If you take a drive through Iowa, there is no way you can miss our beautiful farms all around you. With the most recent Census of Agriculture counting more than 30.6 million acres of land dedicated to farming, agriculture is truly at the core of Iowa.
Iowa farmers produced more than $17.3 billion worth of crops in 2012, with corn and soybeans making up the largest portion of the state’s agriculture. Our farmers have been leading the nation in production of these two key crops for decades. In 2012, Iowa growers tended to more than 13.7 million acres of corn and more than 9.3 million acres of soybean fields, ranking number one in the nation.
Iowa’s livestock sector is also thriving, with our growers producing nearly $13.5 billion in livestock, poultry, and their products, such as milk and eggs, in 2012. The Hawkeye State livestock farmers hold top spots in several key categories. For example, according to the Census, in 2012, Iowa had the largest inventories of layer hens and hogs and pigs in the United States. That year, the sales of Iowa hogs and pigs alone topped $6.7 billion. Our sheep, goat and cattle industries also are among the largest in the nation.
Our farmers also know that farming extends far beyond producing crops and livestock. Stewardship of our farmland resources is extremely important to ensuring long-term sustainability and our farmers used conservation tillage (excluding no till) on 8.8 million acres, the most in any state, while no till was practiced on an additional 7.0 million acres.
From a renewable energy stand point, our farmers are innovating and finding new conservation and financial opportunities, which is why Iowa had 2,464 farms producing on-farm renewable energy in 2012. Our farmers rank second in the nation in the number of farms with wind turbines generating energy.
These are just some of the major achievements for Iowa farmers. Agriculture is so tightly woven into the Hawkeye State culture and economy, it would be simply impossible to list all of our farming accomplishments here. But there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of facts available about Iowa in the Census of Agriculture, so feel free to check them out at www.agcensus.usda.gov.