Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)

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.

Company details

Iowa State University 578 Heady Hall , Ames , Iowa 50011-1070 USA

Locations Served

Business Type:
Industry Type:
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)

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

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.

  • See the 1956 letter from Iowa farmers and citizens addressed to the president of Iowa State College and the dean of agriculture that would ultimately lead to the founding of the Center.
  • Historical Summaries and Timelines of CARD’s evolution
    • CARD: The First Ten Years (from CARDreport)
    • CARD: 1985-1996 (from CARDreport)
    • CARD’s 50th Anniversary: Taking Stock of Our Past--and Future (from Iowa Ag Review)
  • About the Directors of CARD
    • Earl O. Heady (1958-1984)
    • Stanley R. Johnson (1985-1996)
    • Bruce A. Babcock (1999-2011)
    • Catherine L. Kling (2013-present)