Ag 450 at Iowa State University is an undergraduate course entitled Farm Operation and Management, in which the students learn management skills and decision-making by managing the Ag 450 Farm. The farm has been operated as a self-supporting commercial teaching farm for the past 40 years. The farm produces typical midwestern crops and livestock according to students' decisions in a diversified operation. Two full-time operators are employed. Course objectives include teaching the students to (1) manage a farm using farm management techniques, (2) develop an understanding of the opinions of others, (3) learn to function efficiently as a group, (4) participate personally in the challenge of applying current technology to real farm problems, and (5) develop patterns for decision-making. The purpose of this study was to examine the development of this unique educational program at Iowa State University, to characterize the Ag 450 Farm course, and to compile a brief history of the Ag 450 Farm.
decision-making skills, farm management, student-managed farm, hands-on experience