AMES, Iowa — Recognizing the broad reach of agriculture in Iowa and across the nation, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach celebrates National Agriculture Day, March 21, by continuing the goal of reaching and serving all Iowans.
In 2022, Agriculture and Natural Resources programs with ISU Extension and Outreach helped improve the lives of crop and livestock farmers, specialty crop growers, natural resource stewards, ag businesses and retailers, as well as consumers.
The past year saw special programming tailored toward ag lenders and their relationship with farmers, crop farmers facing pests like corn rootworm, livestock producers facing foreign animal diseases, and a bevy of programs designed to improve food access, natural resource stewardship and conservation.
Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) specialists also provided resources in response to severe weather events, including drought, extreme heat and wind.
The theme for National Agriculture Day 2023 is “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.”
“ANR specialists are prepared to help farmers, landowners and agriculture stakeholders make informed decisions following extreme weather events,” said Jamie Benning, assistant director for agriculture and natural resources with ISU Extension and Outreach.”
“They are also developing tools and programs to build more resilient agricultural systems that are better prepared for future events,” she continued.
The celebration is a project of the Agriculture Council of America, an organization composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in society. The National Ag Day program began in 1973, and today includes a weeklong celebration that is part of National Agriculture Week, March 21-27.
Here are some examples of how ISU Extension and Outreach supported the agriculture industry last year.
- Planter University was held in five locations across the state. More than 200 farmers, seed dealers, and farm equipment retailers from 70 Iowa counties and three additional states participated. Participants increased their knowledge in different downforce systems, increased their understanding of impacts of soil moisture on downforce requirements, and improved their ability to check and adjust planting depth, evaluate seedbed conditions, and use in-season data to identify planter issues.
- Dairy extension specialists organized two Ag Lender Seminars that reached 246 ag lenders and consultants. Lenders and consultants estimated an aggregate value of $101,330 in economic benefit gained for their clients.
- The Master Conservationist Program partnered with 24 counties to offer 17 courses. All participants reported an increased knowledge of prairie, forest and aquatic ecosystems in Iowa and increased confidence in their ability to communicate natural resources knowledge and practices to others.
- Two Iowa Watershed Academies were attended by 75 watershed coordinators and conservation professionals. Attendees increased their knowledge of conservation practices, programs, and outreach strategies, with plans to share what they learned with colleagues. All participants indicated involvement in local and statewide watershed leadership activities.
- A series of three Tile Drainage and Water Quality Workshops were held in Southeast Iowa and reached 35 women involved in agriculture. Participants increased their confidence in working with their tenant or landlord on conservation goals, with most planning to use their knowledge to make changes on the farms they rent or own.
Ag and Natural Resources numbers
- Unique extension and outreach website visitors: 5.7 million
- Social media interactions: 4.2 million
- Extension publications printed and downloaded: 746,000
- Podcast downloads: 109,000
- News media contacts: 2,221
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach