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Iowa Crop Improvement Association records

 Record Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 9/9/3

Scope and Content

This collection (1902-2009) consists of records related to the Iowa Crop Improvement Association and all previous incarnations of the organization. The materials include annual reports of the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association, certified seed directories, Iowa corn yield test records, news articles related to crop research, and programs and photographs of corn and grain shows. The collection also contains a collection of certified seed tags from seed producers primarily in the United States, though there are some tags from Canada and South American countries. Of particular note are the photographs which detail the corn and grain shows and include pictures of participants, judges, displays, and trophies. The photographs also document crop research, farm field days, and other activities sponsored by ICIA and its predecessors.

Records related to the Iowa Master Corn and Soybean Growers' Contest are also included in the collection. The contest was started in 1938 and allows growers to fairly compete against one another for the highest corn and soybean yields. Records related to this contest include contestant information, results of the competition, contest manuals and handbooks, premium list books, and correspondence.


  • 1902-2009


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


In 1902, an organization called the Iowa Corn Growers Association came into existence with the purpose of organizing grain and livestock judging schools in an effort to improve the economic conditions for farmers through better agriculture. In addition, the organization sponsored an annual corn show to promote better corn production. In 1909, a similar group for small grains, the Iowa Small Grain Growers Association, was formed and hosted an annual small grain show similar to the corn show. The two associations merged in 1913 and became the Iowa Corn and Small Grain Growers Association. Over time the corn and grain shows were phased out, but in 1920 the Association started conducting corn yield tests which recognized farmers for high yielding corn crops.

In 1912 the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association was organized at Iowa State College (University) for the purpose of promoting research in farm crops and assisting in the distribution of seeds, plants, and fertilizers for experimental use. The Association also worked closely with the Agricultural Experiment Station at Iowa State to conduct experiments on hybrid crops, crop varieties, and new crops of potential value. The Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association first certified crops in 1921 and certified and registered seed in 1923. Standards for hybrid corn certification were established by the Association in 1931. In 1942, the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association was recognized as the official seed certifying agency for the State of Iowa.

The Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association changed its name in February 1950 to become the Iowa Crop Improvement Association (ICIA). By June, 1951, the Iowa Corn and Small Grain Growers Association was absorbed by the Iowa Crop Improvement Association. The purpose of the new organization remained the same as the original associations: to conduct experiments in regards to seeds, plants, and fertilizers and to make known the sources of such good seed by means of certification.

With over one hundred years of history, the ICIA continues to be a resource for Iowa's agriculturalists by providing quality seed production and crop performance testing services. The ICIA continues to work closely with the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University to conduct experiments on new crop hybrids and varieties. On top of conducting domestic and international seed certification and quality assurance programs, ICIA also helps influence public policy regarding crop improvement.


22.98 Linear Feet (48 document boxes, 2 oversized boxes, and 1 map case folder)


The collection is organized into seven series:

Series 1, Iowa Corn Growers Association, 1904-1913 (chronological)

Series 2, Iowa Small Grain Growers Association, 1910-1912 (chronological)

Series 3, Iowa Corn and Small Grain Growers Association, 1914-1951, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association, 1912-1956, undated (alphabetical)

Series 5, Iowa Crop Improvement Association, 1950-2009 (chronological)

Series 6, Photographs and Slides, 1904-1981, undated (alphabetical)

Series 7, Iowa Master Corn and Soybean Growers' Contest, 1907-2001, undated, (chronological)


Digital reproductions of a selection of photographs from University Photographs relating to the Iowa Crop Improvement Association records are available electronically. Please see the Electronic Resources section for a link. This digital collection also includes materials from other collections relating to Extension and Outreach.

Items in related collections

RS 9/9. Iowa State University. Department of Agronomy records, 1903-2013 MS-0473. Iowa Corn Growers Association records, 1976-1993

Related collection materials

The Library has also cataloged a number of ICIA publications. Additional information on the history of the ICIA can be found in The Story of the Crop Improvement Association and its Predecessors, by Joe L. Robinson and Oliver A. Knott (call no. SB21 Io8r). A complete set of the Iowa corn yield test reports are cataloged (call nos. SB191 C8 Io87i, SB191 C8 Io87i1, and SB191 C8 Io87i11) as is a set of the ICIA newsletter, Iowa Seed News (call nos. SB114.Io95 and SB114.Io951). Additional materials may also be found in MS 473, Iowa Corn Growers Association records.

Collection Files

Processing Information

Released on 2018-08-03.

RS 9/9/3. Iowa Crop Improvement Association records, 1902-2009
May 29, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672