In 2018, the Washington County Corn Growers were named the premier county in their district (District 9).
Kerri Bell acts as secretary for the group. She, and her twin daughters as well as her husband Lance — current president of the Washington Corn Growers — have been active members of the group on a state, district and federal level for the past 10 years.
The group is dedicated to improving conditions for area corn growers and making sure those who might not be farmers can be educated on the crop.
“There are a lot of people unfamiliar with corn and its purposes and uses,” Bell said. “It’s important to talk about it and inform the community.”
It’s for their efforts keeping the community informed that they were named District 9’s premier county.
Over the past year the group featured floats in city parades, featured corn bloggers on their social media and adding things like the Pride of Iowa Cooking Competition to the Washington County Fair, an audience-judged event where contestants are asked to cook food that represents Iowa.
They also created a “Corn Education Trailer” in June which taught kids kindergarten — third grade about corn and corn safety for Washington County’s AG Safety Day. The trailer shared facts like “sweet corn is only 1 percent of the corn produced in the country.”
Early last year they further encouraged education in three high school seniors from the area.
“We do Washington County Corn Growers Scholarships and we’re always trying to expand those,” Bell said.
Kylee Porter and Kristen Twinam of Washington High and Sydney Black of Highland High all received $500 scholarships for projects related to crop rearing to help them pursue agriculture degrees.
Over the course of 2019, Bell would like to see others join them in helping the community stay informed about corn.
“There are a lot of farmers right on the border of Washington County that don’t have an active Corn Growers Association and we’d love to add them to our group,” Bell said.
Bell hopes that farmers from places like Keokuk and Louisa counties join them in spreading knowledge about corn in the coming year.
“We’re good stewards of the land,” Bell said. “So we’re looking to make sure we’re even more efficient than what we have been.”