Issue: 841

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
March 16, 2015 – No. 841

Top Stories

Huffman: Consumers Willing to Spend More for Biotech Potato Products
New research from Wallace Huffman, economics, found that consumers were willing to spend more for genetically modified potato products with reduced levels of a chemical compound linked to cancer. Huffman said the findings underscore the importance of efforts to educate consumers on the use of biotechnology in the production of healthful food. More

Blodgett Talks about Monarch Population on Radio Iowa
Sue Blodgett, chair of the entomology and natural resource ecology and management departments, talked with Radio Iowa on March 12 about the decline in the monarch butterfly population. Monarch caterpillars depend on milkweed plants, so Blodgett is investigating the best way to place more of those plants around Iowa. More


Xin Explores Environmental Impact of Egg Production Industry
Hongwei Xin, director of the Egg Industry Center, and other ISU researchers played a key role in a recently completed comprehensive study of egg production systems that details the tradeoffs producers may face among considerations such as animal health, efficiency and environmental impact. The study compared conventional egg production with two alternative models, the first study to do so on a commercial scale. More

Spring Calving Begins at McNay Research Farm
Kevin Maher, beef cattle manager at the ISU McNay Research and Demonstration Farm near Chariton, reports that spring calving began March 11. Three calves have been born and “all are enjoying the weather,” Maher said. The McNay Farm calves about 250 cows each spring as part of a beef cattle breeding project led by Jim Reecy, animal science.

Teaching and Students

CALS Undergraduate Placement Rate: 98.4 Percent
For 17 consecutive years, the overall placement rate for CALS undergraduates has been 97 percent or higher. The placement rate from summer 2013 through spring 2014 is 98.4 percent, according to figures from CALS Career Services. Placement includes students that are employed, furthering their education or fulfilling military obligations. Mike Gaul, director of career services, says this was the largest graduating class in 17 years, with 906 graduates. He adds that 71 percent of graduates stayed in Iowa for their first employment experience. Individual departmental numbers can be viewed in an online summary.

Top Employers of CALS Undergraduates, 2013-2014
Mike Gaul, director of CALS Career Services, says the top employers of CALS bachelor’s degree recipients from 2013-2014 are: 1) Cargill and ISU, tied with 15 employed each; 3) USDA, 14; 4) DuPont Pioneer, 13; 5) John Deere, 12; 6) Crop Production Services, 10; 7) Ag Leader Technology, 9; 8) Monsanto, 8; 9) Iowa DNR and Syngenta, tied with 7 each.

FSHN Graduate Student Finalist in Global IFT Challenge
Hanyu Yangcheng, a doctoral student in food science, was selected as a finalist in the inaugural Institute of Food Technologists Student Association Global Student Innovation Challenge. He has developed a food stabilizer system for dairy dessert applications called KIK. Yangcheng will receive a travel stipend to attend IFT15 this summer in Chicago where he will give a presentation about KIK.

CALS Alum First Female to Run 114-year-old Family Business
Kate Danner, a 2012 CALS alum with degrees in agronomy, farm management and environmental studies, is preparing to run her 114-year-old family business in Aledo, Ill. Danner was featured in an article on women in agriculture than ran in the March 4 issue of Bloomberg Business. About 49 percent of undergraduate enrollment at CALS are women, up from 42 percent in 2006 and 20 percent in 1986. More

ISU Graduate Programs Climb in U.S. News Rankings
The U.S. News and World Report magazine released their national graduate school rankings on March 10. Highly ranked graduate programs on campus include agricultural and biosystems engineering and statistics. More

Extension and Outreach

March Webinar Focuses on Manure and Water Quality
Dan Anderson, agricultural and biosystems engineering, is the guest speaker at this month’s Iowa Learning Farms webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m. Anderson will present on topics related to animal manure, including how to get the most value from manure resources and protect water quality.

New Extension Field Agronomist Named
Meaghan Anderson (’12 agronomy, ’14 crop production and physiology) has joined ISU Extension and Outreach as the field agronomist for eastern Iowa. Anderson will work from the Johnson County Extension Office in Iowa City.


April 7-8: Egg Industry Issues Forum
Registration is now open for the 7th annual Egg Industry Issues Forum, scheduled for April 7-8 in downtown Des Moines.

April 8: New York Chef to Present Shivvers Lecture
Dan Barber, co-owner and executive chef of Manhattan’s Blue Hill restaurant and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., will present “Beyond Farm-to-Table: The Future of Food” on April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room. His talk is the 2015 Shivvers Memorial Lecture coordinated by the Leopold Center.

April 22: Assistant Professor P&T Workshop
A promotion and tenure workshop for assistant professors with an appointment in CALS will be held April 22, 4:10 to 5:30 p.m. in 1951 Food Sciences Building. Dean Wendy Wintersteen will discuss P&T expectation and the definition of scholarship. Josh Selsby, animal science, will discuss portfolio preparation and the faculty experience. Associate Deans David Acker, John Lawrence and Joe Colletti will discuss teaching and learning, extension and outreach, and research and discovery respectively in relation to portfolio resources and development.

