Iowa Crop Improvement Association names Budnik new director

Ryan Budnik wearing a navy blue suit jacket and checkered shirt. Trees can be seen behind him.
Ryan Budnik, Iowa Crop Improvement Association

AMES, Iowa – Ryan Budnik brings a wealth of experience in crop research and performance testing to his new position as director of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association.

Budnik has been the acting director of the organization since earlier this year, and his new role took effect Sept. 27.

The Iowa Crop Improvement Association is the official seed certifying agency in Iowa, ensuring certification standards are met through field inspections and lab testing. The nonprofit organization works with Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to test and disseminate information regarding crop cultivar adaptation and performance.

As director, Budnik will provide leadership and strategic direction to ICIA’s staff and members. He also will work with the ICIA board of directors to develop policies and programs that fulfill the organization’s mission. Additionally, he will communicate with Iowa State management and researchers to coordinate efforts to test various crop cultivars and share impactful results with the public.

“Ryan not only has excellent experience and knowledge about the seed industry and the specialized support that Iowa Crop provides, he also has an eye on the future with big ideas on how to keep Iowa Crop both responsive to their stakeholders and hooked in with the latest technology to keep Iowa producers at the leading edge,” said Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, CALS associate dean for research and discovery and associate director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.

Budnik earned his bachelor of science in genetics and master of science in plant breeding from Iowa State. He served as an agricultural specialist for Iowa State’s Research and Demonstration Farms after completing his bachelor’s degree. Budnik joined the Iowa Crop Improvement Association in 2018, where he has held the roles of agricultural specialist, research scientist and director of operations for the Iowa Crop Performance Tests, the official variety trials for the state.

“As the new director, I am truly honored to lead this exceptional association into the next chapter of success,” Budnik said. “My primary goal is to foster a culture of innovation, collaboration and sustainability within the organization and help guide the association toward a prosperous future. I am excited to continue making a positive impact on Iowa agriculture and dedicated to supporting the association’s mission.”

The ICIA’s members are farmers, seed companies and others working in crop improvement. Its board includes several representatives from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, chair of the Department of Agronomy and director of the Seed Science Center.

The organization gives back to Iowa State in several ways:

  • awards several scholarships to students
  • offers multiple summer internship programs
  • provides financial support to the Iowa State Crops Team
  • sponsors the Iowa FFA Agronomy Career Development event


Ryan Budnik, Iowa Crop Improvement Association, 319-217-1015,

Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, CALS Associate Dean for Research and Discovery, 515-294-2573,

Whitney Baxter, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, 515-294-2314,