Former Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee delivered a guest lecture about agriculture in Iowa and California, two of the most significant states agriculturally. Iowa’s soil and climate are ideal for agriculture. Iowa ranks number one in production of corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs, while also producing four million gallons of ethanol annually, accounting for 25% of America’s ethanol production. Iowa ranks only behind California in agricultural exports, with Iowa exporting $11 billion worth of products per year.
California ranks first in production many things, such as milk and cream, almonds, and grapes. California also grows 95% of the tomatoes used for processing in the U.S. Agriculture in California is problematic due to the scarcity of water. To combat this, aqueducts have been built to channel snowmelt to the fertile valleys where crops are grown. Despite this, water in California is still at a premium and remains the biggest challenge to agriculture in the state. California exports $20 billion of agricultural products yearly, far ahead of any other states.
Our class has had the privilege of having Ed Kee speak to us again, this time about California and Iowa agriculture. Two states that have a big impact on the United States Agricultural Community. I never realized how big of an impact California had globally, if it was its own country it would have the 10th largest GDP in the World. I was fascinated by the way of life in California especially how much it cost farmers and the general public for water usage. I found it interesting that Iowa ranked number one in corn production, this is due to the fact that my family farm operation is focused on grain. I wouldn’t have ever of thought that 9/11 would impact agriculture especially in the area of energy. California is also able to grow a wide variety of different products due to its size and how it stretches so far up and down.
In this lecture, Ed Kee talked about agriculture in Iowa and California, ranked first and second in cash farm receipts in the United States. I thought it was crazy that 85% of Iowa’s land mass is used for agriculture- that doesn’t leave a lot of space left for house, roads, hospitals, schools, and natural areas for wildlife. Iowa farms 30.5 million acres, which blows Delaware’s’ 490,000 acres out of the water. Of course, Iowa is known for its corn, harvesting 13.1 million acres of it every year. I didn’t realize the Iowa also grows tons of soybeans, pork, and beef. I thought it was really interesting how the silt and clay were deposited by the wind- I usually only hear about sediments being deposited near bodies of water. California, on the other hand, is interesting topography wise because of how sandwiched the agricultural fields are. California is, of course, giant in both size, variety of climate, and economical power. However, California is having a major water crisis, which is hard to not know about due to all the fires that have happened in California over the past years. The aqueduct system in place is very impressive and must be very rigorously managed. I can only imagine how ugly water allocation can get between different farms and between farmers and the public.
on Wednesday, September 25th The former secretary of agriculture Ed Kee came to our class for another lecture, this time about agriculture in both Iowa and California. He talked about how Iowa produces such a large amount of corn and soybeans. Iowa has advantages over other states because of its soil and high rainfall that allow for corn to be grown very easily. He also talked about how 9/11 affected agriculture in Iowa. Regulations placed on ethanol after 9/11 allowed for more corn grown in Iowa to be used in ethanol. After talking about Iowa Ed moved on to talk about California. He claimed the most important part of California agriculture is water. Because water is so expensive there farmers have to choose crops that will be efficient in terms of water use. Later he went on to talk about the massive economy of California which ranks 10th in the world.
On September 26th, Ed Kee came back to our class to lecture about California and Iowa agriculture. He first talked about Iowa. 85% of iowa’s land is in farms and there are 87,500 farmers and 30.5 million acres. Iowa mainly produces corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs. It divides up into 13% of US corn acreage, 12% of the US soybean acreage, 32% of pork Production, and ranks 2nd in all red meat production. The soils and climate are the perfect conditions for corn and the soil is very fertile. The rainfall 24-36 inches a year, there is less rain as you go west. It is not really hot in the growing season in Iowa.
Next, he talked about California. Irrigation is critical, but water getting expensive. So, you have to grow crops that get the most return so that they actually make a profit. Some farm families pay not as much for water as others because they’ve owned water rights for over 100 years. He also said that tomatoes you find in the grocery store are probably from California because 95% of our tomato products come from California.
Ed Kee gave a great talk today and knows how to have fun. Talking about movies and picking on Dr. Isaacs was nice distraction from how sick I am! Ed Kee talked about the agriculture in Iowa and California. Surprisingly, I actually knew a lot about Iowa agriculture because I had taken soils and crop science classes before. Knowing that Iowa has a Mollisol soil and knowing that they are in the corn belt with some of the highest records of bushels of corn/ acre allowed me to figure out that Iowa ranks 1st in corn production. They also, however, rank 1st in soybean, hog, and egg production as well. California I didn’t know as much about but wasn’t surprised that their main agricultural products were fruit such as grapes, strawberries, and tomatoes along with other non fruit agricultural products. I would just like to say, though, that Delaware beat California a couple years back for lima a bean production!