Iowa and California: Agricultural Giants

Ed Kee joined our class again on Wednesday 9/26, to talk about Iowa and California: Agriculture Giants. Iowa and California are ranked number one and two for agriculture production. He spoke about how 85% of Iowa’s land mass is used for agriculture and that 92% of cash farm income comes from corn, soybeans, pork, and beef versus Delaware’s land mass used for agriculture at 41%. Iowa is also the nation’s leading producer of eggs and hogs. The climate in Iowa is perfect for corn because it’s not super-hot during the growing season, the soil is very fertile, it has a high exchange capacity, and also moisture holding capacity. Ed also mentioned about the “dead zone” located in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s called a dead zone due to the excess amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into the Mississippi River from field drainage and watersheds. He also mentioned the Nobel Prize winner (1970) Norman Borlaug who the Father of the Green Revolution which also improved higher yield in crops. In California, water is becoming expensive. From when I travelled there I knew that the water near Long Beach is so polluted that people are not allowed to swim in the water. An interesting fact that I learned was that families who owned water rights from 100 years ago, their water is less expensive as others. A fun fact about California is that it’s the 10th largest general economy in the world and it grows everything from pistachios, strawberries, almonds, walnuts, and 95% of our tomatoes come from California.

Ed Kee also talked about the Port of Wilmington. The port has 7 berths and covers about 308 acres. It creates 5,900 jobs and sees over 400 ships per year. He mentioned that a ship carries pregnant cattle from Wilmington to Egypt and there is a vet on board that travels with them until the cattle reaches their destination which I though was pretty interesting. It is also the number one banana port in the US. And I can’t forget how he talked about the Disney movie McFarland USA!

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