i'm an agronomist

Eric Coddington

1. Where are you from?
Montello, WI

2. What first started your interest in agronomy?
I grew up on a corn, alfalfa, and soybean farm in Central Wisconsin. My father started teaching me the basics of farming from a young age and I soon developed an interest in finding ways to improve corn yields on our farm. I also competed in the Agronomy Career Development Event through my high school FFA program. I started learning about the agronomic issues that we face on our farm and what could be done to fix those problems. I have been hooked on agronomy ever since!

3. What are some of the main issues for society that you are concerned about?
The world population is constantly growing and the amount of farmland in our country is shrinking. This means that everyone within the agriculture industry will need to continually strive to improve food production and efficiency for the future.

4. Do you have any advice for those thinking about continuing their education to address the issues you’ve mentioned?
Agriculture is more than the typical cows, sows, and plows. Agronomy has embraced the 21st century and incorporates technology such as GPS and gene mapping to improve current production methods. The technological advances made within even the past 5 years have been incredible! Our generation has the opportunity to combine science with modern day technology, all of which can make a huge impact on providing food for the world. I would encourage anyone considering a higher education to pursue what you’re passionate about and seek to make a difference!

5. Why did you choose Iowa State University?
Iowa State is one of the nation’s premier ag schools. I have been impressed with the Agronomy Department at Iowa State since day one.

6. What was your first year here like?
My freshman year at Iowa State went extremely well. I was able to meet many new friends on the Freshman Learning Community field trip and got connected with several clubs and organizations right away. I learned time management skills and worked hard as a student. I really enjoyed taking advantage of all the opportunities that Iowa State has to offer.

7. What has been your favorite class?
My favorite class so far has been Agronomy 334 – Forage Crop Management. I enjoy learning about forages and the ways that I can manage them to increase production.

8. What has been your favorite experience in the agronomy program?
My favorite experience has been the opportunity to compete on the Iowa State Crops Judging Team. I have been able to travel to Kansas, Missouri, and Chicago for contests and have made some great friends on the crops team. I feel that I have also furthered my education the most through crops team because it helped me develop an in-depth knowledge base of many agronomic topics.

9. You have a faculty adviser, how has your experience been with him?
My adviser, Dr. Michael Castellano, has been excellent to work with. He helped me develop an academic success plan and is more than willing to answer any questions that I may have. His research on nitrate contamination also relates very closely to some of the nitrogen application practices that I have been working to implement on my family farm.

10. Do you participate in any student organizations?
I have been involved in the Agronomy Club and Beginning Farmers Network. I am also a part of Cru, which is a campus ministry group at Iowa State. I am thankful for being able to get plugged into a church community right away during my freshman year.

11. Any advice for those considering a major in agronomy?
The great thing about the Agronomy Department at Iowa State is the diversity and number of different options that are available within the agronomy program. There truly is a class specifically designed for your interests, whatever they may be, and I find that has really allowed me to tailor my education to match up with my career goals. The possibilities are endless within agronomy!

12. Ten years from now, what do you want to be doing?
In ten years, I hope to be working on our family farm alongside my father. My goal is to use the education and knowledge I obtained at Iowa State and apply it to our operation. I hope to improve crop production and efficiency on our farm, while still remaining profitable and environmentally friendly at the same time. Agriculture faces a large task ahead, but the future is bright for agronomists at Iowa State!

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