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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A pair of Iowans, including our Dr. Brian Hornbuckle, helped to shape the future of NASA by evaluating the agency’s satellite missions and recommending which satellites should stay in orbit.

Brian Hornbuckle, a professor of agronomy at Iowa State; and Jun Wang, who holds the James E. Ashton Professorship in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Iowa, both took part in a senior review advisory panel that evaluated 13 NASA satellite missions on a wide range of criteria. Hornbuckle and Wang were two of 13 scientists selected to serve on the congressionally mandated panel, which advises NASA every few years on which satellite missions should continue and which should be grounded.

The Department of Agronomy awards scholarships and recognition to graduate students each semester. Congratulations to the following Fall semester recipients:

Outstanding Graduate Students - Anabelle Laurent and Sarah Jones 

Vernon C. Miller scholarship - Eric Britt Moore
Supporting graduate students in the area of conservation agriculture. Conservation may include but is not limited to environmental improvement, conservation tillage, cropping systems and nutrient management.

Congratulations to our Ram Yadav, winner of the North Central Weed Science Society Outstanding Graduate Student Award. The award recognizes one outstanding graduate student who is a NCWSS student member actively involved in the Society, as well as contributor to the field of weed science through extension, research, and teaching.

Faculty

  • Dr. Paul Scott: CSSA Fellow

Undergraduate SASES Awards

  • Greenfield or Golden Opportunity scholars: Jenna Cowan, Austin Schleich, Erin Stichter, Catherine Thom and Hannah Weber
  • Alyssa Swehla: 1st Place for her visual presentation
  • Jenna Cowan, Austin Schleich and Tyler Simon and Alyssa Swehla placed 2nd as a team in the Crops Judging Showcase
  • Jenna Cowan placed 3rd as an individual
  • Austin Schleich placed 6th as an individual
  • Marjorie Hanneman completed her term as the National SASES President

Eight undergraduate students participated in the virtual meeting this year and all eight took home some sort of recognition. Congratulations!

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is honoring six Iowa State University researchers, including our Dr. Kan Wang.

Kan has been named to this year’s class of 489 AAAS Fellows “because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications,” the association announced today.

Kan is the Global Professor in Biotechnology in the department of agronomy and co-director of the Crop Bioengineering Center, "for advances in genetic engineering in plants using Agrobacterium tumefaciens." 

Seed banks across the globe store and preserve the genetic diversity of millions of varieties of crops. This massive collection of genetic material ensures crop breeders access to a wealth of genetics with which to breed crops that yield better or resist stress and disease.

But, with a world of corn genetics at their disposal, how do plant breeders know which varieties are worth studying and which ones aren’t? For most of history, that required growing the varieties and studying their performance in the real world. But innovative data analytics and genomics could help plant breeders predict the performance of new varieties without having to go to the effort of growing them.

Overexpression of soybean gene might lead to resistance from SDS and more

No matter if it is 50 acres or 50,000, crop producers must hone their management practices to maximize yield while minimizing costs. Any number of different pathogens or pests can derail a good season. Soybean farmers in Iowa know how devastating they can be, with some causing millions in losses each year.

Kuan-Yi Lee came to Iowa State from Taipei, Taiwan with little experience and knowledge in agriculture. Following her curiosity, Kuan-Yi led a great adventure at Iowa State and has big plans for the future.

"I began my college experience at the Department of Agronomy at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, where I studied for one year and became very interested in crop production and I learned more about agronomy," said Kuan-Yi. "My family asked me to study abroad and I decided to look for a university with an outstanding agronomy program and I found Iowa State University. In addition, the department chair of agronomy at my former university got his MS in Statistics at Iowa State University and spoke highly of the agronomy department."

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