From The Dean – Spring 2013

This Spring, at a ceremony honoring ISU’s top seniors, the father of one of the students came up to greet me. He recognized me from my extension field specialist days. We’d known each other when he served on a county extension council in eastern Iowa.

WendyFarmersSmMy warm exchange with him reminded me how much I enjoyed those times working with farmers. It was life-changing for me. The photo on this page was taken around 1980 at a Louisa County field day. That’s me, delivering my integrated pest management messages.

Many of the farmers remain friends who understand the value of determination and fortitude. Every day farmers deal with the complex biological system that is agriculture. Tiny, even unseen things—a pest, a virus, a temperature drop—have enormous ramifications. When a corn field is damaged by an insect or a disease infestation, it’s serious business.

For me, farmers are an important
connection to real people doing real things. I never felt better, then or now, when I see the same recognition in their eyes—here’s a real person, doing something real. That helps reinforce for me the university’s role as a problem-solver, to put science into practice. And we can change lives with that connection.

Wendy Wintersteen

Endowed Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences