Issue: 1105

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
May 11, 2020 

Top Stories

CALS Carries Out An Uncommon Graduation Convocation
The CALS virtual undergraduate convocation ceremony on May 8 reached more than 50,000 on Facebook and the college website where the ceremony is archived. More than 365 of the 792 spring and summer CALS graduating students submitted photos, words of thanks or future plans for individual recognition. During a typical, in-person convocation ceremony around 490 students usually participate. Those wishing to share individual congratulations can also share each graduate’s Merit posts via social media. 

Dean Robison Thanks CALS Faculty and Staff
In Dean Robison’s remarks posted for Friday’s college convocation, he shared with graduating seniors this quote from George Washington Carver: “When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” In his message to CALS faculty and staff Friday afternoon, the Dean extended the sentiment to those guiding this class as well. “Thank you for your uncommon, exceptional efforts to educate our students in this new online environment,” Robison wrote. “In addition to their regular workload, the staff of the Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer has helped our faculty and staff convert courses to online instruction this semester,” he added. “They also helped to create video content for virtual convocation and orientation on extremely tight timelines. Thanks to the entire Brenton Center team for your extraordinary work!”

Vishesh Bhatia: Class of 2020, Remember “Sonder”
“There is something I want you to remember about our time here and that is sonder,” said Vishesh Bhatia, genetics, in his video address to the Class of 2020 as CALS convocation speaker. “The word sonder means the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. This is something we have truly experienced in our journey as students here. I am sure that every one of you had a completely different adventure here at ISU, each as vivid and complex as the next. One thing that binds us together is that for the rest of our lives, we will be loyal sons and daughters, forever true.”

ISU’s Agricultural Programs Among Top 4 Percent in World
The 2020 QS World University Rankings of agricultural and forestry programs recently ranked Iowa State University in the top 4 percent worldwide — 16 out of 401 institutions. (Last year the college was in the top 6 percent, 18 out of 302). ISU’s agricultural programs remain in the top 10 among U.S. universities (6), up one place from a year ago. In four of the past eight years, Iowa State was ranked in the top 10 worldwide, and as high as number 5 in 2014.


Report: Impact of COVID-19 on Egg Industry
The Egg Industry Center has released a new report estimating the extent to which COVID-19 is currently impacting the U.S. egg industry. The report outlines that while eggs are in demand at the grocery store, the demand for eggs used in restaurants and other hospitality venues, like hotels, has hit record lows. The report explains some of the dynamics occurring. More

Agriculture + Manufacturing = 38 Percent of Iowa Economic Impact
Agriculture and manufacturing are at the heart of Iowa’s economy, accounting for 38 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, according to an economic analysis by Dave Swenson, economics. More

Farmers, Landowners Help Advance INRC’s Water Quality Research 
Farmers and landowners are important partners who help make it possible to test water quality and nutrient management research in different farming and geographic situations, says Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. Two farmers — Rob Stout and Eric Hoien — are excellent examples of cooperators whose support has benefited INRC-funded research. More

Teaching and Students

New Agronomy Graduate Hopes to Dig In to Urban Soils
Perla Carmenate graduated May 9 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy, and will work on campus in an agronomy soils lab prior to attending graduate school on the East Coast. For Carmenate, agriculture is similar to a beautiful painting composed of several layers. Soil is an important part of the painting, she said, especially in urban areas where large tracts of land have opened up after deindustrialization. More

Biology and Environmental Studies Student Selected as Udall Scholar
Toni Sleugh, junior in biology and environmental studies, is one of 55 students from across the U.S. selected this year for a prestigious Udall Scholarship, awarded by the Udall Foundation for leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to the environment or Native American nations. More

Graduate Student Research Symposium Presented Online
ISU’s Environmental Science Graduate Student Organization held its spring 2020 annual research symposium online. Graduate students presented three-minute theses in place of the research poster component that is typically part of the face-to-face symposium. Brian Hornbuckle, agronomy, who graded students on their participation in the symposium, said this may be incorporated into future meetings. More

Extension and Outreach

ISU Research Farm Field Days on Hold
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no ISU Research and Demonstration Farms field days scheduled for 2020 at this time. The Horticulture Station demonstration garden field day will be recorded and posted as a virtual field day in late summer. Produce harvested from the gardens will be tallied and donated to local food pantries. The latest COVID protocols for the ISU Research and Demonstration Farms are available online.

