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Growing Jobs: Agriculture Still King of Iowa's Economy

A new study shows one in six Iowans is employed because of agriculture.

A new study shows one in six Iowans is employed because of agriculture.

The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers released an analysis of agriculture's impact on the state's economy in August. Besides dominating the work force, the report concludes ag-related industries are responsible for 27 percent of the state's economic output, up from 25 percent in 2005, and $1 in every $10 in personal income.

As the nation takes today off to celebrate the social and economic achievements of America's workers, the study is a reminder that agriculture continues to play an important role in the nation's economy. There's probably no better example than in Iowa, officials said.

Dan Otto, Iowa State University Extension economist and study co-author, said Iowans often forget how important agriculture is, since far fewer people make a living off the land these days than in years past. There were 145,000 farms in 1970 in the state, compared to 92,600 last year, government figures show.

Otto said agriculture is as important to Iowa as the auto industry is to Michigan.

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