ISU Initiative Targets Iowa's Top-ranked Corn, Soybean Growers

The Corn and Soybean Initiative is a new effort at Iowa State University to better serve the needs of Iowa's number-one-in-the-nation corn and soybean growers. "Iowa has the best crop producers in the country and they just keep getting better," said Greg Tylka, coordinator of the initiative and a professor of plant pathology. "Iowa State's Corn and Soybean Initiative will work to make sure that trend continues by providing a central access point for research-based production information and education." "The Corn and Soybean Initiative will help integrate Iowa State's applied research and extension programs and expertise in corn and soybean production with a goal of increasing Iowa growers' productivity and global competitiveness," Tylka said. Extension education and production research are two main emphases of the initiative. "We want our extension programs to be as complete, convenient and coordinated as they can to better serve Iowa's growers," Tylka said. "We'll be listening carefully to the needs of growers and related industries to anticipate future research areas impacting corn and soybean production." The initiative will work closely with ISU faculty and staff in agricultural and biosystems engineering, agronomy, economics, entomology and plant pathology as well as ISU Extension field crop specialists across the state. Currently, organizations that will partner with the Corn and Soybean Initiative to better serve growers include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Soybean Promotion Board, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Farmer Today and Wallaces Farmer and several agricultural retail businesses. Craig Lang, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, said, "Iowa corn and soybean growers make huge contributions to Iowa's economy. ISU's Corn and Soybean Initiative will help provide growers with information and education to enhance this $7 billion annual impact." David Wright, director of production technologies for the Iowa Soybean Association, said, "The new initiative will be Iowa State's front door for crop production that growers need to continue to improve their yields and profits." Hov Tinsman of Twin-State Inc., Davenport, who serves as president of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, which represents more than 1,200 agribusinesses in the state, said, "Iowa retailers have long valued Iowa State University as a source of information. This new initiative will reinforce the relationship between ISU, retailers and growers." Strengthening the delivery of crop production information to growers, including through existing relationships with agribusinesses, is a key part of initiative, said Tylka. "For years, Iowa State has been very effective in reaching more growers through train-the-trainer educational programs focused on agribusinesses. We provide agribusinesses with expertise and science-based production information, which they then pass on to the growers they serve," Tylka said. "This public-private partnership has been extremely successful and efficient, and together we've greatly multiplied ISU's impact and reach." Part of the initiative will work to strengthen partnerships with agribusinesses, retailers, commodity organizations, farm media and others to maximize opportunities to reach growers with research, extension and educational resources. "We hope these partnerships will lead to innovative ways to leverage our resources to benefit crop agriculture in Iowa," said Tylka. Facts on Corn and Soybeans in Iowa and at Iowa State Here are selected facts on corn and soybean production in Iowa and Iowa State University corn and soybean programs: - In 2004, Iowa is the nation's top corn and soybean producer, with crops grown on more than 22 million acres. - In 2003-2004, Iowa State University's Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension recorded nearly 16,500 individual consultations with Iowa corn and soybean growers. - This fall Iowa corn growers are expected to harvest more than 2.25 billion bushels, 19 percent of the nation's total. - Iowa soybean growers expect to harvest more than 497 million bushels, nearly 16 percent of the nation's total. (more) - The value of the corn and soybean production to Iowa's economy is an estimated $7 billion. - Iowa State University's research farm network hosts more than 15,000 visitors annually. A primary focus of the farms is corn and soybean research, including work on nutrient management, soybean pests, genetically modified crop development and evaluation, specialty soybeans and maximizing crop-growing profits. - Working through the Iowa Soybean Rust Team, Iowa State University this year trained more than 400 certified crop consultants, certified professional agronomists and independent crop consultants to be first detectors in a "fast track" reporting system for Asian soybean rust. - Applied research at Iowa State University annually provides corn and soybean growers with recommendations on the efficacy of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides as well as the results of variety trials evaluating the performance of both traditional and genetically crops. Source: USDA, Iowa commodity organizations, Iowa State University College of Agriculture