Iowa: Growing Jobs as Well as Corn



Image result for iowa pictures By Shana Daley

Much of what you know about Iowa is true. It’s what you don’t know about Iowa that will put the Hawkeye State in contention for your business. Iowa is a right-to-work state. Its cost of living is below the national average, helping businesses be more profitable.

Innovators and entrepreneurs also plaster the Iowa landscape. More than 97 percent of the companies in Iowa are categorized as small- or mid-sized businesses. These businesses account for more than half the state’s private-sector workforce.

While often stereotyped as an “ag state,” in reality, Iowa has built upon its agronomic ecosystem to create a diverse business environment and robust, global economy. Eight core industry segments are more dominant than agriculture in terms of contributions to the state’s GDP, employment, or a combination of both, including: manufacturing, transportation, distribution, finance, insurance and real estate.

By creating the ideal environment, Iowa has transformed itself into a hub for a range of global growth industries. With innovation at the core of its growth strategy, Iowa has the necessary tools and incentives for companies of all sizes and all industries to succeed. Industry in Iowa has built a solid foundation in the financial services/information technology, biosciences and advanced manufacturing sectors.

They build quality in Iowa…lots of quality. In fact, IA’s $31.2 billion advanced manufacturing industry is the state’s largest single business sector. That’s right, America’s largest producer of corn, soybeans, pigs and eggs brings in three times more from manufacturing than farming.

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Iowa non-farm jobs increase by 8,400 in November

Cedar Valley Business Monthly Online:  

DES MOINES | Non-farm employment fed another monthly drop in unemployment across Iowa in November, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

Iowa’s official seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued to drop in the month, falling to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent in October, IWD reported Friday. The state’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent one year ago.

The U.S.’s official unemployment rate remained at 5 percent in November.

“Iowa’s businesses showed unmistakable optimism in November,” IWD Director Beth Townsend said in a news release. “This month’s increase is the highest in several years and includes job gains in virtually all industries. Additionally, Iowa’s unemployment rate trended down to the lowest level since 2001.”


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Waukee business program to get new school

Business Record: BY JOE GARDYASZ | Senior Staff Writer | @JoeGardyasz

A Waukee Community School District program that is embedding high school students with professional firms throughout Greater Des Moines in fields such as architecture, software design, marketing and health care will get a new building next year.

Waukee School Superintendent Dave Wilkerson said the program has created great new opportunities for high school students in Waukee to make the connection between school and the world of work.

The Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) program, now in its second year, provides nearly 250 students with real-world experiences at professional firms such as Shive-Hattery Inc. and LightEdge Solutions Inc. Seven classes, ranging from information management design to exploration of health sciences and medicine, enable students to work on real-world projects and earn community college credit during half-day sessions at the workplaces.



Venture Firms Seed Farm-Tech Startups


Iowa farmer Jason Rouse adjusts the Farmobile data-collection device in his combine. Information gathered in real time allows farmers to monitor operations and fine tune decisions. PHOTO: SARAH HOFFMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNALfor The Wall Street Journal

Venture capital firms toting cash from agricultural heavyweights Monsanto Co.MON +0.65%, Syngenta AGSYNN.VX +1.58% and Rabobank Group this week sunk tens of millions of dollars into farm-focused technology startups.

The startups, Blue River Technology and Farmobile LLC, are among a raft of companies that aim to transplant data-crunching techniques and low-cost hardware from Silicon Valley to the Farm Belt, pitching equipment and services that can help farmers raise bigger crops while using less fuel and chemicals.

Stalwart agribusiness giants like Monsanto, DuPont Co.DD -1.04%, Deere and Co.DE -1.78% and Cargill Inc. are developing their own computer-powered farming services for farmers, eyeing a business some executives say could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales by the end of the decade. Some of these companies, through venture capital arms, are also investing in startups pursuing similar technology to help spot opportunities and tools the big firms don’t have in-house.

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Write to Jacob Bunge at Follow him on Twitter at@jacobbunge

Survey Aims To Collect Conservation Data

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – There isn’t very much data about conservation practices on farms but the USDA is trying to change that.

This week the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that the second phase of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project is in action.

It will work with the National Agricultural Statistic Service to figure out how much conservation practices are going on.

In Iowa, about 537 farmers will fall into the study, so Iowa NASS enumerators will be out trying to contact them through February 1st.

This is the second time a nationwide survey like this has been done, the last one was back between 2003 and 2006.

According to Iowa NASS Director Greg Thessen, a lot has changed in a decade, “Here in Iowa, you know, we have the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which has provided some funding for farmers to put in conservation on their farm. There’s always been federal programs the provide assistance to do the same thing. So the survey’s going to measure all of those projects that farmers have put in place on their farm. Plus any that they put in place voluntarily. There could be some that farmers have put in without any assistance.”



Monsanto, Pioneer Spike Iowa Construction Projects

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Agribusiness giant Monsanto is dropping a major construction project in Iowa telling state officials that market changes have led it to change course.

Documents distributed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority indicate Monsanto planned to build a $90 million seed corn plant in Independence, creating 47 jobs. Monsanto says it’s no longer pursuing the project and wants to cancel a contract for $7.5 million in job creation tax credits.

DuPont Pioneer also seeks to cancel contracts for $13 million in tax benefits tied to creating 300 jobs for three projects. Pioneer is completing the projects but will not create the promised number of jobs.

Farm income is down for the third consecutive year prompting farmers to spend less pressuring seed companies like Pioneer and Monsanto to lower profit expectations.

Dice expects strong tech industry hiring in 2016


According to Dice’s latest hiring survey, finding highly skilled tech talent will be a top hiring priority for companies in 2016. A record 78 percent of hiring managers anticipate more hiring in the first half of 2016 compared with the second half of 2015. As more companies are looking to build upon their current tech infrastructures, the need for tech professionals is mounting, with 71 percent of companies looking to bolster their tech teams by 11 percent or more in the first six months of 2016. Companies are also taking a greater interest in candidates with less experience. More than a quarter (27 percent) of hiring managers said they plan to hire entry-level candidates, up nine points from last year.


Alliant Energy Foundation awards grants to 8 nonprofits

Eight Des Moines area nonprofit organizations have received community grants totaling $36,200 from the Alliant Energy Foundation in the second of its two 2015 giving cycles. Conservation organizations received a large share of the funds, with $13,200 granted to The Nature Conservancy in Des Moines for its Collaboration to Restore Wetlands project. Other larger grants included $7,500 to the Iowa Public Television Foundation in Johnston for “Iowa Outdoors” and $5,000 to Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates in Des Moines for Supporting Student Success in Iowa. To see a listing of all of the grants, click here.

Panel informally OKs manufacturing tax break

DES MOINES – A legislative panel on Tuesday informally approved rules to expand a tax break for some manufacturers in Iowa, a proposal that’s been criticized by Democratic lawmakers. The Administrative Rules Review Committee wasn’t required to vote on the proposed changes by the Department of Revenue, so they became official following a presentation by the department. The rules will expand the sales and use tax exemption for certain machinery and equipment used for manufacturing. Department spokeswoman Victoria Daniels said the changes add clarity to the state’s tax rules


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