Foreword – Spring 2013

“Proud To Be A Farmer’s Daughter”

That saying was on my favorite sweatshirt as a kid. I was so attached to it my mom had to cut off the sleeves and neckband so I could squeeze into it a few more years. Eventually the screen-printing faded and flaked off, but I’ll never forget how it made my dad smile when I wore it during our trips to the local co-op.

Sociology researchers at Iowa State asked those who farm what term they’d prefer to use to describe themselves. According to the 2011 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, 60 percent of respondents chose “farmer.” Roughly 18 percent chose “producer” and another 18 percent selected “farm operator.”

“Proud to be a crop producer’s daughter” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Regardless of how you refer to it—producing, operating, ranching or farming— many of the stories have a common thread. Compelling tales of managing risk, evaluating new technologies, balancing stewardship and profit, multigenerational family businesses and more. There’s something special underlying farming that draws in generation after generation that often can’t quite be put into words. But we’ve tried our best in this issue to represent these special stories and illustrate the impact the college is having in educating future farmers, increasing profitability, sustaining the industry into the future and more.

Lastly, I must confess that I broke one of my rules in this issue by featuring my husband, Mark, on page 20. I couldn’t help it. The story of his partnership with the Halbur family is emblematic of what ISU Extension and Outreach is all about: helping people evaluate and adopt new technology or practices that can improve their lives. The Halbur family, cardinal and gold to the core, is an excellent example of a family farm operating on the cutting edge. I hope you’ll agree there are several in the pages that follow.

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht

Director of Alumni Relations

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences