Issue: 1088

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
Jan. 21, 2020

Top Stories

ISU Awarded Borlaug Medallion for CALS’ Critical Role
The World Food Prize Foundation honored Iowa State University with the Norman E. Borlaug Medallion, making the university the ninth recipient of the award. Presented in honor of Norman Borlaug, this award recognizes world leaders and exceptional institutions for their impact on issues of global food security that benefit humankind. “The decision to award the Borlaug Medallion to Iowa State University was based on the very special relationship that Dr. Borlaug had to the University during his life, and the critical role that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has played and continues to play in the development and implementation of World Food Prize programs over the past two decades,” said Ambassador Kenneth Quinn. More   


Study: Diverse Cropping Systems Do Not Increase Carbon Storage
Diversified crop rotations protect water quality and have other environmental benefits, but recent experiments show that farms can’t rely on such rotations to improve carbon storage in the soil. The findings contradict widely held expectations that the extensive root systems of perennials and cover crops would deposit carbon in soils. Michael Castellano, agronomy, is co-author of the study, published recently in Agriculture, Ecosystems and the Environment. More

Signs of Economic Recovery, but Iowa’s Job Growth Lags Behind Nation
In the decade since the Great Recession, Iowa’s job rate has grown by 7.1 percent, according to a new employment analysis. Dave Swenson, economics, said much of the growth occurred in metropolitan counties. More

Teaching and Students

CALS Student Interns Receive National Tech Award for Creating Landus App
What started as a summer internship project building a smartphone app to help a local cooperative, turned into a globally recognized accomplishment for the return on investment it delivered to the company. An employee-facing app launched by Landus Cooperative and designed by four of its interns from ISU, was recognized as a “Highest Return on Investment” project in the OutSystems 2019 Low-Code Innovation Awards. Student interns were Laura Mincks, senior in agricultural and life sciences education; Josh Carlson, senior in agricultural studies; Josh Halbur, junior in agricultural systems technology; and Kate Collins, senior in agricultural business. More

CALS Study Abroad Website Adds Student Tab
The CALS Study Abroad program has added a student tab to the top navigation bar on its website. The new section allows students to easily learn about the different study abroad programs available, to research different scholarship and funding support options, and view past student highlights. More

FundISU: NAMA to Compete at Marketing Conference
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support the National Agri-Marketing Association student chapter at ISU in sending a team to compete in the student marketing competition held at the National Agri-Marketing Conference in April. Team members fundraise to compete at the conference, but are asking for additional help this year with the conference being held in San Diego. The project ends on Feb. 14. More

Extension and Outreach

Survey: Farm Owners Make Small Increases in Conservation
A survey of Iowa landowners conducted by ISU suggests that adoption of conservation practices has increased slightly since 2012, and that ongoing trends in land ownership and management are likely barriers to a number of conservation practices. However, some of these same barriers may contribute to increased use of no-till management on cropland, researchers found. Co-authors are Wendong Zhang, Alejandro Plastina and graduate student Wendiam Sawadgo, economics. The Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey has been conducted by Iowa State for more than 70 years. More

Around the College

Woteki Chairs New National Report on Food/Drug Systems Abroad
The goal of achieving universal health coverage by 2030 — one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals — necessitates that countries strengthen their food and drug regulatory systems as a whole, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Stronger Food and Drug Regulatory Systems Abroad recommends strategies and a framework that regulatory agencies worldwide can adopt to support the availability of good quality, safe food and medicines globally and identify areas of greatest risk. Catherine Woteki, food science and human nutrition, was chair of the committee that wrote the new report. More

Dean Robison Named to Mid-Iowa Council, Boy Scouts Executive Board
CALS Dean Dan Robison is the newest member of the Mid-Iowa Council, Boy Scouts of America Executive Board. Members are elected to one-year recurring terms. Robison’s leadership experience and vision will be instrumental in the board’s ongoing support of scouting programs within the 27 counties in central and southern Iowa represented by the Mid-Iowa Council. Robison has had lifelong connections with the Boy Scouts. He was a member of National Headquarters Troop 50 from 1971 to 1978, advancing to the Star rank. He served as an assistant scoutmaster for an overseas American troop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, from 1992 to 1993, and continued to be engaged with scouting during his time on the faculty and as an administrator at North Carolina State University and West Virginia University.

