Department

About the Department

Agronomy is focused on new and improved ways of agriculture. New methods of conservation. Improved soil health. New approaches to bioenergy. Improved water quality. Advanced genetic traits. The end goal is producing food, fuel and fiber in a more efficient and economical way for the benefit of people and the environment around the world.

We are applying science to advance crop production systems while protecting and improving air, soil and water quality.

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Mitch Baum grew up in central Iowa. A Bondurant Blue Jay, he came to Iowa State to be an engineer.

“One problem, I didn’t really understand what engineers did on a day to day basis,” said Baum.

After realizing engineering wasn’t as hands on as he had hoped, Baum remembered a class about soil he really enjoyed taught by Dr. Michael Thompson.

“I didn’t grow up on a farm,” said Baum. “I had no experience with agronomy but I took that class and wound up talking soil chemistry with Dr. Thompson during his office hours.”

Based on his interest in soil chemistry, Baum made the switch changing his major to agronomy.

Senior Jenna Rasmusson is spending her summer on the water. She is working for a research lab with Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology looking at nutrients impact on food webs. 

"Your opportunities are endless in Agronomy! Coming in without an agricultural background I felt a little bit lost. As everyone was excited about corn and soybeans, I didn't feel like I was as knowledgeable about those topics. But I am knowledgeable about other things and I can explore the different opportunities in agriculture versus just a straight crop consulting route. You can become a really diverse student and better professional if you can expand those opportunities. Agronomy isn't just plants and soil science, it's water and biology and all of those things kind of meshed together."

 

About 30 FFA chapters from across Iowa converged in Agronomy Hall to participate in the annual Iowa FFA Agronomy CDE. Flexing their agronomic knowledge, students participated in a written exam, plant identification, crop judging and team competitions. The top team goes on to compete at nationals held each hear at National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. 

                

 

After nearly three years, portraits of all nine past department chairs have been installed in Agronomy Hall. The portraits span 117 years of history dating back to when the department was first established in 1902. Artist Liza Amir did an incredible job bringing these men to life, in most cases never having met them. She used historical photos alone to paint five of them but met and photographed Dr. Pesek, Dr. Cantrell and Dr. Fales in person. The same three portraits were installed first and the past chairs were invited to attend their unveiling in 2016. Then portraits were completed and installed in historical order. Commissioned by University Museums and the Department, the portraits are part of the Art on Campus collection.

Corteva has joined the Iowa Soybean Research Center at Iowa State University as an industry partner. In this role, Corteva will have a seat on the ISRC’s industry advisory council, which provides recommendations on research priorities.

“It is wonderful to welcome Corteva as an industry partner with the center. We greatly appreciate their support of the center and our research activities,” said Greg Tylka, director of the Iowa Soybean Research Center and a professor of plant pathology and microbiology at Iowa State.

“As a long-time industry leader in soybean production research, they will provide valuable perspective and advice to the center and its activities,” said Tylka.

The wet spring weather that flooded Iowa rivers and hampered the planting of crops follows trends noted in last year’s National Climate Assessment, said an Iowa State University agronomist who studies climate.

The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report issued every four years, detailed a number of trends relevant to the Midwest when it was released last November. A national team of climate experts produced the assessment, drawing on the most recent climate science to describe how global climate change could affect human and societal welfare.

Angelos arrived at Iowa State University on March 19, 2019 for a five-month program. During his visit, Angelos has been working with Dr. Archontoulis to provide technical support on the FACTS project and design a web interface and data flow simulation model that will be used to show yield predictions. Angelos is also working to create a website that would provide project information and updates to site visitors. Dr. Archontoulis said, “I have really enjoy hosting Angelos because of his motivation and drive to learn and participate in the project.” Angelos has contributed a significant amount of technical support to the project, but has also valued all that he has learned from Dr. Archontoulis and his colleagues that have been working on the project. Angelos said, “When first arriving to Iowa State, I had little knowledge about agriculture as my studies are in computer science and engineering, but after spending time with Dr. Sotirios I have gained a wealth of knowledge on the industry as well as enhanced my computer science skills through hands on learning opportunities.”

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