Agronomy in the Field: A Women’s Cohort for Increasing Capacity of Agronomic and Conservation Principles

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2017: $29,999.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Iowa State University
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Angela Rieck-Hinz
Iowa State University


  • Agronomic: clovers, corn, grass (misc. perennial), hay, medics/alfalfa, oats, rye, soybeans


  • Animal Production: grazing management, manure management, pasture renovation, rangeland/pasture management
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage, cover crops, cropping systems, fertilizers, no-till, nutrient management
  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, technical assistance
  • Pest Management: economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: dryland farming
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    A poll of women attending other Iowa State University Extension and Outreach women’s programming such as Annie Project, showed a high level of interest in attending a hands-on agronomic program. Consequently, Agronomy in the Field was developed and piloted in 2015 and 2016 with three cohorts in Iowa that included nearly 100 women. Agronomy in the Field is a series of educational workshops for women landowners, farmers and agriculture service providers to educate women on production and land management to make wise, sustainable decisions using knowledge, experience, and research based information from experienced women farmers, landowners and Extension professionals as instructors and leaders.  Future efforts, through this grant, will allow us to expand these sessions statewide by increasing our capacity to develop new cohorts.  This program differs from other women’s programming because it is taught throughout the growing season through informal, experiential learning strategies in which the majority of time is spent in the field with hands-on activities, followed by classroom learning in the fall and winter. A cohort learning approach will be used to enable participants to learn from one another and because women often say it is a conducive environment in which to learn.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives of this project are to 1) increase agronomic skills of women landowners and farmers to strengthen and validate their decision-making for sustainable crop production, 2) provide exposure to conservation practices and water quality challenges to improve environmental sustainability, and 3) through experiential learning opportunities created through partnerships with Extension staff, university research farms, experienced women farmers and the formation of a cohort, participants will increase confidence in communication with spouse, farming partner, ag retailer or tenant, ensuring their overall goals for sustainable farming systems can be met.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.