Ames is a city located in the central part of the U.S. state of Iowa in Story County, and approximately 30 mi north of Des Moines. It is the principal city of the Ames, IowaMetropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Story County, and which, when combined with the Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area, comprises the larger Ames-Boone Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 Census, the city population was 58,965. While Ames is the largest city in Story County, the county seat is in Nevada which is 8 mi east of Ames.Ames is the home of Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU), a public research institution with leading Agriculture, Design, Engineering, and Veterinary Medicine colleges. ISU is the nation's first designated land-grant university, and the birthplace of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the world's first electronic digital computer. Ames hosts one of two national sites for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) which comprises the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and the Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). Ames is also the home of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service's National Animal Disease Center (NADC). NADC is the largest federal animal disease center in the U.S., conducting research aimed at solving animal health and food safety problems faced by livestock producers and the public. Ames has the headquarters for the Iowa Department of Transportation.In 2010 Ames was ranked #9 on CNNMoney.com Best Places to Live list.It is the site of the Ames Straw Poll, an important straw poll in the Republican party presidential nomination process as well as the first in the nation Democratic and Republican caucuses (see Politics, below).