Value-Added Agriculture

Iowa produces one-fourteenth of the nation’s food supply and leads the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, pork and eggs. This base provides a robust strength to the region and the agricultural sector and its supply chain is likely to remain strong and vibrant given global food security needs and an expanding biobased products sector. RevIew industry reports for dairy, egg, and turkey to learn more about Iowa's leadership position in value-added agriculture and food production.


Iowa offers great benefit to dairy farmersCompetitive advantages that Iowa offers to the dairy industry have resulted in Iowa being the only Midwestern state that has experienced an increase in milk production, estimated at 19 % over the past two decades. With ample quality feed, stable prices, access to markets and a strong support system for production agriculture, the potential for growth will likely continue. Read more.

Food Ingredients

Iowa leads the nation in the productio of corn.

Iowa produces one-fourteenth of the nations’ food supply and is the largest producer of corn, soybeans, pork and eggs in the United States. The state’s rich soil supports major crops such as corn and soybeans used to produce high quality inputs (yeast, enzymes, sweeteners, flavors, proteins, fibers, gelatins and binders.) that are critical to the world’s food industry. Facilities throughout Iowa are continually developing new varieties, processes, and technologies. Iowa’s ingredient innovators collaborate extensively with food processors and Iowa’s research institutes to create solutions and new products. Learn more.


Iowa’s poultry industry is an important agricultural value-added activity providing income and Iowa leads the nation in egg production.employment opportunities for rural areas in Iowa. Iowa has a diversified poultry industry with strength in egg production as well as turkey and chickens. Annual production includes:

Chicken inventory at nearly 57 million layers
Turkey inventory at 8.54 million head
Egg production at 16.4 billion

Iowa's advantages supporting the poultry industry include high quality and available feed at low costs and access to a large food processing industry that provides value-added opportunities. Find out more.


Iowa's ample assets of water, people, feed, and transportation infrastructure support a thriving Grazing Cow photocattle industry in Iowa. There are more than 28,000 cattle operations in Iowa, including more than 19,000 farms with beef cows and more than 6,000 feedlots.  Breaking the industry down further, Iowa ranks 10th in the nation for the number of beef cows and 12th nationally for the number of dairy cows. A workforce estimated at over 32,000 supports Iowa's beef industry.

More information is available in the publication Economic Importance of Iowa's Beef Industry