The Corn and Soybean Initiative Builds Ties Between Iowa State University Extension and Peer Private-Sector Industries

Richard Pope, P&S, Plant Pathology and Entomology



The Corn and Soybean Initiative was established to improve the link between the research and education role of Iowa State University and peer entities that provide agronomic services in support of Iowa row crop agriculture.  As agriculture has changed with technological advances, the structure of the agricultural community has changed.  From the National Association of State University Land Grant Colleges statement of purpose, The initial goal of the land grant institutions, (including Iowa State University) was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education. Passage of the First Morrill Act (1862) reflected a growing demand for agricultural and technical education in the United States. The Morrill Act was intended to provide a broad segment of the population with a practical education that had direct relevance to their daily lives.

Although those "practical education needs with direct relevance to their daily lives" have shifted through the years as farm technology has advanced, the basic role of the land grant university has remained.  The Corn and Soybean Initiative is but one effort to reconnect in effective ways to meet the continuing land-grant mission in Iowa.


 One of the goals in the Corn and Soybean Initiative is to effect improved, identified educational information about biologically driven events that are important to row crop producers to our industry partners.


To that end, the Corn and Soybean Initiative staff has generated a series of ad hoc one-page summaries of specific biologically based fact sheets called Partnership Perks. They are one-page summaries that highlight a current or imminent issue that agronomists are likely to need responses to. They highlight the issue; give quick details about identification, development and associated crop stages and relevant key points.  Each is summarized in one or two sentences that are labeled Long Story Short. . ., which concisely sums up the issue, following with sources of further information. These messages are sent electronically to agronomists and others at our partnered businesses and organizations, so that they can use the information in whatever way that serves their clientele.  This creates a multiplier effect in that solid (branded) ISU information is communicated to producers through local agronomists in locally appropriate formats. Partnership Perks were first produced in June, 2005.  Issues in 2006 included the following: 

-      May 2 Black cutworm scouting advisory

-      July 6 Western Bean Cutworm Moths Flying Early This Year

-      August 8 Late-Summer Soybean Insect Issues

-      August 23 Schedule Corn Harvest to Manage Stalk Lodging

-      September 28 2006 Alflatoxin Talking Points in case you are asked


Content from the Partnership Perks has been used either directly or as credited information excerpted from the documents on 6 of the 23 active websites of partner businesses in 2006.  In addition, four unsolicited comments (not included in the 6 mentioned above) from partner contacts included:

-      Thanks.  This is good stuff...and timely.  Dave Coppess, Agronomist Heartland Cooperative, (Information distributed throughout 11 counties in central and south central Iowa).

-      Thanks for the information; you make it easy for me to write our newsletters.  Mona Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Agribusiness Association of Iowa (Statewide)

-      Just what we needed!  Boyd Brodie, Heart of Iowa Cooperative

-      Thanks  This is great information we use with our customers. John Hester, Nichols Ag Services.

The intent of the Perks is to highlight breaking issues and avail partners with ISU resources in a quick and timely manner. Estimated impacts for just the 4 contacts listed would mean that sound Iowa State University Extension-branded information more effectively reaches around key agronomists and their producers in at least 30 to 40 counties; 30-40 percent of Iowa. As we progress, the effectiveness of the Partnership Perk and other products with our Initiative will be evaluated.

September 2006

142 - Integrated Crop and Pest Management

Page last updated: October 4, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,