Issue: 1259

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
July 31, 2023 

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – This week and next, campus really starts to prepare for incoming students, and many of you are enjoying the last opportunities for vacation this summer before the academic year or before getting ready to harvest. And then there’s the wonderful distraction of the Iowa State Fair! State and county fairs in the U.S. certainly began as agricultural and community gathering enterprises and have added layer after layer of other things to celebrate, too. However, there is a need to sustain the agricultural overlay of fairs to still achieve those values… More 

Top Stories

Thomas Lübberstedt (right), agronomy, and Alan Myers, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, are part of a federal research project aimed at boosting sweet corn quality, using the same genetic tools that have led to advancements in field corn.

Iowa State Researchers Part of Project to Make Sweet Corn Better
It’s hard to beat fresh sweet corn in the summer. Or is it? Thomas Lübberstedt (right), agronomy, and Alan Myers, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, are part of a federal research project aimed at boosting sweet corn quality, using the same genetic tools that have led to advancements in field corn. While sweet corn – fresh on the cob, frozen or canned – is one of the most popular vegetables among U.S. consumers, there are economic reasons why research has flowed to field corn used for livestock feed, food processing and manufacturing. The $800 million of sweet corn grown in the U.S. every year is about 1% of the country’s corn production. But Americans don’t eat enough vegetables, and consumption of sweet corn, one of their favorites, has been trending down for decades. So USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has been funding a research project to improve sweet corn’s flavor and resilience. More 

Teaching and Students

Cyclone Football a Family Affair for the Petersens
When Zach Petersen (’22 agricultural systems technology) played football for the Cyclones, he was able to help his younger brother, Joey, when he also became a defensive end for the team. Joey is now offering the same assistance to the third Petersen brother, AJ, who will play tight end. All three boys learned from their father, Troy Petersen, a defensive lineman for the Cyclones in the early ‘90s. Joey is a junior majoring in industrial technology. AJ is a freshman majoring in agricultural systems technology. More  

Extension and Outreach

Updated Extension Publication Covers Insects Found in Crops
The latest edition of Field Crop Insects is now available from the ISU Extension Store. The guide provides detailed descriptions and photos of more than 50 pests and beneficial insects found in Iowa and information on insect life cycle, crop injury, scouting and management options. More 

Newly Updated Lab Provides Modern Testing Services
The Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute recently updated its testing services for wine, beer and cider products. Housed inside the Food Sciences Building, the laboratory also offers interpretation and guidance per the customer’s request. More 

Around the College

Schalinske Receives National Nutrition Award
Kevin Schalinske, food science and human nutrition, received the Excellence in Nutrition Education Award from the American Society for Nutrition at its annual meeting July 22-25 in Boston. More 

Lübberstedt Leads National Association of Plant Breeders 
Thomas Lübberstedt, agronomy, assumed the role of president of the National Association of Plant Breeders at the organization’s annual meeting July 16-20 in Greenville, South Carolina. More 

Plastina Receives Outstanding Article Award
Alejandro Plastina, economics, received the Choices Magazine Outstanding Article Award from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association at its annual meeting July 23-25 in Washington, D.C. More 

In Memoriam: John Tait
John Tait, professor emeritus in sociology and criminal justice, passed away on July 21 at the Green Hill Retirement Community in Ames. He was 89. Tait earned a master’s degree in 1964 and a doctorate degree in 1970 in rural sociology from Iowa State. He spent a majority of his career in the ISU Extension Service and on faculty in the rural sociology department. He enjoyed supporting rural Iowa community leaders and advising graduate students from Africa and Asia. He retired in 1992. A memorial service will be held this afternoon, July 31, at 2 p.m. at the Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames. The memorial service will also be livestreamed. More 


Aug. 1: Organic Corn Variety Trial Field Day
An organic corn variety trial field day is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 4-6 p.m. at the Scott Shriver organic farm near Jefferson. Plant breeders from Iowa State and USDA, along with Albert Lea/Blue River and Prairie Hybrids, will announce new varieties and discuss best practices for organic corn production, including fertilizing and weed management. More 

Aug. 2: Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinar
Randall Cass, Iowa State Extension bee specialist, will speak about bee health in Iowa’s agricultural landscape for the Iowa Learning Farms webinar, Wednesday, Aug. 2, at noon. More 

Aug. 8: Fruit and Vegetable Field Day
The horticulture team with ISU Extension and Outreach will hold the 2023 Fruit and Vegetable Field Day on Aug. 8 at the Horticulture Research Station. The annual event will feature research and demonstration projects on organic vegetable production, peppers, apples, grapes and beneficial insects. More 

Aug. 18: CALS Faculty and Staff Ice Cream Social
Dean Robison is hosting an ice cream social on Aug. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to noon 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.

Communications Kiosk

Toward vs. Towards
The preferred form in American English is toward: this has been so since about 1900. In British English, towards predominates. The same is true for other directional words, such as upward, downward, forward and backward, as well as afterward. The use of afterwards and backwards as adverbs is neither rare nor incorrect (and is preferred in British English). For the sake of consistency, many American editors prefer the shorter forms without the final s. (The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, pg. 355)


Iowa State Finalist for APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity Award
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named Iowa State as a finalist for the 2023 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards that recognize exemplary and innovative case studies of economic engagement impact. Iowa State’s nomination highlights work at the BioCentury Research Farm, Digital Ag Innovation Lab, the Ivy College of Business and Venture Mentoring Service. Winners will be announced during the association’s annual meeting in November. More   

CELT Teaching Symposium Scheduled for Aug. 15
All members of the Iowa State community are invited to the morning session of the CELT Teaching Symposium 2023 on Aug. 15 in the Lee Liu Auditorium in 2271 Howe Hall. Todd Zakrajsek will speak about “The Power of Connections.” Attendance is free, but registration is required. More 

Volunteers Needed for Cyclone Welcome Weekend
Volunteers are needed to support the annual Cyclone Welcome Weekend, scheduled for Aug. 18-19. The event is for all Iowa State students—both new and returning. The goal is to engage students in healthy, community-building activities to reduce high-risk behaviors often associated with the weekend before classes. About 140 volunteers are needed to support the activities scheduled for the evening of Friday, Aug. 18 and the morning and evening of Saturday, Aug. 19: welcome cookout, central campus breakfast and activities at Hilton Coliseum. More information about the volunteer requirements for each activity is in the PDF attached to the email message sent from the Office of the President on July 27. Sign up for one or more shifts through the registration system. All volunteers will receive a free T-shirt and commemorative event poster. 


Heirloom Corn Makes a Comeback in Mexico
On the slopes of the Malinche volcano in Mexico, Juan Vargas starts the dawn routine he’s had since childhood, carefully checking stalks of colorful native corn. For years, Vargas worried that these heirloom varieties — running from deep red to pale pink, from golden yellow to dark blue — passed down from his parents and grandparents would disappear. Long ago, white corn came to dominate the market and became the foundation of Mexicans’ diet. But now, the Associated Press reports in a July 26 article that the heirloom corn Vargas grows is in vogue. 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.


University Nondiscrimination Statement