Along with Thompson's gift of gab is an uncanny ability to pick farmers out of a crowd, regardless of what they're wearing.
When he spots a likely farmer Thompson walks up and usually asks: "Are you a farmer?"
The answer is invariably yes.
Farmer status confirmed, Thompson asks them what they raise and points out he also has a farm on which he says he raises Belted Galloway cows. He describes them as "oreo cows," because they are black on both ends with a white stripe in the middle.
Most of the Iowa farmers raise corn, soybeans and hogs.
Those farms dominated the landscape on the route to all of yesterday's stops. Corn and bean fields stretched as far as the eye could see. Hogs on farms are harder to see, but easy to smell.
With the abundance of farmers and farmland in the areas Thompson visited yesterday, his message of increasing the use of bio-fuels to gain energy independence has gotten got a warm response.
-- By David Wise