About CARD

Our Mission

CARD Faculty and Staff Photo (2014)
CARD Faculty and Staff (2014)

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decisionmakers; and international audiences.

CARD is a Center in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

CARD is one of several centers in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) that support CALS’ mission. The CARD Director reports to the Senior Associate Dean of CALS. See the CALS organizational chart for more information.

Research Areas

CARD conducts interdisciplinary research on the impacts of policy alternatives for trade and agricultural policy, resource and environmental policy, food and nutrition policy, agricultural risk management policy, science and technology policy, and biorenewables policy.


CARD’s publication program provides access to research results and outreach activities. For a comprehensive listing of publications, consult the publications page.

CARD’s Origins: Commemorating 50 Years

50th Anniversary Logo

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008. The Center was founded at Iowa State University in 1958 to address problems, especially unintended consequences, in agricultural policy. Founding director Earl Heady brought quantitative analysis to the study of agricultural policy at CARD, a scientific approach for measuring different policy options.

Today, CARD conducts policy research using innovative analytical systems and sophisticated models, as well as helping to train the next generation of economists and scientists and providing information about agricultural, food, and environmental policy.