Research fuels extension programming, and good extension programming can help inform research. That cycle of information is part of what drew Alejandro Plastina to Iowa State University and what guides his work as an assistant professor and extension economist.
“A strong research program is key to a valuable extension program,” Plastina said. “And feedback from extension to research is critical to maintain the relevance of the latter and fulfill the mandate of the Land Grant System.”
How long have you worked for ISU Extension and Outreach?
It will be six years in June.
What do you do for ISU Extension and Outreach?
As a member of the ISU farm management team, I develop research-based extension reports, tools and programs in the area of farm business and financial management. My goal is to help farmers and related stakeholders make farm management and financial decisions by providing relevant, timely and actionable information.
What is the best part of working for ISU Extension and Outreach?
The best part of working for ISU Extension and Outreach is knowing that our audiences consistently report extracting value from our extension programs, and the opportunity to collaborate with top notch and generous colleagues across the state and on campus.
What drew you to Iowa State?
The major driver to join the Department of Economics at Iowa State University was its consistent ranking among the top research departments in agricultural economics in the world.
Do you have any big upcoming projects or events?
I am currently collecting data on farmland cash rental rates via an online survey and a snail mail survey that will lead to the Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2020 Survey report (Ag Decision Maker File C2-10) by mid-May. The report typically attracts lots of attention from farmers, lenders and specialized media, and is downloaded about 200,000 times each year.
With your time with Extension, what is one thing you are especially proud to have accomplished in this position?
I am very proud that my extension work has been recognized with two team awards (2015 Impacting Iowans Award; 2020 Creativity in Service to All Iowans Award) and one individual award (2018 Programming Innovation Award) from ISU Extension and Outreach; and with the 2019 Distinguished Individual Extension Program Award from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. My goal is to maintain and improve the relevance of my research-based extension efforts.
Name one fun thing about yourself that not many people know.
My archrival in racquetball is my official academic mentor.
What do you do in your free time?
I very much enjoy spending quality time with my family.
How do you create a #StrongIowa?
By listening to our stakeholders, developing research-based extension programs addressing their needs, and communicating objective and actionable information in ways they can easily access.