Farm Progress

Science-based research from faculty and specialists is aimed at improving Iowa agriculture.

March 30, 2017

2 Min Read
ROOTED IN AGRICULTURE: The first Iowans called for a new kind of college — one based on science and open to all. That was 1846; today it is Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Agriculture is more than a way of life in Iowa. In fact, 85% of the state’s land is used for agriculture, with its products accounting for approximately 25% of Iowa’s economy.

The importance of agriculture on Iowa and the rest of the U.S. cannot be understated. Celebrating the efforts of American agriculture and reminding citizens that agriculture is part of all of us is the focus behind the 2017 National Ag Day, celebrated March 21.

“We take a big-tent approach to what we do,” says John Lawrence, director of Agriculture and Natural Resources for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Agriculture is very diverse in this state. We cover everything from local foods to biotechnology.”

ISU Extension and Outreach carries its land-grant mission throughout the state, working to provide science-based research and information to all Iowans.

Providing practical, objective information
“We try to tie university research to the practice taking place in the Iowa fields,” Lawrence says. “We have great people in place who believe very strongly in being objective and finding true solutions. They are the best in the nation at what they do, and they bring that to bear on Iowa’s challenges and opportunities.”

ISU Extension and Outreach saw its impact felt through a variety of avenues in 2016:

• Over 5.7 million people visited ISU Extension and Outreach web pages.

• Specialists made 2,600 presentations at meetings, workshops and field days, coming in contact with over 209,500 people.

• A total of 109,000 people subscribe to 33 ISU Extension and Outreach newsletters.

• ISU Extension and Outreach specialists created 762 articles, with over 331,000 print publications being distributed and downloaded. Specialists also contributed to 1,223 popular press articles.

• Face-to-face connections remain popular, with 6,861 meetings between specialists and their clients.

All these efforts are aimed at building a stronger Iowa, notes Lawrence, one that is able to confidently move forward to face the new challenges and opportunities presented in agriculture.

Iowa State University officials, along with students, faculty and staff, recently spent a day at the Iowa Legislature in Des Moines for the 2017 ISU Day at the capitol. Nearly 30 exhibits were set up at the capitol for legislators, staff and other elected officials to learn more about Iowa State University. An ISU Extension and Outreach display explained the Land Grant Legacy Project and reminded legislators that their elected positions give them a connection to Iowa State’s legacy.

Source: Iowa State University

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