Issue: 1107

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
May 26, 2020

Top Stories

CALS Student Part of 2020 CYstarters Cohort
Joshua Jeske, agricultural communications, is one of 19 student entrepreneurs in the 2020 CYstarters Cohort. His business, Precision Tillage, seeks to maximize tillage efficiency by taking precise soil measurements in combination with existing technology to positively impact soil health and farm labor efficiencies. More


Graduate Student Combines Agronomy, Engineering for Increasing Productivity
Ashlyn Rairdin, PhD student in the Interdepartmental Plant Biology and the Predictive Plant Phenomics programs, is working with agronomy professor Arti Singh to explore the convergence of agronomy, data and engineering to develop new methods to improve crop breeding and productivity. More

Teaching and Students

Animal Science Graduate Student Receives Burroughs Fellowship
Crystal Roach, doctoral student in animal science, received a Burroughs Wellcome Trainee Travel Fellowship from the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Roach works in Aileen Keating’s laboratory. Her research is listed in the May 20 issue of the SSR Weekly News. More

Former Labs Repurposed for Student Use
Two new study spaces in Bessey Hall will greet biosciences majors when they return to campus. The repurposed spaces served as laboratories which now are house in the Advanced Teaching and Research Building. More  

Extension and Outreach

Economics Extension: Iowa Cash Rents Show Slight Increase
Despite another difficult year in agriculture, cash rents still posted an increase of about 1.4 percent, according to Alejandro Plastina, economics, and this year’s Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2020 Survey. Included in the survey were nearly 1,600 responses from farmers, landowners, professional farm managers, realtors and others reportedly with knowledge of 1.6 million acres of cash-rented land across Iowa. More  

Dairy Podcast, Dairy COVID-19 Resources Keep Iowa Producers Informed
ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialists have launched a new podcast, Dairy News and Views. The podcasts are recorded every two weeks and feature topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues in the dairy industry. More In addition, the dairy team has created a new website with COVID-19 resources. More

Conservation Reserve Land Can Make Attractive Bee Habitat
The Conservation Reserve Program has been protecting land and wildlife habitat for 30 years. Randall Cass, entomology, explains in a recent article how CRP ground also can be used to protect pollinators, including honey bees. More

Around the College

CALS P&S Council Elects New Officers
The CALS P&S Council elected new officers during its May WebEx meeting. Tracy Schlater, agronomy communications specialist, was elected president, succeeding Jeff Hartwig, animal science agriculture research station superintendent. Nate Dobbels, advisor, agricultural education and studies, was elected president-elect, replacing Schlater. Danise Jones, program assistant in genetics, development and cell biology, was elected secretary, succeeding Barb McBreen, communications specialist in CALS Communications Service. Lesa Vold, communications specialist in Egg Industry Center, was re-elected as communications officer. The officers begin their positions June 1. 

ISU Memorial Day Remembrance Goes Online
The university's annual Memorial Day ceremony, hosted by the ISU Retirees Association to honor retirees or spouses who died in the past year, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the association's board invited friends, family members and colleagues to submit tributes and memorials about their loved ones or former colleagues that will be posted on a Memorial Day 2020 website. Individuals who would have been honored at a 2020 Memorial Day event will be included in the 2021 ceremony, and their family, friends and colleagues will be invited to participate. There were more than 90 honored, including: Jeffrey Berger, animal science; Paul Doak, economics; Albert Freeman, animal science; Carol Greiner, editor for extension and experiment station publications; Darlene Harl, wife of Neil Harl, economics; Jane Lenahan, ANR communications; Dudley Luckett, economics; Charles Mulford, sociology; Sara (Sally) Peterson, wife of Peter Peterson, agronomy; Roxanna Robertson, wife of Don Robertson, GDCB; Beverly Van Fossen, wife of Larry Van Fossen, ABE; and Corinne Wolins, wife of Leroy Wolins, statistics. More

Egg Industry Center Facilitates Research and Learning
May is Egg Month and Iowa leads the nation in producing and processing eggs. The Egg Industry Center at ISU adds value to the egg industry by facilitating research and learning for egg producers, processors and consumers. More


May 28: Virtual Wetlands Field Day
Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and the Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual wetland field day on Thursday, May 28, at 1 p.m. The event will include video footage from a variety of wetlands in north central Iowa and live interaction with Kay Stefanik, Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management. More

Communications Kiosk

Tips for Virtual Media Interviews 
With the increase in virtual news interview requests, the ISU Office of Strategic Relations and Communications offered these pointers for creating a professional image while working with media via distance:

  • Avoid using Zoom backgrounds. Several campus units have created some beautiful campus backdrops, but the images can be a distraction. Lighting, movement, color of clothing can create problems with the picture, which takes the attention away from you and the point you’re making. 
  • If you’re working from home, a quiet room with a little depth and minimal items in the background works best. Same as above – if there’s too much going on in the background, it’s a distraction.
  • Your computer camera and audio will work well for most interview requests – additional equipment is rarely needed.
  • Position the camera at eye level so you’re looking forward, not up or down, which can create an odd camera angle. If needed, stack a book or two to get the camera at the proper level.
  • Wearing a university lapel pin or ISU apparel is always a good idea for an interview.


United Way Food Drive on Campus Is Virtual This Year
The ISU community’s annual Live United Food Drive will take place virtually May 15 to May 28. Monetary contributions will benefit 13 food pantries in Story County and ensure children and families have food during the summer months. ISU faculty, staff, students and friends can support the effort by donating via the Story County United Way website. Select “LIVE UNITED Food Drive” from the drop-down menu at the top of the page and type “Iowa State University” as the employer name. Contributions may also be sent by check to the United Way of Story County, 316 Clark Ave., Ames, IA 50010. Make checks payable to the United Way of Story County and write “ISU Live United Food Drive” in the memo line. For questions, contact the  ISU Live United Food Drive Co-Chairs: Haley Cook (, CALS, or Tara Fisher (, Ivy College of Business. 

Seed Funding for COVID-19 Research
The Office of the Vice President for Research is currently accepting applications for a new research seed funding program dedicated to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is designed to encourage faculty in all academic disciplines to apply their expertise to an aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will support the initial stages of high-risk, high-reward projects that have an interdisciplinary focus and strong potential for future external funding. The deadline for applications is May 29. More  
Some County Fairs Postponed to 2021
The Association of Iowa Fairs is working with its members as they plan for their fairs this June through September, and providing updated information to help determine what the 2020 fairs will look like for exhibitors, vendors, workers, carnivals, service clubs, entertainers and patrons. As of May 21, 15 county fairs have made decisions to postpone their shows, while some are still trying to find a way to exhibit livestock. The Association of Iowa Fairs website provides updated listings. More


May Is Beef Month: Loy Shares a Favorite Pot Roast Recipe
May is Beef Month. We asked Dan Loy, animal science and director of ISU’s Iowa Beef Center, to share one of his family’s favorite beef recipes — his daughter-in-law’s Mississippi Pot Roast. (Loy added that his smoked brisket also is a family favorite, but his recipe’s a secret.)

Katie Loy’s Mississippi Pot Roast

  • chuck roast (3 lb.)
  • 1 stick butter/margarine
  • 1 packet Ranch mix
  • 1 packet au jus gravy mix
  • Pepperoncini peppers

Put the roast in crock pot. I like it browned but you can skip that step if you are in a hurry. Sprinkle ranch mix on top. Sprinkle au jus mix on top. Put a stick of butter on top. Place 5 or 6 pepperoncini peppers on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve on rice, potatoes or alone. 

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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