Issue: 849

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
May 11, 2015 – No. 849

Top Stories

Seeing Double at Graduation
Adam and Austin Fichter, identical twins, each graduated magna cum laude on Saturday with identical majors, or rather three of them: agricultural business, economics and international agriculture. They have served as presidents of the FarmHouse fraternity, played on the baseball team and traveled on several study-abroad and cultural exchange trips. And they are both beginning their careers with Hertz Farm Management; Adam in Mason City and Austin in Omaha. More

Lamont: Will it Make a Difference 10 Years from Now?
Susan Lamont, animal science, presented ISU’s graduate commencement speech on Friday, May 8, and talked with the graduates about setting priorities and considering what will make a difference 10 years from now. “I propose to you tonight that when you follow your own internal compass, guided by your own personal set of wisely chosen and deeply held values, then you will have a life of satisfaction and a life that will make significant contributions to society and the world,” said Lamont. “Because I know that, ten years from now, it will make a different in your life that you are a graduate of Iowa State University.”


Baum to Receive This Year’s Noel T. Keen Award for Research Excellence from APS
Thomas Baum, chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, is this year’s recipient of the Noel T. Keen Award for Research Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology from the American Phytopathological Society. The award recognizes scientists who have made outstanding contributions and demonstrated sustained excellence and leadership in research. Baum was cited for pioneering contributions that have greatly advanced the understanding and knowledge of the molecular interactions of nematodes with host plants. The Keen Award is the second major research honor Baum has received from APS. In 2006, Baum was the recipient of the APS Ruth Allen Award, which honors scientists who have made innovative research contributions that have changed the direction of plant pathology research. The Keen Award is named in memory of Noel T. Keen, a Marshalltown, Iowa, native who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Iowa State University and became a distinguished professor of plant pathology at University of California, Riverside. More on Baum’s honor.

Tylka and Baum Earn Fellow Honors
Greg Tylka, plant pathology and microbiology, has been named a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society. The honor will be presented at the APS annual meeting in Pasadena in August. Thomas Baum, chair plant pathology and microbiology, has been named a Fellow of the Society of Nematologists. The honor will be presented at the SON annual meeting in East Lansing in July.

STRIPS Program Expands with New USDA Grant
ISU was awarded a $500,000 grant from USDA to help the innovative STRIPS program expand its mission to protect soil and water quality by planting strips of native prairie on farmland. Involved in the project are Lisa Schulte Moore, natural resource ecology and management, Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Tim Youngquist, agronomy. More

Teaching and Students

Agricultural Studies Degree Available with One Year in Ames
CALS is partnering with Western Iowa Technical Community College in Sioux City and Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon to offer a more flexible way to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in agricultural studies. The 2+1+1 program allows students to earn a two-year associate’s degree from either of the two community colleges, take online courses from home or at work for one year, and then spend one year in Ames. More information is available on the Northwest Iowa Regents Resource Center website.

Students Part of National Pork Board Social Media Campaign
Lexi Marek and Katlyn Kahler have spent the past 10 months participating in the National Pork Board’s social media campaign, #RealPigFarming. Marek, a junior in public service and administration in agriculture, and Kahler, a junior in animal science, helped connect consumers with farmers who share their story of pork production on the blog “PorkCares.”

NREM Graduate Students Post Latest ‘Field Notes’ Online
The 2014-15 edition of Field Notes, the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management graduate student publication, is available online.

Swine Farms Manager Brings Unique Perspective to Job
Jeff Hartwig, ISU’s swine farms manager since October, has a bachelor’s degree in forestry from CALS and a work history that includes wildland firefighting with the U.S. Forest Service. Hartwig says he was interested in the position at ISU for several reasons. “The idea that the main production from our farms is learning and research rather than actual animals is very intriguing to me,” he said.

Extension and Outreach

Ahlers is New Agronomist for Southeast Iowa
Rebecca Ahlers is a new field agronomist for ISU Extension and Outreach, replacing Mark Carlton who retired in March. In this position she will assist agriculture professionals, crop producers, seed growers and agribusinesses in southeast Iowa. She earned her B.S. in agronomy from CALS in 2014.

