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Iowa’s Agritourism Attractions

Situated firmly in America’s breadbasket, Iowa has always been an agricultural powerhouse. One of the best ways to get to know the state is to visit some of its hundreds of farms.

Agritourism has become a popular activity for groups in recent years, and farms and other organizations around the state have optimized their operations to give visitors an up-close look at their work. From the Mississippi River in the east to the Loess Hills in the west, the farms of Iowa offer a wealth of diverse products and experiences for tour groups.

In Hudson, Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy gives visitors an opportunity to try their hand at dairy farming. Cinnamon Ridge Farms in Donahue combines traditional crops with modern farming technology.

On the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa, Maiden Voyage Tours introduces travelers to the history of freshwater clamming. The Henry A. Wallace Country Life center in Orient preserves the farmstead home of an American vice president. And the Loess Hills area in the west of the state is known for its variety of distinctive artisanal products.


Hands-On Dairy

The Hansen family has owned its farmland in Hudson for more than 150 years. Now the seventh generation of family members work at the operation, which is now known as Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy.

Workers process milk from more than 150 Holstein cows at the farm to create ice cream, cheese curds, butter and cream. The family sells these dairy products directly to consumers around Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids.

Groups that visit the dairy can have a number of hands-on experiences. Tours begin at a special visitor center built in 2012, where visitors board trolleys that take them out to the farm. During the visit, they get to milk a cow, pet goats and feed a calf or a kangaroo, which has become the farm’s mascot. Upon returning to the visitor center, participants can try making fresh butter by hand and enjoy a scoop of freshly made ice cream.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.