Issue: 891

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
March 7, 2016 – No. 891

Top Stories

New Monarch Numbers Encouraging, but Conservation Efforts Must Continue
Although the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico has sharply rebounded, leaders of the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium say that sustained efforts of Iowa crop and livestock farmers, landowners, conservationists and others are critical to ensuring continued improvements to monarch conservation. Sue Blodgett, chair of the entomology department, said that the ongoing, collaborative conservation efforts of the Monarch Consortium’s members in Iowa will play a key role in helping to ensure the population response noted this winter can become part of a positive trend for the future. More


ISA Funds More Than $2 Million in Research at ISU
A study seeking to develop soybean disease signatures to help alert farmers of crop stress is one of 19 research projects funded at ISU this year by the Iowa Soybean Association. They have invested more than $2 million soybean checkoff dollars supporting these research projects. More

Beattie Helps Launch Phytobiomes Roadmap
Gwyn Beattie, plant pathology and microbiology, helped launch the Phytobiomes Roadmap in an effort to emphasize phytobiomes in agriculture. A deeper understanding of phytobiomes, or the networks of interactions among the various components of an ecosystem, can unlock benefits for farmers and consumers around the world. The effort was initiated by the American Phytopathological Society and supported by more than 20 scientific societies, companies, institutes and government agencies. More

Research Shows Extra Cover Crop Growth Provides Benefits
Research at ISU, funded by the United Soybean Board, suggests that an additional period of cover crop growth prior to soybeans results in high cover crop biomass production, nitrogen retention and has no negative effect on yield. Mike Castellano, agronomy, has been working on the project over the last three years.

Climate-Corn Webinar – Findings and Recommendations for Corn Belt Farmers
Learn results of a five-year USDA-NIFA research project, focused on farm management practices and their potential for making corn-based agriculture more resilient. The project, led by Lois Wright Morton, sociology, is nearing completion. In 2011, Morton convened 140 researchers from 10 land-grant universities in the Corn Belt to begin a study of farm management practices on diverse landscapes and soils. The webinar, which originally aired on Feb. 11, is available at the project’s website

Teaching and Students

CALS Launches Online Learning Website
CALS has launched its Online Learning website for undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. The online programs available through the college bring Iowa State to students at their location and on their schedule. More

Students Learning Abroad Over Spring Break
There are nine opportunities for students to learn abroad over spring break this month. CALS faculty and staff will be leading the following student travel courses.

  • Costa Rica – Soils and Crops
  • Costa Rica – Natural History
  • Honduras – Caribbean Marine Biology
  • Panama – Analysis/Management of Agricultural Systems for Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Scotland – History of Economic Thought
  • Scotland – Occupational Safety
  • Spain – Agricultural Production, Business and Trade
  • Uganda – Service Learning
  • Virgin Islands – Education Youth through Horticulture

Livestock Judging Team Places Second in Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic
ISU’s Livestock Judging Team competed in the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic in Kearney, Neb., on Feb. 20. Team results were second in high team, second in reasons and third in placings. Individual results included second in reasons and third overall for Kendall Steines, junior in animal science; and third in feedlot cattle for Johnathan Triggs, junior in animal science.

Meat Judging Team Places Fourth in Meat Evaluation Contest
ISU’s Meat Judging Team placed fourth in the 38th annual Iowa State University Meat Evaluation Contest in Ames on Feb. 13. Division results included second in lamb judging and specifications, third in placings and reasons, and fourth in beef grading, beef judging, overall beef and pork judging. Individual results included third in lamb judging for Zack Peppmeier, junior in animal science.

Extension and Outreach

Extension Farm Custom Rate Survey Provides Guidance for Hiring
The 2016 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey canvassed 182 farmers, custom operators and farm managers from around the state, putting together a guide for pricing custom machine work. The survey found there was a 2 percent price decline across all surveyed categories. Alejandro Plastina, economics, said the change is tied to lower crop prices.

Webinar to Discuss Economic Value of Cover Crops
The next Iowa Learning Farms webinar will be held March 16 at 1 p.m. Liz Juchems, events coordinator with Iowa Learning Farms, will discuss a recent case study conducted by the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group examining the economic value of cover crops.

North Central Cropping Systems Academy Begins March 18
The North Central Cropping Systems Academy begins March 18 with a noon webinar on “Using Take Action Resources to Manage Herbicide Resistant Weeds.” Presenters, including Aaron Saeugling, ISU extension field specialist, will take you through the four sections of the Take Action website, then cover lesson plans and teaching materials that have been developed for use in your extension program. Five additional webinars will be held in April.

Effectively Engaging Producers in Conservation Conversations
Although farmers are more uncertain today than 25 years ago about the effectiveness of conservation practices, it means they may be receptive to education and new science that helps them better manage the natural resources upon which they rely. A conservation webinar, which originally aired on Feb. 16, includes findings on farmer uncertainty about conservation practices, using social norms to leverage practices that address off field/off farm nutrient losses, and how the language of conservation can influence social learning and behavior change. The presenter is Lois Wright Morton, sociology, and the director of ISU’s Sustainable Corn Project. The webinar recording is available at the USDA NRCS Science and Technology website.

Around the College

FSHN to Lead Regional Center for Food Safety
The Food and Drug Administration awarded ISU a three-year, $950,000 grant to establish the new North Central Regional Center for Food Safety Training, which will provide guidance to food processors and growers in 12 Midwestern states. Angela Shaw, food science and human nutrition, will lead the effort. More


March 7: UN Special Envoy for Climate Change to Speak at ISU
Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and United Nations special envoy for climate change, will speak about global justice and climate change at ISU today, March 7, at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Her presentation, “Redefining Global Security,” is co-sponsored by CALS. More

March 9: ArtWalk of The Dean’s Gallery 
An ArtWalk of The Dean’s Gallery in Agriculture and Life Sciences is scheduled for March 9 at 12 p.m. The tour will showcase the striking pastels of the four seasons by Ellen Wagener as well as the newly commissioned painting of George Washington Carver and Henry A. Wallace by Rose Frantzen. Meet at the north entry to the Dean’s Gallery of the first floor of Curtiss Hall.

