January 23, 2015

1418 UNITED STATES (Iowa) - A farm after sunset

Even if Iowa is generally not flat, the predominant landform being the rolling hills, much of the state surface is used for agriculture. In nowadays crops cover 60% of the state, grasslands (mostly pasture and hay) cover 30%, and forests cover 7%; urban areas and water cover another 1% each. As a result it is often viewed as a farming state, although in reality agriculture is a small portion of a diversified economy. This is undoubtedly a historical cliché, due to the fact that Iowa was a major agricultural producer after the 1850s and 1860s, when were introduced the railroads.

The transition from an agricultural economy to a mixed economy happened slowly. The Great Depression and WWII accelerated the shift away from smallholder farming to larger farms, and began a trend of urbanization that continues. However, agriculture continued to be the state's dominant industry, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s caused a major recession in Iowa, causing poverty not seen since the Depression. Today, Iowa's main agricultural products are hogs, corn, soybeans, oats, cattle, eggs, and dairy products. It is the nation's largest producer of ethanol and corn and some years is the largest grower of soybeans as well. In 2008, the 92,600 farms in Iowa (decreasing towards 97,000 in 1998) produced 19% of the nation's corn, 17% of the soybeans, 30% of the hogs, and 14% of the eggs.

About the stamps

The first stamp, a forever one issued on May 2, 2014, is a reissue of Where Dreams Blossom, initialy issued on April 11, 2013. Designed by art director Ethel Kessler, it features the work of graphic artist Michael Osborne.

The second stamp is part of a series issued on November 6, 2014 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the television special, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.", about which I wrote here. About the last stamp, depicting the president Abraham Lincoln, I wrote here.

Iowa - Wikipedia

Sender: Alisha / abrown76 (postcrossing) US-3179570
Sent from Hannibal (Missouri / United States), on 13.01.2015
Photo: Ken Thommas

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