Guest Speaker Ed Kee: Iowa and California “Agricultural Giants”

“Iowa is an agricultural force in the United States and the world” (Ed Kee). Mr. Ed Kee, former secretary of agriculture, informed the University of Delaware’s understanding today’s agriculture class about the agricultural industry in the states of Iowa and California, their contribution to the states economically as well as the U.S. in food production, the climate and soils, and the advantages each state has in production. Within the state of Iowa, there are 87,000 farmers that till 30.1 million acres throughout the state and 92% of the state’s cash income comes from their leading production in the crops of corn and soybeans and in the production of pork and beef; all of which contribute to the states exports of $11 billion in products annually. However, the state’s success in crop production is all due to the climate and soil fertility the land holds. Iowa, unlike many eastern and western states, has a climate with a consistent moderate temperature and a rainfall of only 24 to 36 inches per year; the region also has loess soil that is composed of windblown silt and clay particles that hold nutrients and moisture longer which allows the crops to grow and be produced at a better rate than most states. Although Iowa is one of the largest producers in the world, California also has a large production rate of specific crops for the state and the U.S. as well.

California is able to produce vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes that account for 95% of the U.S. tomatoes, strawberries and other known fruits and vegetables in a shorter time period that allows the world to have a constant supply of those products. Essentially, with California’s high production rates, California is able to make $47 million a year in ag sales and exports 26% of its products that make the states agricultural industry have a $21 billion-dollar value overall which makes the industry very important within the state and for other states across the U.S. From this presentation, many things about the agricultural industry in the Iowa and California can be learned, which can help the students and myself to develop a better understanding of the industry as well as develop a broader perspective of the industry as a whole.


Throughout this lecture, Mr. Kee discussed the agricultural industry within the state of Iowa and California and their uniqueness economically and in food production which led myself and other students to develop a further understanding of agriculture in those states, a broader perspective of the agricultural industry overall, and learn an interesting fact. The interesting fact I learned throughout Mr. Kee’s lecture was that Iowa and California are the largest producers of crops and other products such as beef, pork, and milk which makes it very important to sustain the agricultural industry in those states now and in the future time.


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