Survey Shows Farmland Rental Rates Down
Rental rates for Iowa farmland decreased by 5 percent in 2015, according to results from the Cash Rental Rates for Iowa – 2015 Survey conducted by ISU Extension and Outreach. This is the second consecutive year of declining rates after a 15-year streak of increasing rental rates, accumulating a 9 percent loss since 2013, according to Alejandro Plastina, economics.


June 25: Fourth Annual Iowa Swine Day
ISU will host the fourth annual Iowa Swine Day on June 25, 9 a.m. to 4:35 p.m. at the Scheman Building. Regional, national and international leaders in swine research, economics, production and the marketplace will address key challenges facing the pork industry. More

Funding Opportunities

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
The American Association for the Advancement of Science seeks candidates for AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. The aim is to foster scientifically informed, evidence-based policy and practice by involving scientists and engineers from a broad range of career stages to engage their knowledge and analytical skills while learning first-hand about policymaking and implementation at the federal level. Program areas include diplomacy, security and development; energy, environment and agriculture; health, education and human services; big data and analytics; and global stewardship, among others. Applications are due Nov. 1. More

USAID RFI for Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Sectors Development Project
USAID has issued a Request for Information on the draft program description for Feed the Future Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Sectors Development Project. The purpose of the project is to increase national crop productivity and food security of poor households by strengthening the seed and fertilizer systems and improving farmers’ access to quality seeds and integrated soil fertility management technologies in Nepal. Feedback and comments must be submitted by May 21. More

NSF CAREER Program Webinar on May 26
The NSF CAREER Coordinating Committee will host a webinar to provide an overview of the NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program, including a question-and-answer period. The webinar will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on May 26. More

Cayuse 424 Training Webinars in May
The Cayuse 424 product support team has scheduled training webinars for May. The webinars are sent to everyone who registers, which allows access at a later date for individuals who cannot participate at the stated times.

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

May 14 (past performance references): USAID Endangered Ecosystem – Northern Tanzania; $12.4 million over five years, 10 percent cost share, one application per organization. More

May 29 (letter of intent): DOE Dynamic Distributed Resource Management; $500,000 to $1.5 million per year up to three years. More

June 1 (pre-proposal to Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr Foundation; basic biomedical research, $180,000, two per institution, contact Sue Shipitalo ( for information. More

June 1: Department of State Professional Fellows On-Demand Program; one award, $1.25 million. More

July 1 (concept application): The Conservation, Food and Health Foundation; $20,000, contact Sue Shipitalo ( to express interest.

July 8 (pre-proposal): USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program; $10 million. More

July 15: Morris Animal Foundation Large Animal Studies; horses and llamas/alpacas.

July 21, 22, 23: NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program. More

Aug. 26: NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates; includes DOD Awards to Stimulate and Support Undergraduate Research Experiences. More

Communications Kiosk

“Iowa” Never Abbreviated in Datelines or Text
Iowa is one of eight state names that are never abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Memory Aid: Spell out the names of the two states that are not part of the contiguous United States and of the continental states that are five letters or fewer. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2013 edition, pg. 258)


P&S Council Hosts Meet, Greet and Eat in Harl Commons on May 13
The Professional and Scientific Council and the CALS representatives are hosting a Meet, Greet and Eat reception on May 13, 3 to 5 p.m. in the Harl Commons, Curtiss Hall. Ice cream from the ISU Dairy Science Club will be served along with snacks from ISU Catering and door prizes. P&S Council representatives include Jessica Bell, natural resource ecology and management; Katrina Harden Williams, aerospace engineering; Michael White, ISU Extension and Outreach; and Wendy Stensland, veterinary diagnostic lab.


Iowa’s Best Burger at The Cider House
The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council announced the winner of Iowa’s Best Burger contest on May 4 – The Cider House in Fairfield. The Cider House buys locally grown cattle and uses all the meat cuts in the grind for their hamburger.

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.


University Nondiscrimination Statement