Iowa and California – Agriculture Giants


85% of Iowa’s land mass is used for agriculture! There are 87,500 farmers in Iowa that till 30.5 million acres a year. Compared to Delaware farmers where they till only 490,000 acres. 92% of Iowa’s cash farm income comes from corn, soybean, pork and beef production. Iowa is ranked first in corn, soybean, pork and egg production. For example, Iowa farmers harvest 13.1 million acres of corn, with a state average of 203 bushels per acre.

What makes Iowa so optimal for agriculture?

Iowa has very fertile soil with a high cation exchange capacity of 10-15. Iowa gets 24 to 36 inches of rain a year which is good because Iowa’s soil moisture capacity is also key to its fertility. The soil’s ability to retain the rain eliminates the need for an irrigation system, thus making production costs lower.


California is number one in agriculture sales, with an annual $47 billion dollars. California ranks first in nine different commodities that include- milk/cream, almonds, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers/foliage, walnuts, and hay. California has 77,500 farms with over 25 million acres. An average farm size is 329 acres but some range to 50,000 acres. California is ranked the 10th largest general economy in the world. This means California generates a larger gross domestic product than countries such as Mexico and Canada.

How does California succeed?

Water and labor. Water is what California agriculture is all about. Water in California is very limited, their water source is from the snow caps of the mountains that flow through aqueducts and run through a filter which then is distributed throughout California. Water and the ideal low humidity in California makes it perfect to grow more fruit and vegetables that everyone eats on a daily basis. Also, 95% of our tomato products come from California. This volume of production is ideal because 26% of its production is exported.

Insight from Mr. ED KEE

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