April 8-9: Conference in Economic Theory to be Held in Ames
The Economics Department is hosting Global Games in Ames, a conference in economic theory, on April 8-9 in 368A Heady Hall. Global Games is an approach to using economic theory to make predictions in collective action problems. For more detailed information or to register, contact by March 23.

Funding Opportunities

CALS Travel Support to Attend Midwest Big Data Hub Meeting, Due March 9
CALS will provide travel support for faculty, P&S research staff, post-docs and graduate students who would like to attend the Midwest Big Data Hub All-Hands Meeting in Chicago on March 21-22. ISU is a co-PI on the NSF-funded Midwest Big Data Hub, and CALS encourages individuals interested in Big Data issues pertaining to any of the Hub Spokes or integrative rings to attend this important meeting. Travel via motor coach is available at no charge to anyone from ISU if a minimum of 20 people sign up. For individuals whose primary appointment is in CALS, the college will pay up to $300 total for lodging for two nights. Contact Carla Persaud ( no later than March 9 to reserve a seat on the bus and to request lodging support. More

Internal Competition for NSF S-STEM Program, Due March 11
CALS is requesting Expressions of Interest for the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program. The S-STEM program is limited to one submission per college. Faculty members whose primary appointment is in CALS should contact Joe Colletti ( by Mar. 11 to express interest so the college can determine whether an internal competition will be required. More

NFWF Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund Requesting Proposals, Due May 2
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is requesting proposals for the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund. Proposals should address three strategies: habitat improvement, enhancing coordination and capacity of monarch butterfly conservation efforts, and improving the supply and affordability of regionally adapted and native plant seed supplies. Awards will range from $50,000 to $250,000. A one-to-one match is required. An informational webinar is scheduled for Apr. 5 and proposals are due May 2.

Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Program, Due May 11
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation issued a call for proposals for Round 17 of Grand Challenges Explorations. Topics of interest include anti-microbial resistance, new analytics approaches for malaria elimination and global health priority areas, among others. Phase I awards are $100,000, and follow-on Phase II awards are up to $1 million. Applications are due by May 11. More

Bayer Grants4Targets Crop Science, Due May 31
Bayer Crop Science offers support to promote ideas for novel molecular targets toward the development of innovative new crop protection solutions for weed, pest and disease control. Applications are due May 31.

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

Rolling basis: NIST Measurement Science and Engineering; $5,000 to $2 million. More

Apr. 1: NSF I-Corps for Learning - Stimulating Innovation in STEM Education; $50,000, July-Aug. (seven weeks) cohort. More

Apr. 1 (expression of interest): NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers; $2.2 million to $4 million per year up to six years, one application per institution, email with interest. More

Apr. 3: Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health Pilot Grant; $15,000, priority given to projects addressing emerging issues, vulnerable populations and aging of the agricultural workforce. More

Apr. 14: NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant Program; $12,000. More

Apr. 19: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Interdisciplinary Research Leaders; $350,000.

May 13 (letter of intent): NASA ROSES Terrestrial Hydrology Program. More

May 18: NIH Bioengineering Research Partnerships (U01). More

June 14: NSF Science Learning + Partnership Grants; $2.4 million. More

June 17 (pre-proposals): USDA Forest Service 2017 National Urban and Community Forestry Cost Share Grant Program; 1:1 match. More

Feb. 22, 2017 (white paper): FDA Broad Agency Announcement for the Advanced Research and Development of Regulatory Science. More

Communications Kiosk

Scientists Can Help Policymakers Define the Problem
Policymakers cannot respond to a problem they don’t see or clearly understand. Scientists can help by characterizing changes to natural systems, providing early warning of unnoticed or potential problems, and helping define their scope and scale. Scientists can also play a critical role in helping to identify who will be affected in given scenarios and how. (Part 1 - Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter, 2010, pg. 80.)


Undergraduate Research Assistantship Program Accepting Applications
ISU’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship program is accepting applications for students and faculty. The program encourages outstanding juniors and seniors to pursue graduate study by offering them hands-on experience in a formal research environment. Applications are due March 31. More

Fulbright Award Competition Now Open
The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is now accepting award applications for the 2017-2018 academic year. The program offers teaching, research and combination awards in more than 125 countries. Higher education faculty and administrators are encouraged to apply. The deadline for most awards in Aug. 1. More

Nutrition Roadmap Aims to Advance Research
The Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research released on March 4 the first Nutrition Research Roadmap designed to guide federal nutrition research. The 2016-2021 National Nutrition Research Roadmap encourages an increased focus on research that can lead to more individualized advice for promoting health and preventing disease. More


History of ISU’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Dates Back to 1870s
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the library’s Special Collections Department Blog posted an article on the history of ISU’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. The food and nutrition curriculum at ISU was part of the domestic economy courses of 1872. Mary Welch, wife of Iowa State’s first president Adonijah Welch, was the organizer and head of the Department of Domestic Economy from 1875 to 1883. The Department of Household Science was established in 1918. The name was changed to the Department of Food and Nutrition in 1953. More

Celebrate Aldo Leopold Week, March 6-12
Aldo Leopold Week in Iowa, March 6-12, is a way to pay tribute to the work and legacy of Leopold and to learn and celebrate wildlife preservation and conservation. 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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