Iowa Agriculture Is Still A Powerhouse

Iowa Agriculture Is Still A Powerhouse

New analysis shows Iowa agriculture is still a powerful engine that helps drive the state's economy. Iowa farmers continue to lead the nation in raising corn, soybeans, hogs and eggs.

Livestock production continues to provide important support to Iowa's economy. According to the recently-released annual Iowa Agricultural Statistics booklet, Iowa's cattle, hog and sheep producers' receipts grew by 20% last year, growing to $8.32 billion.

Information in the 136-page book is compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) Iowa Field Office, a division of USDA. The book has five sections: general information, county information, crops, livestock and farm economics. It also lists several agriculture-related websites on the back cover. 

Iowa's farm sector dominance carries across several commodities, from livestock to crops. The state continues to rank number one in hog production in the U.S., raising 29% of the nation's hogs. Iowa also leads the nation is raising layer hens (and eggs) and is among the top 10 states for raising cattle and calves (seventh) and sheep and lambs (tenth).

Livestock and poultry contribute to job growth in rural Iowa communities

"The livestock and poultry industries are positive economic factors that contribute to job growth in Iowa's rural communities. Our farmers continue to be more efficient and productive in the face of rising feed and energy costs," says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president Craig Lang. "They are poised to move forward, grow their businesses and continue to be national agricultural leaders."

Despite cold and wet temperatures that led to planting and harvest delays last year, Iowa farmers continue to lead the nation in production of corn and soybeans. May 2010 began with heavy rains, cold temperatures and widespread frost that caused soil erosion and planting delays. But, after dealing with the wettest June on record and snow during the second week of November, Iowa farmers raised the fourth-largest corn crop and the second-largest soybean crop on record for the state.

The combination of strong livestock and crop sectors helped boost Iowa's overall ag economy, with Iowa farmers selling farm commodities worth $23.2 billion in 2010, up 6% from the previous year. The number of Iowa farmers dropped just slightly to 92,400.

Higher commodity prices helped farmers to overcome higher input costs

"Continued improvements in the general economy during 2010, in both the U.S. and the world, supported higher commodity prices for Iowa farmers and improvements in net farm income," notes Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services. "Higher commodity prices helped farmers to overcome higher input prices and poor growing conditions across a significant portion of the state in 2010."

Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Iowa office, located in Des Moines, says the booklet is an important resource of facts and information for many different audiences, including farmers, bankers, insurance agents, agribusinesses and more. "This book wouldn't be possible if farmers didn't participate in our surveys that gather this information. The data not only offers historical perspective, but helps them as they plan for the next season and the future," says Thessen.

Iowa Farm Bureau publishes the Iowa Agricultural Statistics booklet for NASS in Iowa. No public funds are used to publish the book.

The book costs $12 and can be ordered from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. In addition, a CD-version of the document is available for purchase for $10. Checks should be made payable to the Iowa Farm Bureau.
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