5 Facts About Iowa Farming
1. Iowa is #1 in corn, soybeans, pigs and eggs than any other state in the United States.
According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa grows more corn and soybeans than any other state in the country. In addition, Iowa raises more pigs and produces more eggs than anywhere else in the country, as well. Iowa also ranks #4 for cattle, #9 for turkeys, #10 for sheep and lambs, and #13 in milk production.
2. Iowa has approximately 88,000 farms
The Iowa Farm Bureau states that Iowa has approximately 88,000 farms and 129,000 farm operators, and more than 97% of Iowa farms are owned by Iowa families.
3. 1 in 5 Iowans Work in Agriculture
Not only is farming itself a huge source of Iowa work, but Iowans also work in a ton of agricultural related fields. This is also evident in the Quad Cities area, where John Deere is one of the largest employers in the area. According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa agriculture and related industries contributed to 418,777 jobs in 2012, accounting for about 21% of total jobs in Iowa.
4. Iowa is the 5th Windiest State
The Washington Post published an article in 2014 that lists the top 5 windiest states in the United States. The windiest state is Nebraska, followed by Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. Since Iowa’s wind is so strong, Iowa has been able to capitalize on this through wind energy. Now Iowa farmers help generate more than 35% of its electricity through wind power, which is the best in the nation, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau.
5. Iowa has farmed corn throughout it’s history
According to The Living History Farms of Urbandale, Iowa, the people of Iowa have been farming corn since the 1700s. The Ioway tribe farmers began this tradition by farming corn, beans, and squash and would raise just enough to feed their families throughout the year. Once the pioneer farmers arrived in the 1840s and 1850s, they began to farm corn, wheat, and potatoes. The corn was used to feed the animals on the farm, while the wheat was sold to mills to make flour for bread. Potatoes were a large part of the pioneers’ diet. By the 1900s, farmers in Iowa were raising mainly corn, hay, and oats to feed the animals on the farms. Soybeans also became a major crop for Iowa farmers around 1930.
Farming has always been important to Iowa
So as you can see, farming is an important part of Iowa today, and has been vital throughout its long history. I simply couldn’t continue with my project of Documenting the Quad Cities, without including this part of our area’s history and culture.