A clear sky, calm winds, and teamwork are needed to make the perfect tailgate party. But, how much do you know about the Iowa men and women who really "get the party started"?
Read on to learn more about today's farming and the men and women who "go long" every day, to grow safer, healthier food.
Did you know?
- Agriculture (and its related industries) is Iowa's economic MVP; scoring $121.1 billion a year for our economy and creating 1 out of every 5 jobs.
- Iowa is the "national champion" when it comes to growing corn, pork and eggs and is ranked in the top 10 in virtually every other commodity, including soybeans (2nd), cattle (4th), turkeys (7th) and sheep (10th). Iowa also ranks 12th in milk production, and we have growing grape industry, with nearly 300 vineyards and 100 licensed wineries across our state!
- The average U.S. farm produces enough food to feed about 166 people annually. During the 1980s, it was 110 people.
- Iowa also scores big when it comes to growing renewable energy, such as renewable fuels, biomass and wind energy. We're doing our part to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil by leading the nation in ethanol and biodiesel production. Iowa also generates more than one-third of its energy from wind, tied for best in the nation!
- Iowa has roughly 85,000 farms. More than 90 percent of Iowa farms are family owned, and the average size of an Iowa farm is around 359 acres. One acre is about the size of a football field without its end zones.
- Iowans are big fans of meat! According to the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® (conducted by Harris Poll), 96% of Iowa grocery shoppers say their households eat it at least weekly!
- Iowans know that farmers are on their team. According to the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index®, 92% of Iowa grocery shoppers said they place trust in Iowa farmers.
- Iowa leads the nation in corn production, but most of the corn you see growing all across Iowa isn't sweet corn! More than 13 million acres of corn are grown in Iowa annually, and while most of that corn is used for livestock feed and renewable energy, once it's processed, it's used for many, many other things.
- Corn is a real "team player." Did you know that 4,000 items in a typical grocery store include corn? Even shampoo, toothpaste, crayons, and paper include corn.
- Corn starch helps serve as a binding agent in aspirin and may also be used to coat the tablet, making it easier to swallow.
- Iowa ranks second in the nation in soybean production. There are roughly 10 million acres of soybeans grown in Iowa annually, and nearly all are processed for their oil and protein and fed to livestock. Soybeans are also processed into food for people. They're used as vegetable oil, baked into breads, or even made into tofu.
- Large-scale soybean cultivation did not start in the U.S. until around World War II. Today, the Midwest produces about one-third of the world's supply of soybeans.
- One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
- Iowa ranks 4th in cattle production and 12th in milk production.
- Talk about "going long"; did you know one cow hide can produce enough leather to make 20 footballs, 18 soccer balls, 18 volleyballs or 12 basketballs?
- You won't find Iowa's nearly 4 million cattle grazing on Astroturf! They're either raised on pastures where they eat real grass or in barns where they eat grain and cut and fermented grasses called silage.
- Nothing goes to waste in a cow; did you know their by-products are also in marshmallows, cosmetics, gelatin, pet food, shoes, furniture, tires, shampoo, soaps, detergents, and paints?
- Milk from cows is a better source of protein than milk substitutes. 8 ounces of almond milk provides 1 gram of protein, while 8 ounces of cow milk provides 8 grams of protein.
- Chocolate milk is a healthy alternative to sugary protein and sports drinks. It contains the protein, carbohydrates and essential vitamins athletes need to recover.
- Iowa is the national leader in pork production.
- According to the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index®, 94% of Iowa grocery shoppers say their households eat pork.
- The pork industry has gained significant yardage in recent years; seven of the most common cuts of pork are 16% lower in fat today (and 27% lower in saturated fat) than they were 20 years ago.
- In the 1950s, most pigs were raised on outdoor lots. Today, pigs have the home field advantage if they are raised in weather-protected, climate-controlled barns, safe from pests and the threat of disease.
- Hogs are used for more than just their meat. Gelatin derived from pig skin and bones is used to make hard and soft capsules for vitamins and lard from pig abdomens is used to make shaving cream.