Department of Agronomy

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.

Shannon Rauter, senior in agronomy and global resource systems, spent her summer in Mexico City in a Market Analysis position as an intern with the Global Trading Analytics Team of Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain North America.

Shannon is originally from New Jersey and decided to come to Iowa State specifically because of the agronomy program and because she received the Agronomy Academic Fellowship. Shannon toured a variety of land-grant universities and found Iowa State to have the strongest program, most welcoming environment, and the best scholarships.

Since Shannon interned with Cargill at a grain elevator in Ohio in 2018, Cargill helped her find an internship with a good fir that would help fill her international internship requirement.

Several students and faculty members were announced awards recipients through the Tri-Societies. They will be recognized at ceremonies during the Annual Meeting.

American Society of Agronomy:

Faculty:

Carl Sprengel Agronomic Research Award: Ken Moore

ASA Distinguished Service Award: Douglas Karlen

Students:

Travel Study Scholarship: Elizabeth Oys & Jack Pieper

J. Fielding Reed Scholarship: Katelyn Fritz

Greenfield Scholar: Blair Bennis

Soil Science:

Faculty:

Distinguished Service Award: Douglas Karlen

Students:

Golden Opportunity Scholars: Marjorie Hanneman, Jack Pieper, and Alyssa Swehla

 

The Agronomy Department hosted the Central Regional Crops Contest on Saturday, October 12th. Eighteen students from Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University and Iowa State University competed in three events: plant and seed identification, grain grading and seed analysis. 

The Iowa State team including Ted Hilgerson, Hannah Holdsworth and Ben Kolbe placed 2nd overall. Ben Kolbe also earned 5th place overall as an individual. Alternate team member Wyatt Westfall also competed. 

The team is coached by Dr. Mindy DeVries and Assistant Coach Andrew Blomme. Preparations are now underway for the National Intercollegiate Crops Contest events to be held in November. Thanks to Mindy Devries-Gelder for organizing, the Iowa Crop Improvement Association and the many volunteers for their support of the event.

Each year Dr. Wiedenhoeft’s Agronomy 110 class of freshmen have the opportunity to paint pumpkins for Northcrest Community in Ames, a retirement community where many emeritus professors live.

Agronomy students chose who they painted their pumpkins for from a list of names. Once selected, students also learned about the resident’s interests, such as chess, pizza, or Iowa State, which made the pumpkins even more personalized to residents. Many pumpkins were painted on Tuesday, October 15.

The pumpkins were then delivered to Northcrest Community residents by students and Dr. Wiedenhoeft. The residents were very thankful for the painted pumpkins and they will surely provide joy to residents throughout fall.

Tony Moellers, 2017 Iowa State University graduate with a double major in Agronomy and Seed Science and minor in Agricultural Business, is a Territory Manager for Mycogen Seeds, which is the retail-focused seed brand of Corteva. He manages the Mycogen corn and soybean business for 10 counties in Northwest Iowa.

As Territory Manager, no two days are alike for Tony. One day he is evaluating product performance and the next he is in strategy meetings with Mycogen’s retail partners. “Ultimately our goal is to work with our partners in identifying opportunities to grow our businesses together,” said Tony.

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."

A new rhizobial species,Bradyrhizobium frederickii, has been named in honor of the late Professor Llyod R. Frederick who was a professor of soil microbiology in the Iowa State Department of Agronomy.

The rhizobial species is a nitrogen-fixing lineage that is isolated from nodules of the caesalpinioid species Chamaecrista fasciculata and is characterized by tolerance to high temperature in vitro.

Padma Somasegaran, PhD and retired microbiologist, knew Professor Frederick for many years when he was with the NifTAL Project at the University of Hawaii Department of Agronomy and Soil Science. At the time, Professor Frederick was with USAID in Washington DC and would frequent Hawaii. 

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.

Senior in agronomy Costas Hatzipavlides was a US Row Crop Sales Intern for Bayer last summer. 

On a typical day, Costas visited saleman and customers and addressed their needs. Each day posed a new adventure, such as putting in plots, going on sales calls, and evaluating and selling hybrids, varieties, and chemicals to customers. Costas enjoyed bringing solutions to customers the most as well as working on a fun team.

"Agronomy set me up with technical skills that made me stand our versus competitive companies. Iowa State University agronomy simply sets you up with a better skillset," Costas said.

Costas explained that internships help you to network and find out what company you want to work for after college. He recommends doing as many internships as you can because they help you apply what you learn in class as well as learn new things that you may never learn in a classroom.

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