Urban planning is like playing SimCity in real life but with fewer disasters and more coffee breaks. Picture a team of city wizards plotting the future of neighborhoods while sipping lattes and debating the perfect height for lampposts. 

And let's not forget about Mother Nature. These planners are all about planting trees, reducing the city's carbon footprint, and convincing everyone that recycling isn't just for hipsters. Design decisions? Oh, they've got those covered too. They argue about the width of streets (because narrower streets mean fewer U-turns) and debate whether bus stops should have disco balls or WiFi. This is planning for people.

Joe Withrow/Canva/TSM
Joe Withrow/Canva/TSM

What do planners forget?

The one thing these planners don’t take into account is the very thing that is hogging up a lot of land. Hogs. They outnumber people in the state of Iowa, some report as high as 7 to 1, yet not one apartment is renting to them. They don’t seem to be hanging out anywhere downtown either.  Well, they are downtown but, most likely, aren't hanging out.  

Iowa has a lot more than corn

According to the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa is hog heaven—literally. With more pig farms than you can shake a cornstalk at (over 5,400 to be exact), it's like every county has a secret pig whisperer. 

Picture this: Iowa, the land where pigs outnumber people three to one. If you ever wondered where the pigs of America go to retire, it's here. From Washington to Plymouth, these counties are like the Hollywood for hogs—stars in their own right. 

Joe Withrow/Canva/TSM
Joe Withrow/Canva/TSM

Use your imagination for this section, please

Imagine a state where nearly one-third of the nation's hogs are living their best lives. That's right, Iowa's got over 5,400 pig farms spread out like stars in the Milky Way, and every county has its own piggy posse. It's like a giant piggy playdate across the heartland.

In 2018 alone, Iowa farmers marketed a whopping 48 million hogs.  And at any given time, about 24 million pigs are chillin' in Iowa, probably discussing the latest corn crop gossip.

Now, let's talk jobs. The Iowa pork industry isn't just about pigs—it's a job creator too. As of 2019, it had more than 147,000 jobs under its belt. That's a whole lotta folks whose livelihoods are intertwined with piggy prosperity. One in every ten working Iowans owes their paycheck to the pork industry—talk about bringing home the bacon.

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And exports? Iowa's pork is like the globetrotter of meats, with exports totaling over $2.1 billion in 2018. Japan, Mexico, China, Canada, and South Korea can't get enough of Iowa's juicy pork goodness.

But wait, there's more! Pigs in Iowa are also eco-friendly influencers. Since 1960, they've reduced their resource footprint by a whopping 76%. That means less land, less water, and less energy per pound of pork. They're basically the Marie Kondo of livestock—keeping things tidy and efficient.

So next time you munch on a pork tenderloin sandwich, remember it's not just a meal—it's a piece of Iowa's flavorful legacy, where pigs, corn, and soybeans live in delicious harmony.

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Gallery Credit: Courtlin

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Gallery Credit: Courtlin


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