Issue: 1059

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
June 17, 2019

Top Stories

African Swine Fever Advisory
An advisory on the threat of African swine fever has been posted to the ISU Research and Demonstration Farms website. The advisory provides background on the disease, plus guidance for faculty and staff who may be considering tours or visits to ISU farms with livestock that would include both international or domestic visitors. African swine fever virus is a serious, highly resistant, viral disease that only infects pigs. No vaccines or treatments exist. The disease has not yet reached the United States but is currently hitting China’s pig herds very hard. The advisory was prepared by CALS and the Agriculture Experiment Station, and reviewed by the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine and Swine Medicine Education Center.


Research Shows Combination of SNAP and WIC Improves Food Security
Economists Helen Jensen, Brent Kreider and Oleksandr Zhylyevskyy, developed a methodology to analyze potential redundancies between two food assistance programs – SNAP and WIC. Their research shows that participating in both programs compared to SNAP alone increases food security by at least 2 percentage points and potentially as much as 24 percentage points. More

Seedling Disease Focus of Robertson’s Research
Alison Robertson, plant pathology and microbiology, has explored the soybean seedling disease caused by Pythium through a project funded by the Iowa Soybean Association and the North Central Soybean Research Program. Robertson also worked with Sotirios Archontoulis, agronomy, to further develop a tool that farmers could use to make seed treatment decisions. More

Research Shows Antioxidant Loses Battle Against Alzheimer’s Disease
New research may explain why an antioxidant that protects the brain is also associated with deterioration in areas susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. The antioxidant improves cognition, but a research team including Kelsey McLimans, Bridget Clark and Auriel Willette, food science and human nutrition, found that its protective benefits dramatically weaken when levels of tau proteins – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – increase. More  

Corteva Partners with Iowa Soybean Research Center
Corteva has joined the Iowa Soybean Research Center as an industry partner. In this role, Corteva will have a seat on the ISRC’s industry advisory council, which provides recommendations on research priorities. Greg Tylka, plant pathology and microbiology, is director of the ISRC. More

Extension and Outreach

Iowa’s Wet Spring in Line with Climate Trends
Wet and cool weather through May delayed planting and slowed the emergence of crops, according to Andy VanLoocke, agronomy. The weather falls in line with trends outlined in last year’s National Climate Assessment, and slow emergence could remain a problem throughout the 2019 growing season. More

Checklists Help Agritourism Operators Measure Risk
Farmers and landowners who open their property to the public face some unique risks and responsibilities. To help ensure their operation is following best practices, ISU Extension and Outreach has put together six checklists that cover the many types of liability an owner may face. More

Research Farm Hosts Swine Project for 4-H Kids
The Western Research and Demonstration Farm near Castana is host to the Monona County Swine Project, where almost 30 4-H kids work with the pigs every week. Melissa Beermann, director of the Monona County ISU Extension office, said they started the project in 2010. It is a special pig farm designed to teach kids everything there is to know about raising and showing a pig. The swine project was recently featured on Siouxland Proud and Siouxland News.

Around the College

GDCB Researcher Selected for Pew Scholars Program
Geetu Tuteja, genetics, development and cell biology, was selected for the 2019 Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Tuteja will invest her four-year, $300,000 grant into studying genetic networks that help to establish a healthy connection between embryos and their mothers. More

New Administrative Assistant to the Dean Starts Today
Alison Parker has accepted the position of administrative assistant to Dean Daniel Robison and began her position today, June 17. She comes from ISU’s University Relations office where she served as administrative assistant for more than seven years. Parker can be reached at, 4-3830. A special thank you to Lynn Laws who has served as interim administrative assistant since March.


June 19: Iowa Learning Farms Webinar
The Iowa Learning Farm’s webinar scheduled for Wednesday, June 19, at 12 p.m., will discuss recycling drainage water for irrigation. Chris Hay, senior environmental scientist with the Iowa Soybean Association, will discuss current research. More

June 26: Retirement Reception for Carl Bern
A retirement reception is scheduled for Carl Bern, University Professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, on June 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Sukup Atrium of the Biorenewables Complex (program at 1 p.m.). Bern has been at ISU for 50 years. His research focused on storage, preservation and applications of grains and oilseeds. More 

June 27: Muscatine Island Research Farm Field Day
The Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm will host its annual summer field day on June 27 at 6 p.m. This year’s event will include a discussion of the wet spring and implications for the rest of the growing season, as well as topics related to specialty crops, and corn and soybean production. More

July 10: Northwest Research Farm Field Day
The Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm in O’Brien County will host its annual field day on July 10 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. ISU Extension and Outreach specialists will discuss agronomics and weed management. A free lunch will be provided. There is no pre-registration. More

Communications Kiosk

Avoid Cliches Like the Plague
It is tempting to advise writers to avoid clichés like the plague; they are the bane of our existence. Right there, you can see why they are so difficult to shun: Cliches are the junk food of the literary pantry, much loved by lazy writers. But platitudes and shopworn phrases serve as signals to the reader to move along, there’s nothing to see here. Don’t push readers away, or lull them to sleep. Engage them with original, specific phrasing. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2018 edition, pg. 51)


ISU Climbs in Ranking of Universities Granted Patents
ISU ranks No. 69 in the world in the number of patents granted in the United States last year, according to a list released June 4 by the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association. The ISU Research Foundation was granted 34 patents in 2018. The report highlights the role patents play in university research and innovation. More

Learn to Recognize Heat Related Illnesses
With the arrival of hot and humid weather conditions, it is important for faculty, staff and students to remember the risk factors associated with working in hot environments. The ISU Department of Environmental Health and Safety offers online training on how to recognize and treat the symptoms of heat related illnesses. More


Farmers Are in Crisis – and America Isn't Paying Attention
"Imagine, if you can, a computer virus that cut the productivity of Apple, Google, and Facebook in half," wrote Beth Ford, CEO of Land O'Lakes, in a commentary posted by Fortune on June 12. "Or try to imagine Wall Street’s investment bankers seeing a season’s worth of deals washed away. Such calamities would dominate our nation’s news and drive swift political action. Yet that is precisely what America’s farmers face right now. And, as a country, we aren’t paying nearly enough attention."

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is published by email every Monday. The deadline for submitting content is 12 p.m. on Friday.


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