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Ag Ventures Alliance makes gift for new projects


A $25,000 gift is helping Iowa State University Extension and Outreach launch new research and training projects in 2012.

The gift came from Ag Ventures Alliance, a business development organization for value-added agricultural ventures based in Mason City, Iowa. The $25,000 gift was divided between two projects--one focused on extending research onto volunteer farms and the other designed to deliver the Master Conservationist Program in new ways.

Terry Carpenter, executive director of Ag Ventures Alliance, recognized the work of the organization's Education and Research Contributions Committee when approving this allocation. "The committee's mission is to 'provide education, research and other assistance to help farmers and other agricultural professionals remain competitive in a changing environment.' We are proud to support these activities of Iowa State University as the requests met the committee's funding criteria: 1) focusing on agriculture, entrepreneurship and business development; and 2) providing value to AgVA members."

Ag Ventures Alliance's gift was given through the Iowa State University Foundation, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to securing and stewarding private gifts and grants that benefit the university.

A new research endeavor, ISU FARM (Farmer Assisted Research and Management), extends the reach of the northern and northeast research farms in Kanawha and Nashua, Iowa. A network of cooperators in the surrounding counties will be established to conduct replicated trials on their farms. Cooperators will be assisted by newly hired Iowa State specialist Micah Smidt in choosing topics related to corn or soybeans, designing the study, laying out the study on the farm, planting the strips, applying the treatments and collecting and analyzing the data.

"Partnerships are important to successful ISU agricultural research," said Mark Honeyman, coordinator of ISU Research Farms. "The funding from Ag Ventures shows a strong investment and partnership to expand this new research program. ISU values partners like Ag Ventures, and this new program will help farmers across northern Iowa make informed decisions."

The Master Conservationist Program will create an interactive website and online tracking system to aid the progression of volunteers to complete their volunteer hours by allowing conservation agencies and organizations to post events and activities for which they need assistance.

"This gift has been instrumental in enhancing the Master Conservationist Program in Iowa by facilitating opportunities for agencies and organizations to advertise their need for help with conservation work," said Rebecca Christoffel, Master Conservationist Program coordinator and Extension wildlife specialist. "We're very grateful to Ag Ventures Alliance for their support of the Iowa Master Conservationist Program, and we look forward to a significant increase in both the number of active Master Conservationist volunteers and in the agencies and organizations that utilize this trained group of individuals."

For more information, contact Fahey at 515-520-0933.

Date: 10/1/2012


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