Iowa State, referred to as the "American Heartland," is situated within the Midwestern United States. The name "Iowa" comes from the loway people, which was amongst the areas tribes which occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New France. After the Purchase of Louisiana, settlers laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy within the heart of the Corn Belt. Iowa State is normally known as the "Food Capital of the World." However, Iowa's landscape, economy and culture are diverse.
During the latter half of the 20th century, the agricultural economy of Iowa transitioned to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, biotechnology, financial services, and green energy production. The state has a population of just over 3 million in 2010, and its biggest and capital city is Des Moines. Iowa State has been listed as among the states that is safest to reside in.
While the state of Iowa is usually viewed as a farming state, in reality agriculture is a small portion of a diversified economy, with manufacturing, biotechnology, finance and insurance services, and government services contributing considerably to Iowa's economy. This economic diversity has helped the state of Iowa weather the recession during 200 better than nearly all of the states, with unemployment significantly less than the rest of the US.
If the economy is measured by gross domestic product, during the year 2005 Iowa's GDP was approximately US $124 billion. If measured by gross state product, for 2005 it was US $113.5 billion. Its per capita income for the year 2006 was US $23,340.
Agriculture has always been indirectly and directly a main part of the state's economy. The direct production and sale of raw agricultural products however is only about 3.5% of Iowa's gross state product. The indirect part of agriculture in Iowa's economy could be measured in various ways, but its total impact, comprising agriculture-affiliated business, has been measured at 16.4% when it comes to value added and 24.3% in terms of total output. This is less compared to the economic effect in Iowa State of non-farm manufacturing, that accounts for 26.5% of total output and 22.4% of total value added. Iowa's main agricultural outputs are hogs, corn, soybeans, oats, dairy products, cattle and eggs. Iowa State is the nation's biggest producer of ethanol and corn and some years is the largest grower of soybeans too. In 2008, the 92,600 farms within the state of Iowa produced 19% of the nation's corn, 17% of the soybeans, 30% of the hogs, and 14% of the eggs.
The main agricultural producers comprise Ajinomoto, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Inc., Diamond V Mills, Garst Seed Company, Heartland Pork Enterprises, Hy-Vee, Monsanto Company, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and Quaker Oats.