Ed Kee guest lectured in class on agriculture in Iowa and California. It was really cool to learn about how different states can be so productive in agriculture, but have many different variables to deal with then what we have here. It was particularly surprising to see how much of a problem water is in California. You can tell that their agriculture system is centered around these aqueducts, because if they aren’t then producing in California is very hard. I had no idea that California is responsible for growing nearly all the tomatoes used for processing. California has a very diverse agriculture environment. It was also was interesting to learn how fertile Iowa’s soil is, and how it gives them a natural advantage in producing. I learned the Iowa only gets 24-36 inches of rain a year, but due to the water holding capacity of the soil this amount of rain is not really an issue for farmers. With these, and many other natural advantages, I learned how productive Iowa is in agriculture. Ed mentioned that Iowa is responsible for 13% of the US corn acreage as well as 12% of the US soybean acreage. Overall, I learned a lot about California and Iowa’s agriculture industry. It was really interesting to see how much it differs from what we deal with on the West Coast.
Ed Kees gave an interactive and entertaining lecture on Wednesday 9/26 as he discussed Iowa and California agriculture. It was a super informative lecture for me, as I was previously very unaware of the agriculture in both of these states, and just how largely they impact the economy. The idea that 85% of Iowa’s land mass is dedicated to agriculture is mind-blowing, and I was also surprised to learn that they are the number one producer in corn, pork and eggs. The fact that Iowa alone produced 12.5 billion eggs last year is hard to wrap my head around. Iowa is a sweet spot for agriculture due to its rich soils and plentiful rainfall. California, on the other hand, has less than ideal rainfall, but makes up for it in its lack of humidity, which makes growing vegetables an easy task and it greatly reduces the risk for disease. In fact, California ranks number one for the production of multiple vegetables, fruits and nuts. For being a state that only receives about 10 inches of rain per year, it’s amazing to see how productive they really are. California is somewhere around the tenth largest general economy in the world; that in itself is extremely respectable. The adaptations farmers have come up with in order to produce so much are amazing, especially the enormous aqueducts that run through the fields in order to get water to their crops. Our country depends heavily on the agricultural industries of Iowa and California, and it was interesting to hear all of the incredible facts about both.
In listening to Ed Kee speak, I realized just how big the world is. In being from Delaware, I have never been able to grasp what a “large state” might look like or what it is capable of. Attempting to grasp the pure size of not only crops but livestock production in the state of Iowa was eye opening. Iowa is huge. The only category in farming that it falls behind California in is cash farm receipts, but in all else it reigns supreme. Delaware has roughly 6,500 farmers according to Ed Kee, while Iowa on the other hand has 87,500 farmers. These farmers have the capability of farming 30.5 million, yes million, acres of farmland while Delaware farmers till roughly 490,000. By no means am I saying that Delaware needs to go bigger or needs to do more, because for anyone to have a job in the farming industry is something to be quite proud of, but Iowa’s capabilities blow my mind. Iowa harvests 13.1 million acres of corn, 9.8 million acres of soybeans, raises roughly 20.9 million hogs, along with producing 12.5 billion eggs in a years time. The pure numbers Iowa is able to put up not only makes heads turn, but feeds our nation and parts of the world. Yes, Delaware makes a difference on our coast, but by the information Ed Kee delivered to me shows that we aren’t the only big dogs running this empire.
