Issue: 1215

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
August 15, 2022

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS - One week to go until the start of the fall semester – and the energy level and buzz around campus and in town has risen a good deal in anticipation. Enjoy the feeling as our students come back to us refreshed by summer and ready to start a new year of learning and doing... If you need one more breather of summer before the semester begins, you can always check out the great Iowa State Fair! More

Top Stories

Virtual reality applications may be useful to boost poultry health, according to Iowa State researchers led by Melha Mellata, food science and human nutrition, and Graham Redweik, former doctoral student in the Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program.

Virtual Reality Could Boost Poultry Health
Virtual reality applications may be useful to boost poultry health, according to Iowa State researchers led by Melha Mellata, food science and human nutrition, and Graham Redweik, former doctoral student in the Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program. Their pilot study, reported in the journal Frontiers of Science, was co-authored with partners at the Virtual Reality Applications Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Using VR technology, the scientists simulated a free-range environment in laying hen housing, which appeared to reduce indicators of stress in the hens’ blood and gut microbiota and induce biochemical changes related to increased resistance to E. coli bacteria. More  

Teaching and Students

CALS Alum Reminisces on Career in Soil Science
As a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, Prabhakar Tamboli earned a doctoral degree in agronomy in 1961 from Iowa State University. He returned to India where he became professor and associate dean at Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University at Jabalpur, and established the soils research program. From there, his career took him to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome and The World Bank in Washington, D.C. Upon retiring, Tamboli decided it was time to teach. At 93, he still teaches an undergraduate course on international crop production at the University of Maryland. More  

Extension and Outreach

Hay and Straw Directory a Useful Resource
Dry weather and extensive heat have limited hay yields for some growers, according to ISU Extension and Outreach. A helpful resource is the state listing of online hay and straw sellers, offered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. More than 70 farms and farm companies are listed, with details about the crop, as well as information about delivery, custom baling and hay grinding services. More  

Around the College

Steibel New Lush Chair for Animal Breeding and Genetics
Juan Steibel has joined the animal science department as the new Lush Chair for Animal Breeding and Genetics. He will primarily work on the phenomics and genomics of behavioral and performance traits in pig production systems with the goal of simultaneously improving profitability and societal acceptance of swine farming. More  

Nair Elected American Society for Horticultural Science VP
The American Society for Horticultural Science has elected Ajay Nair as vice president for its extension division. Nair, horticulture and extension vegetable production specialist, took charge of the position earlier this month at the association’s annual conference in Chicago. More  

Leopold Center Releases 2021 Annual Report
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has released its 2021 annual report, which is available online. It includes comments from interim director Steve Dinsmore and reviews some of the lessons learned by former director Mark Rasmussen, who retired in 2021. Two articles by project leaders feature work that received significant support from the Leopold Center in 2021. The report also includes updated financials and short highlights of other efforts that began or culminated during the last year. More  

ISRC Thanks Meals from the Heartland Volunteers
The Iowa Soybean Research Center thanks the more than 40 volunteers who helped with the Meals from the Heartland event on Aug. 5, and to Cargill, for their very generous donation to cover the cost of the ingredients. The group packaged 38,000 meals, some of which will be used locally at Iowa State’s SHOP and Food at First in Ames and in the Des Moines area. Some of the meals will also be shipped to Iowa’s Ukraine Sister State of Cherkasy Oblast. The ISRC hosts the event in August to celebrate soybean month in Iowa as the meals contain soy protein.


Aug. 19: Ice Cream Social
Dean Robison is hosting an ice cream social on Aug. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the patio behind Curtiss Hall. CALS faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the new school year. In the event of inclement weather, the gathering will take place inside Harl Commons. 

Aug. 31-Sept. 2: International Drainage Symposium
The 11th International Drainage Symposium on Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Des Moines, will bring together drainage experts from around the world to discuss agricultural drainage opportunities and solutions to challenges. Symposium co-chair is Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering and director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. More  


Efforts to Combat Teacher Shortages Don’t Address Real Problems
States have recently focused their efforts to reduce the nation’s teacher shortage by promoting strategies that “remove or relax barriers to entry” to quickly bring new people into the teaching profession. But according to research by Douglas Smith, Iowa State University’s School of Education, these approaches do not address the actual causes of the nationwide teacher shortage. “The root cause of the problem is a longstanding overall lack of respect for teachers and their craft, which is reflected by decades of low pay, hyperscrutiny and poor working conditions,” said Smith, in an Aug. 8 article he co-authored for The Conversation. More  


“These Guys are Magicians”
Brothers Adam (’02 agricultural business) and Andy Rahe maintain one of the most famous cornfields in America, adjacent to the Field of Dreams. Last year, more than 250,000 people from across the country visited the Rahe cornfield. 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 Thursday. 


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