Cedar Rapids, Iowa is more than Iowa’s second largest city. It’s also a community known for its distinct and iconic smells, fragrances that fly from the local Quaker Oats planting.
It’s not just oats helping make the town a processing powerhouse. It’s also home to major names like Cargill and ADM.
“We are the corn processing capital of the world,” said Brad Hart, Mayor of Cedar Rapids.
ADM is one of the largest buyers of corn in the area, calling Cedar Rapids home for nearly 45 years. What started out as a business processing 15,000 bushels of corn a day, has exploded over the years.
“Today’s numbers, with wet mill dry mill, we’re talking more like 750,000 bushels,” said Eric Fasnacht, Plant Manager, ADM, Cedar Rapids.
More than 1,000 trucks of grain go through Cedar Rapids each day. The main product processed is corn syrup, a demand base that doesn’t seem to be waning.
“Last year was a big year for corn processing,” said Fasnacht. “Our facilities really ran at full capacity all through the year, and we made plans for that again this year.”
The grain and oilseed processing businesses have strong roots in Iowa, roots that will continue to plant more jobs in the future. That’s why the new Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University said major investments are being made to help build on the strong foundation already in place.
“We have a program in grain science and feed mill science and grain science, “said Daniel Robison, Dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University. “In fact, we’re about to start a large capital project.”
The project is focused on helping meet the future need for food.
“There are a lot of different ways to grow food,” said Robison. “But with roughly 7.3 billion people on the planet now, and we’re going to go to 9 or 10 billion people, America’s population is growing, food consumption is only going to become more intense.”
A strong past, with what officials think will continue to be a vibrant industry in the future, as the city is flourishing with trucks and trains continuing to push grain demand down the road and rivers.