Mr. Kee gave a very insightful guest lecture on Iowa and California agriculture, which are the two biggest agricultural states in the U.S. Iowa is number one for corn, soybean, pork, and egg production. 85% of Iowa’s landmass is used for agriculture, about 30.5 million acres, with 87,500 farmers! 92% of Iowa’s cash farm income comes from corn, soybeans, pork, and beef. Iowa grows about 13 million acres of corn, about 2.5 billion bushels.Iowa grows about 9.8 million acres of soybeans, about 553,7 million bushels. They produce 968 million dozen of eggs, and raise 20.9 million hogs, 32% of the nations pork production. The owner of Stine Seeds is located in Iowa, which is the largest family owned seed company. Harry Stine developed the soybean genetics that accounts for 63% of seed in North and South America. Iowa is also recognized for its hand in ethanol production and the 15% that is now incorporated into gasoline. California is the biggest agricultural producer ranking first in Milk & cream, almonds, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, walnuts, and hay. California’s biggest problem is water, which they get from snowmelt. Farmers have to grow crops that will at least return the cost of water. They export 26% of their ag products, valued at about 21 billion. California is the 10th largest general economy in the world. They can produce strawberries 9-10 months out of the year, where most states have a very short growing period. 95% of processed tomato products come from California, where they have mixed breeds to create a crop that can be mechanically harvested. It is unbelievable how much knowledge Mr. Kee possess about agriculture and how much he has impacted Delaware agriculture during his time as the vegetable extension agent and as Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture.
I found Ed Kee’s second lecture to be just as interesting as his first. He again touched on agriculture, but this time, on states I have never visited: Iowa and California. It was interesting to find that they are the two largest agricultural states while they are vastly different. For example, in Iowa there is more rain, rivers, and aquifers, while in comparison, California is quite dry, has lowered water tables, and depends on snowmelt. They also have completely different exports. Iowa, like Delaware, exports mostly corn, soybeans, and meat (in this case beef and pork). California, on the other hand, exports mostly horticulture crops, milk & cream, and almonds. From this, we can really notice how climate and soils affect what can be produced some place, even with the use of fertilizers, chemicals, and GMOs. Technology is a major factor but the climate, soils, and diseases will usually rule what can be planted, produced, and sold.
Iowa and California are two giants, and rightfully so as these two are the top two in Agriculture production and value! In this Guest Lecture I learned an array of new topics and information! Starting first with the Hawkeye state, believe it or not 85% of Iowa’s land mass is used for Agriculture! Iowa’s superb moisture holding soil make it a prime state for growing a lot of corn, although this is the main crop grown, Iowa also produces a lot of soybeans, Pork, and Beef as this is 92% of Iowa’s cash farm income! One of the Most surprising facts I found from this state was that it’s the leading egg producer in the entire nation, producing roughly 968 million dozen eggs! Now on to the Golden state, California is the 3rd largest state in the entire country producing approximately $47 billion in Agriculture sales! While Iowa’s Agriculture production is all about their soil, California’s is all about their water, as it is adjacent to the coast and contains many mountain ranges and springs! California’s most abundant crop next to rice has to be the Tomato, as 95% of our tomatoes come from Cali! California’s farms have a relatively dry climate, although this doesn’t seem like a positive attribute, dry climate equates to less chance of disease for the crops! Although it’s a relatively dry climate towards the center of the state, studies that have been conducted have shown that slowly more and more water has been produced each year! This has helped greatly as the pumping stations found by the mountains have been able to pump out more water effectively and efficiently! So as you can see these two Agricultural Giants have tremendous production and have a lot to offer to the rest of the states in our nation!
I was recently fortunate enough to hear two guest lectures from Mr. Ed Kee. His first lecture taught us students about Delaware Ag and its importance to the food shed. Mr. Kee spoke about many things including that Delaware is located within 8 hours of 1/3 of the population, which puts Delaware at a high advantage even with its small size. Delaware also has 115,000 of land being preserved so it will stay farmland forever; this will allow many businesses to stay in business for many years to come. The agriculture industry has $6-$7 billion dollars of economic activity in Delaware which makes it a large commodity for Delaware as well as the Eastern United States. Mr. Kees second lecture explained Iowa and California Agriculture. I found this lecture very interesting because it put more into perspective about farming in the United States and helped me compare Delawares agriculture practices to those in other states. Iowa has great soil because of the moisture it can hold and its fertility. California agriculture is all about water and farmers grow crops to gain the most profit relative to what they pay for water. After listening to both lectures from Mr. Kee I feel I’ve gained an abundance of knowledge about not only Delaware agriculture but Iowa and California agriculture and thank him very much for sharing his wealth of knowledge with us students.