Best Places to Live 2007

Progressive Farmer

Sac County “Best Place to Live in rural America”

Sac County has been ranked 7th in the third annual edition of the “Best Places to Live in Rural America” rankings by The Progressive Farmer magazine released on February 1. 2007. Each year, the rankings name the top 10 rural counties in the nation according to several quality-of-life indicators and statistics.

Sac County PigEach month the magazine covers the issues and trends found in rural America, and more and more they see all kinds of people forging new paths and pursuing less hectic lifestyles. The rankings reflect the newfound energy and vitality of rural America and showcase places that offer the very best in quality of life and comfort for their residents and workers. Sac County is a quintessential farming area known for corn, soybeans, dairy and hogs and a special sense of community that all residents enjoy.

Sac County MapThe agricultural virtues of Sac County are based on corn and soybeans as far as the eye can see, cows and hogs, clapboard farmhouses and big barns. The article comments on Sac County’s most famous entertainers, the Farmall Promenade from Nemaha, calling it “good, clean Iowa fun.”

From the Progressive Farming Website came the following review:
Sac County Corn FieldIf the sight of golden corn on rolling hills in summer evening sunlight doesn’t make your heart glad, Sac County, Iowa, might not be the place for you. If you don’t think the sound of a combine rolling through a distant soybean field has a kind of mechanical magic to it, stay out of Sac County in the fall. And if you don’t like friendly people who know how to get things done, don’t slow down when you see the Sac County highway signs.Sac County Bean FieldSac County is as Iowa as Iowa gets – corn and soybeans as far as the eye can see. Cows and hogs. Clapboard farmhouses and big barns.

For having fun, you can’t beat the nationally known Farmall Promenade, based in Sac County’s Nemaha (town population: 120; slogan: “A Mighty Small Town”). Nine years ago, some tractor-driving jokesters decided to perform a square dance using antique Farmall tractors (see photo above). They merrily mixed traditional dance “steps” with comedy. For the sake of authenticity, half the guys dressed as women. The event was a hit, and now the group performs several times a year at fairs in the region. It’s good, clean, Iowa-style fun.

Hazel's Cafe, Nemaha, IAKind of like the sign in Hazel’s Cafe in Nemaha, which says: “Get your own damn coffee.” Might sound rude, but it’s an Iowa kind of rude you use only with friends, family and strangers who can appreciate a sense of humor.

It’s this sense of community that makes Sac County a good place to live, says Kim Muska. Four years ago Kim and her husband, Brian, moved–with some trepidation–from the East Coast to Sac County. They had never been to the Midwest and didn’t know what to expect.

Sac County’s big heart won them over, Kim says. “I feel like a person here. People know me, and they want to know me. Everyone waves. It’s like one big family.”

Chautauqua Building Sac CityThe Chautauqua Building built in 1908 houses plays and other public events in Sac City.

Barn Quilts of Sac County

Barn quilts – sheets of plywood painted with traditional quilting patterns and hung on old barns (and occasional corncribs)- have become a symbol of Sac County.

Worlds Largest Popcorn Ball
The Guinness Book of Wold Records largest popcorn ball is a tourist attraction in Sac City.

Smith Farmhouse, Early Iowa

A farm home near Early is surrounded by crop land.

Hay Field with Sheep
Tanner and Lexie Berry exercise show lambs in a hay field across from their home near Sac City.

Prairie Pedlar

Jack and Jane Hogue run the Prairie Pedlar, a garden and gift business.

Barn Quilts of Sac CountyBarn quilts – sheets of plywood painted with traditional quilting patterns and hung on old barns and corncribs – have become a symbol of Sac County. This one is destined to decorate a library wall in Lytton.

Biking trail in Sac County

A biking trail winds through Sac County.

Farmall Promenade

The Farmall Promenade, a traveling square-dancing act on tractor wheels, practices at the main intersection in downtown Nemaha.

Sac County Windmills

Wind generators produce electricity near Schaller.