International Ag Leaders Visit College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

By: Nicole Onken, CALS Communications Service

The Nuffield Scholars visited Jack Trice Stadium to learn about turf management. Photo by Nicole Onken. 


A group of international agriculture leaders, farmers and researchers toured the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and its facilities on June 19 as part of the Nuffield International Farming Scholars program and CALS Global Programs.

Denise Bjelland, director of Global Programs, and Tammi Martin, program assistant for the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, organized and accompanied the group on the tours.

“Their visit here is so significant because it shows how respected the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is around the world,” said Bjelland. “They chose to come here because we have a great combination of research, extension, outreach and education.”

The scholars said they enjoyed their visit to Iowa State and state of Iowa.

“Iowans are just real gems of people. I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” said Ed Payne, a dairy farmer from Ireland. “Though I was expecting the landscape to be flatter.”

The group started the tour in Curtiss Hall. CALS Dean Wendy Wintersteen greeted the group, and then Chad Hart, economics associate professor, spoke about trade. The group then toured the department of agriculture and biosystems engineering. They also visited Jack Trice Stadium, where they learned about Iowa State’s turf management practices. They concluded the day with a visit to the Horticulture Research Station and a tour of a tilapia fish farm near Ellsworth, Iowa.

Ajay Nair, horticulture associate professor, and Nick Howell, farm superintendent, show the group the Horticulture Research Station. Photo by Nicole Onken.  

Lara Ladyman, an agricultural journalist and farm director from western Australia, was interested in the similarities and differences between agriculture in Australia and Iowa.

“I’m a grain grower, so it was great to get a broader view of crops and agriculture,” said Ladyman. “I was also interested to see that Iowans are dealing with similar issues to those we have at home—for example, labor.”

Crispin Howitt, an agriculture researcher from Australia, was especially impressed with the Horticulture Research Station.

“The scale and diversity of all the different aspects on the farm is very impressive,” said Howitt. “They are looking towards the future, not just the present.”

The 10 scholars are from Brazil, Ireland, New Zealand, England, Australia and the Netherlands. Iowa was the final stop on their six-week global tour of agriculture before they head back to their home countries.

“It was a great experience to have the Nuffield Scholars visit. They were very enthused to be here and willing to share their experiences,” said Bjelland. “They were each an expert in their field and they provided good learning dialogue everyone could benefit from.”