Outstanding Young Professional Award

This citation honors College of Agriculture and Life Sciences early- or mid-career alumni who have distinguished themselves through significant advancement and achievement in their discipline, field or area of expertise. Selection is made by the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This award was established in 2010 and is presented annually during Iowa State University’s Homecoming Weekend. Click here for the nomination form. Nominations are due the third Tuesday in November.

2022 Outstanding Young Professional Awardee

Amanda (Taylor) De Jong (’02 agricultural business)
Rhodes, Iowa

Amanda De Jong

Amanda (Taylor) De Jong serves as head of government affairs and policy engagement at Pivot Bio, building on her extensive experience in agricultural policy.

De Jong became the first woman to be appointed as state executive director for the USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) in 2017. De Jong oversaw the state FSA office and the 99 county offices, which provide a safety net for farmers through farm commodity and disaster programs. Under her leadership, the Iowa FSA delivered more than $2.09 billion annually in federal programs and loans to farmers, livestock producers, and foresters. De Jong worked to ensure all Iowa producers had access to FSA’s programs by meeting with farmers, farm organizations, and underrepresented groups.

A founding member of the Young Professionals in Agriculture organization in the Des Moines area, De Jong strives to connect and empower fellow leaders in agriculture. She helped the group to expand to southwest Iowa/Nebraska and the greater Washington, D.C. area.

De Jong is a supporter and volunteer for Agriculture Future of America and received the organization’s Young Leader in Agriculture Award in 2018. She received the ISU Agricultural Business Club Outstanding Alumni Award in 2021. As a member of the Marshall County Farm Bureau Board and the Iowa Corn Growers Association, De Jong is active in shaping polices that affect her local farming community.

De Jong is a life member of the ISU Alumni Association, belongs to the Order of the Knoll Campanile Society, and is a member of the Cyclone Club. She and her husband, Ryan, own and operate a cattle, hay, and row crop operation near Rhodes, Iowa, and are raising two young sons.

Past Recipients