Homegrown Iowa: Cutting a Ribbon for Agriculture

posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018

While Iowa claims the title of the second largest agricultural state in the nation, you might be surprised to learn our sow herd is now 800,000 head smaller than it was in 1991. When it began to decline in the mid ‘90s, ag economists warned of the resulting valued-added and economic losses to rural communities.

We talked to economists Joe Kerns, Kerns and Associates, and Dr. Lee Schulz, Iowa State University, about why the decline happened, and the benefits to growing animal agriculture in Iowa.

While it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 800,000 sows we lost, this year we’re proud to be introducing a few new 7,500 sow --high-tech hog farms that are better for the environment, the health and care of the animals and the employees.

Each brings 18 new jobs to rural Iowa and creates opportunities for young people to be involved in agriculture. Plus, growth in livestock helps out our fellow grain farmers, who, according to Kerns, won’t likely see profitability anytime soon.

With each sow farm annually pumping $4.7 million in the local economy, isn’t it time we stopped to “cut a ribbon” and celebrate the economic development all livestock brings to rural Iowa? Read the full issue here.