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Johnson, Bill J. and Karen K.

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Comments from the author about writing:  We are an Iowa farm couple who write and speak about rural nostalgia and Iowa farm life (1940's to the present). In our writings, we strive to bring back memories and offer connections to people who have lived on or near a farm, and we also consider it very important to offer non-farm people truthful information about where their food originates and the farmers who produce it.

Based on the two nonfiction books we've written, we have given over sixty speeches on rural nostalgia, rural life, and/or writing and self-publishing to school students and members of community and business groups across Iowa (such as Iowa Corn and Soybean Growers Association; Iowa Business Women's Association; Iowa Federated Women; Council Bluffs Arts Council). We thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, visting with them about their lives and backgrounds, and sharing rural America's story wherever we go.

We write because we enjoy the sparks and satisfaction of creativity as we pen our stories, poems, and journal entries.(Karen has kept daily journals for over 40 years which offered ideas for many of her stories or poems; Bill started writing verse or poetry in the 1980's). We write what we know: farm life and agriculture. We've experienced the sunshine and clouds of life on Iowa farms for over 60 years. We enjoy both writing and speaking to people for the connections it brings us with other people and the smiles and comments they return to us when we share our writings or talk to them. It's satisfying to inform others, especially nonfarmers and perhaps quell their misconceptions of farmers and farming; or to answer students questions and see their spark as we talk farming or writing.

We got more interested in writing after taking creative writing classes through a local community college in the late 1980's and then becoming charter members of a western Iowa writers group. Many times we've gotten up in the night to write, or wrote in our combine or tractors, on napkins at restaurants and notepads at meetings, or at the kitchen table--whenever and wherever a subject and idea sprang from the subconscious and onto paper. We've learned to have pen and paper with us wherever we go.

Literary awards received and date received:
  • 1999 Farm Journal (magazine) Spokespersons of the Year: For Outstanding Communication Efforts On Behalf of American Agriculture

Book Types: Nonfiction, Poetry Collection

Audience Types: Adult

Genre: Biography, Essays, History, Verse, Poetry

Are you willing to do programs for schools, libraries, or other groups? Yes

If you are willing to do programs, will you charge a fee? Yes, but our fees our negotiable. For example, we usually do schools and local groups for no charge. We may ask for our mileage and motel expenses. For large business groups we charge a fee to cover our time, preparation (a new speech is prepared for whatever group we speak for and to the slant they request--whether it's humor and rural nostalgia, farm life, farm safety, farm business, or writing and self-publishing), and travel.

Phone Number:  712-343-6450

E-mail Address:

Author's Web site:

County: Shelby

Books By These Authors


  • Once Upon A Farm: How To Look, Listen, Laugh, And Survive, 290 pages, hardcover
    Self-published 1993.
  • Once Upon A Farm: How To Look, Listen, Laugh, And Survive II, 440 pages, soft bound
    Self-published 2005.

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