Homegrown Iowa: Pork Production Growth Boosts Rural Iowa Economy

posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times—rural Iowa is declining and urban centers are growing. Our state leaders have tried numerous policies and programs to grow rural Iowa, but while doing so, it can be easy to overlook who may be holding it all together—our farmers.

According to Dr. Dermot Hayes, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, Iowa’s “Hometown Hero” might just be of the porcine species.

A study conducted by Hayes measured the economic contribution of Iowa Select Farms to the State of Iowa. The results of the study confirmed previous work which explored what caused some rural communities to decline and others to grow.

These results of the previous work showed—

  • Rural counties grew more slowly than urban counties, however rural counties with livestock growth fared better
  • Rural counties that do not benefit from livestock growth experience an annual loss of $17 million in county income
  • Livestock growth effectively offsets, and even reverses, the economic decline in rural counties

As farmers and Iowans, we’re humbled by the responsibility and opportunity we have to create economic growth for our agricultural counties. In his new study, Hayes confirmed that Iowa Select Farms’ projected 2019 direct, indirect and induced employment would total 10,961 Iowans, an increase of nearly 4,700 jobs compared to 2016. The study also reveals that by 2019, Iowa Select Farms will generate—

  • $633 million in total annual income for the direct, indirect and induced jobs created
  • $1.5 billion in total annual economic output for the state of Iowa
  • $3.2 billion in total economic impact to the packer-processor industry
  • $52 million in annual state government tax collection when you add in the packer-processor contribution

Read the full issue here.