BY SHANNON RABOTSKI
Last week, many Iowans were in for quite a shock upon finding out that the safety of their corn might be at stake when University of Minnesota student Alec Enke created a Facebook event called “Sneak into Iowa at midnight and steal all their corn,” stating “Help us bring corn to the people of America, don’t let Iowa hoard the corn like last year!”
The event quickly gained popularity among midwesterners, and even attracted followers from other regions of the country, gaining a following of 8,300 people “going” and 16,000 “interested,” and leaving Iowa farmers trembling by the time the event was set to take place Wednesday night.
“Creating these funny events is a good break for people’s lives, especially right now when the world seems rather heavy,” said Chris Snider, a journalism professor at Drake.
While the event was rumored to have been enough to draw the attention of the Iowa State Capitol and Iowa Farm Bureau, representatives were unable to comment.
Though intended as a joke, with “Disclaimer: this is a joke, I will not be held liable for anyone who does decide to steal corn, that is a decision you must all make for yourselves,” stated in the details, the popularity of the event was enough to draw concern from a few Iowans who created a page of their own called “Set Up No Trespassing Signs in Iowa to Prevent Corn Theft,” stating “A big reason large scale crop thefts happen is people think farmland is public property. By setting up no trespassing signs we will make it clear to intruding thieves that they are not allowed on Iowa’s topsoil” in the event details.
However, a collection of passive-aggressive signs was not enough to curtail Minnesota’s desire to steal Iowa’s corn, as demonstrated by yet another Facebook event created by Emma Winsome of St. Paul, Minnesota, called “Change All Of Iowa’s No Trespassing Signs to Signs that Say ‘Free Corn.’”
While some were skeptical about the event, others saw it as a fun joke to lighten people’s Facebook feeds.
“I thought it was a really fun way to lighten the mood on Facebook when a lot of what we see is usually very negative and political,” said Ellie Detweiler, a sophomore public relations major.
Since the popularity of the original event, several similar events have been popping up, such as “Sneak into Nebraska and don’t do anything becuz what’s a soybean” and “Sneak Into Wisconsin At Midnight And Steal All Of Their Cheese.”
“There’s kind of this copy-cat mentality out there. When something works well, we see it and we copy it,” Snider said.
Regardless of initial feelings on the event, Iowa farmers can once again be assured that their corn is still safe, whether guarded by no trespassing signs or not, as there have been no reported incidents of large scale crop theft as a result of the event or its large following.