Although he grew up on the livestock side of agriculture, Chad Hart, extension grain markets specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, quickly realized the many ways that agriculture is integrated.
His family raised beef cattle and operated a small meat locker in southwest Missouri. He moved to Iowa in 1991, to pursue his graduate education, where he received a Ph.D. in economics and statistics from Iowa State University in 1999.
His focus today is on the grain market, but he works closely with other extension economists and specialists to stay current on all sectors of agriculture.
As extension grain markets specialist, I talk about the crop markets but I tend to venture into all of the various agricultural markets and help folks understand why the markets are doing what they’re doing.”
Economics can be a dry topic, and it is often referred to as “the dismal science.” However, Hart uses his personal experience and humor to show why numbers matter and how they relate to Iowans.
In addition to extension, he serves as professor in economics and enjoys making a difference across campus and beyond.
“As staff and faculty, we’ re contributing to that information transfer, not only to the students on campus but to Iowans and people across the globe,” said Hart.
How long have you worked for ISU Extension and Outreach?
Since the summer of 2008.
What do you do for ISU Extension and Outreach?
Explain crop markets and the factors impacting markets to people across Iowa, other states and across the globe.
What is the best part of working for ISU Extension and Outreach?
I get to meet people and basically talk to the entire state of Iowa. I’ve ended up in a people-driven profession, recognizing that economics in itself is often seen as a dry subject.
What drew you to Iowa State?
The opportunity to continue my education with more emphasis on economics and statistics, and the research track options for graduate students.
Do you have any big or upcoming projects or events?
The winter meeting season is underway, with some unique offerings this year due to COVID-19. CropsTV will include 45 virtual sessions, with topics that include agronomy, markets, pest and soil management and professional development. The Pro-Ag Outlook series will be held virtually, beginning Dec. 7.
With your time with extension, what is one thing you would like to accomplish (or are especially proud to have accomplished) in this position?
Since I began with extension in 2008, I’ve seen nearly a complete turnover in all the faculty members in economics. I went from being one of the youngest to one of the oldest very quickly. In this short time, we’ve been able to develop some really strong programs across the state of Iowa, while addressing questions for producers – whether it’s with crops or livestock, or something else.
Name one fun thing about yourself that not many people know.
I like to wear jean shorts, if acceptable, even in the wintertime.
What do you do in your free time?
I love watching sports, especially baseball. I also enjoy good craft beer and helping my adult kids – 21 and 18, the youngest of whom is a freshman at Iowa State.
How do you create a #StrongIowa?
We help extend the knowledge that is created and disseminated on campus, out into the state and across the countryside. I argue that the work of extension is just as important today as it was 100 years ago, especially when we look at some of the issues we’re dealing with today.