Issue: 1072

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
Sept. 16, 2019

Top Stories

CALS Dean Robison, President Wintersteen and Vice President of Extension and Outreach John Lawrence visited the Clay County Fair in Spencer on Thursday, Sept. 12.

A Day Spent at 2019 Clay County Fair
CALS Dean Robison, President Wintersteen and Vice President of Extension and Outreach John Lawrence visited the Clay County Fair in Spencer on Thursday, Sept. 12. The three were featured panelists at the Iowa Ag Outlook Panel, hosted by the Iowa Soybean Association. The morning event drew 180 area soybean producers and alumni. Area extension and outreach staff hosted the ISU contingent for afternoon visits with 4-Hers involved with the Clay County Youth Special Swine Project and a tour of the Ag-Citing program which provides agricultural literacy activities to elementary-aged youth. Photo: While visiting the livestock pavilion Robison, Wintersteen and Lawrence met two CALS students and champion exhibitors. From left: Wintersteen, Benjamin McClain, sophomore in animal science; Lawrence; Oliver Dies, sophomore in food science and animal science; and Robison.

ISU Breaks Ground for New Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex
ISU broke ground Friday, Sept. 13, to mark the start of construction of its $21.2 million Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex (name pending approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa). The site will be located on 10 acres of university-owned land southwest of the intersection of Highway 30 and State Avenue in Ames. The complex will include a feed mill tower, feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins, warehouse and an educational building with classrooms. Completion of the complex is expected during the summer of 2021. More

CALS Fall Enrollment Reflects Positive Outcomes
CALS fall 2019 enrollment (both undergraduate and graduate) is 4,821 — 4,169 undergraduates and 652 graduate students. While less than last fall’s 5,083, it is reflective of the fact that the 2018-2019 graduating class was the largest in CALS history with a record 1,397 degrees awarded. The incoming new student class from Iowa continued to be strong, with CALS departments recruiting more freshmen and more transfer students from in-state than last year. Women make up 55 percent of the CALS undergraduate student body — the fifth straight year the number of women enrolled has exceeded men. The top five undergraduate majors in enrollment are animal science (983), animal ecology (418), agricultural business (391), agricultural studies (302) and industrial technology (274). There is growth seen in some majors, including animal ecology, animal science, culinary food science, environmental science, forestry and horticulture. More about ISU’s enrollment. 

CALS One-Year Retention Numbers Lead Campus
The one-year undergraduate retention rate for CALS for the 2018 cohort continues to be strong at 88.1 percent. Also, 80.8 percent of retained students remained in a CALS major, which leads the university.

Sept. 17: CALS Fall Convocation
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Fall Convocation is Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 4:10 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room. The program will include brief comments from Dean Dan Robison. Faculty and staff honorees from the 2019 awards program will be recognized. (The awards program originally scheduled for Jan. 30 was cancelled due to the closing of the university due to inclement weather.) Also, a medallion ceremony will be held for Kristine Tidgren, the Leonard Dolezal Professor in Agricultural Law. A wine and cheese reception will follow.


CALS Leads Research to Teach Computers to Diagnose Soybean Stress
ISU scientists are working toward a future in which farmers can use unmanned aircraft to spot, and even predict, disease and stress in their crops. Their vision relies on machine learning, an automated process in which technology can help farmers respond to plant stress more efficiently. Arti Singh, agronomy, is leading a multi-disciplinary research team that recently received a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Team members include Asheesh Singh, agronomy; Daren Mueller, plant pathology and microbiology; and Soumik Sarkar and Baskar Ganapathysubramanian, mechanical engineering. More

Wang Co-Leads NSF Project on Crop Genetic Engineering
Kan Wang, agronomy, and Heidi Kaeppler, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will lead a project that received a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the next generation of crop transformation tools and the crop geneticists who will put them to work. The award will also support an international workshop led by Wang and Kaeppler. More

Nutrient Research Center Funds 16 New Water Quality Studies
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center has funded 16 new water quality and nutrient management projects for 2019-2020. According to Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering and center director, the projects represent more than $2.03 million in funding for water quality research. More

