Undergraduate

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.”

The Hora brothers won Best of Show during the 2019 Iowa State Fair 'pitch-off' for their business Continuum Ag. Mitchell Hora is an agronomy alum and his brother David will join the agronomy family as a freshman this Fall. 

Continuum Ag was established by Mitchell as an agricultural consulting company offering soil sampling and fertility analysis. With a realization that traditional agronomic consulting only addresses the chemical soil component, Continuum Ag has differentiated itself by working with growers that take a more holistic approach, recognizing the physical and biological aspects of soil as well.

From the Continuum Ag website:

On Monday, July 29 the youth Crop Scouting Competition was held at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone. The winning team consisted of Macie Weigand, Lane Orr and Cassidy Penrod who will be joining agronomy as a freshman this fall.

Crop scouting and IPM are tools farmers use to increase economic returns while reducing unintended environmental impacts. Equipping future farmers and agronomists with crop scouting skills and basic IPM concepts helps the next generation of farm decision makers with crop production and land stewardship.

Exploring Iowa State University and touring Iowa’s agricultural sector is what students in the Academic Program for EXcellence (APEX) do the summer before their first year on campus.

The eight-week academic program is designed to assist incoming multicultural first-year students transition into Iowa State. Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, multicultural liaison officer in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, worked with APEX coordinators Eboni Adderley, who graduated in May in animal science, and Esperanza Moothart, a junior in global resource systems, to plan and implement activities for the students participating in the program.

The students said the experiences have prepared them for classes this fall.

Orginally posted by MaxYield Cooperative on From the Field. Photos by Greg Latza.

Originally posted on MaxYield Cooperative's From the Field blog. Photos by Greg Latza

Having a job and having a career you love are two very different things- Colby Kraninger, an agronomy specialist trainee at MaxYield Cooperative, prefers the latter. That’s why, after working for MaxYield Cooperative part-time and as an intern, he returned for a full-time opportunity in the agronomy department. A 2014 Okoboji High School and 2019 Iowa State University graduate, the Milford-native built his post-secondary plans around the goal of working for MaxYield Cooperative.

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."

 

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

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