A summertime tradition that was launched in the mid-1980s as an effort to buoy Iowa financially during the Farm Crisis is underway again this week. Diplomats from nearly 60 countries are visiting more than a dozen Iowa communities to learn about the state, its products and its people.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley started what he calls the Ambassadors Tour and he’s serving as something of a tour guide for the visitors on their statewide trek."My goal in hosting this tour is nothing more than to promote exports and international job opportunities, whether it’s for agriculture, manufacturing or our services," Grassley says.
"Made in Iowa is a good thing to be advertising. We don’t do enough of it." He says the tour emphasizes Iowa’s people, as visitors see the state’s renowned workforce through factory and business visits while staying overnight in the homes of local families.
Grassley says, "I brag about our work ethic, our innovation, our openness, our friendliness and, of course, our productivity." The tour is offered every other year as Grassley invites each country with an embassy located in Washington, D.C. to send to Iowa their ambassador and spouse.
This is the 12th tour and it’s taking the dignitaries to: Huxley, Carroll, Ralston, Storm Lake, Wall Lake, Sac City, Fort Dodge, Webster City, Iowa Falls, Ames, Nevada, Marshalltown, Newton, Ankeny and Des Moines. The diplomats are overnighting in the homes of Iowans in Carroll, Fort Dodge and Ames.