Facts about Farming In Iowa
Farming is the soul of Iowa.
With farmland taking up a staggering 92% of the state’s land territory, it’s no doubt a major economic contributor. Among the 50 US states, none boasts a higher percentage of farmland save for Nebraska.
The dominance of agriculture as a source of livelihood stems from the exceptionally fertile soil, often referred to as the “black gold of Iowa.” In fact, the “Hawkeye State” ranks among the world’s best in soil in terms of quality.
It’s the only state whose western and eastern boundaries are completely demarcated by water.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that Woolly mammoth bones are abundant in Iowa. It’s one of the oldest collectives of prehistoric pachyderms that found the area lush and vibrant enough to support life.
As a result, it is not unusual for Iowa residents to find mammoth bones in their fields. Further, if you want ancient and fertile land, consider farming in Mahaska County. The bones are so common there that the people of the community stumble upon them by accident.
Here’s what else you might find intriguing about Iowa:
Corn is the most popular crop
With vast fields to spare fueled by a highly-nutritious soil, corn proves to be the state’s number one crop.
Corn serves multiple purposes when it comes to farming. First, it is an excellent cash crop. It’s cheap to produce, grows easily and in abundance, and your animals can also eat the corn your farm produces.
That has been the case for decades, if not hundreds, of years.
The economy depends heavily on the plant and related byproducts. The byproducts include everything from animal feed to cornstarch, cornmeal, corn syrup, corn oil, and popcorn. Iowa is also a formidable producer of soybeans. As a result, it boasts some of the best numbers in that regard. Wheat, rye, flaxseed, hay, and oats are also popular crops in Iowa.
Iowa is also famous for Hog farming
As things stand, Iowa comes second to none in terms of its hog contribution to the national economy.
We have the “Tall Corn” state to thank for up to a third of the country’s hogs, with it accounting for an annual contribution of 50 million pigs. In 2015, hog production resulted in state revenues of more than $13 billion.
With the pork industry bringing in a further $36 billion in sales.
Along with domestic consumption, much of Iowa pork exports to Mexico, and Canada. It also goes overseas to countries such as South Korea, and Japan, which make up the leading customers.
The “Hawkeye State” is also home to upwards of 6,000 hog farms. M ore than 60% of that tally having well over 1000 pigs on the farm. The state’s pork industry has directly or indirectly contributed to the creation of approximately 141,813 jobs as per statistics from three years ago. In other words, Iowa is the place to be when it comes to running a successful farm operation.
Iowa farmland goes for $7,264 an acre
2018 pricings per acre stand at about $7,264 per acre.
This represents a 0.8 decline from the previous year, however, farm life is still going strong in Iowa. That decline can be attributed to the erratic farm economy of the past decade, which has seen land costs fall five times in that period.
This is great for new farmers, as the cost of land affects your starting costs, but not your production or product value.
The price of land was at an all-time high in 2013 when an acre sold for $8,716.
That high dollar amount represents a difference of close to $1,500 with current fees. However, the state is expected to get back on its feet in the coming years, so that price should be heading towards the $8,000 direction soon. As mentioned, this isn’t bad for farmers as the value of your land will also increase once your operation is profitable. Rich soil comes at cheap prices in Iowa.
Iowa is also known for eggs, honey, and apples
This isn’t a common piece of knowledge for new farmers. But did you know that Iowa soil is also perfect for cultivating eggs, apples, and plants that attract bees which will allow you to sell honey?
The state has amassed a commendable reputation as a honey producer.
It comes in nineteenth place on the national scale based on 2017 statistics. The average yield of honey is about 58-pounds per colony. That aside, Iowa is also known for its egg and milk production, as are many farming states. Further, like many other Midwestern states, apples ranking among one of Iowa’s primary fruit products.
Iowa received a $1 billion cushion from Trump
This is another win for the state of Iowa and it’s farming community.
Iowa’s importance as a farming state was evidenced by President Donald Trump’s 2019 relief award of $1 billion to the state.
Much of that is going to agriculture and community development.
Further, trade disputes have caused economic turmoil in the region. Consequently, the federal and state governments have been giving out compensation to cushion the blow.
This federal aid gift was the second-largest gift in the country under Trump’s presidency. Only Illinois is getting slightly more federal funding in 2019 due to the approval of its Disaster Declaration.