Iowa, nicknamed the "Hawkeye State", is the 30th most populous state in the United States. You may remember Iowa from such films as "The Bridges of Madison County", "Field of Dreams", and "Star Trek".
Iowa was the 29th state to join the United States in 1846. The capital of Iowa is the city of Des Moines (translated from the French, "the Moines"). Iowa is a very important state, especially agriculturally, as it produces a very large amount of corn, hogs, and cattle annually. Iowa also has large manufacturing, finance, and biotechnology sectors, and its dreaded standardized exams are the bane of every 3rd grader's existence.
It also turns out that Iowa has always been a rather progressive state, with many historic rulings in favor of civil rights and equality for all. One early example was in 1847, when the University of Iowa was the first public university in the United States to admit men and women on an equal basis, in a time when it was customary for the college experience to be a total sausagefest.
Iowa is located in the Midwestern region of the United States, an area commonly referred to by most Americans as "the middle of nowhere".
Not pictured: anywhere
Iowa is bordered by the Missouri River to the west, and the Mississippi River to the east. Contrary to popular belief, the state is actually not a flat and desolate wasteland. Rather, Iowa is almost entirely covered with rolling hills.
Empirical proof that J.J. Abrams has never actually been to Iowa.
Iowa has what Wikipedia refers to as a "humid continental climate", which to the layman translates as "miserably hot and humid in the summer; freeze-your-balls-off cold in the winter". Iowans often face very severe weather in the warmer months of the year, as the state lies in Tornado Alley.
If this picture doesn't scare the ever-living crap out of you, you're lying to yourself.
In the 2000 census, Iowa was estimated to have over 3 million residents, with the following ethnic breakdown:
Our crack team of Cracked mathematicians (witty wordplay!) would just like to point out that this means on any given day in Iowa, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are outnumbered by hogs roughly 6875 to 1.
Pictured above: the vast majority of Iowa blinking in a blizzard.
The Hawkeye State has also produced a number of famous people over the years, including (and probably limited to):
Of course, arguably its most famous (and important) resident won't be born in Riverside, Iowa for another 223 years...
The only cadet to ever beat the No-Win Scenario.
So why should any of you fancy big-city types care about Iowa? Well as we mentioned eariler, Iowa produces a lot of corn. How much exactly? Somewhere between 2 and 3 billion bushels of corn in any given year. That's over 3 times as much corn as the entire country of Argentina produces in a year. Iowa produced 82% of the entire United States crop of corn in the year 2008. In other words, the state of Iowa produces what can only be accurately described as a "total-goddamned-clusterfuck-ton" of corn each year. Let us remind you that corn is used in just about everything imaginable nowadays, so this is a pretty big deal.
Somewhere in the multiverse, a Candy Iowa is producing 82% of the Candy Corn crop of the Candy United States...
Iowa is also the first caucus state during election season, giving those 3 million Iowans an inordinate amount of power in deciding who the next President of the United States will be. This is also a pretty big deal.
Caucusers, clearly having a blast.
But the biggest reason each and every one of you reading this should care about Iowa? That one thing that should make every man, woman, and child stand up and applaud any time an Iowan passes by? It's the state's defining contribution to human culture and civilization, the butter sculpture:
Tom Arnold's acting career is a distant 2nd.