The hills were blackened. What was once a house, now a concrete slab.
Wildfires brought destruction to the lush hillside vineyards, rangelands and forests of Napa County, California, in the fall of 2017. Six months later, Jacob Wright, a junior in agronomy, found himself in the midst of a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) team dedicated to the recovery of the landscape.
“Often people just didn’t know where to start,” says Wright. “We would visit the property and point them in the right direction. We worked together with multiple agencies at both the state and federal level.”
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."
Megan Kemp spent the summer before her senior year in Kamuli district, Uganda, where she was the Agronomy Intern for Iowa State University - Uganda Program. She conducted a small study on the cultural considerations of agricultural recommendations given through the Uganda Program. Megan interviewed women farmers, where she learned about their culture and how it is interconnected with agriculture. While conducting her study, she also gained insight into careers in agricultural extension. She was able to shadow ISU-UP’s agronomy and land use specialist, Moureen Mbezia, and youth entrepreneurship specialist Martin Lukwata.
Abby Kennon was able to return to her roots for her summer internship and use her passion for agronomy to serve her community.
Kennon, a junior majoring in agronomy, spent the summer in her hometown of Cresco, Iowa working as the 2018 Borlaug-Thomson intern with the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation.
The experience was far from relaxed. The very first day of her internship, she was already making a trip to Des Moines to meet with a strategic planning committee at the World Food Prize to discuss funding and grants, which was one of Kennon’s goals for the summer.
Adam Guy is a Senior in Agronomy with a minor in Agricultural Business. This summer, Adam worked for the Iowa Soybean Association located in Ankeny, Iowa. Adam has been working on collecting data for soybean cyst nematode, cover crops, row spacing and corn root worm fields studies.
“My role within the Iowa Soybean Association is working with the on-farm network to collect research data from on farm trials across the state of Iowa. Then I analyze the data collected and use it to correlate the results," Adam said. “I learned how to create detailed research trials and how to effectively collect, analyze, and correlate data. Then, use the data collected to provide valid research to benefit farmer’s operations to improve the quality and quantity of the crop produced.”