Issue: 1285

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
February 26, 2024 

Dean’s Message

Greetings CALS – I am in Washington, D.C. attending the 2024 Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching/Board on Agriculture Assembly Joint Washington Conference that extends through Wednesday. The events include a reception tonight with local CALS alums, government and industry partners and friends. It is being hosted by myself and Jason Henderson, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach, with special guests… More 

Top Stories

Bobby Martens, economics and Iowa Institute of Cooperatives Endowed Economics Professor, held a class last fall where students heard from experts on soybean markets, exports, supply chains and cooperatives.

Students Follow Soybean Supply Chain to Pacific Northwest
Many Iowa State students studying agribusiness have seen a harvest hauled to market. Far fewer have witnessed what happens next. Bobby Martens, economics and Iowa Institute of Cooperatives Endowed Economics Professor, held a class last fall where students heard from experts on soybean markets, exports, supply chains and cooperatives. However, watching soybeans flow through the supply chain had a bigger impact. The 11 students in the course spent a week in December on a trip that stretched from Midwestern processing plants to Pacific Northwest ports. More 

Teaching and Students

Ethics Class Immerses Students in Conservation
All CALS students must take an ethics course, and Shawn Dorius, sociology and criminal justice, saw an opportunity to offer students a somewhat different engagement with ethics. “What is underrepresented in our ethics offerings are experiential courses that move students into the contexts where ethic issues are most apparent and challenging,” Dorius said. His Study USA course, SOC 234: Conservation Ethics and Values, lets students learn about the history of American conservation in the heart of the Mountain West. More 

Landscape Club Holding Design Sessions March 2
The Landscape Club’s spring design sessions are now open for Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Horticulture Hall. A one-hour session is $125 and club members will provide basic site overview, plant recommendations and a landscape perspective drawing. Proceeds support the club’s participation in the National Collegiate Landscape Competition. More 

Block and Bridle Cake Auction Scheduled for March 5
The Block and Bridle Club is holding its annual cake auction on March 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kildee Hall Atrium. Various clubs and interest groups in the college donate cakes, with all proceeds going to animal science scholarships.

Block and Bridle Club to Host Animal Learning Day, March 23
Iowa State’s Block and Bridle Club will hold its annual Animal Learning Day on March 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. The event is free and provides an opportunity for the public to learn about animals in agriculture. There will be activities for all ages, including a Taste of Iowa segment. More 

Extension and Outreach

Extension Releases New Woodland Assessment Tools
Two new forest resources from ISU Extension and Outreach seek to help Iowans in the beginning stages of understanding their forests. Both publications encourage woodland owners to form a close relationship with a professional forester, said Billy Beck, extension forestry specialist. More 

Master Woodland Steward Program Available this Spring
ISU Extension and Outreach is offering the Iowa Master Woodland Steward Program April 4 through May 16, which consists of seven learning modules spread over a six-week period, with a combination on online and in-field learning opportunities. Sessions will cover forest planning, tree growth and long-term forest management. More 

Around the College

CSRL Releases 2023 Annual Report
The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods has released its 2023 annual donor impact report, “Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency.” It includes information on the visit by His Majesty William Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV, King of Busoga, Uganda, to Iowa State University, a new project related to improved amaranth genetics, and many updates to continued projects made possible by donor support. More 

In Memoriam: M. Ali Tabatabai
M. Ali Tabatabai passed away Feb. 15 at the Israel Family Hospice House. He was 89. Tabatabai was an agronomy faculty member in soil chemistry from Sept. 1972 to Jan. 2013. A private burial ceremony was held at Adams Funeral Home and at the Ames Al Darun Mosque and Islamic Center, followed by burial in the Muslim section of the Story County Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a future date.

In Memoriam: Sherrlyn “Sherry” Olsen
Sherrlyn Olsen, associate teaching professor in animal science and Meat Judging Team coach, passed away on Feb. 22. She was 63. Olsen received her master’s degree and doctorate degree in meat science from Iowa State, and joined the department in 2008 with a passion for teaching. Burial will be at a cemetery at New Hope, Missouri, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship has been established for an Iowa State student majoring in meat science. More 


Feb. 28: Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinar
Rick Cruse, agronomy and director of the Iowa Water Center, will present “Soil Conservation and Water Management – the Keys to Improving Climate Resilience” for the Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at noon. This episode will mark the 300th webinar in the Iowa Learning Farms series. More 

March 4: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
Sarah Lohman will present “Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine” at a lecture on March 4 at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Culinary Science Club are co-sponsors of the lecture. More 

March 18: Shivvers Lecture
John Reganold, Regents Professor of Soil Science and Agroecology at Washington State University, will present the 2024 Shivvers Lecture on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in 2226 Bessey Hall. The event is hosted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture. More 

Communications Kiosk

Censor vs. Censure
To censor is to review books, films, letters and the like to remove objectionable material (soldiers’ letters are often censored in wartime). To censure is to criticize strongly or disapprove, or to officially reprimand (in some countries the government censors the press; in the United States the press often censures the government). (The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, pg. 317)


Registration for ISCORE 2024 Closes Today, Feb. 26
Registration closes today, Feb. 26, for the 2024 Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity. The forum is free and open to the Iowa State community and will be held Thursday, Feb. 29 in the Memorial Union. A half-day preconference for faculty, staff and graduate students is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28. More 

George Washington Carver Art Walk on Feb. 28
University Museums docent Steve Petska will lead a walk through the works of art honoring George Washington Carver found throughout the Art on Campus Collection on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at noon. The program begins in the second floor rotunda of Curtiss Hall. More 


The Science of Leap Year
A calendar year is typically 365 days long. These “common years” loosely define the number of days it takes the Earth to complete one orbit around the sun. However, an article from the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institute clarifies that 365 is actually a rounded number. It takes Earth 365.242190 days to orbit the sun, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 56 seconds. This “sidereal” year is slightly longer than the calendar year and that extra time needs to be accounted for, or the seasons would begin to drift. By adding an extra day every four years, the calendar years stay adjusted to the sidereal year. But that’s not quite right either. Over four years, the calendar years and the sidereal year is not exactly 24 hours. Instead, it’s 23.262222 hours. Rounding strikes again. By adding a leap day every four years, the calendar becomes longer by more than 44 minutes, and over time would cause the seasons to drift. For this reason, not every four years is a leap year. If the year is divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400, leap year is skipped. The year 2000 was a leap year, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not. The next time a leap year will be skipped is the year 2100. 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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