Western Iowa Target Industries Part One: Agriculture, Bioscience, and Value-Added Food

Western Iowa Target Industries Part One: Agriculture, Bioscience, and Value-Added Food Main Photo

4 Jun 2021


With its fertile fields, livestock, and poultry farming, Iowa is synonymous with agriculture. According to the USDA, Iowa is number one in production of corn, feed crops, eggs, and corn; number two for soybeans; and number four for cattle. These abundant resources and raw materials are the fuel that powers several of Western Iowa’s target industries: advanced agricultural manufacturing, advanced agricultural technology and bioscience industries, and value-added food processing. These industries are vital for Iowa’s ongoing and anticipated economic development.

Advanced Agricultural Manufacturing

Western Iowa — with its entrepreneurial startup culture — is a leader in advanced agricultural manufacturing because the region has a critical mass of established businesses: Deere and Company, Puck Custom Enterprises, Bauer Built Manufacturing, Inc., Accu-Steel, Applegate Livestock Equipment, and Frehse Manufacturing to name a few. Nearly 1,000 people are employed in agtech manufacturing in Western Iowa in industries such as:

  • Agriculture, Construction, and Mining Machinery Manufacturing
  • Boiler, Tank, and Shipping Container Manufacturing
  • Plastics Product Manufacturing
  • Other Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
  • Industrial Machinery Manufacturing
  • Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing

Learn more about the demographics, wages, and opportunities here.

Advanced Agricultural Technology And Bioscience Industries

Western Iowa’s rural landscape and rich agricultural history make it the perfect place for value-added agricultural services. Iowa ranks first in the nation for biodiesel and ethanol production. Other opportunities include scientific and technical consulting services, soil preparation services, veterinary services in support of agriculture, and many more. Businesses leading on the cutting-edge of agtech and bioscience include AMVC, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Iowa Select Farms, Quad County Corn Processors, Western Iowa Energy, Renewable Energy Group, Flint Hills Resources, The Andersons, Struve Labs, Agrium, and Remington Seeds. Hundreds of people are employed in agtech and bioscience jobs such as:

  • Animal Scientists
  • Soil and Plant Scientists
  • Biochemists and Biophysicists
  • Environmental Scientist and Specialists
  • Agriculture and Food Science Technicians
  • Veterinarians

Learn more about the demographics, wages, and opportunities here.

Value-Added Food Processing

Iowa is a major player when it comes to feeding the United States. Western Iowa with its abundant crops and easy access to major markets all over the country make it an ideal location for food producers and manufacturers. Companies with operations located in Westen Iowa include Smithfield Farmland Corporation, Quality Food Processors, Essentia, Inc., Iowa Corn Processors, Snappy Popcorn Company, APC, Inc., Arcadia Meats, Boyer Valley Company, ConAgra Foods, Inc., Cookies, Inc., Granny B Cookie Company, Molly&U, Noble Popcorn Farms, Templeton Rye, and Tiefenthaler Quality Meats.

The Western Iowa region has a very high concentration of the following industries:

  • Animal (except poultry) Slaughtering
  • Soybean and Other Oilseed Processing
  • Other Animal Food Manufacturing
  • Rendering and Meat Byproducts Processing
  • Meat Processed from Carcasses
  • Fruit and Vegetable Canning
  • Fats and Oils Refining and Blending

Learn more about the demographics, wages, and opportunities here.

Advantages of Doing Business in Western Iowa

Quality of Life Advantage: The low cost of living, high air and water quality, and recreational opportunities are just a few of the advantages of living in the region. With crime ratings well below the US average, surrounding states, and even Iowa as a whole, Western Iowa offers a safer environment for you, your family and your assets.

Education Advantage: The number of people with a two-year degree in the Western Iowa region is 2.5% higher than for the U.S. as a whole. The three community colleges that serve the region offer a variety of programs in agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural technology, biotechnology, livestock and crop production, and veterinary technology: Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Central Community College, and Western Iowa Tech Community College. In addition, Buena Vista University and University of Northern Iowa provide advanced degrees. Nearby, Iowa State University and University of Iowa both have world-renowned undergraduate and graduate agricultural degree programs. Several school districts throughout the region also have Career Academies that offer training in advanced technology for agriculture, manufacturing, and business.

Workforce and Work Ethic Advantage: According to employers in the region, the work ethic and productivity of employees in the Western Iowa region are higher than their counterparts in other locations across the U.S. The workforce is skilled and educated with a labor pool of 999,479 within 50 miles. Iowa is a right-to-work state.

Access Advantage: Western Iowa is at the center of it all. Access to an abundance of raw materials and a market of over 25 million people are within a day’s drive (500 miles). Located at the crossroads of I-80 and I-35, the region is served by four interstates highways and has excellent air and rail infrastructure. Companies in Western Iowa can get goods to market from coast to coast with ease, giving them a distribution and supply-chain advantage.

Utility and Water Infrastructure Advantage: Utilities in the Western Iowa region are easily accessible, inexpensive, and reliable. Gas and electric are supplied by 10+ utility companies, providing reliable service at competitive prices. There is a mix of investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and municipal providers. In addition, Iowa is second in the nation in wind energy as a percentage of total power output (AWEA, 2018). Access to clean water is plentiful and affordable. Fiber broadband is available in the region and expansion is underway. 

Tax Advantage:

  • No Sales and Use Tax on machinery & equipment purchases 
  • No Property Tax on new industrial machinery and business equipment  
  • No Personal Property Tax, including corporate inventories of goods-in-process, raw materials, and salable goods 
  • Iowa Corporate Income Tax: 
    • 50% deductibility of federal taxes from Iowa corporate income  
    • Single-factor, non-unitary based only on the percentage of total sales income within the state  
    • Iowa corporate income tax may be reduced or eliminated by the New Jobs Tax Credit 
  • Research and Development Tax Credit for increasing research activities: up to 6.5% of a company’s allotted share of qualifying research expenditures in Iowa

Incentives Advantage: 

State and local incentives: 

  • RISE/Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy – DOT road improvements  
  • Rail Revolving Loan and Grant – DOT rail improvements 
  • EDSA/Economic Development Set-Aside Program – IEDA assistance (CDBG) for businesses  
  • PFSA /Public Facilities Set-Aside Program – IEDA assistance (CDBG) for public infrastructure 
  • High Quality Jobs Program – IEDA tax credits 
  • 260E and 260F – Job training & retraining through community colleges 
  • Revolving Loan Funds/RLF (both regional and local) 
  • Tax Increment Financing/TIF (local) 
  • Tax abatement (local)

Western Iowa Advantage

Western Iowa is more than ag-friendly, it’s at the heart of who we are and what we do. Western Iowa with its committed workforce, strong sense of community, and quality of life, should be high on the list for companies looking to grow and relocate. Contact us today and see how easy it can be! Western Iowa Advantage 712.792.9914 or info@westerniowaadvantage.com.

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