Issue: 484

College News

College Launches Stories, A New Alumni Magazine
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has launched a new alumni magazine -- STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences. The publication features college news and profiles students, faculty and alumni. The first issue includes feature stories on the college's work in biorenewables and annual report information. College alumni, faculty and staff will receive their copies this month.

Xin Named Adjunct Professor at China Agricultural University
Hongwei Xin, agricultural and biosystems engineering, has been honored with an adjunct professorship with China Agricultural University, the chief agricultural university in China. Xin is involved in a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service-funded project with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

ISU Researchers' Exhibit at Farm Bureau Convention
Patrick Schnable, agronomy, and Sarah Hargreaves, Plant Sciences Institute, have joined researchers invited to attend and exhibit their findings at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 89th annual convention this week in New Orleans. "Genetically Engineered Crops That Store Carbon in the Soil" is the title of Schnable and Hargreaves' exhibit. At the "Meet the Researchers" initiative, Farm Bureau members are encouraged to support universities with a commitment to agricultural progress through research.

Science with Practice Orientation Wednesday
Orientation for mentors and students will be Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 12:10 to 1 p.m. A light lunch will be provided. Coordinators will cover program topics including class credits, payroll and learning agreements. Contact:

Points of Pride Features Economics Faculty and Alum
As part of Iowa State's sesquicentennial celebration, 150 points of pride related to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are being posted on the Web. This week features past economics department faculty members and an alumnus.

Academic Computing Proposals Due Feb. 29
The university's Computation Advisory Committee (CAC) expects to recommend the expenditure of approximately $650,000 in student computer fees for projects that will have a broad impact on student computing and represent innovative uses of information technology for instruction at Iowa State. Student involvement in the development of proposals is encouraged. Proposals are due in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on Feb. 29 and should be sent to David Acker, associate dean for academic and global programs, at Proposals will be ranked by the College's Technology Advancement Committee and then forwarded to the CAC for consideration.

Artist Exhibits Painting of Whiterock Conservation Area
Ames artist and ISU alumna Nancy Thompson will exhibit her landscapes of Whiterock Conservancy in the Memorial Union through Feb. 10. The thesis exhibition is in the Pioneer Room. An artist reception, also in the Pioneer Room, will be held Saturday, Jan. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Leopold Center, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Iowa Department of Natural Resources are the founding organizations of the nonprofit Whiterock Conservancy, formed in December 2004 to manage a 1,290-acre conservation area along the Middle Raccoon River in west central Iowa. The area eventually will include 5,000 acres donated by the Garst family of Coon Rapids. The land will be used for research, education and multifunction agriculture to complement other economic development activities in the community.

Deadlines and Reminders
Jan. 18: Women Impacting ISU calendar reception, which honors Dean Wintersteen and College student Rachael Cox among students, faculty and staff whose accomplishments have positively affected the university, 3:30 p.m., Campanile Room, Memorial Union
Jan. 26: Beginning Farmers Conference, Gateway Hotel and Conference Center
Feb. 15: College convocation, 4:15 p.m., Curtiss Hall Auditorium, 127 Curtiss

Communications Kiosk

The Magic of Three
When you're developing talking points, aim for three, advises Joan Dertz, a speechwriter and coach featured in the "Writing that Works" newsletter. Dertz said that people expect three points and feel comfortable with that number. You don't need to explain why you have three, but avoid having only two points because it doesn't sound substantial. Also, people are less familiar with four points, which forces you to explain why you chose those four particular points. Five points sound formal and calculated. With three points, you sound informal. ("Writing that Works, The Business Communications Report," October 2007.)


Seminar: Bringing International Experiences to the Classroom
Eric Abbot, journalism, will present a seminar titled, "Integrating Knowledge Gained from International Experiences Back into the Classroom," at noon Jan. 23 in Room 302 Catt Hall. This is the second seminar of the "Global Learning Connections at ISU" series sponsored by the Iowa State Chapter of Phi Beta Delta, an honorary society dedicated to international scholarship.

Heartreach Mobile Lab on Campus Jan. 29
The HeartReach Mobile Lab from Iowa Health-Des Moines will be on campus Jan. 29 to offer health screenings. From 7:10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. it will be located west of the Communications building off Pammel Drive in parking lot 12. The tests offered include vascular, cholesterol profile with blood sugar, carotid artery screening, abdominal aortic screening, ankle-brachial index measure. There are charges for the screenings. An appointment needs to be scheduled by calling (866) 935-5432.

Animal Agrosecuirty Conference Set for June in Fargo
Beyond Borders Agrosecurity Conference is planned for June 4 to 6 in Fargo, N.D. It will address animal agrosecurity involving an international border. The speakers will represent producers, industry, government and extension.

Ag Outlook Forum Next Month
"Energizing Rural America in the Global Marketplace" is the theme of the USDA's 84th annual Ag Outlook Forum, Feb. 21-22, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.

External Voices

Optimism Surrounds Agriculture
"...Young people are excited about agriculture again. Agriculture programs at Iowa State University and at our community colleges have seen significant growth. There is a newfound optimism around agriculture that we haven't experienced in decades. Challenges remain, though. With profitability returning to agriculture, there have been dramatic increases in land prices and in the amount of rent farmers are paying. There are questions about how young people break into farming with the high startup costs they now face. People worry that this is a repeat of the boom times in the 1970s that led to the farm crisis in the 1980s. However, the opportunities I see in agriculture are real. The ethanol plants that have been built are not going to disappear overnight, especially in this era of $100 per barrel oil. The emerging international markets that have helped drive demand for our agriculture exports are not going away. I think it's important that we recognize the opportunities that are available on the farm and in our small rural communities right now and appreciate the role agriculture is playing in this revitalization of some rural areas." -- Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture, commentary


Popcorn Variety Study Expands Breeders' Knowledge
Mark Widrlechner, ISU agronomy collaborator with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service working at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, and plant geneticist Amalio Santacruz Varela, a former Iowa State graduate student and currently a professor and researcher at el Colegio de Postgraduados in Mexico, have teamed up to categorize maize varieties emphasizing popcorn. They focused on 56 varieties from the United States and Latin America and measured 29 morphological traits based on heritable qualities and popping characteristics. They also obtained genetic data from DNA markers and from variations in proteins called enzymes. Statistical programs were used to analyze these data and estimate the probability of close genetic relationships among the maize varieties. Drawing on the results, the team proposed classifying the majority of U.S. popcorn varieties into three main groups. Plant breeders can use this information about the origin and genetic relationships of U.S. popcorns to develop even better varieties of popcorn for snacking enthusiasts. (ARS News Service, Jan. 11)

Ag and Life Sciences Online

Ed Adcock,
Phone: (515) 294-5616 

Ag and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is e-mailed every Monday. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Ag and Life Sciences Online subscribe" to To unsubscribe, send "Ag and Life Sciences Online unsubscribe."

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