Popcorn, a Hoosier Commodity, the Subject of Indiana Farm Bureau’s 2020 Book of the Year

Molly Zentz, APR

(French Lick, IN) – December 13, 2019 – The 2020 Indiana Farm Bureau Book of the Year isPopcorn Country: The Story of America’s Favorite Snack,” written by Cris Peterson with photography by David R. Lundquist. The annual Book of the Year is a part of INFB’s Agriculture in the Classroom program, a grassroots, agricultural outreach program for school children in Indiana. The book was announced at INFB’s 2019 state convention in French Lick.                                         

Farm Bureau staff and professional educators selected this year’s book to bring awareness to one of Indiana’s top farm commodities, popcorn. Indiana is the nation’s No. 2 producer of popcorn, behind only Nebraska, growing more than 20% of the U.S. popcorn supply.  A statewide campaign, led by the INFB Women’s Leadership Committee, is underway to promote the book in every county throughout 2020. 

“Popcorn Country” explains how popcorn is grown, starting as a seed in the ground. The book also explains the differences between dent corn, sweet corn, flint corn and popcorn, the smallest ear of all the corn varieties. 

The book’s author, Peterson, is the author of 10 children’s books, including “Century Farm: One Hundred Years on a Family Farm,” “Horsepower: The Wonder of Draft Horses” and “Harvest Year.” She has been honored by dairy and agricultural organizations across the country, both for her writing for children and her contribution to a clearer understanding of farming in the United States. Peterson lives with her husband on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. 

Throughout the year, representatives from county Farm Bureaus across the state will visit schools and libraries in their area to read the book aloud and donate it for future use. INFB representatives also use this opportunity to answer any questions the students have about modern farming in Indiana. INFB’s Ag in the Classroom program also will release a curriculum for teachers wishing to incorporate the book into their class work. 

INFB launched the Book of the Year program in 2017 with “The Kid Who Changed the World” by Andy Andrews, a children’s book about Norman Borlaug, who grew up and used his knowledge of agriculture to create “super plants” that saved the lives of two billion people.

The 2018 Book of the Year was “John Deere, That’s Who!” by Tracy Maurer, which focuses on the life of John Deere and his journey from a young blacksmith to the household name who changed the farming industry forever. Last year’s book “Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth,” was written by Mary McKenna Siddals and is an alphabet-based story about making earth-friendly compost. 

If you’re involved in education and are interested in learning more about how you can incorporate INFB’s 2020 Book of the Year into your curriculum or student programming, contact your county Farm Bureau or visit the Ag in the Classroom section of INFB’s website. 


About Indiana Farm Bureau: 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB). Since 1919, it has protected the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers and is the state’s largest general farm organization. As a farmer’s strongest advocate, INFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s right to farm, because agriculture is so vital to Indiana’s economy.  Learn more at INFB.org