Denise Bjelland: Oh, The Places She Went!
Denise Bjelland retired earlier this month after 47 years at ISU. Listening to the many things she did in those 47 years is reminiscent of the book Oh, the Places You'll Go!, written and illustrated by children’s author Dr. Seuss. Bjelland was director of the college’s Global Agriculture Programs office since 2011, and involved in international activities since 1991. Her travels took her to 20 countries. More

CALS P&S Council to Host Feb. 12 Coffee Talk on Mentoring
The CALS P&S Council is inviting staff to its second coffee talk. The topic is mentoring. The council is working to set up a mentoring program for staff and would like your ideas, questions or suggestions about mentoring or becoming a mentor. So, please join us on Feb. 12 from noon to 1 p.m. in 301 Curtiss and bring your lunch, questions and ideas. Contact Rachel Fleck,, or Barb McBreen,, with questions.


Jan. 21: Nobel Laureates’ Campaign to Support GMOs
Sir Richard Roberts, 1993 Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine, will speak at ISU on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Roberts is one of 129 Nobel Laureates contributing to a campaign to convince governments and the public to support the use of GMOs in order to increase food production, reduce dependency on insecticides and end hunger in developing counties. Co-sponsors of the event include the Agronomy Graduate Students, Walter Suza (faculty host), CALS and the Seed Science Center. More

Jan. 22: INRC Water Research Seminar
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center is hosting a seminar on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 3:10 to 4 p.m. in 1306 Elings Hall. Pete Nowak, professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, will present “Looking in the Review Mirror: Some Thoughts on the Future of Nutrient Management in Iowa.” More 

Feb. 5: CALS Conversations
Dean Robison is hosting a CALS Chat on Feb. 5 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Molecular Biology Building atrium. There is no agenda; come for refreshments and conversation. It is co-sponsored by the CALS Faculty Senate Caucus, the CALS Staff Council and the CALS dean’s office.

Communications Kiosk

If vs. Whether
While “if” is conditional, “whether” introduces an alternative, often in the context of an indirect question. Use whether in two circumstances: to introduce a noun clause and when using if would produce ambiguity. An example of a noun clause is: “He asked whether his tie was straight.” The answer is either yes or no. An example of ambiguity: “call me to let me know if you can come” means that you should call only if you’re coming; “call to let me know whether you can come” means that you should call regardless of your answer. (The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., 2010, pg. 284)


NIAMRRE at ISU to Administer One Health Certified Animal Care Program
A new program administered by the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education will soon give producers a better way to demonstrate to consumers that they follow responsible animal care principles. One Health CertifiedTM, a comprehensive animal care program, establishes verified animal production practices in five core areas: disease prevention, veterinary care, responsible antibiotic use, animal welfare and environmental impacts. Paul Plummer, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, is executive director of NIAMRRE, which is housed at ISU. More

ISU Study Abroad Fair Scheduled for Jan. 23
The ISU Study Abroad Office is hosting its spring study abroad fair on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. More


The University Library: Not Just a Collection of Books
The winter 2020 cover story in VISIONS, the ISU Alumni Association member magazine, is a deep-dive into one of ISU's oldest, most multi-faceted and ever-evolving institutions: the library. “It’s conceivable that ISU’s first president, Adonijah Welch, brought his own books to the fledgling campus, possibly housing them in the Farm House prior to the construction of Old Main,” wrote Carole Gieseke, assistant vice president of communications for ISUAA. “It was there, in the Main Building, that a college library was established in 1868 and grew in that space until Morrill was opened in 1891.” The article also covers expanding library, new technologies and the library today. 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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