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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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.

Senior in agronomy Perla Carmenate spends her time taking classes at Iowa State as well as working in Dr. Emily Heaton, Associate Professor and Extension Biomass Crop Expert's lab.

As a first-generation college student that has been commuting from Des Moines all four
years, it was difficult for Perla to get involved early on in her college career. However, she has participated in conversations with students and faculty members that have brought awareness to issues multicultural students face at predominately white institutions. This helped develop her communication skills. Because she commutes, Perla has also learned how to manage her time between schoolwork and home responsibilities. The time management skill is important to many employers. 

Junior in agronomy Erin Stichter spent her summer as a production intern for Wyffels Hybrids.

Erin performed an array of jobs during her internship, beginning in the warehouse backhauling corn. She also worked briefly with field operations early in the season to help plant the seed corn fields. Once the corn was backhauled, Erin spent her work days in field operations. She scouted fields for planting errors as well as other economic risks before detassling began. In the late summer, Erin dedicated the majority of her time to field inspections for quality assurance once detassling crews had went through the fields. Erin added that everyday there was a chance to learn something new.

Junior in agronomy Marjorie Hanneman spent her summer working for Bayer Crop Science in Ankeny, Iowa at the high throughput genotyping facility as the Molecular Breeding Intern.

On a daily basis, Marjorie utilized lab robots to conduct real time PCR on a variety of crops and genetic traits. The project she worked on focused on testing and validating new master mix for quality and efficiency across crops, markers, and traits. She also used automated machinery to complete her daily activities as well as data collection and analysis.

"My favorite part of my internship was being able to complete lab work at such a large scale. I was able to work with about 15 different crops and learn how to manage huge data sets and design experiments. I also enjoyed working with state of the art machinery and robots and being at the forefront of biotechnology," Marjorie said.

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.

Researchers from Iowa State University are part of a “New Carbon Economy” consortium launched by the Center for Carbon Removal in partnership with several research institutions. The initiative has the goal of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it into valuable products and services.

Noah Deich, executive director of the Center for Carbon Removal, said the effort is urgently needed to “develop new businesses and reinvent the industries that powered the last industrial revolution – like manufacturing, mining, agriculture and forestry – to create a strong, healthy and resilient economy and environment for communities around the globe.”

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