communications. We need great advocates like Megan entering the work force to help preserve family farms and to protect our freedom of food choice for generations to come.

Celebrate #JuneDairyMonth with Megan and other dairy advocates by serving up a slice of this delicious coffeecake to your family and friends!




2 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup butter

1 cup sour cream

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder


½ c chopped pecans

2 T. Brown sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon



Cream the sugar, butter and eggs. Fold in sour cream and vanilla; mix well and add dry ingredients. Pour half the batter in greased and floured bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the topping on first layer. Add the rest of the batter and sprinkle the rest of topping on top. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes. Test to make sure it is done. Cool before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar.