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.
I was able to go see Bill Couser and Bill Northey speak about creating sustainable agriculture. Although I had to leave early due to an evening class, I gained a lot of knowledge about production agriculture in Iowa from Bill Couser.
One of the big points that stuck out to me from Couser was the fact that he said he tries to farm in a renewable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, but yet profitable way. Although this is pretty much commonsense, his reasoning for doing so is what stuck out to me. He wants to not only promote sustainable farming in general, but most importantly he wants to give the generations to follow nutrient rich, well managed, profitable land. Throughout his presentation you could tell that all the different management methods he has put into place since the 1930’s has been made to do just this. Putting in place different systems to control runoff and nutrient leeching from his feedlot, implementing more cover crop coverage on his land, practicing more no till methods, and also producing more commodities from one crop are all practices he has incorporated to better off his operation which ultimately will better off the upcoming generations. It interesting to see how leaving a productive farm goes hand in hand with environmental stewardship/sustainable agriculture. This is something I see in my operation at home, as I am getting older I see these little management decisions my dad makes to continue to create a sustainable and profitable farming operation. I also really enjoyed his comments on trying to control, or lack there of, the weather as a farmer. Weather is a continuous battle that farmers face.
Overall it was great listening to Couser speak about sustainable agriculture and see how even in Iowa, the concepts still hold true for farming in Pennsylvania. I always enjoy seeing how different operations run and the different systems they have in place.
After visiting the University of Delaware for a second lecture on agriculture, Ed Kee focused on topics in Iowa and California. Although vastly different from Delaware, these states supply a large part of their market. Both are dominating when it comes to production rates, and they are focused on environmental efforts.
Iowa ranks 1st in corn production with 8.5 billon dollars in economic activity. Although most of this crop is used as produce and feed, Iowa is the leader in corn produced for ethanol. Corn ethanol is a better option for gasoline as it is a renewable energy source. The state actual produces 25% of the nations ethanol reserve.
California is one of the largest players in American agriculture. They average 47 billon dollars in sales, which makes them first in the nation. California produces the most milk and cream out of all other commodities. Another interesting note is that almost 95% of the nations tomatoes come from this great state!
Ed Kee presented us with yet another great lecture. It’s interesting to learn about other states agriculture which give us a well-rounded overview of the U.S. agriculture market.
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!
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.
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!