AREA Strengths.

Availability of skilled workforce, access to natural resources, and the vast resources of Iowa State University make the Ames region the crossroads between innovation and manufacturing.


The state of Iowa has solidified its standing as a leader in the biosciences field through a combination of favorable governmental policies for businesses, dynamic private industries, and top-tier research institutions.

  • Iowa ranks 1st in the nation in the production of ethanol and biodiesel, 2nd in wind generation output. Iowa ranks 1st in the nation in the production of ethanol and biodiesel, 2nd in wind generation output. Iowa ranks 1st in the nation in the production of ethanol and biodiesel, 2nd in wind generation output
  • Abundant biomass feedstock for the production of high-value chemicals
  • Nation’s first Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit

Area Companies

Iowa’s deep ties to crop genetics stem from George Washington Carver’s studies at Iowa State University. This connection is why major seed companies conduct advanced research in Iowa, near their customers. Remarkably, Iowa boasts the highest number of plant and soil scientists of any state.

In addition, Iowa State University is home to the Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding, renowned globally for its exceptional plant breeding programs. These programs are acknowledged for their substantial impact on enhancing the productivity and quality of crop cultivars.

Area Companies

Ames, Iowa is a key hub for animal vaccine development, hosting top institutions like Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and key USDA facilities. With global research and private companies establishing labs in the city, Ames has become a leading center for animal health research, as one CEO notes.

Area Companies

Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing stands as the largest industry in Iowa, contributing to 18.2% of the state’s total GDP. In addition to skilled manufacturing workforce, Ames area has prime logistics, workforce pipeline from Iowa State University (engineering, computer science, etc.), home to Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).


With the highest concentration of agricultural engineers of any state, Iowa is world-renowned for innovation in Agriculture Technology, with many of these highly skilled professioinals coming from Iowa State University. The Ames region is the premier location for startups, research and development, and mature businesses in the Agriculture technology space.

Food Processing

Iowa’s nutrient-rich land, low-cost of doing business, excellent transportation infrastructure and quality workforce attracts nearly every major food brand to set-up significant operations in the state. In fact, 29 of the largest 100 food manufacturers have Iowa operations, including global companies like Barilla, Hormel located here in the region.

Business Retention & Expansions

We know our greatest asset is the vibrant businesses that already call the Ames region home. 
Retaining and supporting these employers is paramount to our broader mission. These efforts are supported by Business Retention & Expansion visits, a long-standing practice that gathers actionable data and allows us to maximize opportunities for our regional businesses.

To learn more, contact Ottie Maxey
Director, Business Retention & Expansion