Cultivating the Best in Agricultural Business

The agricultural business program at Iowa State is recognized nationally for combining an exceptional education in business, management and economics with a range of hands-on learning experiences—from industry visits and internships to participation in study abroad and student activities like the number-one-ranked Agricultural Business Club in the nation.

Support for agricultural business during the Forever True campaign will strengthen the following areas:

Faculty support

Named faculty positions attract excellent faculty, keep their teaching on the leading edge, and provide time to serve as effective mentors for individuals and student groups.

“Establishing named faculty positions in strategic areas is essential to attracting faculty who will engage students’ curiosity, intellect and passion,” says Pete (’74 agricultural business) and Dana (’87 home economics education) Wenstrand, who established the Peter J. and Dana M. Wenstrand Harvest Fund to support the agricultural business program. “These educators will play a critical role in increasing the profile of the program, and in preparing future business owners, managers and leaders for the increasingly dynamic marketplace.”

Student scholarships

Expanding support for scholarships and fellowships will keep an agricultural business education within reach and help recruit exceptional undergraduate and graduate students.

“Thanks to scholarships, I’ve participated in eight student organizations, experiences that have helped me make connections and strengthen my leadership skills,” says Catherine Isley, senior in agricultural business. “I’ve chosen internships and jobs for the quality of the experience, not just because a position pays well. I’ve also taken two study abroad trips. Scholarships have been one of the biggest contributors to my success.”

Sustaining leading-edge curriculum

From technology to international trade, agricultural business is constantly evolving; the program must continuously develop cutting-edge capstone courses and other curricula.

Capstone courses provide critical integrative learning experiences, and new funding will expand topics into areas such as business analytics, food market analysis, agribusiness management, international/ global agribusiness and trade, agricultural policy, agricultural finance and farm management. Funding will also help develop new courses and curricula in emerging areas of expertise.

Growing the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative provides practical business development experiences that teach students to think entrepreneurially.

A gift from Keith (’59 animal science, ’63 PhD) and Virginia (’60 child development) Smith supports the Student Incubator Program, a key aspect of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. Last year’s 14 participants developed a range of innovative ideas, from a solarpowered food dehydrator, to a real estate data management system, to a specialty beef business.

“Iowa State’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative is recognized as one of the best in the country. This is the Age of the Entrepreneur; students should know from their first day on the Iowa State campus that they can one day work for themselves,” says Roger C. Underwood