Ed Kee on Iowa and California Agriculture

On Wednesday, September 25th, Ed Kee gave us a lecture on the two most important states in agriculture: Iowa and California. They are considered the “agricultural giants” of America. First, we were given information on the Iowa agricultural industries in the U.S. According to the most recent statistics, Iowa corn and soybeans alone rank number one in United States production, with over 13.6-billion dollars in cost combined. More than 92% of the state’s cash income is in corn, soybeans, beef, and pork products. Iowa is considered one of the most valued places for farming because of its soils and climate. It’s perfect for corn! The soil is extremely fertile and has a very high moisture-holding capacity with a climate that is mild during growing seasons. This state also has a huge agricultural industry in seeds, ethanol, meat processing, grain exports, farm machinery, etc. Ethanol in Iowa actually accounts for 25 percent of the nation’s ethanol, which is an estimated 4-billion gallons. It ranks second among all states in agricultural exports as well. While Iowa is best in agriculture for corn soybeans and meat, California is known for horticultural crops, milk, and cotton, with milk ranking first in commodities as a 6.29-billion dollar industry, almonds rank second with 5.33-billion in sales, not to mention 95 percent of our tomato products come from there. The exports account for 26 percent of ag production with a 21-billion dollar industry as well. This single state even has the tenth largest economy in the world, with a larger domestic product than Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Saudi Arabia. One conflict that both Iowa and California have in common is water and water quality issues. They are very dependent on water because both are dry and drought-ridden in some plots during growing seasons. Especially California, water is slowly getting even more expensive as the climate increases. Farmers have to grow crops to generate the most income relative to the cost of their water bills. Some farm families even keep water rights that date back to 100 years or more, which keeps their bills at a less expensive price. It is important to take away that if we didn’t have the production we did from these states, we wouldn’t have a thriving agricultural industry as we do now. The future of agriculture is bright with the technology and labor to produce fresh produce, meat products, feed, and fuel for all of America with help from California and Iowa.

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