Spotlight on Iowa

June 20, 2011

Located in the middle of the heartland, Iowa has developed a reputation for being everything that is quintessential America. It’s hard to believe it ever belonged to France.

Thankfully, our founding fathers had the foresight to purchase the territory that would one day become a booming economic engine and top agricultural exporter.

Iowa is often referred to as the “Food Capital of the World.” And with the nation’s highest production of some of the world’s most consumed crops—corn, soybeans, hogs, and eggs—is it any surprise?

Over 90 percent of its 56,000 square miles of land is used for agriculture, giving the Hawkeye State plenty of production to keep track of.

With almost 20 million hogs living on Iowa soil, some of that land is, of course, dedicated solely to the breeding and raising of livestock. However, crops cover 60 percent of the state, with another large portion—about 460,000 acres—enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, acting as a habitat for wildlife.

But Iowa does more than just fill the breadbasket—it helps fuel our way of life.

As residents of the 10th windiest state in the nation, Iowa farmers are faced with their fair share of challenges. However, this windy way of life presents opportunities as well—and Iowans have taken advantage, erecting more than 600 wind turbines.

In addition to wind energy, another emerging Iowan agricultural product—corn-based ethanol—provides renewable fuel made from the starch of corn. In 2009 alone, its production created nearly half a million jobs and generated over $50 billion—all while taking nothing from the food supply.

Iowa’s own Senator Chuck Grassley, said it best when he told his fellow members of Congress that he would “prefer to support a renewable fuel based right here at home [and] to decrease our dependence on Hugo Chavez.”

Iowa is second in total agricultural exports, but a large share of the raw products stay home, where they are handed off to Iowa-based manufacturers such as food processors, and other ag-related businesses.

Iowa has been ranked as one of the safest places to live. But while the residents of Iowa are safe at home, what’s keeping them safe at work? Help hold the thin green line and protect America’s food and farmers.

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