CALS Researchers Part of Project to Study Blockchain Technology
A team of ISU researchers led by Mark Mba-Wright, mechanical engineering, received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project titled Sustainable Field-to-Market Supply Chains Enabled by Blockchain Networks. The project will examine the development of blockchain technology to improve traceability and accountability in food markets. Team members include Chaoqun Lu, ecology, evolution and organismal biology; Lisa Schulte-Moore, natural resource ecology and management; and Nancy Grudens-Schuck, agricultural education and studies. More 

Teaching and Students

Leopold Center Offering Scholarships for Undergraduates
Junior and senior undergraduates at Iowa four-year colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals to a new sustainability scholarship program sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Awards of up to $1,000 will be provided to selected proposals to support planned learning and participation experiences for students interested in the broad area of sustainability. The deadline for submission is Oct. 30. More

Students Invited to Submit Poster Abstracts for Borlaug Competition
Abstracts are being accepted for the 18th annual Norman Borlaug Lectureship Poster Competition for Graduate and Undergraduate Students preceding the Borlaug Lecture, scheduled for Oct. 14 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Abstracts should describe work related to world issues. To be considered, complete the Borlaug Student Poster Competition submission survey by Sept. 26. You will be notified by Oct. 7 if your abstract has been selected for the poster competition. The Borlaug Poster Competition is coordinated by ISU’s Nutritional Sciences Council. More 

Extension and Outreach

This is Iowa Farm Safety Week, Sept. 15-21
Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week will be held Sept. 15-21 in conjunction with the National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s national theme is “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear.” According to Charles Schwab, agricultural and biosystems engineering, fall harvest time is typically the busiest season of the year and the time when agriculture reports the largest number of injuries. More

Remember to Share Iowa Roads this Fall
There is an increase in farm vehicle traffic on Iowa roadways during harvest. So, it is not surprising that this is the time of year when there are also more agricultural collisions on highways and county roads. This is a shared responsibility of both farm equipment and motor vehicle operators, according to Charles Schwab, agricultural and biosystems engineering. More

Forestry Field Days Planned Across Iowa this Fall
ISU Extension and Outreach with public and private partners will be hosting six forestry field days throughout Iowa in October. Topics will include how to manage a forest for profit, water quality, wildlife and the aesthetic value of trees. Billy Beck, natural resource ecology and management, is a new extension forestry specialist at ISU. More

ANR Extension Staff Spotlight: Peggy Auwerda
Peggy Auwerda is featured in the latest ANR Extension Staff Spotlight. She is an associate professor in animal science and an equine specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach. Through 4-H programming, the Master Equine Manager course and more, Auwerda has helped improve horse management and knowledge in Iowa for 30 years. More 

Around the College

ABE Undergraduate Program Ranked Second by U.S. News and World Report
The Iowa State agricultural and biosystems engineering undergraduate program was ranked second in overall national rankings of universities and second among public universities in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report’s “Best College” undergraduate rankings, up from number three last year. More

CALS Welcomed More Than 400 at College Barbecue
The college welcomed more than 400 alumni, friends, faculty and staff to the annual CALS BBQ, Aug. 31 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. Endowed Dean’s Chair Dan Robison offered comments during the program. CALS grad Kevin Ross ('03 ag studies) provided the welcome for the program, and Dean Robison presented Bill Northey (’81 ag business), Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, with a special George Washington Carver/Henry Wallace print. Photos of the event are available on the college’s Facebook page.

CALS Hosts U.S. Farm Report and AgriTalk’s Second Annual College Roadshow
The U.S. Farm Report College Roadshow stopped at Curtiss Hall last week to interview Chad Hart and Lee Schulz for its Sept. 14 broadcast (10:04, 25:36). Tyne Morgan, host of the show, did reports on the new feed mill and grain science complex (20:11) and Steve Whitham’s Enviratron research (31:50). Morgan also interviewed Dean Daniel Robison, Emily Branstad, ’19 MS in animal science, and Michelle Friedmann, a graduate student in agricultural and biosystems engineering, about the importance of the new feed technology minor and the new feed mill and grain science complex. The full report is available online.

