As the farm crisis of the 1980s intensified, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach was looking for a way to better understand the situation farmers found themselves in. From that search for information the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll was born in 1982. The longest running survey of its kind, the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll provided a collective voice for Iowa farmers when they needed it most. Understanding the thoughts and opinions of farmers can help shape future research and education. This then can provide ways to improve the state we all share.