Harvest time in Iowa: Renewable chemical industry could redefine Iowa’s economy

The rows of corn and soybeans being harvested across Iowa will soon be used to manufacture a virtually limitless range of household products.

Chemicals derived from petroleum are found in many goods, but Iowa is trying to take oil out of the equation. Farmers, chemists and manufacturers in Iowa are working to replace petrochemicals with more sustainable chemicals derived from agricultural products (or biomass), such as cornstalks.

Iowa is positioned to be at the forefront of this emerging industry because the state produces the nation’s second largest supply of biomass. Additionally, Iowa has extensive industrial biotechnology infrastructure in place, due to our state’s leadership in renewable fuel production.

To further boost the industry in Iowa, last spring the Iowa legislature passed the country’s first Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit Program. The program incentivizes the production of certain renewable chemicals, called “building block” chemicals, by providing annual tax credits of up to $1 million for startups and $500,000 for established businesses.

CNBC said Iowa is a top 10 state for business, and that the state has the second lowest cost of business in the country. Visit iowaeconomicdevelopment.com to learn more about what Iowa can do for your company.

Harvest time in Iowa: Ag manufacturing drives Iowa’s economy

Iowa has a well-deserved worldwide reputation as a corn producer, and that corncob gets buttered by our state’s advanced manufacturing industry. In fact, manufacturing is actually Iowa’s largest industry by share of state GDP—more than $31.8 billion in 2015.

Our transportation network ensures what’s made in Iowa also reaches markets around the world. In 2015, Iowa exported more than $1.5 billion in agriculture related manufacturing exports, including tractors, tractor parts and insecticides and herbicides. CNBC said Iowa offers businesses the second lowest cost of businesses and residents a top 10 quality of life.

Consult the map below to see manufacturers operating in Iowa. For more information on doing business in Iowa, visit iowaeconomicdevelopment.com and contact opportunities@iowa.gov.

Harvest time in Iowa: Iowa is the place for ag-tech

It’s 1959 and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev is making a historic trip to America. During the trip he plans one-on-one meetings with two individuals: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and an Iowa farmer.

That Iowa meeting, which happened this week 57 years ago, happened for two reasons: Khrushchev had befriended the farmer, Roswell Garst of Coon Rapids, and because the Soviet leader wanted to see cutting-edge American agricultural technology.

Come today, and you’ll see Iowa is still the place to develop ag-tech innovations. Here are three reasons why:

  1. This is where the end-users live: Iowa is #1 in corn, egg, pork and soybean production in the country. The ag-tech customer base – and the opportunities to test tech in the field – are here.
  2. Ag-tech accelerators are in place: This year Iowa State University, a top agriculture school, launched its Ag Startup Engine. Last month, four ag-centric corporations – DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere, and Peoples Company – each invested in another new accelerator, the Ag Tech Accelerator, in Des Moines. The Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids also specializes in helping ag startups.
  3. Innovation-friendly government: CNBC rated Iowa a top 10 state for business in 2016, and the state with the second lowest cost of doing business. In addition, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) offers entrepreneurial assistance to qualifying small businesses.

Iowa is a smart place for ag-tech companies to grow. For information on doing business in Iowa, or on the entrepreneurial assistance programs mentioned above, contact the Iowa Economic Development Authority  at opportunities@iowa.gov.