Issue: 1047

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
March 25, 2019

Top Stories

Seed Science Center Film Premiers at Environmental Film Festival
Manjit Misra, director of the Seed Science Center, provided leadership for a new film that showcases the science and beauty of seeds. “The Diversity of Wonder: The Journey into the World of Seeds” premiered at the Environmental Film Festival on March 16 in Washington, D.C. to a sold-out crowd of 60 people. “Seeds are not just the beginning, but the renewal of agriculture, of all life and civilization,” said Misra. “With this film, we wanted to communicate that value and beauty of seeds to the world.” The festival, which began in 1993, presents environmentally themed films to an audience of around 20,000 each March. More


Climate Change Could Devastate Painted Turtle
Climate change could contribute to the demographic collapse of the painted turtle, a species that has temperature-dependent sex determination. Nicole Valenzuela, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, is sounding the alarm about the painted turtle's future in a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports. More 

Wang on CRISPR, the Genome Editing Tool
Kan Wang, agronomy and co-director of the Crop Bioengineering Center, talks about CRISPR, the new tool for genome editing, in the latest issue of The Furrow, published by John Deere. “What makes CRISPR such a powerful, revolutionary technology is its precision,” said Wang. “It brings a new level of efficiency to plant breeding.” More

Teaching and Students

Dean Robison Reaches Out to Students Impacted by Floods
Dean Daniel Robison reached out to CALS students impacted by flooding via Facebook on Friday, March 22. “If the recent and continuing floods are affecting your ability to attend school, complete assignments or deal with stress, please know that your college is prepared to help you,” wrote Robison. He encouraged students to stop in 20 Curtiss Hall to visit with Howard Tyler, assistant dean of student services (, 4-6434), or to contact him directly (, 4-3830).

CALS Students Win Student Government Positions
CALS students elected to ISU Student Government positions are listed below with the organizations they represent. They will take over legislative responsibilities in April. Student government works with more than 850 clubs and organization on campus, ISU administration, the Ames community, state legislature and the Iowa Board of Regents. More

  • Vishesh Bhatia, genetics – Vice President
  • Alyssa McMichael, agricultural and life sciences education – Off-Campus Residence Area
  • Justin Reiser, agricultural studies – Off-Campus Residence Area
  • Madison Mueller, agricultural business – Frederiksen Court
  • Kelsey Culbertson, environmental science – Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Hans Riensche, agricultural business – Agriculture and Life Sciences

Three CALS Students Receive NPPC Scholarships
Three CALS students received scholarships for $2,500 each from the National Pork Producers Council at its annual meeting in Orlando on March 7. Scholarships are awarded to 10 college students nationwide who intend to pursue careers in the pork industry. CALS recipients are: Holly Cook, senior in agricultural business; Sarah Heiller, senior in animal science; and William Mengler, senior in animal science. More 

Students Help “Snack Pak 4 Kids” Over Spring Break
The 2019 spring break Pay It Forward tour included a stop in Amarillo, Texas, to work with the Snack Pak 4 Kids organization. “Kids can’t learn if they’re hungry and we make sure that kids have food on the weekend,” said Dyron Howell, executive director of Snack Pak 4 Kids. There were 38 students from ISU that spent their spring break on the Pay It Forward tour, and Emily Tonn, a senior in global resource systems, said the size of their group made it possible to work on the larger projects. In 45 minutes, they were able to make around 4,000 to 5,000 snack packs. More

AST Club’s Lawn Mower Service Days Set for March 29-30
The Agricultural Systems Technology Club will hold its annual lawn mower service days Friday and Saturday, March 29-30, at Sukup Hall. Routine service includes an oil change, a new spark plug, blade sharpening, air filter cleaning, deck cleaning and a power wash. Pricing is $30 for a push mower, $50 for a riding mower and $15 for a weed eater. Pickup and delivery (Ames only) is available for $15 and $20; call (515) 708-8672 or send an email request to

Block and Bridle Club to Host Animal Learning Day on April 6
The ISU Block and Bridle Club will hold its annual Animal Learning Day on Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. The event is free and provides an opportunity for the public to learn about animals in agriculture. There will be activities for all ages, including a Taste of Iowa segment. More

Extension and Outreach

Management Guidance for Flooded Grain
Rapid snowmelt this spring has caused instances of stored grain being covered with floodwater. According to current Food and Drug Administration policy, grain inundated by uncontrolled river or stream water is considered adulterated and must be destroyed. Information on flood resources and recovery are available through ISU Extension and Outreach. More

Iowa Beef Center Hires New Program Specialist
Beth Reynolds is a new extension program specialist with the Iowa Beef Center. Her primary interest is in the cow-calf sector and forage use. A large part of her work will focus on pasture and annual forages. More

Cover Crop Acres Increase but Rate of Growth Declines in 2018
According to Iowa Learning Farms 15-year evaluation data, Iowa cover crop acres grew last year by approximately 16 percent, resulting in approximately 880,000 total acres. While the positive growth at a time when farmers are reporting shrinking profit margins is notable, this represents a 6 percent decline in new cover crop acres compared to last year’s estimate and a 19 percent cumulative decline since 2015. This number is still well below the goal of 12.5 million acres of cover crops called for in Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. More