Peters Named Roy J. Carver Professor in BBMB
Reuben Peters was selected as a Roy J. Carver Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology by CALS Dean Dan Robison and LAS Dean Beate Schmittmann. His research impacts both human and plant health, improving both crop production and protection, including natural antibiotics for plants, as well as terpenoids of pharmaceutical interest. He is also highly regarded for his commitment to mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in research and career exploration within and outside of academia. More 

Proposals for New Learning Across America Courses Due Sept. 30
The college has released three internal Call for Proposals for one-time grants to support the development of new courses. Proposals are due Sept. 30 for Learning Across America courses, to consist of faculty and staff led groups of undergraduate students traveling to domestic locations to learn and earn credit. The course is intended to provide expanded opportunities for students to learn about the diversity of cultures, food and agriculture systems, natural resources and life sciences within the U.S. For more information contact Alison Parker,, 4-3830.

Registration Open for Annual Swine Disease Conference
The 2019 ISU James D. McKean Swine Disease Conference will be held Nov. 7-8 at the Scheman Building. The program is designed to answer daily concerns of swine practitioners, and this year will focus heavily on the recent introduction of African Swine Fever into the Asian countries. The conference is sponsored by the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, the Iowa Pork Industry Center, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, District 6. More


Sept. 18: Iowa Learning Farms Webinar
The Iowa Learning Farms’ webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 12 p.m. will address integrating perennials to benefit farm economy, water quality and bioenergy feedstock production. Emily Heaton, agronomy, will present. More

Sept. 18: Agricultural Sustainability Poster Session
Students from agricultural universities in China, Japan and South Korea will be presenting posters on agricultural sustainability topics on Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the ground floor rotunda of Curtiss Hall, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. CALS Global Programs is hosting the 13 students and five faculty from four international universities for the 2019 Ag Biodiversity Conference, Sept. 16-22. The conference theme is “Honoring the Legacy of Norman Borlaug: Inspiring the Next Generation of Agricultural Professionals.” The students and faculty are from Yunnan Agricultural University in China, China Agricultural University, Hokkaido University in Japan and Yeungnam University in South Korea. Besides the poster session Sept. 18, the group will participate in the annual Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation’s annual fall Inspire Day on Sept. 20 in Cresco. They will also visit cultural attractions in Des Moines and Minneapolis.

Sept. 19: Feeding the World Seminar Series
The Feeding the World seminar series continues Thursday, Sept. 19, 3:40 to 5 p.m. in 1204 Kildee Hall, Ensminger Room. Julian Chase, chief transformation officer for Cargill, will present.

Sept. 26: Cultural Competency Series
The CALS Office for Diversity Programs will host a Cultural Competency Learning Series workshop on Managing Dis/Ableism on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 368A Heady Hall. The goal of the workshop is to help participants gain a basic understanding of ableism, disableism, access and accommodations. Please register online.

Oct. 2: Retirement Reception for Jeanne Stewart
A retirement reception for Jeanne Stewart, assistant scientist in food science and human nutrition will be held Oct. 2 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in 2379 Food Sciences Building. A brief program will take place at   3:15 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

Oct. 3: Errington Memorial Lecture
The Paul L. Errington Memorial Lecture will be held Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Karen Oberhauser, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and founder and director of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, will present “Monarch Conservation: Saving an Iconic Insect.” More  


Abstract Deadline for Plant Resistance to Insects Workshop Sept. 20
Abstracts are being accepted for oral and poster presentations at the 24th Biannual International Plant Resistance to Insects workshop, scheduled for March 2-4, 2020, in Mexico. The deadline for abstract submission is Sept. 20. More


CALS Students, Alums Help Prepare Football Field for ISU-Iowa Showdown
On a regular football weekend, getting the field at Jack Trice Stadium ready is a team effort that takes Iowa State Athletics facilities and grounds staff and a team of nine to 10 CALS students nearly 40 to 50 hours to complete. With last week's rain, field prep was delayed, so some college alumni came home to help set-up for Saturday's ISU-Iowa game. CALS' nationally recognized turf-management program does active research on how to improve athlete safety and durability of turf fields. More

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.


University Nondiscrimination Statement