Agriculture in Iowa

Agriculture | FIND Iowa
Jul 21, 2024 | 00:02:49

How has technology caused farming to change over time?

Agriculture in Iowa can be related to crops and animals or fruits and vegetables. Iowa farmers play an important role in feeding the world. While agriculture has been a part of life in Iowa for a long time, it has changed a lot over the years. 



(A commercial harvester harvesting a farm field in Iowa.

Abby Brown, host for FIND Iowa, is standing in front of a corn field that looks to be ready to harvest. She is wearing a jean jacket with Iowa PBS stitched on the right side. Under her jacket, she is wearing a purple shirt.)

[Abby Brown] Iowa is truly a beautiful place to live. And no matter where you are in our state, you're bound to see farmland. Whether it's on the bus ride to school, or on the trip to your grandparents' in the next town. Or maybe, you get to live on a farm.

(A family of three walking beside a corn field. The boy shows the man an ear of corn as they walk.)

[Abby] Agriculture in Iowa can mean growing crops like corn or soybeans. It can be raising animals like pigs

(Pigs in a stall under the red glow of a heat lamp.)

[Abby] or chickens

(A young girl in a flowered dress and purple sweater feeding three chickens in front of the chicken coup.)

[Abby] or cows

(cows mooing

moo, moo)

(Cows in a field by a pound.)

[Abby] or other animals.

(Lambs in a shoot being moved from one place to another.)

(lambs bleating

bleat, bleat)

(Abby is back in front of the corn field that is ready to be harvested.)

[Abby] Agriculture can also be growing vegetables or fruit like this apple.

(Abby holds up a red apple and tosses it in the air as she speaks.)

[Abby]Do you know how much of Iowa's land is used for agriculture? Let me show you.

(Abby sets the apple down on a small box and kneels beside the box as she speaks.)

[Abby] Imagine this apple represents all the land in Iowa. All the land that your house sits on; and your school sits on; and all the buildings sit on. How much of this apple, or land, do you think is used for agriculture?

(Abby picks up the knife and begins to cut the apple in half.)

(knife hits table


(Abby cuts the apple in half.)

[Abby] Would you say half?

(Abby takes half of the apple and cuts it again.)

[Abby] Would you say a fourth? It's actually about this much.

(Abby cuts a small sliver, about one eighth out of the one of the quarter apple slices.)

[Abby] This much of Iowa's land is covered in agriculture. About 80 to 85%.

(Abby holds up the eighth of the apple slice to the camera.)

[Abby] Everything else, buildings, roads, water, fits into there.

(Abby bites into the eighth of the apple slice she held up to the camera.)


(A harvester harvesting corn in a field.)

[Abby] So, that shows us that agriculture is a big part of our lives in Iowa.

(A man picking fruit off a tree.

A person picking a root vegetable out of the ground.)

[Abby] And you know what? It's been that way for a long time.

(A person checking to see if a crop of wheat is ready to harvest.)


(Abby is back in front of the corn field that is ready to be harvested.)

[Abby] How do you think agriculture has changed over time? Do you think the tools might be different?

(A scientist in a corn field making notes about the crop on a tablet.)

[Abby] What about everything scientists, engineers and farmers have learned since then about soil and tractors, seeds and animals?

(A person dropping corn kernels from one hand to another.

A drone pilot preparing to fly a drone across a farmer’s field.)

[Abby] I think it's safe to say agriculture changed a lot. But how?

(drone flying

buzzing of engine)

[Abby] And what about all that land?

(A farm field with a red barn in the background.

Stalks of corn left in the field after harvest.)

[Abby] Maybe it's the same. Or maybe it's different.

(sound of a harvester in the field)

(Abby is back in front of the corn field that is ready to be harvested.)

[Abby] Now, start asking those same questions as we have fun investigating new discoveries in Iowa.


[Announcer] Funding for FIND Iowa has been provided by the following supporters.

(text on screen. Find Iowa, Pella, Gilchrist Foundation)

(text on screen Iowa PBS Education)