Iowa Learning Farms Celebrates 15 Years of Conservation and Water Quality Outreach
Iowa Learning Farms, a hands-on education and outreach program for Iowa landowners and agricultural producers, is celebrating 15 years of service in 2019. Based at ISU Extension and Outreach, ILF supports education initiatives throughout the state, focusing on conservation and water quality topics from a science- and research-based foundation. In addition to its full complement of field day and outdoor classroom programs, Conservation Station visits to county fairs and farmers markets, and Water Rocks! youth education programming, ILF has planned a series of special events to look back at its first 15 years and look forward to the next 15. More

Around the College

Graduate Program in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Back to No. 1
ISU's graduate program in agricultural and biosystems engineering is ranked number one in U.S. News and World Report magazine's latest rankings of graduate programs. "I give a lot of the credit to our new facilities and also to the new research facilities we're developing at the BioCentury Research Farm, the Agricultural Engineering/Agronomy Research Farm and the new Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex that will be going up," said Steve Mickelson, department chair. More 

ISU Ranks Worldwide in Agriculture and Forestry Programs
Iowa State ranked in the top 6 percent (18th) in the latest QS World University Rankings of 302 agricultural/forestry programs, which were released Feb. 27. ISU remained in the top 10 nationally among United States universities (7th), same as a year ago. For four of the past seven years, Iowa State was ranked in the top 10 worldwide, and as high as 5th in 2014. This British-based organization responsible for the comparison ranks institutions based on surveys of academic reputation, employer reputation and research citations and impact. This year’s full list is available online.

Lamont Named Interim Director of Egg Industry Center
Susan Lamont, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in animal science, has been named interim director of the Egg Industry Center, effective April 1. She succeeds Hongwei Xin, who has been named dean for AgResearch at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. More

Farewell Reception for Hongwei Xin and Tong Wang, March 27
A farewell reception for Hongwei Xin, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Tong Wang, food science and human nutrition, will be held Wednesday, March 27, at 2 to 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union Campanile Room. Xin is a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor, director of the Egg Industry Center and the college’s assistant dean for research. Xin and Wang will be joining the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Xin will serve as dean for AgResearch at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Wang will join the food science department. More

Baas Featured in ISUAA Member Spotlight
The ISU Alumni Association featured Tom Baas, emeritus professor of animal science, in its March 2019 Member Spotlight. Baas held research, teaching and extension appointments and retired from ISU in 2016. More


March 25: Shivvers Memorial Lecture
The 2019 Shivvers Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will be held Monday, March 25, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Campanile Room. Angie Tagtow, a registered and licensed dietitian with more than 25 years of experience in public health and food policy, will present “Setting the Table: Systems, Sustainability and Policy.” More

March 28: Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture
The Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. David Montgomery, University of Washington, will present “Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.” Co-sponsors include CALS, the departments of agronomy and sociology, the Leopold Center and the Wallace chair in Sustainable Agriculture. More

April 5: Town Hall Meeting
CALS will hold a town hall meeting for all college faculty and staff on April 5 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Dolezal Auditorium in Curtiss Hall. Refreshments will be served. Endowed Dean Dan Robison will provide a welcome and remarks, including updates on budget and other issues, and then review the current status of Improved Service Delivery in CALS. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.

Communications Kiosk

When to Include the Year
When a phrase refers to a month and day within the current year, do not include the year: The hearing is scheduled for June 26. If the reference is to a past or future year, include the year and set it off with commas: Feb. 14, 2025, is the target date. Use an “s” without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1800s. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2018 edition, pg. 317)


Two Workday Forums this Week for Faculty
A forum designed specifically for faculty will provide a targeted look at how Workday and improved service delivery will impact their teaching, research and extension work. Two of the forums are scheduled for this week on Tuesday, March 26; 10 a.m. to noon and again at 1 to 3 p.m., both in the Memorial Union Sun Room. Workday, the software platform ISU will use to do business, goes live July 1, along with the ISD model that created teams of finance and human resources experts to support colleges, departments and units. More

Iowa State Research Day Scheduled for March 28
The Office of the Vice President for Research is hosting its annual Iowa State Research Day on Thursday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union. The agenda includes lightning talks, a poster session, storytelling sessions and a resource fair. Margaret Hedstrom, University of Michigan School of Information, will present the keynote address on public access to data and other scholarly products and the connection to promoting rigor in scholarship. Registration is available online. More


Janke on “What the Heck is Habitat?”
Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management and extension wildlife specialist, explains the “it depends” answer to the above question in a recent blog post for the Iowa Learning Farms. He surveyed 74 wildlife biologists from across the state who attended the annual Iowa Habitat Partners Conference, asking what is habitat. “Immediately after I hit ‘send’ on the survey, a chorus of cries of ‘it depends’ and ‘this isn’t fair!’ came echoing back to my inbox from every corner of the state,” Janke wrote. “I smiled receiving these emails because this skepticism, intuition and critical thinking about ‘what the heck is habitat’ is exactly as it should be.” 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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