April 24: Retirement Reception Honoring Larry Johnson
A retirement reception honoring Larry Johnson will be held April 24, 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Memorial Union Campanile Room. Johnson, a professor in the department of food science and human nutrition and director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research, has served ISU for 30 years. There will be a program at 2 p.m.

Funding Opportunities

NSF Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation Internal Competition
The Office of the Vice President for Research is requesting expressions of interest for the NSF Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI212) program. Two subclasses of awards are planned: conceptualization awards are planning awards aimed at organizing an interdisciplinary community and understanding their software requirements and challenges, and implementation awards will be made to implement community plans for software infrastructure. Contact Wolfgang Kliemann ( by March 27 to express interest. More

USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture Launches New Website
USDA NIFA has launched the New NIFA Web. According to Alison Amor, NIFA web director, “NIFA is one of the first 'finger-friendly' USDA websites, created with new technology in mind that is accessible on and designed for multiple platforms.” New features on the web include a grants search tool accessible from the homepage, a new “Tools” section that explains the various NIFA web applications and databases, and an “Impacts” page that highlights the outcomes NIFA grantees have achieved. More

Become a Panelist to Review USDA NIFA Grant Applications
The USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture convenes peer review panels comprised of research scientists and other subject matter experts to review competitive grant proposals. Serving on a panel is an excellent way to learn more about the process and how to prepare compelling proposals that win grants. Panelists review proposals, participate in panel discussions to reach a consensus on proposal rankings and submit written summaries. To be considered as a potential panelist for NIFA, contact the National Program Leader listed in the request for applications in your interest area. More

Funding Information, Opportunities and Deadline Reminders
Dates listed are application deadlines. Contact: Roxanne Clemens, Additional information is posted at CALS Funding Resources.

Apr. 1 (notice of intent): USDA NIFA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative; $50,000 to $2 million.

Apr. 10 (step-1 proposal): NASA NSPIRES ROSES 2015 Exobiology. More

Apr. 13: USDA NIFA Children, Youth and Families at Risk Sustainable Community Projects (Extension grants); $660,000 to $1.32 million over five years. More

Apr. 17: USDA NIFA Supplemental and Alternative Crops; canola research, $210,000. More

May 15: USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants - Iowa; $75,000, 1:1 match required. More

May 22 (concept note): USAID Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge; $100,000 to $3 million, match required. More

May 27: NSF Plant Genome Research Program. More

June 5: NIH Advancing Mechanistic Probiotic/Prebiotic and Human Microbiome Research (R01). More

June 5: NIH Early Stage Development of Technologies in Biomedical Computing, Informatics and Big Data Science (R01); $900,000 (direct costs) over three years. More

Aug. 14: FDA Minor Use Minor Species Development of Drugs; Research Project Grant (R01); $450,000. More

Dec. 1 (Step-1 proposal): NASA NSPIRES ROSES 2015 Land Cover/Land-Use Change; $750,000. More

Jan. 31, 2016: DOD 2015 BAA U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. More

Communications Kiosk

What Makes a Good Science Story – It’s Not Necessarily the Whole Story
Journalists are usually looking for a “bite” of the story rather than the entire history and chronology of any particular scientific discovery. Thinking in terms of bite-sized pieces can go a long way toward helping journalists find a story that will work for them, their editors and their audiences. (Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter, 2010, pg. 49 – part 8 of 8.)


CAC Proposals Now Accepted Year-Round
The Computation Advisory Committee has revised the proposal process for grant funding. The new process is operational and proposals may be submitted through Techstarter. The new process allows a lower barrier to entry, student participation in idea generation, and year-round acceptance of proposals.

Photo Project: A Day in Iowa Agriculture
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is challenging Iowans to celebrate National Agriculture Day on Wednesday, March 18, by photographing their connection with Iowa agriculture and sharing it online. This is an opportunity for farm families, employees in agriculture-related industries and supporters of agriculture to document and celebrate Iowa’s leading efforts to produce food, fiber and fuel to support the world’s growing population. Any photo taken during the 24 hours of March 18 is eligible. More


Scientists Do Improv with Alan Alda
Alan Alda, an acclaimed actor, writer and director, is now a visiting professor in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University in N.Y. He is working with the Center for Communicating Science, which was renamed in his honor in 2013, to help current and future scientists learn to communicate more clearly and vividly with the public through improvisational exercises. As host of the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed hundreds of gifted scientists around the world, Alda determined that many researchers have wonderful stories to tell, but need to learn how to tell them better. The objective is to help them talk about science to people who are not scientists. 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 Friday.


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