NREM Faculty Lead Virtual Field Day on Riparian Forests, Wildlife Habitat
Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a virtual field day on Thursday, May 14, at 1 p.m. The event will include video footage from a local riparian forest area and live interaction with Billy Beck and Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management. More

Webinar Series to Discuss Forest Management for Bats
A webinar series on forest management for bats will be held Friday, May 15, 2 to 3 p.m. and Wednesday, May 20, 6 to 7 p.m. Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management, will present. Participants who complete a post-session evaluation will be given a code for a free shipment of 25 tree seedlings from the State Forest Nursery to plant a bat habitat. More

Around the College

Beattie Named Fellow, American Phytopathological Society
Gwyn Beattie, interim chair of plant pathology and microbiology and Robert Earle Buchanan Distinguished Professor of Bacteriology, has been named a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society. More

FSHN Creamery Accepting Colleges’ Entries for Ice Cream Flavor Contest
The newly re-opened ISU Creamery in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is hosting an Ice Cream Flavors of Iowa State Colleges contest. Faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to participate. Contestants are asked to describe an ice cream concept and why it represents a certain college. Entries are due June 15. The highest scoring entry from each college will be featured on the menu at Sparks, a student-operated café to open fall 2020 in the ISU Student Innovation Center. More

Fresh Produce Available from ISU Horticulture Farm
Faculty, staff and students can order fruits and vegetables grown at the Horticulture Research Station through an online produce-ordering website. Fresh asparagus and last fall’s onions are currently available. Curbside pickup will be Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the west loading zone of Horticulture Hall (southwest corner of lot 43). Extra produce at the pick-up location will not be available. More

Still Need an At-Home Computer? Animal Science and CALS IT Are Lending
The animal science department and CALS IT have computers to lend to staff who need them for working remotely at home. The Dell computers have 24-inch screens, are WiFi equipped and have Windows 10 installed. Contact Joel Rybolt in animal science ( or David Wallace, CALS IT (

CSRL Delivers Rice to Uganda Partners During Pandemic
On May 2, staff of the Iowa State University – Uganda Program delivered 1,400 kilograms (more than 3,000 pounds) of rice to the Kamuli District Anti-COVID-19 Task Force. “To control infection rates, key sectors of the Uganda economy have been locked down and a number of supply chains have been disrupted,” said David Acker, associate dean for global engagement and director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods. “Rural areas are quite vulnerable.” The delivery of rice followed the ISU-UP staff’s earlier delivery of maize flour.


May 15: INRC Water Quality Proposal Deadline May 15
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center is accepting proposals for research that can help landowners, farmers, agribusiness and others improve water quality by reducing nitrate and phosphorus in the state’s waterways. There are six main research topic areas prioritized for funding consideration. Proposals are due by May 15. More


NC Regional Aquaculture Center Seeks Research, Outreach Proposals
The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center is seeking pre-proposals in research and outreach that support the aquaculture industry in the North Central region. Approximately $1 million is available to fund projects for up to two years, starting in 2021. More

Pass the Pork: Pig Farmers Feeding Iowans
The Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are helping Iowa pig farmers donate pigs to Iowa food bank feeding programs. Local meat processors have extended their hours of operation to process and package “Pass the Pork” donations and Iowa food banks are getting the pork into the hands of those in need. Monetary donations are accepted online to help with costs associated with processing, storage and delivery. More


Video: Drive-by Farewell for Marshall Ruble, Retiring After 40 Years
A drive-by tailgate was held May 8 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center to celebrate the retirement of Marshall Ruble, manager of the center and long-time beef teaching farm manager.

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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