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Meet South Dakota's new corn-bassador, a boy who recently found out that corn is real

Travel South Dakota

Everything changed for 7-year-old Tariq when he slapped some butter on an ear of corn. He knew it tasted good, but butter made it better. His passion for produce landed him a sweet gig last Saturday as South Dakota's official Corn-bassador.

Some people might see corn as just a starchy vegetable. But to Tariq (whose last name wasn't released for privacy reasons), it's a big, beautiful lump with knobs on it. His favorite part is the juice that comes out as he's chowing down, he told an interviewer on the YouTube channel Recess Therapy in a video posted last month.

"I mean just look at this thing, I can't imagine a more beautiful thing, it's corn!" Tariq said.

Tariq's profession of love for his favorite vegetable earned him the nickname the "Corn Kid" after his interview racked up millions of views and was made into a song. Last Saturday, he was dubbed South Dakota's official corn-bassador by Gov. Kristi Noem, who declared Sept. 3, 2022, Official Corn-bassador Tariq Day.

"Whereas, South Dakota is one of the top corn producers in the nation, providing nourishment across the globe but especially to Tariq, a 7-year-old boy who recently discovered that corn was real," the governor's declaration reads, "... it is fitting and proper as Governor to make special note of outstanding young man."

Katlyn Svendsen of the South Dakota Department of Tourism told NPR that the Corn-bassador and his family traveled from New York to attend an honorary ceremony at the state's Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.

"As part of naming Tariq a South Dakota Corn-bassador, we wanted Tariq and his family to experience a combination of South Dakota's two largest industries, tourism and agriculture," Svendsen said.

She said Tariq couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the palace made of corn. "It's a dream come true!" he said.

Tariq said an ear of corn should cost $1, and though everyone doesn't have to love it, everyone should certainly give corn a taste, especially with butter. "If you or anyone loves corn, if you come to me, I'll tell you all about it," he told Recess Therapy.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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