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Iowa Colleges

Iowa Colleges


Iowa stands in a class by itself as an agricultural state. Iowa leads the nation in all corn, soybean, and hog sales and comes in third in total livestock sales. Its farms sell over $10 billion worth of crops and livestock annually.  Not included in these figures are substantial production from the state’s forested areas of walnut and other hardwoods and minerals such as gypsum and limestone from its mines.  The state produces a little over ten percent of the nation’s food supply.


For all of that, Iowa’s industrial products are twice the annual value of its agricultural output. Major industries include processed food, non-electrical machinery, electrical equipment, printing and publishing, and fabricated products.  Iowa defines the “cornbelt” in our Midwest, and yet its manufactured products have eclipsed its farm products.  The                                                                                                                                                                                              state personifies an economic anomaly that has baffled this nation’s economists for perhaps seventy five years. 


Tariffs and farm subsidies have created a malformed economic reality for these farm states that has led to massive displacement and economic malfunction in a heartland of productivity.  What does a nation that produces too much food do to survive?  On the face of it, that question seems outlandish.  In reality, it has led to government policies that make much of our agriculture industry dependent on government.


So if you’d like to help straighten that out, Iowa’s your state.  It is a product of the prairie like its neighbors, another fertile plains state characterized by gently rolling prairie and crossed by many rivers.  Iowa was devastated by the flooding in 1993 when the Missouri river on its west border and the Mississippi on the eastern border both went to flood stage.  The state undergoes periodic flooding due to the plethora of waterways crossing its plains and the thirty plus inches of rain that it sees annually.  Nevertheless, seventy percent of the state’s acreage is cropland.  They’ve been known to plant corn on some large traffic islands.


The University of Iowa sits on a nineteen hundred acre campus in Iowa City.  It is a traditional agriculture school that has expanded into a large university with well known research programs.  Tuition for out of state students tops $16,000 per year. 


Des Moines is the largest city and the capitol of the state.  Its population is about 200,000 and its principal businesses are mostly centered on the food production industry.  Stockyards and meatpacking plants are a fixture of the landscape around Des Moines and the other principal cities of Cedar Rapids and Sioux City.


The state has seen some mild high tech start up development around its campus towns.  But food products and food production remain the basis of the state’s economy, as much of its “industrial” output are processed foods and food related products.  There are a number of smaller private schools in addition to the state university, but online education might be a viable choice here.  If you are interested in pursuing a teaching degree, Kaplan University has a teaching degree program that leads to state certification – Iowa is the only state where this nationwide college makes this particular degree available.

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