Iowa State University, University of Illinois, Michigan State University, Purdue University & University of Wisconsin Collaborating on Corn

U.S. farmers produce 41 percent of the world’s corn on 400,000 farms located primarily in the Midwest Corn Belt region. American production value of corn was over $50 billion in 2018. The U.S. exports between 10 and 20 percent of its corn crop. An increasingly variable climate and weather extremes, including flooding and droughts, threaten crop production and degrade soil.

To sustain one of the nation’s most important farm crops, USDA funded the “Sustainable Corn Project”, a regional collaboration and research partnership. Iowa State University led a multidisciplinary team, which included University of Illinois, Michigan State University, Purdue University, University of Wisconsin, and several others. The project’s purpose was to determine how to best help Corn Belt farmers mitigate, adapt, and make their operations more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The project focused on ways to equip farmers with the practices to build resiliency to weather variability, maintain crop yields, and reduce negative environmental impacts. Scientists and farmers worked together to create a suite of practices for corn-based systems that are drought resilient, reduce soil and nutrient losses under saturated soil conditions, and ensure crop and soil productivity.

The team shared farm management strategies with farmers, educators, and other stakeholders. They trained undergraduate through post-doctoral students to become the next generation of scientists. This research, education, and extension helps farmers become more profitable and protects the U.S. corn industry  

Retaking The Field Volume 5 “Retaking the Field Volume 5: Innovation to Profit” explores how federally funded agricultural research strengthens farmers and ranchers’ bottomline by reducing costs and risks, increasing profits, and laying the groundwork for new products and industries. With powerful examples from universities across the country, it describes how research can generate outsized economic benefits that extends for decades. View The Issue
Retaking the Field Volume 5: Innovation to Profit Click to download report

More Stories from the community

Capitalizing on Cranberries

Both cranberries and blueberries are botanically part of the Vaccinium species. The U.S. Vaccinium industry’s domestic wholesale value exceeds $2 billion per year. Although production and consumption is growing worldwide, the growth of U.S. production has slowed in the past five years. Producers have not yet benefited from advanced breeding technologies used in other crops, which limits their ability to grow new varieties with improved fruit quality and market value.

Read More
Thinking Tiny: Blocking Pathogenic Bacteria With Nanoengineered Surfaces

Foodborne illnesses can be caused by food coming in contact with bacteria on surfaces in food-processing plants, restaurants, and households. When enough bacteria congregate, they create a “biofilm” that glues them to the surface. Biofilms are impervious to normal cleaning detergents, making them difficult to remove from food-processing equipment.

Read More