Soybeans piled up

Producing more than ever before

August 22, 2022 | Joseph Hopper

Iowa’s 40,000 soybean farmers smashed through the previous record for soybean production in the state last year, tallying up 621,860,000 bushels of soybeans when 2021 was complete. Looking at what’s in the ground for 2022, Iowa farmers planted an estimated 10.3 million acres of soybeans, up 200,000 acres from last year.

Iowa continues to be No. 2 in the nation for soybean production and soybean export value. It ranks only behind Illinois, with whom it often trades places within a decade. Iowa is a close third for highest soybean yield in 2021 at 62/bpa, behind Nebraska at 63/bushels per acre (bpa) and Illinois at 64/bpa.

These big numbers make a big difference in the real world. Iowa’s record-breaking 2021 soybean crop had a value of $8.08 billion. It’s not just dollars and cents; there’s industry too. According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), in addition to the more than 40,000 soybean farms, there are 1,147 soybean processing jobs and 425 biodiesel jobs within the state.

“Soybeans and soybean-related industries contribute approximately 7% to Iowa’s GDP,” says Debi Durham, executive director of IEDA and the Iowa Finance Authority. “From biofuels to animal feed, soybeans are integral to Iowa’s agriculture and manufacturing industries and ultimately the state’s overall economic prosperity.”

Iowa Soybean Production

(in bushels)

2021: 621,860,000

2020: 505,980,000

2019: 501,600,000

2018: 550,480,000

2017: 566,580,000

2016: 566,400,000

2015: 553,700,000

2014: 498,270,000

2013: 420,875,000

2012: 418,950,000

2011: 475,345,000