Steven Brockshus (center) created Terva, an online marketplace for farmland. He is a 2017 agricultural education and life sciences graduate who developed his entrepreneurial talent with the help of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. A $1 million gift from the Underwood Family Foundation will provide the tools for students in agricultural business and agricultural entrepreneurship to continue to hone their entrepreneurial skills.

The following is an article originally posted on August 30, 2017 via Iowa State University College of Ag and Life Sciences

AMES, Iowa — The Underwood Family Foundation of Ames has made a $1 million gift to support the agricultural business and agricultural entrepreneurship programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

“Changing students’ experiences and their lives is our plan,” said Roger Underwood, director of the Underwood Family Foundation. “We are so supportive of Iowa State’s agricultural business and agricultural entrepreneurship programs. Our goal is to help ensure they remain the best in the world. The support we provide will bolster programming, teaching and student experiences and, as a result, we believe it will help change agriculture in Iowa.”

The gift will help provide leading-edge experiences for students studying agricultural business and agricultural entrepreneurship.

“Thanks to this generous gift from the Underwood family, we will be able to magnify the impact of two of our college’s most respected and successful programs,” said Wendy Wintersteen, endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This additional funding will help us provide more hands-on experiences, networking and integrated learning opportunities for our students.”

The gift will provide program support that may include items such as a new lecturer position to help teach and mentor students; development of new courses that present students with problem-solving challenges from entrepreneurs and agribusinesses; and establishment of a new series of academic workshops that help students hone their entrepreneurial thinking and behaviors, as well as their applied business and finance skills.

The Underwood Family Foundation’s commitment is part the Forever True, For Iowa Statecampaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.1 billion, which will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond. The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization committed to securing and managing gifts that benefit Iowa State University.

The agricultural business program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is one of the largest undergraduate majors on the Iowa State campus, with 523 students enrolled last fall. Agricultural business has a longstanding tradition of excellence, combining an education in business, management and economics with solid technical knowledge in production agriculture and skills in communication and problem-solving. The Agricultural Business Club, with nearly 275 student members, has been named the nation’s outstanding chapter 11 out of the last 15 years by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is one of the top programs of its type in the world, providing students with practical business development and entrepreneurial experiences essential for their success in future careers and endeavors. More than 700 students participate in educational activities and programs each year, allowing them to experience entrepreneurship first-hand. Innovation and business creation are fundamental to long-term economic growth. The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative was established in 2005 with a $1.6 million gift from Roger and Connie Underwood.


Brian Meyer, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0705,

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