René Daubenfeld
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Iowa

Bracketed by the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the territory that became Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Today 92 percent of this heartland state, blessed with fine prairie soil, is under cultivation. Farm income suffered during most of the 1980s, forcing many Iowa farmers out of business. Yet in 2002 the state still led the nation in corn and soybean production and hogs.