Issue: 1293

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
April 29, 2024 

Dean’s Message

Greetings CALS Colleagues – I hope you had a great weekend with some good weather and some much needed rain, too. But some of that rain came with devastating storms in parts of the state. We should all take a pause on this Monday and think about those fellow Iowans (and others across the country) suffering with the burden of storm damage, injuries and loss of life… This is Soil and Water Conservation Week (April 28-May 5), and the truth is that in Iowa, every week is about soil and water… More 

Top Stories

In the first of what is hoped to be regular trips to the country, a group of 10 Iowa State students got to experience agriculture in Nepal and how it is being impacted by climate change.

A Study Abroad Trip like No Other
In the first of what is hoped to be regular trips to the country, a group of 10 Iowa State students got to experience agriculture in Nepal and how it is being impacted by climate change. Led by Ramesh Balayar and David Peters, both rural sociologists in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, the Exploring Ecosystem Services and Subsistence Farming Activities in Rural Nepal study abroad trip took place over spring break last month. The students and instructors visited two groups of farmers – one in the southern part of the country and one in the northern part – and saw first-hand how farming practices differ from those in the United States. The students and local farmers talked about the challenges faced in the country when it comes to growing and providing food and income for families. More 

Teaching and Students

Science with Practice Poster Session Set for April 30
This semester’s Science with Practice poster session open house is Tuesday, April 30, from 1-3 p.m. in the Kildee Hall atrium. Science with Practice is a CALS experiential learning and work program for undergraduate students. All are invited to come talk to the students about their research.

Extension and Outreach

Iowa State Experts Offer Insight on 2024 Planting Season
As corn and soybean farmers in Iowa begin spring planting, drought remains a concern, and market conditions suggest profits will be tight. Three ISU Extension and Outreach agricultural experts provide insight on the 2024 growing season: Chad Hart, grain markets specialist; Mark Licht, cropping systems specialist; and Madelynn Wuestenberg, agricultural climatology specialist. More 

Freeman Offers Safety Tips for Planting Season
Steven Freeman, agricultural and biosystems engineering, offers tips to help keep farmers and rural motorists safe during planting season. For example, motorists are advised to be patient if farmers do not pull over. The edges of roadways along county highways cannot always support the weight of farm equipment. He also reminds farmers that during this time of year, the Iowa sun is low in the sky, making it extremely difficult to see what is in front of you, especially at dusk. If possible, he advises farmers not to travel during these busy times. More 

Celebrate Soil and Water Conservation Week
ISU Extension and Outreach is celebrating Soil and Water Conservation Week April 28 through May 5. The statewide celebration recognizes the ongoing work to improve soil conservation and water quality in Iowa and engage Iowans in learning about the importance of conservation and natural resource stewardship. More 

Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference is May 15
Farm managers, rural appraisers, real estate brokers and others interested in the Iowa land market can receive timely updates at this year’s Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference on May 15, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Scheman Building. Presenters will examine current issues in rural property management, appraisal, the selling and buying of land, as well as agricultural policy. The annual conference – now in its 96th year – is the longest running at Iowa State University in research and extension. More 

Around the College

Private Sector Partnerships Strengthen Higher Education in Kosovo
A new USAID-supported partnership between academic institutions in Kosovo with Iowa State and the University of Iowa aims to strengthen working partnerships between the private sector and the Kosovo Education Center, and support development of market-oriented and experiential learning approaches in the country’s agriculture and information technology sectors. Curt Youngs, animal science, is helping lead the project, which stems from a longstanding civic relationship between the sister states of Iowa and the Republic of Kosovo. More 

Regents Approve Faculty Promotions
The state Board of Regents approved promotion and tenure for 66 faculty members, including the following nine from CALS. Also this week, the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost announced promotions for 56 term faculty for the 2024-25 academic year, including the following five from CALS. More  

  • Promotion to Professor (already tenured): Maura McGrail, genetics, development and cell biology; Gretchen Mosher, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Maria Salas-Fernandez, agronomy; Lee Schulz, economics; Justin Walley, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology; and Michael Weber, natural resource ecology and management.
  • Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure: Laura Greiner, James Koltes and Ranga Appuhamy, animal science. 
  • Promotion to Associate Teaching Professor: Jon Davis, agricultural education and studies; Mindy DeVries, agronomy; Jelena Kraft, genetics, development and cell biology; and Saxon Ryan, agricultural and biosystems engineering.
  • Promotion to Rank-only Adjunct Associate Professor: Betsy Matos, horticulture.

