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If you've worked in Extension for 10 years or 10 minutes, undoubtedly you've been asked to provide the answer to a question and haven't known where to turn for the answer. And many times I'll bet, the subject of the question has had a horticultural slant. So if I may, allow me to provide a roadmap for finding the most appropriate faculty or staff in my department (the Department of Horticulture) to help you with those horticultural questions.
The Hortline (294-3108) - This resource is as close to one-stop shopping as you can get. Administered and supervised by Richard Jauron <rjauron [at] iastate [dot] edu>, this is the place to send all of your consumer/homeowner types who have a question about all kinds of horticultural topics. Even professional/commercial clients have found this resource very useful. And of course, you yourself may call and ask a question on behalf of a client. But remember, the Hortline is a busy place and you might not "get through" on your first attempt.
Dr. Kathleen Delate <kdelate [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-7069) - Kathleen is our extension specialist in the area of organic crop production.
Dr. Paul Domoto <domoto [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-0035) - Paul is our extension fruit specialist with primary responsibilities for serving the commercial tree and small fruit industry in Iowa.
Dr. Cindy Haynes <chaynes [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-4006) - Cindy is our consumer horticulture specialist with responsibilities for home demonstration gardens and serves as the Professor-in-charge for the Master Gardener Program.
Dr. Jeff Iles <iles [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-3718) - I am responsible for serving nursery and landscape professionals in Iowa. I also work a lot with local tree boards and enjoy making plant material recommendations to these groups.
Dr. David Minner <dminner [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-5726) - Dave is our extension turfgrass specialist with primary responsibilities for serving turfgrass professionals (golf course managers, athletic field managers, etc.) in Iowa.
Dr. Ajay Nair <nairajay [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-7080) - Ajay Nair is our extension specialist for vegetable production.
Dr. Denny Schrock <dennys [at] iastate [dot] edu> (294-4813) - Denny is Coordinator of the Master Gardener Program.
Of course, another great place to receive assistance is the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic housed in the Department of Plant Pathology (294-0581). Led by Christine Engelbrecht, the staff in "the clinic" are masters at diagnosing problems from live samples that you might send in, from digital photographs, and sometimes from a verbal description of the problem.
Finally, have you ever recommended a soil test if you were stumped by a problem or question. Sometimes having the soil analyzed by the Soil Testing Lab on campus can provide useful information, but many times, the problem you're trying to diagnose might have nothing to do with soil fertility. My point? Try to do some troubleshooting first (using many of the resources listed above) before recommending that soil test. There's no sense performing a diagnostic test if the results of that test don't help us solve the problem. Besides, we might just save the client a dollar or two.
Remember, those of us on campus are committed to helping you succeed with your (our) clients. Because when you succeed we all win. Keep up the great work out there in the trenches, and when you get to campus, please stop in for a visit.
Jeff Iles, Chair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-1100
Click here for Program and Registration Information:
The Organic Ag Program was awarded a certificate of recognition from President Leath for efforts in sustainability at the 2nd Annual Symposium on Sustainability at Iowa State University. This year's event was held on February 25–26, 2013, and included a keynote panel presentation featuring sustainability leaders from Iowa-based corporations, presentations highlighting campus initiatives in sustainable energy and sustainability in curriculum, and the presentation of the 2012 Live Green Awards for Excellence in Sustainability.
The Organic Ag Program was awarded a certificate of recognition from President Leath for efforts in sustainability at the 2nd Annual Symposium on Sustainability at Iowa State University. This year's event was held on February 25–26, 2013, and included a keynote panel presentation featuring sustainability leaders from Iowa-based corporations, presentations highlighting campus initiatives in sustainable energy and sustainability in curriculum, and the presentation of the 2012 Live Green Awards for Excellence in Sustainability
A new partnership was forged between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa at the 2012 Iowa Organic Conference in Iowa City. UI President Sally Mason welcomed conference attendees, highlighting the proximity of Iowa City to one of the largest contingents of organic farmers and consumers in the state. She also championed the work of Liz Christiansen and George McCrory of the UI Office of Sustainability, a major sponsor of the conference. ISU VP for Extension, Cathann Kress, regaled the work of the Johnson County Extension and Outreach office for their logistical support that led to a successful conference for the 375 farmers, ag professionals, students, and consumers in attendance.
In the recent years the specialty crop segment of US agriculture has seen tremendous growth. Increasing number of growers are interested in diversifying their farm operations to grow specialty crops such as fruit and vegetables. In the wake of growing demand for fresh and locally produced fruit and vegetables there is need to develop a strong research based outreach and extension program that addresses issues related to crop production, soil fertility, season extension, risk management, food security and safety issues.
The Department of Horticulture in partnership with Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture organized a Fruit and Vegetable Field Day at the Horticulture Research Station, Ames IA on 23 July, 2012. The event was coordinated by Dr. Ajay Nair, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture. Other researchers who participated include Drs. Jeff Iles (Dept. Chair), Kathleen Delate, Paul Domoto, Gail Nonnecke, Mark Gleason, and Mr. Malcolm Robertson. This education and outreach event was designed specifically for fruit and vegetable growers and featured research-based information on a variety of topics including biochar application in vegetable production, row covers, plasticulture, cultivar trials, organic production practices, high tunnel fruit & vegetable production, apple root stocks and training systems, and cover crops. The event gave growers an opportunity for a real time assessment of new, innovative, and sustainable research initiatives in the area of fruit and vegetable production. Although geared towards commercial production the event was attended by small-scale growers, master gardeners, and home owners interested in enhancing their production skills and diversifying their gardens and acreages. The event showcased the HORT 465 course, which is a student-run vegetable enterprise geared towards developing student entrepreneurial and business skills. Graduate students from the Department of Horticulture (Brandon Carpenter, Leah Riesselman, and Dylan Rolfes) actively participated in the event by engaging growers in their research projects and answering their questions.
The event also hosted local growers (Berry Patch Farms and Rinehart Farms) who set up booths to sell farm fresh produce. Field day participants also had a chance to visit with representatives from USDA sponsored Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Education.
The morning session of the field day was followed with a post-lunch panel discussion where growers, researchers, agriculture professionals, and extension personnel interacted with researchers from the Department of Horticulture and Field Extension Specialists to discuss current and future needs of fruit and vegetable industry in Iowa. Afternoon keynote speech was delivered by Dr. John Lawrence, Associate Dean, ISU Extension and Outreach. He stressed on developing strong grower-researcher relationship to address ongoing issues and challenges, and develop new ideas for fruit and vegetable research in Iowa.