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It’s almost harvest time in Iowa

By Staff | Aug 28, 2020

Since human beings first learned to cultivate the soil, harvest time has had extraordinary significance. In earlier centuries, good crops meant prosperity and security. They signaled that the winter months just ahead could be faced without fear of starvation.

In 21st-century Iowa, harvest season may not have quite the stark, life-or-death importance it did in more primitive times, but it remains enormously consequential. Agriculture is the centerpiece of the Hawkeye State’s economy. When crops reach maturity and are ready for market, the ramifications for the financial well-being of not only farmers, but many others who call Iowa home are huge.

That makes this time of year an especially apt moment to reflect on the state’s agricultural economy.

Most years Iowa is the nation’s top producer or close to it of corn, soybeans, hogs and pigs. It also is a major factor in production of a wide range of other agricultural products.

The 2017 Census of Agriculture data shows these key trends for Iowa:

– Iowa has approximately 86,000 farms.

– Those farms cover 30.6 million acres of land.

– The average farm is 355 acres.

– Iowa ranked second nationally for total value of agricultural products sold and livestock sales in 2017 with Iowa’s crop sales ranking third highest.

– Farmers harvested crops from 24.3 million acres in 2017 with no-till practices used on 8.20 million acres.

America’s farmers grow far more than is needed for domestic uses. Consequently, exporting agricultural products has become of great importance to the U.S. economy.

Iowa’s farms help feed not only our nation, but also the world beyond. They are vital contributors to the state’s prosperity and that of the entire nation.

A good harvest in Iowa has great significance locally, but it is very good news for people the world over.

Inserted into this issue of Farm News is our annual harvest edition featuring information on how to prepare for the upcoming season and an overview and outlook on the 2020 crops.

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