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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Leandro Tonello Zuffo, a PhD student visiting from Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil with an interest in agronomy arrived to Iowa State University on August 30, 2018 and is conducting research with Dr. Thomas Lubberstedt. Leandro’s research focus is on the application of tools and methods provided by genome analysis to understand the composition of complex traits and phenomena, to determine and exploit genetic diversity in elite and exotic germplasm and apply this knowledge to plant breeding.

Thoughts from our Anne Dinges who attended the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research last month at Kennesaw State University, just north of Atlanta, Georgia.

"It was a rewarding experience to present my research at a conference of 4,000 presenters. During my poster session, I had people that came up with varying levels of plant genetics knowledge. I was able to tell those with very little about my project, experience, and the potential impact it could have on farmers in the future. On the other hand, I had a couple in-depth conversations regarding current and future plant biotechnology with people that are studying exactly that at other universities.  

A Learning and Work Experience Program in Research and Related Laboratories Iowa State University

Crops Team

Our Iowa State Crops Team Recently traveled to Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky to compete at the NACTA Judging Conference. The team participated in the Crops contest which consisted of Plant and Seed Identification, lab practical, including knowledge of insects, equipment, herbicides, fertilizers, and more, a math practical, and an agronomic exam.

Team members are Andrew Blomme, Shannon Breja, Jenna Cowan, and Alyssa Swehla. Individuals who also competed were Ben Kolbe, Ted Hilgerson, and Hannah Holdsworth. Dr. Mindy DeVries is their coach.

Congratulations to our spring graduates! 

Brittany Abernathy 

Meet senior Brittany Abernathy, originally from Indianola, Iowa! After graduation, Brittany will be moving to Bear, Delaware where she will be a full time employee for Corteva Agrisciences. Her favorite class during her time here was Weed ID with Dr. Hartzler.

Once Brittany moves, she is definitely going to miss being able to live so close to all of the friends that she has created during her time here. Her favorite memory while being here would have to be meeting with different professionals in the same field and hearing their different experiences and stories.

The 5th annual Experience Agronomy Day took place this past weekend. Students in 4th through 8th grade from all over the state of Iowa came to campus on April 27th to enjoy a day full of learning about different aspects of Agronomy! The morning started out with an introduction from Dr. VanLoocke. Then the students were split into groups and attended 4 different sessions with lunch and t-shirts provided at the end of the day.

The four sessions included:

          A Rainfall Simulator with Ava from the NRCS,

          The Economics of Agronomy,

          A community service project of planting and painting flowers pots for Northcrest Nursing Home,

          And finally a drone demonstration with Kevin.

Since it was a celebration of 5 years, sessions from previous years were chosen, and tweaked  just a little bit to make them different from before.

Congrats to our Graduate Students John Jones and Mauricio Tejera!

John Jones was the recipient of our Teaching Excellence Award. The purpose of this award to is recognize and encourage outstanding achievement by graduate students in teaching. John teaches our Agronomy 354 Soil and Plant Growth and he currently is assistant coach of the Iowa State University soil judging team.  

New research published this week identifies the genomic features that might have made domestication possible for corn and soybeans, two of the world’s most critical crop species.

The research, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed academic journal Genome Biology, has implications for how scientists understand domestication, or the process by which humans have been able to breed plants for desirable traits through centuries of cultivation. The researchers drew on vast amounts of data on the genomes of corn and soybeans and compared particular sections of the genomes of wild species and domestic varieties, noting where the genomes diverged most markedly.

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