Over the summer, I spent an enjoyable evening at the Iowa Turkey Federation’s summer meeting, which had a baseball theme. To fit the theme, I spoke to the audience about recent success stories, or “home runs,” in the college.
Then I listed areas I thought would be “game-changers” that were in the batter’s circle for Iowa agriculture.
One was agriculture’s centrality to the continuing vision for the biosciences and bioeconomy in Iowa. I shared that, to me, these areas mean research and development unlocking new economic potential in plants and animals, stimulating new kinds of value-added products and processes in agriculture. As we look to capitalize on Iowa’s great competitive advantage in agriculture and in science and technology, biosciences are key to driving economic growth and job creation to new heights.
Another game changer is the rising numbers of students studying agriculture and life sciences. A grand-slam was the impending enrollment record, which was confirmed early in the fall semester— 3,900 undergraduates, topping the 1977 record. More young people realize agriculture and life sciences offer exciting and life-changing opportunities for those willing to work hard to accomplish something positive. They realize agriculture is where they need to be to play a role in addressing local, national and global needs.
Finally, I told my audience the ultimate game-changer is the strong partnerships we forge together to build our future. We need to work as a team, to communicate, to know where each of us is on the field, to have everyone play their position well and to keep our eyes on the ball. That’s what great teams do. The players connect the dots and great things happen.
As a team, we are partners in crossing the plate to “home” base—whether “home” is a safe, plentiful food supply; high-quality natural resources; expanding economic development; and promising futures for our children and grandchildren. Our team must include scientists, extension specialists, teachers, farmers, business people, well-prepared college graduates and many more.
For those who know me well, you know I always root, root, root for the home team—Iowa agriculture. Because when agriculture scores, society wins.
Endowed Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences