Iowa is the Food Capital of the World!, situated in the heart of the nation’s Corn Belt, Iowa is 92% farmland. Its fertile, rolling plains produce soybeans and oats in great abundance. So much corn is harvested here that the state has earned the monikers “The Corn State” and “The Land Where Tall Corn Grows”. Recently, Iowa has experienced industrial boom, but the businesses, such as Quaker Oats, are still agriculture-related. The state of Iowa derived its name from the “Ioway” people (or “Ayuxwa”  -- “one who puts to sleep” -- in the native language). Iowa was admitted into the Union on December 28, 1846.

State Nickname 

Iowa has three state nicknames. The official state nickname, the “The Hawkeye State,” serves as tribute to Sauk Indian leader, Black Hawk.  “The Corn State” or “The Land Where the Tall Corn Grows” pertains to the abundance of Iowa’s corn crop. The “Land of the Rolling Prairie” refers to the vast track of rolling prairies covering the state. 

Climate Summary

Like most places in the Midwest, Iowa has a humid continental climate. It has wet springs, warm summers, and chilly, often harsh winters. Tornadoes are experienced in the spring and summer, with an average number of 37 per year. The state also experiences few thunderstorms during the year. Annual average temperature is 49 degree Celsius.

State Tax Situation

Iowa enforces taxation for all personal income. There are 9 tax brackets, with the lowest bracket pegged at 0.36% and the highest at 8.98%. Retail sales tax is at flat 5%, with exceptions for basic necessities such as food and prescription drugs. Property sales tax varies among localities, but it is typically levied against the value of the property.

Government Summary

Local governance is observed in all 948 municipalities. Smaller municipalities utilize mayor-council system, while larger cities use council-manager system. Counties are governed by a board consisting of auditor, treasure, recorder, and sheriff – all of whom are elected to a 4-year term. A governor serves as head of state and is elected through statewide voting.

State Seal

Measuring 2 inches in diameter, the state seal depicts a citizen soldier standing in wheat field, holding an American flag. Near him are symbols representing early historical Iowa (a cultivator, steam ship, and small cabin). The Mississippi River flows in the background. An eagle soars above, holding a scroll bearing the state motto in its beak.  

Motto and Description

The state motto (which appears on both the state seal and state flag) reads: “Our Liberties We Prize Our Rights We Will Maintain.” The motto was created during the same year as the state seal (1847). The motto reflects the struggles and challenges faced by Iowans in establishing statehood and how they value freedom and liberty.

State Flag

The state flag of Iowa resembles the flag of France with its display of blue, white, and red vertical stripes. A bald eagle soars on the white center part of the flag carrying a blue streamer in its beak. Inscribed on the streamer is the state motto. Below the eagle is name IOWA inked in red.

State Bird

The eastern goldfinch is boldly colored bird. It sports a bright yellow plumage and black or dark brown wings and tail. It is also known as American goldfinch or wild canary. A common sight in Iowa (even during winter), the eastern goldfinch was adopted in 1933 by the Iowa Legislature as the official state bird. 

State Flower

Adopted in 1897, the Wild Prairie Rose (Rose Pratincola) is a native Iowan flower characterized by pink petals with a crown of yellow stamens decorating the center. The flower was given the honor of state flower after it was used as a decoration on the silver service, which Iowa gave to the battleship USS Iowa in 1897. 

State Animal

Iowa is one of the four states that does not have a state animal (mammal). Iowa has is a state bird, the eastern goldfinch. The eastern goldfinch is a small-sized bird with a bright yellow body and black tail and wings. Female eastern finches have more muted colors. Body is olive colored, while the wings are colored black.

State Song and Description

The Song of Iowa was written in 1897 by Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers. It is sung to the music of Tannenbaum, a German folk song. It was officially adopted as state song by the Iowa Legislature in 1911. Iowans have also adopted another song, “The Corn Song”, albeit unofficially. It has gained more popularity than Byer’s song. 

State Color

Iowa has no official state color, but it has chosen the colors red, white, and blue for its flag. These are the same vertical stripes found on the flag of France. The stripes represent the past of Iowa as a colony of France. Red, white, and blue are also the same colors found on the US flag.