CALS Faculty to Speak at Science Friday Live
Science Friday, a weekly science talk show broadcast on public radio stations, is making a live appearance in Ames on Saturday, May 4, at 6 p.m. in Stephens Auditorium. Arti Singh and Patrick Schnable, agronomy, will talk about how they see the future of agriculture, including using AI and robots to give farmers a better understanding of their crops in real-time. Erin Norton, director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute, will discuss the science of growing cold hardy grapes and the burgeoning wine industry in Iowa. More 

P&S CYtation Recipients Recognized for Extraordinary Service
The Professional and Scientific Council presented its annual CYtation Awards for outstanding work and contributions at a March 26 ceremony. Recipients included the following. More  

  • Carla Harris, CALS graduate student services.
  • Seed Lab Team, Seed Science Center: Drew Miller, Natalie Jacobson, Will Zastrow, Jessica Blake, Brooklynn Aamodt, Kaitlin Metzger, Susan Souhrada, Charles Block, Day Carrera, Daniela Avalos-Ochoa, Tess Howard, Michael Stahr, Kim North, Derrick Mayfield and Gabriela Morel-Gadea.

Tour Iowa State Wine and Beer Operations on May 2
The CALS Staff Council is participating in a tour of the Iowa State wine and beer operations in the Food Sciences Building on Thursday, May 2, at 3:15 p.m. Tastings will be part of the tour and available if over 21 years old (ID may be verified). Thirty spots are available for CALS staff. Email no later than 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, to claim a spot.


April 29: Farewell for Dave Ross
A farewell party for Dave Ross is today, April 29, from 2-4 p.m. (remarks at 3 p.m.) in Harl Commons, Curtiss Hall. Ross has been with CALS Student Services for more than 20 years. More 

May 1: Deadline to RSVP for CALS Faculty and Staff Gathering
CALS faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the end of spring semester at a gathering on May 8 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Harl Commons patio on the east side of Curtiss Hall. Food will be provided, along with ISU wine and beer, and ice cream from the ISU Creamery. The evening will feature “The Ballad of Dean Robison” by Iowa No Mountain Boys. RSVP by May 1. Plus ones are welcome. More 

May 2: Omelet Breakfast at the Memorial Union
The Iowa Soybean Research Center, the Iowa Food and Family Project, the Iowa Egg Council and the North Central Poultry Association will host an omelet breakfast for Iowa State students in recognition of National Egg Month on May 2, from 7:30-9:30 a.m. in the Memorial Union. The event will help educate students on the connection of soy to the egg industry (poultry feed contains soybean meal), as well as providing a hearty breakfast the week before finals.

May 2: IGNITE Innovation Showcase
The Student Innovation Center is hosting its annual IGNITE Innovation Showcase April 30-May 3. The CALS Showcase, Innovation + Collaboration, is Thursday, May 2, in 4227 and 4229 SICTR, from 1-4 p.m. It will include Pathways to Innovation and Leadership, Start Something CALS, Science with Practice, Science-Inspired Artwork, first place recipients of the Food Production Development Competition and ISU Creamery. More 

Communications Kiosk

Between vs. Among vs. Amid
Between indicates one-to-one relationships (between you and me). Among indicates undefined or collective relationships (honor among thieves). Between has long been recognized as being perfectly appropriate for more than two objects if multiple one-to-one relationships are understood from the context (trade between members of the European Union). Amid is often used with mass nouns in the plural (amid talk of war) – though it can often be used with abstract nouns in the plural (resigned amid rumors of misconduct; the investigation comes amid growing concerns). Among is invariably used with plurals of count nouns (among the children). Avoid amidst and amongst, especially in American English. (The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, pg. 315)


Barks at Parks Celebrates 10th Anniversary
This academic year marks the 10th anniversary of the first Barks at Parks, when certified therapy dogs come to Parks Library’s upper rotunda for some attention – but really to help students relax during prep week. The dogs return this semester today, April 29, through Friday, May 3. More 


Wisconsin Introduces Fat Bird Week
“The race to find Wisconsin’s floofiest fowl – its most ample avian – its chonkiest chirper – is on,” wrote Jessie Opoien, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in an April 25 article. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is hosting Fat Bird Week to help people learn about Wisconsin’s birds and what they can do to help the birds. There are two measures of “fat.” In many cases, a fat bird is really just a fluffy bird, Opoien writes. According to the NRF, birds can manipulate the contours of their features to create air spaces between them – insulating the birds to keep them warm in the winter. Migratory birds, on the other hand, will bulk up as they prepare for their travels. During this process, birds can increase their body weight by 50-100% to store up energy. The winner will be announced during a webinar on Tuesday, April 30.

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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