Extension and Outreach Celebrates National Ag Day

Growing a climate for tomorrow is the focus of weeklong celebration in honor of National Ag Week

March 19, 2024, 10:23 am | Jamie Benning

AMES, Iowa – With a strong focus on the future and providing innovative solutions, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is deeply rooted in this year’s National Ag Day theme of “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.”

National Ag Day is March 19 and is part of the weeklong celebration of National Ag Week, March 17-23.

SErin Hodgson at a field day.pecialists with ISU Extension and Outreach work daily to provide solutions to the challenges facing Iowans and the world, while improving livelihoods and growing the future of Iowa. 

“Our Agriculture and Natural Resources specialists continue to develop researched-based programs that deliver information to assist farmers and landowners as they build more resilient agricultural systems that are profitable and protect natural resources,” said Jamie Benning, assistant director for Agriculture and Natural Resources with ISU Extension and Outreach.

National Ag Day is a project of the Agriculture Council of America, an organization comprised of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in society.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 22 million full and part-time jobs are related to the agricultural and food sector, or roughly 10 percent of all U.S. employment.

In 2023, Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources connected with more than 163,700 people in-person and virtually at field days, at nearly 6,000 meetings, workshops and field day events.

Nearly 6 million people visited Agriculture and Natural Resources websites, and 700,000 publications were printed or downloaded from the ISU Extension Store.

Our social media channels logged 5.7 million interactions, and our specialists made more than 32,000 in-person, phone and email contacts.

Our programs in 2023 addressed the needs of crop and livestock farmers, specialty crop growers, natural resource stewards, ag businesses, local communities and consumers.

Success stories

Here are some examples of how ISU Extension and Outreach supported agriculture in 2023.

  • The sustainable and profitable corn rootworm program developed four field days and 11 presentations to reach 612 farmers and agribusiness professionals. Nearly half of participants reported a high level of confidence in recognizing and rating root injury from corn rootworm larvae after the events.
  • Field agronomists partnered with Iowa State’s Digital Ag Innovation Lab to offer the Planter University program at five locations across Iowa, to 210 farmers and agriculture industry professionals. All attendees reported stopping and checking planter settings in the field, half reported more thorough maintenance prior to the start of the season, and more than two-thirds replaced worn parts as a result of knowledge gained. National Ag Day logo.
  • The 446 new Master Gardener Program volunteers completed training and 1,877 active volunteers completed 107,79 hours of service with a value of more than $3 million. Since 2020, the annual number of new trainees has increased by 59%.
  • As a result of coordination by the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Program, 297 schools, early care and education providers were awarded $1.2 million to purchase food from Iowa farmers and local food businesses.
  • Two Iowa Watershed Academies were attended by 78 watershed coordinators and conservation professionals. 75% reported an increase in knowledge of conservation practices, programs and outreach strategies and 100% reported involvement in local and statewide leadership activities.
  • Sixty-five farmland leasing workshops engaged 985 participants from 25 states with leasing trends, legal issues and methods for determining cash rental rates. Eighty-three percent of participants reported an intention to increase communication with parties involved in their lease agreements and 92% reported an increase in knowledge of resources that support favorable lease discussions between landowners and tenants.

Shareable photos: 1. Erin Hodgson, an entomologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, presenting at a field day event. 2. Beef cattle grazing on a recently harvested corn field. 3. National Ag Day Logo.

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