Strategic Plan

Our Mission

Engage people to grow a healthy agriculture and environment through research and education.

Our Vision

We help people make educated decisions that improve lives through innovative research-based agricultural education.

Our work results in:

  • Clean water and healthy habitats
  • Profitable farms and strong rural economies
  • Thriving and diverse communities
  • A more secure food system

We accomplish our mission through an effective and cooperative county, state and national network.

Our Core Values

The core values of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources reflect our commitment to developing and disseminating quality, relevant, research-based educational programs for the people of Iowa and beyond.

  • Unbiased, research-based

  • Responsive, relevant and useful

  • Forward looking and anticipatory

  • Educational for our clients and ourselves

  • Focused on feeding the world

  • Inclusive and broad in scope


  • Technically competent

  • Proficient communicators

  • Relationship and individual needs focused

  • Cooperative network builders

  • Committed to improving lives and the environment

  • Dedicated, helpful stewards

  • Caring and service oriented

  • Trustworthy and respectful


Goal 1: Educate Iowans about clean water and healthy habitats


  • Develop and deliver educational programs focused on nutrient management.
  • Demonstrate best practices focused on soil, water, and air quality.
  • Develop and deliver educational programming that enhance habitats for wildlife, native plants, and natural environments.
  • Respond to emerging threats to clean water and healthy habitats.
Goal 2: Educate about strategies that foster profitable and resilient farms and thriving rural communities


  • Develop and deliver programming about efficient, profitable and sustainable farms that support rural economies.
  • Develop and deliver programming focused on educating staff and the public about the economic significance of agriculture in Iowa.
  • Collaborate with agricultural industry professionals to build capacity of the farming community and related industries.
  • Develop and deliver educational programming for agriculture professionals to promote successful local ag-related businesses.
  • Create programming that responds to emerging natural, biological, and economic threats to farm enterprises and the rural economy.
Goal 3: Educate producers and the food industry on practices to promote a secure food system


  • Educate farmers and agriculture industry leaders about enhancing biosecurity practices for crops and livestock.
  • Develop and deliver educational programming about emergency preparedness in agriculture sector.
  • Develop and deliver educational programming that enhances an abundant, affordable, and sustainable food supply through improved production and technological efficiency.
  • Develop and deliver educational programming that encourages a healthy, accessible, and affordable food supply.
Goal 4: Actively develop the human capital of ANR Extension and Outreach and enhance county engagement


  • Develop and implement ANR professional development for county extension staff preparing them to meet client and university needs.
  • Develop and implement a professional pipeline and career ladder for both ANR faculty and staff.
  • Develop and implement effective mechanisms to better connect county staff to ANR program areas.
  • Create a robust recognition system for county staff, POW teams, and ISU Extension and Outreach County Councils who excel in ANR program development and delivery.
  • Provide formal and informal mentoring experiences for new employees.
  • Align workforce with ANR strategic initiatives fostering programmatic effectiveness and efficiency


aerial view of famrstead
history farmer
hands holding house plant

The Morrill Act, passed by Congress in 1862, established land-grant universities across the United States with the goal of providing accessible higher education for all, while instructing students in a practical curriculum. The state of Iowa was the first to accept the provisions of the Morrill Act, making Iowa State University, then Iowa State College, the first landgrant college in the country. In the same sense that Iowa State University was seen as an innovator in adopting the Morrill Act, it also served as the birthplace of extension services. Almost immediately after the doors were open, Iowa State University began taking educational programs and activities off campus, demonstrating the transfer of technology and research from the university setting to the people of Iowa and beyond.

Iowa’s natural resources are the basis for the state’s agriculture, and serve as the foundation for approximately 25 percent of the state’s economic activity. These same resources provide drinking water and outdoor recreation to Iowa’s people. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources has significant responsibilities to the private and public sectors of the state. As Iowans generate economic growth and care for Iowa’s natural resources, ANR plays an important function both within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. ANR provides research –based information that is timely and educationally relevant to farmers, landowners, industry leaders, agri-business, communities, and other interested citizens in Iowa and beyond.

Agriculture is important to Iowa. We grow crops and raise livestock that feed our state, nation and global community. Our programs impact all Iowans, whether they live in a rural or urban area, and have been developed to improve our quality of life. Educating ALL Iowans is at the core of Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and  Outreach; it is what we do, and what we will continue to do. Our faculty and staff continue this tradition. We do this important work through publication development and distribution, conferences and workshops, one-on-one consulting, and through social and mass media. At the same time, state and federal support for agriculture extension has declined, leading to fewer faculty and staff positions with ANR Extension and Outreach responsibilities. Change creates opportunity and ANR Extension and Outreach looks to help reposition Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to educate and inform all Iowans for generations to come.