agriculture

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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Over the past few decades, Iowa’s agriculture has experienced a period of consistently high yields. The perfect distribution and timing of humidity, rainfall and heat have led to bumper crops of corn and soybeans. This “Goldilocks” period is partly due to global warming, but experts believe farmers shouldn’t expect it to last.

In an article from Physics Today’s February issue, “Iowa’s agriculture is losing its Goldilocks climate,” scientists Eugene Takle and William Gutowski describe the challenges farmers could expect to see to maintaining high yields if global warming continues along predicted trends.

More than 80 farmers, academics and members of the agricultural supply chain met in Des Moines, Nov. 25, for an Iowa Smart Agriculture Initiative forum co-sponsored by Solutions from the Land and Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They met to explore and assess the impacts that extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions are having and are expected to have on the state's number one industry — and how the agricultural sector can contribute to addressing these issues.

The forum was coordinated by a  work group co-chaired by Iowa corn and soybean producer Ray Gaesser, a past chairman and president of the American Soybean Association, and Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean's Chair of Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Science and a co-chair of the Iowa Conservation Infrastructure Initiative.

Elizabeth Oys, senior in agronomy, has had many opportunities in her time at Iowa State, including traveling to Greece as well as being nominated as the student speaker for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Family Weekend.

Travis Lichtensteiger, a senior in agronomy, has traveled to 11 countries and plans to go back home to Ohio to farm with his family after college. His diverse experiences will help him with decision making on the farm.

Austin Day, senior in agronomy, spent several months studying abroad in New Zealand this past year.

“I chose to study in New Zealand because I wished to learn about alternate forms of agricultural production and hoped to find methods that could improve our own,” said Austin.

Austin was able to take classes that fulfilled requirements in both his agronomy major and animal science minor. These classes included animal nutrition, animal production, and understanding plant protection.

On Monday, October 7 in Bessey Hall, students had the opportunity to network with industry professionals from several companies at the I'm An Agronomist Career Mixer. Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agrisciences, J.R. Simplot Company, MaxYield Cooperative, and WinField United attended the mixer.

Next Tuesday, October 8 from 9 am to 3 pm the Lied Recreation Center will be filled with organizations from across the Midwest as well as hopeful students searching for internships and jobs. The CALS Career Day is the largest career fair of its kind in the country. Career Day can be a little intimidating when it is student's first times attending. There are various tips and tricks that are likely to make the day go smoother when stepping into such a large fair.

Leah Philipp, sophomore in agronomy from Manchester, Iowa is one of two of the Department of Agronomy's peer mentors.

"I came to Iowa State because I originally wanted to study genetics in agriculture as I wanted to give back to the farming community that helped me become the person I am, and I knew Iowa State had an awesome ag program," said Leah. "At orientation, I realized I wanted to work more directly with farmers instead of in a research lab, so I changed my major to agronomy, and honestly, that was the absolute best decision I ever made."

Senior in agronomy Tyler Flak had the opportunity to spend his summer as an agronomy intern at CNH Industrial.

Tyler spent his time both in the office and field. In the office, he worked on field data, background reading, and presentation. When he was in the field he collected data and helped setup experiments.

Tyler's favorite part of his internship was traveling to Kentucky to work on farm trials.

By being in agronomy classes at Iowa State, Tyler learned to have an open mind and was also exposed to different crop production, such as wheat, that he found to be very helpful. He also had experience from past internships working with sprayer application that provided him with a good background for being an agronomy intern.

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