Journal Issue:
Agricultural Policy Review: Volume 2021, Issue 2

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Spring 2021
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Cover Crop Cost-Share Programs in Iowa: Do They Work?
( 2021) Sawadgo, Wendiam ; Plastina, Alejandro ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
Farmers often use cover crops for their soil health benefits. However, the benefits of cover crops go beyond the farm, as they have been shown to reduce nutrient pollution from fields to waterways through leaching or runoff. As such, cover crops have been extensively promoted as a way to improve Iowa’s water quality. However, as of 2017, cover crops were used on only 4% of Iowa cropland (see figure 1).
China’s Changing Population Structure and its Implications for US Agricultural Exports
( 2021) He, Xi ; Zhang, Wendong ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
On May 11, 2021, China released the findings from its seventh national population census, which shows that its population totaled 1.41 billion in 2020 with an average annual growth rate of 0.053% since 2010, the lowest ten-year growth rate since its first population census in 1953. China’s population structure is also changing—a growing share of residents are older than 65 and the birth rate is declining. Specifically, China’s total new births sharply declined by around 18%, from 14.65 million in 2019 to 12 million in 2020, despite some skepticism that the birth rates might be overreported and the death rates may be underreported. On May 31, 2021, China announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children and will provide supportive measures to improve its population structure and to actively cope with an aging population after scrapping its decades-old one-child policy and adopting a two-child policy in 2016 (BBC 2021). As one of the major destinations of US agricultural exports, China’s changing population structure and growing economic development have important implications for its agricultural and food import demand from the United States.
Iowa’s Role in US Agriculture
( 2021) Schulz, Lee ; Hart, Chad ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
While 2020 was a challenging year in many aspects, several features of Iowa agriculture remained consistent. Iowa continues to lead the nation in numerous agricultural production categories—corn and soybean production was robust despite the combined impacts of the drought and the derecho and meat production continued to build despite issues in processing capacity. The strength in Iowa’s agricultural production base is expected to extend through 2021.
The Origins of Talent in Rural and Urban Iowa
( 2021) Winters, John ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
A large majority of Iowa residents and talented individuals are homegrown. This is especially true among self-employed workers, non-metropolitan residents, and self-employed persons in agriculture, which highlights the importance of nurturing talent in Iowa, especially for non-metropolitan areas and the agriculture sector. Furthermore, many other states share a similar dependence on homegrown talent, and thus are wise to nurture that tale
Will Iowa Farmland Values Continue to Rise?
( 2021) Zhang, Wendong ; Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
The farmland market and the agricultural economy have seen a remarkable ride over the past year—the world shut down in early 2020 with unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety; however, the agricultural commodity markets and the land market have gained noticeable strength since fall 2020. Record government support, historically low interest rates, and surging agricultural exports led to a near-10% hike in farmland values for almost all Midwestern states.