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Iowa, Beautiful land

Iowa is Farm Country, U.S.A., with 97 per cent of its land Cultivated. One of the wealthiest farm States, it has long been a leading source of corn, oats, soybeans and hay, as well as hogs and cattle, poultry and dairy products. Exceptionally rich soil-combined with the use of improved fertilizers, seeds and equipment-has made Iowa farms models of scientific farming. In 1959, Soviet Premier Khrushchev visited a large modern farm near Cedar Rapids.

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pic: Joseph Murphy

Until the 183Os, members of the Sauk, Fox, Ioway, Sipus, Winnebago, Potawatomi and other tribes occupied the area, but by 1850, the Federal Government had moved most of them to “Indian Territory” what later became Oklahoma, and settlers had already discovered the unusual growing power of Iowa’s exceptionally rich soil. By the 187Os, Iowa had enough farmers to join Illinois and Minnesota as leaders of the Granger Movement (the forerunner of the Grange)-fighting for laws to protect the farmers from exploitation and misuse of power by the rapidly expanding railroads and by owners of grain elevators.

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Pic: Mike McCawley

Today, with well over 100,000 farms, Iowa in some years supplies as much as one-tenth of the country’s food. In crop value, Iowa generally ranks second to California. Farm-related industries have assumed an important place in Iowa’s economy, and Des Moines, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs and Waterloo produce farm machinery, tools and fertilizers. Some of these also produce flour and cereals: the breakfast cereal mill in Cedar Rapids is the largest in the world.

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pic: Aaron Johnson

Several Iowa cities have become major centers of insurance: over fifty insurance companies have their home offices in the State. But the State which lies between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, near the middle of the continent, which is also the middle State in size (25th),- the State which gave the nation its thirty-first President, Herbert Hoover, is best known as “the land where the tall corn grows.”