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Iowa Economy


In terms of revenue generated, Iowa's top five agricultural products are corn for grain, hogs, soybeans, cattle and calves, and dairy products.


Hogs are Iowa's leading source of livestock income followed by beef cattle. More hogs are raised in Iowa than in any other state.

A leader in milk production, Iowa also produces chickens and eggs.

Less important livestock products of the state are turkeys, sheep and some horses.


Iowa leads the states in the production of corn and ranks among the leaders in production of soybeans.

Other major field crops include oats and hay, red clover, flaxseed, rye and wheat.

The primary fruits produced in Iowa are apples.

Vegetables grown in the state include cabbages, cucumbers, green beans, onions, potatoes and sweet corn.

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Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

The largest manufacturing industry in Iowa is the food processing industry. Meatpacking plants producing canned hams and breakfast sausages are important. Other plants produce corn oil, cornstarch, corn sugar, and glucose. One of the largest cereal mills in the United States and the country's largest popcorn-processing plant are located in Iowa.

Machinery production (farm machinery, construction equipment) is Iowa's second-ranking manufacturing activity followed by the production of electrical equipment (household appliances).


Limestone is the primary mined product of Iowa. It's ground up for use in roads and in cement.

Other mineral products include clays, gypsum and sand and gravel.


Iowa's leading service industry is wholesale (automobiles, farm machinery, farm products) and retail (automobile dealerships, grocery stores, restaurants) trade.

The finance, insurance, and real estate industry ranks second with Des Moines a leading insurance center.

Community, business, and personal services (private hospitals, doctors' offices, law firms, motels, repair shops) rank as the Hawkeye State's third most important service industry.


Robert E. Clark, Malcolm J. Rohrboug, "Iowa," Discovery Channel School, original content provided by World Book Online, http://www.discoveryschool.com/homeworkhelp/worldbook/atozgeography/i/280720.html, 08/14/01.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Agricultural Statistics Service, "Iowa State Agriculture Overview, 2004", 3 January 2006, <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ag_Overview/AgOverview_IA.pdf> (12 January 2006)

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