Iowa, Ukraine linked with agricultural business exchange program

Angie Ostrander

Iowa State’s exchange program with Ukraine will be strengthened by a pledge of $350,000.

The money will be used to provide scholarships and travel expenses to students studying abroad.

The exchange program has existed for 20 years and primarily supports the exchange of students interested in agricultural business, said David Acker, assistant dean for national and global programs in the College of Agriculture.

“Iowa State has developed some very strong programs that support agribusinesses, and these programs have become known internationally,” he said.

“Students are very eager to study here in those programs,” Acker said.

Students gain valuable experience in their field of study and experience with the English language, which allows them to be more competitive when looking for jobs in Ukraine, he said.

Acker said students from Ukraine may do a summer internship to gain experience with U.S. agribusiness, or they may enroll at Iowa State and complete their degree program. Acker said ISU students will get the opportunity to visit Ukraine for three weeks in May.

A group of 20 to 30 ISU students will visit Ukraine to observe agricultural businesses, farms and research, said Sherry Pogranichniy, student services specialist in agronomy.

Students will stay at Ukraine’s National Agriculture University and will get to see the educational facilities and visit with Ukrainian students.

Pogranichniy said the Ukraine trip is open to all students and is interesting because the legal climate of the country differs from that of the United States.

While part of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine was part of a “planned economy,” which resulted in less management decision-making, she said.

Acker said ISU students are interested in Ukrainian agribusiness because of the close connection between the school and Ukraine during the past 20 years. The program also provides an opportunity to observe a country entering a “private enterprise period of their history.”

Acker pointed out although there are differences between American and Ukrainian agribusiness, the two countries do share some agricultural features.

“Ukraine has, like Iowa, some of the very best soils in the entire world,” Acker said. “Iowa and Ukraine are basically the bread baskets for their respective continents.”