A lab in the field

John Lawrence’s message from July 16, 2018

Down the road and around the corner from the ISU Agronomy Farm, you’ll find a hardworking example of how teaching, research and extension come together in the field, literally. The Field Extension Education Laboratory, also known as FEEL, is a 23-acre teaching and demonstration facility where crop production professionals can get hands-on learning experience with a wide range of management problems, solutions and diagnostic challenges. Did you know?

  • Just a few miles west of Ames, the lab hosts demonstration projects and workshops throughout the summer. For example, last week FEEL held a field diagnostic clinic and a crop management clinic for agribusiness professionals and crop producers. Iowa Certified Crop Advisers could gain continuing education credits from both clinics. Later this month high school students will compete in the eighth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth.
  • Agribusinesses and industry can rent FEEL for professional development, clinics, demonstrations and training events. The FEEL learning experience features air-conditioned classrooms, Wi-Fi, parking and field plots within walking distance of the main building.
  • FEEL coordinator Warren Pierson says approximately 1,615 people participated in FEEL education last year.

FEEL has been part of ISU Extension and Outreach since 1987. If you’re ever in the neighborhood (1928 240th Street, Boone) stop in for a visit. Or, for a drone’s-eye view of FEEL, watch this aerial tour of the field lab.

One more note: In June, I made my first four regional VP visits (1, 4, 17 and 20) and I think everyone involved would call them a success. Staff engaged in discussions about local needs, challenges and opportunities in their positions. Councils shared their perspectives on their role, local needs and opportunities. The stakeholders who participated included a variety of community leaders and partners, and we had good conversations about local, regional and statewide issues. I will continue the visits sometime after the Iowa State Fair and wrap up “before the snow flies.” When the dates are set, the regional directors will send the invitations, and I encourage you all to attend. These visits will continue to focus on listening and learning. After all the visits are complete, I’ll share a summary of what I learned.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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