A new report makes the case that agriculture and agricultural sciences are poised to drive economic growth and job creation to new heights with the essential research and Extension support of land-grant universities.

The report, “Power and Promise: Agbioscience in the North Central United States,” was prepared for 12 north-central land-grant universities, including Iowa State University, by Battelle, a Columbus, Ohio-based independent research and development group. The report was released Aug. 1.

According to the report, agbiosciences generate widespread innovations, technologies and solutions to real-world needs in food security, human health, economic development and environmental sustainability.

Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State, said that world-class university-based agricultural experiment stations and extension services, coupled with the north-central region’s world-leading agricultural productivity, are critical assets.

“Agriculture and agricultural sciences are a key economic driver in Iowa,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “It is vital that we have the education system in place so that we have the employees equipped to take advantage of the opportunities available.”

Wintersteen said the report underscores the central message found in Iowa State’s new strategic plan. “Iowa State’s strategic plan focuses on how we meet the challenges of the 21st century through creating, sharing and applying new knowledge,” she said.

The 12 states of the north-central region make up 21 percent of the nation’s landmass, but represent:

• An agricultural industry valued at $125 billion with more than 2.4 million jobs
• 45 percent of the nation’s agricultural exports (Iowa is second nationally in ag exports, valued at more than $7 billion)
• 80 percent of U.S. soybean and feed grain production
• 45 percent of U.S. livestock exports
• 10 of the top 25 U.S. food manufacturers
• 90 percent of the nation’s ethanol production
• Several of the world’s largest seed companies and ag equipment manufacturers

“The issues addressed by agricultural sciences are strategic to the nation,” Wintersteen said. “That’s why funding support is critical to maintaining and expanding U.S. leadership in agriculture and agricultural sciences.”

Read the full report.