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Get to know David Ertl, an Iowa Corn Staff Member

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 8:07 AM by Iowa Corn

My wife and twin boys. 
My name is David Ertl and I was born in New London, CT and raised in Suffield, CT.  The town is located in the Connecticut River Valley with a population a little over 15,000. I didn't grow up on a farm but my family always had a big garden. You couldn't beat those fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in the summertime.  I belonged to a 4-H club and would take my vegetables to the county fair, which was what got me interested in plants.

Growing up, I knew what hard work was because my grandparents had a dairy farm in New York, so I spent a lot of time hanging around the farm when I was a kid. My first job was actually on a nearby dairy farm. My family is small with only one brother but I don’t get to see him that often since he is an engineer in Vermont.

Cheering for both teams during
the sweet 16 last week! 
I attended Suffield High School in Connecticut. After graduation, I knew that I loved agriculture so I decided to major in Agronomy at the University of Connecticut. Once I received my Bachelor of Science degree.  I knew I wanted to learn more so I went onto Iowa State University and received a Masters Degree in plant breeding (soybean breeding). I was so intrigued with science that I kept going and pursued my Ph.D. at Iowa State in plant breeding.

After finally graduating for the last time, I became a corn breeder with DuPont Pioneer, in Michigan and Iowa.  I now work for Iowa Corn as the Technology Commercialization Manager in the research department.

As I was thinking about how many different places that my corn work has taken me, I realized it’s quite a lot.  I have traveled to Hawaii (several times), Chile, Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. I do have a lot of stamps in my passport!  It has been surprising to see how far and wide corn research is done all around the world.

When I’m not working, I enjoy bicycle riding and from time to time, I participate in some races. I also help other cyclists improve their skills when racing. I have twin boys so as you can imagine they are busy as teenagers. I spend a lot of time watching them play baseball and musical instruments. Baseball season just started so the traveling has begun already!

Sometimes I tend to be a quiet person but I am proud to tout that I am the inventor of 14 issue patents and the official coach of RAGBRAI. To say the least, I keep myself busy!

Since joining the Iowa Corn staff about three years ago, I find it amazing that most consumers think the corn they see in the field everyday is all sweet corn. Only 1% of the corn grown in Iowa is sweet corn that we can eat, 99% is field corn that farmers raise to produce feed for animals, fuel for cards and food for products that we as consumers use every day.

I truly enjoy working for Iowa Corn because we are involved in so many different things and I am always learning.  The staff and directors are dedicated and feel like family, which makes it very inviting to come to work every day.

David Ertl is the Technology Commercialization Manager for Iowa Corn. He is responsible for developing new technology, obtaining intellectual property (patents) and out-licensing of technology to commercial providers.  Prior to joining Iowa Corn, he was a Corn Breeder and later a Research Director at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.  He has been involved in developing commercial corn hybrids, is an inventor on 14 patents and has managed various research programs.   David has a Ph.D. in plant breeding from Iowa State University.  

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