Issue: 1252

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
June 5, 2023 

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – It's been two weeks since this newsletter and my message, prior to Memorial Day, and I hope you are all off to a great summer. This week in Des Moines (and a field trip) will be a meeting of the group called Iowa Smart Agriculture. It should be an excellent set of discussions on the outlook and energy behind advances in thinking and doing on land use in sustainable, regenerative, circular system ways. It's just one of so many important programs here in the college that support the future of how we farm and feed Iowa and the world… More 

Top Stories

Meet Curtiss the calf, a new addition to the CALS Communications team. He’s spent all school year watching the excitement of central campus from his third floor window in Curtiss Hall, but now it's his chance to explore.

Curtiss the Calf Joins CALS Communications
Meet Curtiss the calf, a new addition to the CALS Communications team. He’s spent all school year watching the excitement of central campus from his third floor window in Curtiss Hall, but now it's his chance to explore. For the past few weeks, Curtiss has been roaming around campus. You can follow his journey on Instagram Stories all summer long, guessing where he’s found himself on Wednesdays and seeing if you are right on Fridays. Follow along on Instagram at @iastate_cals!


Plastina Talks about Quality Carbon Credits
What makes a quality carbon credit? The short answer is that buyers often look for high-quality credits that are based on additional practices, ensure some amount of permanence, are verified and registered. Alejandro Plastina, economics, contributed to a white paper on this topic just issued by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. More 

Teaching and Students

Brown Graduate Fellowship Cohort Announced
Six Iowa State graduate students have been selected to receive $60,000 in Brown Graduate Fellowship Program funding to support strategic university research over the next year, including: Warren Rouse, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; Madeline Lewis, fisheries biology; Wei Chen, geology and environmental science; Savannah Weaver, ecology and evolutionary biology; and David Hall, interdepartmental genetics and genomics. More 

Extension and Outreach

Cash Rents Reach New High in Iowa, Survey Shows
Average cash rents in Iowa are the highest on record, according to the Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2023 Survey conducted by ISU Extension and Outreach. The survey shows an increase of 9% in 2023, for a state average of $279 per acre. The new record is 3.3% higher than the previous record set in 2013, when rent was $270 per acre. More 

New Center to Support Food Systems in Five-State Region
Food systems partners from five states are working together on a $25 million grant project from USDA that will create a resource hub for regional food systems practitioners in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Known as the Heartland Regional Food Business Center, the web-based information center will help connect local food entrepreneurs, food purchasers and anyone with a connection to regional and local food systems. More 

New Podcast Sheds Light on Iowa Weather
A new podcast with Justin Glisan, Iowa’s state climatologist, and Dan Fillius, horticulture and commercial vegetable field specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, provides insight into weather patterns and their impact on specialty crop growers in Iowa. The podcast will be updated weekly during the growing season and is free and available for streaming online or through Spotify and Apple Podcasts. More 

Learn How to Help Bobwhites Thrive in Iowa
To help Iowans better understand the bobwhite quail and the environment that it needs to thrive, ISU Extension and Outreach has published a nine-page guide, “Northern Bobwhites in Iowa.” Authored by Adam Janke, extension wildlife specialist, and graduate student Riggs Wilson, the publication covers the basic lifecycle characteristics of bobwhites, considerations for rural and urban habitat, and a description of the different foods these birds need to survive. More 

Vigilance is Key to Preventing Tick Bites
As the weather warms and Iowans spend more time outside, the risk of tick diseases can be lowered by avoiding ticks, checking for tick hitchhikers upon returning indoors, and removing any attached ticks promptly and effectively. According to Laura Iles, director and extension plant pathologist with the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center, the three most common species are the blacklegged or deer tick, the American dog or wood tick and the lone star tick. More 

Get the ANR Scoop
ANR Extension launched a direct email that collects all the new resources published by agriculture and natural resources extension. This includes the latest news releases, publications, videos, podcasts and more. The intent is to keep readers in the loop and provide information to share with others. It is sent out every other week. Subscribe and view past issues online

Around the College

Job Descriptions Posted for Two Department Chairs
A job description has been posted for the department chair of agronomy and the department chair of horticulture, both with a proposed start date of Aug. 15, 2024.

CALS Announces New Opportunity for Staff
CALS Staff Champions is a new program for college staff (P&S or merit) that will launch in July. A cohort of 10 staff will be selected to participate in a professional development program focusing on the college’s operations. Sessions will take place the second Friday of each month from July to December from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with lunch provided. Applications are due June 16. Find more information and the application form in the May 30 email from Alicia Hauser.

Young Alum of the Month: BJ Brugman
BJ Brugman (’12 agricultural business) has used the education he received at Iowa State and his experience in the agriculture industry to start Distynct, a smart alarm monitoring system.  When installed in hog barns, the system allows farmers and producers to keep tabs on barn conditions remotely via smartphones. More 

Building Positive Peace Goes Beyond Conflict Resolution
A new collection of essays from Iowa State faculty underscores how all of us can play a role in cultivating a more peaceful world. The authors, including Rameshwar Kanwar and Kurt Rosentrater, agricultural and biosystems engineering, demonstrate this by drawing from their own disciplines. More 

List of Events to be Included in Updated CALS Website
The CALS main website is very close to launching its new design. One of its new features is an “Events” page, intended to display events hosted by and featuring CALS faculty, staff and student organizations. Please send details of current and future events to Madelyn Ostendorf ( or Julie Stewart ( Include the event's name, the date and time, the location and other descriptive information.


June 21: Northeast Farm Field Day
The annual field day at the Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm is June 21. ISU Extension and Outreach experts will discuss ag markets, weed management and pollinator habitat. More 

June 21: Southeast Farm Field Day
The annual field day at the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm is June 21. ISU Extension and Outreach experts will discuss tar spot and using UAV and drone technology to manage pests, as well as updates on local research. More 

June 22: Northern Farm Field Day
The annual field day at the Northern Research and Demonstration Farm is June 22. Join agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach for a day of education and networking. More 

June 29: Iowa Swine Day
The 12th annual Iowa Swine Day is June 29 in Ames. Industry professionals and swine experts with ISU Extension and Outreach will provide a day of education and networking. More 

Communications Kiosk

Illegible vs. Unreadable
Handwriting or printing that is “illegible” is not clear enough to be read (illegible scrawls). Writing that is “unreadable” is so poorly composed as to be either incomprehensible or intolerably dull. (The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, pg. 285)


USDA Grant Expands Data-Sharing Initiative
After pioneering a system to improve swine health by collecting and publicizing pathogen testing results from large public veterinary laboratories across the Midwest, a team led by faculty from Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine is planning to bore even deeper to glean more insight from the vast data set. More 

Sloss House Offers Space and Support for Students
The Margaret Sloss Center for Women & Gender Equity, located just south of Curtiss Hall, supports students through community building, programming and resource sharing. Sloss House offers communal student space with a living room, sunroom, kitchen and an all-gender bathroom. There is also a children’s play area with books, toys and activities to support student parents. The Sloss Resource Room offers a satellite location of the SHOP food pantry, as well as personal care items, parenting supplies and books. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or by appointment. More 


Starting at the Peak
Curtiss Hall is getting pressure washed as part of a larger project to renew the exterior of the administrative home of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The process includes cleaning the stone and masonry, repairing or replacing cracked and deteriorated stone, tuck-pointing and replacing the building sealant. The work will continue through the summer, restoring more than 30,000 square feet of building surface. 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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