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Find out what’s new at ISU Research Farms

Iowa State’s Research and Demonstration Farms held more than 100 field days in 2023.

January 19, 2024

3 Min Read
rotary hoe in action
FINDING ANSWERS: Land, climate and farms vary by area of the state. To find solutions to problems in each area, the Iowa Ag Experiment Station puts researchers in the fields of research farms across Iowa. Photos by Iowa State University

The past year was one of transition and new beginnings for the Research and Demonstration Farms operated by Iowa State University.

At the leadership level, Kendall Lamkey was named director of research farms and associate dean for facilities and operations for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in May. Lamkey’s appointment follows the retirement of director Mark Honeyman in 2022.

Lamkey previously served as chair of the ISU Department of Agronomy. He says he looks forward to showcasing the farms and the work being done by ISU specialists.

“The research farms are a huge asset for the university and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” he says. “They’re an avenue for our faculty to execute their research, teaching and Extension programs, and also an avenue for our demonstration projects in Extension.”

Various topics explored

Research in 2023 included issues and questions related to crop and livestock production, drought management, soil health and fertility, pasture management, fencing and grazing, and weed and insect management.

ISU held more than 100 field days at its 15 farms in 2023, with demonstrations led by specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach. The farms are located across the state, giving farmers and the public the opportunity to interact with researchers and view the latest in modern agriculture.

“I see the farms as Iowa State outposts,” Lamkey says. “They are representations of what happens on campus and in the College of Ag and Life Sciences.”

Lamkey says he was especially impressed with the turnout for the field days held at the Horticulture Research Station, just north of Ames. The Fall Field Day, held in September in partnership with Iowa Public Radio, drew more than 250 people.

 Beef cattle eating forage at an Iowa State research farm.

Tim Goode, research farms manager at ISU, says the farms continue to be a popular destination for people of all ages and backgrounds. Several events in 2023 were youth-specific, exposing youth to careers in agriculture, as well as farm safety.

“Many of our Iowa youth don’t have grandparents on the farm anymore, so the research farms are a great way to expose them to where their food comes from and the work being done by Iowa State University,” Goode says. “Hopefully, the field days inspire our young people, and they may someday pursue an education or a career in agriculture.”

New facilities helpful

2023 was the first full year the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm used its newly constructed Research and Learning Center. The 80-by-60-foot facility is used to maintain and repair equipment, and for hosting educational events. This ISU farm is located near Crawfordsville in southeast Iowa.

In north-central Iowa, the Northern Research and Demonstration Farm is conducting a capital campaign to construct a new facility that will include a large multi-use area, offices for farm staff, a lobby and welcome area, and new restrooms and a kitchenette.

Located at Kanawha, the 173-acre farm is the oldest of the state’s research farms. It conducts research essential to farmers and ag business partners across the region. Donations are still being accepted and information about how to donate is available online.

“We look forward to the many ways these new facilities will be put to use, and the improvements they will offer our staff and the public,” Lamkey says. “Agriculture continues to change, and so do the needs of society. These modern buildings will allow us to better work on and demonstrate today’s farm equipment, and educate Iowans about issues that impact their lives.”

Learn more about Iowa State’s research farms on the Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms website. Information about upcoming field days for 2024 will be available in the spring.

Source: Iowa State University

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