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Iowa Corn Farmer

Pam Johnson

“I come from a long line of very strong men and women who have farmed for hundreds of years.”

Pam Johnson
Corn Farmer

Name: Pam Johnson
Location: Floyd, Iowa
Years farming: I’ve been farming for 37 years.
My family: My husband is Maurice, and our son is Ben, who farms with us full time. His wife is Amy, and our grandson is Jack. Our other son, Andy, teaches school and farms with us on evenings and weekends.
How I came to be a farmer: Maurice and I are both fifth-generation farmers. I grew up on a small farm with three younger brothers, and left for Minneapolis to attend nursing school. Once I graduated, I worked at Northwestern Hospital. Then I met my husband and moved back to Iowa to begin farming together.
The best thing about being a farmer: I farm and I love my job. Farming presents me with an opportunity to fully engage my mind, skill sets, and body every day to manage and implement a business plan for a small business. It is all about family and business. On my farm, four generations interact in an activity that benefits the common good. We are able to use the collective wisdom of all the generations that have come before us and make decisions to provide opportunities for the next generation. Farming is a challenge and an opportunity with a range of diverse daily activity. We have to be creative and good problem solvers and adopt new ideas and technology; it is never boring! We have a firm connection to the land and to nature. We nurture crops throughout the life cycle and are able to see the results of our work and management decisions. We are caretakers of the land and are challenged by maximizing the potential of growing crops.
My personal philosophy on farming: There is a balance of independence and cooperation, and the ability to participate in something bigger than ourselves and our farm. I am thankful that our business provides feed, food, and fuel for a growing global population. I believe farming is a noble calling and I am thankful to be an American farmer.

Corn Production in Iowa and the United States
  • Iowa has led the nation in growing corn for 15 straight years.
  • In 2008, Iowa farmers produced an estimated 2.2 billion bushels.
  • USDA estimates indicate the state’s corn crop in 2007 was worth $10.4 billion.
  • More than 52,800 farms in Iowa grow corn.
  • The Iowa corn crop in 2008 averaged 168 bushels per acre (an acre is about the size of a football field).
  • Around 40% of Iowa’s corn goes to livestock feed within the state, 24% to produce ethanol, 12% to food uses, and 24% leaves the state, most of it for livestock feed.
  • More than half (57%) of the total U.S. corn crop last year was fed to cows, pigs, chickens, turkey and other food animals.
  • The U.S. exports corn to approximately 60 nations.
  • The Wall Street Journal estimates that U.S. gas prices would be 15% higher if not for biofuels.
  • A kernel of corn is comprised of four major components: starch, fiber, protein, and oil.
  • A typical grocery store will contain 4,000 products listing corn as an ingredient.
  • The oldest method of corn processing is grinding corn into masa flour, used to make, among other things, tortillas, snack foods, taco shells, and tostados.
  • The earliest known ears of corn were only a few inches long. Centuries of breeding by Native Americans, early settlers and modern scientists have made corn one of the world’s three leading grains crops.

For more information about corn farming in Iowa, please visit


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