Ag Professional Tours

October - December 2002

George Cummins , ISU Extension crops specialist
Brian Lang , ISU Extension crops specialist

Situation

The Northeast Research Farm (NERF) is part of the outlying farm network of the Iowa Ag Experiment Station. Many ag professionals are unaware of the farm, specific research activities and/or do not fully utilize the research and demonstration information available. Extension crop specialists are aware of crop problems as it develops in their sales areas and are generally the first point of contact for producers. Working with agribusiness people is a good way to gain a multiplier effect with producers, a strategy to leverage limited extension staff. Developing a close extension-agribusiness working relationship is a vehicle for focusing, both public and private resources, on common crop production and protection problems in Northern Iowa .

Response

Two special Friday tours for Ag Professionals were conducted at NERF on June 14, 2002 and July 12, 2002. Producers weren't excluded, but most of the recruiting, by direct contact or by personal letter, was targeted to those on our ag professional mailing lists. The tours had three primary objectives:

The format for our tours was to review research projects of special interest related to current crop conditions and common problems. The discussion was facilitated by two extension crops specialists, Brian Lang and George Cummins, and the NERF superintendent, Ken Pecinovsky. Topics covered included: growth and development of corn, soybeans and alfalfa, soil fertility, pest management, water quality, and precision agriculture. New technologies demonstrated were seed treatments for bean leaf beetle and pod mottle virus management, GIS applications using Arc View software, a high clearance applicator for sidedressing 28% liquid fertilizer, stress-induced K deficiency, and an organic, vinegar-based herbicide. The tours were hosted by the Northeast Iowa Ag Experimental Association (NEIAEA) and a registration fee was collected. CCA credits were approved for these tours.

Impact

Sixty-eight individuals attended the Ag Professional Tours with a paid attendance of 40 and 43 at each session. Participants came from 16 counties in Iowa and Minnesota . Primary professions of the participants were categorized as: Crop Consultants (14), Chemical Representatives (14), Company Agronomists (17), Farmer / Dealers (9), Lenders/Farm Managers (6) and Educators (8). Fourteen participants returned a post evaluation of these tours, which was sent in October.


Highlights of the evaluation summary include:
a. Five of the fourteen survey respondents visited the NERF for the first time as a result of the Ag Pro Tours.
b. Survey respondents quantified the economic impact from the things that they had learned – in bu/acre saved, in $/acre over treatment costs and in dollar amount totals across their business. There were no complaints about the registration fees charged.
d. The survey generated positive comments on future Extension programming and future activities and priorities at the NERF.
The NEIAEA collected over $1500 in registration fees. These funds covered program expenses, provided cost recovery for the extension crop specialists and give the NEIAEA Board some discretionary income to work with as they begin to implement priorities established by their strategic planning process.


After each tour, participant comments are included:

 

Page last updated: July 10, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu