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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Agronomy faculty and graduate students had the opportunity to sit down with World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Rattan Lal for an informal conversation about agronomy and soil science. Tuning in virtually from the Ohio State University, faculty and graduate students had the unique opportunity to engage in discussion with the world renowned scientist.

Dr. Rattan Lal, native of India and a citizen of the United States, received the 2020 World Food Prize for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that restores and conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.

A new federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) will support Iowa State scientists and collaborators as they develop improved seed corn tailored to the needs of the rapidly growing organic industry.

The lead investigator for the four-year, $1,996,500 grant is USDA Agricultural Research Service research geneticist Paul Scott, an affiliate professor of agronomy at Iowa State. Thomas Lübberstedt, the Frey Chair in Agronomy and Director of the Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding at Iowa State, will partner on the project, along with Martin Bohn from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Angela Linarez from the University of Puerto Rico.

Our. Dr. Fernando Miguez has been awarded a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant. These grants focus on big data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive technologies needed to keep U.S. agriculture on the leading edge of food and agricultural production. These grants are awarded through the USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT).
 
“Big data and artificial intelligence will increasingly play a vital role in the future of agricultural technologies,” said Parag Chitnis, acting director of USDA-NIFA. “As we work to realize precision nutrition for consumers and enhance farmer profitability and agricultural sustainability, these predictive technologies will keep research and development moving quickly to provide the tools needed for success.”
 

Did you know the sculpture in the Agronomy Courtyard was created by artist Beverly Pepper and is officially called "Janus Agri Altar?" Created in 1986, the bronze sculpture was commissioned by University Museums. 

From the artist
When Iowa State University asked me to do a work on the site of the Agricultural Building [now Agronomy Hall], they suggested that the sculpture reflect the agricultural business in some way. Using the iconography of farm tools, Janus Agri Altar evolved into what I consider to be a seminal piece.

A new federally funded project led by Iowa State University researchers will help farmers share data relevant to their operations with one another and improve production.

The Smart Integrated Farm Network for Rural Agricultural Communities (SIRAC) project recently received a three-year, nearly $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop technology that will allow farmers to pool data and share knowledge to guide responses to production obstacles such as weeds, disease and pests. The effort will start out as a small pilot project and gradually expand to hundreds of farmers. The multidisciplinary research team will pair innovative data gathering methods with machine learning to make the information easily accessible to farmers in the program, said Asheesh Singh, a professor of agronomy at Iowa State and principal investigator on the grant.

A new study from researchers at the University of Minnesota and our Dr. Matt Liebman finds that diversifying crop rotations can greatly reduce negative environmental and health impacts, while maintaining profitability for farmers.

Dr. Lamkey, chair of the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University has been selected as the 2020 National Association of Plant Breeders Public Sector Plant Breeding Impact Award. Dr. Lamkey earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University in plant breeding and genetics. Dr. Lamkey provides leadership and direction to the department in the areas of education, research, and extension. As one of his support letter notes: “Under Dr. Lamkey, the department has maintained its reputation for excellence and has added new initiatives in teaching and research that are helping it evolve in the future as a center of learning, knowledge and service.” (James Holland, USDA-ARS).

Written by Riley Wilgenbusch and originally posted on the Iowa Learning Farms blog.

 

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