iowa flagIowa Flag – having three vertical stripes blue, white and red the Iowa flag resembles the flag of France. On the white stripe is a bald eagle carrying a blue streamer in its beak. The state motto “Our Liberties We Prize, and Our Rights We will Maintain” is written on the streamer. The name of the state is emblazoned in red letters.

Iowa is a West North Central state bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, and South Dakota and Nebraska to the west. Iowa

Located between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the state’s landscape includes wooded hills, river valleys, and prairies. Waterloo and Davenport are eastern cities with agricultural industries that mark the beginning of the transition between the industrialized East and the less industrial West. Iowa is known for having some of the world’s most fertile soil.

Farms make up about 92 percent of Iowa’s land; only Nebraska has a higher percentage of farmland. About one-third of the best farmland in the United States is located in Iowa. Most of the state’s residents are in some way dependent upon Iowa’s fertile soil and many crops.

Iowa20farmIowa is usually first or second in the country in the production of corn, oats, soybeans, cattle, milk, and calves. The state harvests so much corn that it has been called the “Corn State” and “the land where tall corn grows.” Because corn is one of the main ingredients in hog feed, Iowa leads the country in hog production, raising about a quarter of the nation’s total.

Because Iowa is such an important agricultural state, it plays an important role in feeding the country. Iowa farms produce about seven percent of the nation’s food supply. In spite of this, small farms have almost totally disappeared in Iowa. A majority of the state’s farmers have become big businessmen with very mechanized farms that need less manpower. Therefore, many of the state’s young residents have moved to cities, both inside and outside the state to find work. This is not only happening in Iowa; it’s happening all over the country.

iowa-valley-2In recent years, Iowa has experienced great industrial growth. As you might expect, agriculture-related businesses such as food processing and the manufacturing of farm equipment have become major industries. See Quaker Oats, the largest cereal plant in the United States, in Cedar Rapids. If you like popcorn, go to Sioux City, home of the largest popcorn processing plant in the country. The largest wheel-tractor plant in the United States is located in Waterloo. Iowa’s factories make other products including ballpoint pens, washing machines, and office furniture, but most of the state’s industrial output is based on farm production.

Iowa_RegionIn spite of the importance of agriculture to the state, only about ten percent of Iowa’s residents live on farms. In contrast, about 60 percent live in cities. About 66 percent of Iowa’s workers are employed in service industries, including wholesale and retail trade and health care. Des Moines, the state’s capital known for its Court Avenue District with its fine restaurants and history, is a national center of the insurance industry.

Wisconsin flagWisconsin Flag – Starting at the top of a shield on a dark blue field is the state motto “Forward”. Below it is a badger the state animal. A sailor and miner show that the people work on water and land. The shield in the center shows Wisconsin’s support for the United States. In four sections surrounding the shield are representations of the state’s main industries: Agriculture, mining, manufacturing and navigation. The cornucopia and pile of lead represent farm products and minerals. The flag law was amended in 1979 to include the name of the state and the date of statehood.saupload_wisconsin

Wisconsin is an East North Central state bordered by Lake Superior to the north, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the northeast, Lake Michigan to the east, Illinois to the south, and Minnesota and Iowa to the west. The state is located in a region that was shaped by gigantic glaciers during the Ice Age. Its landscape includes woods, lakes, rivers, streams, rolling hills, and fertile valleys.

wisconsin-capitalMany people vacation in Wisconsin because of its beauty and wide variety of outdoor activities. If you like to swim, fish, boat, hike, ride horses, hunt, ski, toboggan, or go iceboating, Wisconsin is the state for you. It has about 15,000 lakes, many trails through its woods, and forests and fields for hunting. See Fat Man’s Misery and Devil’s Elbow, interesting rock formations found in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin was named for the Wisconsin River. The name for the river probably comes wisconsin-landscapefrom a Chippewa Indian word, usually translated as “grassy place.” The state is known as the “Badger State” because the state’s miners dug into the hillside and lived in the holes they dug, much like badgers digging burrows. Residents of Wisconsin are known as Badgers. The abbreviation for Wisconsin is WI.