Issue: 1112

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
June 29, 2020

Top Stories

Century Farm Donation to Provide Scholarships for CALS Students 
An Iowa Century Farm donated by a lifelong Pottawattamie County resident to the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation in Council Bluffs will provide annual scholarships for students enrolled in CALS. The Barbara J. Green Century Farm will provide approximately $75,000 to $100,000 annually for scholarship support to students pursuing majors in agriculture with a preference for southwest Iowa high school students in Pottawattamie, Mills and Montgomery counties. More


Cyber-Physical System Monitors Crops, Drives Decisions, Boosts Yields
Researchers at Iowa State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are combining their expertise in electronics, computing and crops to develop a cyber-physical system to monitor fields at almost single-plant resolution. USDA is supporting the collaborative effort with a three-year, $1.05 million grant. CALS researchers include Patrick Schnable, director of the Plant Sciences Institute, and Michael Castellano and Sotirios Archontoulis, agronomy. More

Economic Analysis Shows Soybean Trials Generate Value for Farmers
Farmers and seed companies in Iowa and Illinois saved millions of dollars in recent years because of data generated by Iowa State field trials that tested soybean varieties resistant to the soybean cyst nematode. A new study by GianCarlo Moschini, economics, used economic models to determine how willing farmers are to pay a premium for resistant soybean varieties compared to susceptible varieties. Gregory Tylka, Iowa Soybean Research Center, led the field trials. More

CAST Releases Commentary on Economic Impacts of COVID-19
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association have partnered on a new paper, Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Food and Agricultural Markets. The publication contains insights from 29 experts, including Lee Schulz, economics, and is now available for download. More

New Study Tracks Sandhill Cranes in Iowa
A pilot project tracking sandhill cranes in Iowa is using GPS transmitters to learn more about the cranes’ habitat use, migration routes and overwintering sites. The project is led by Robert Klaver, affiliate professor in natural resource ecology and management, and is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. More

Teaching and Students

Global Experience Highlights Importance of Iowa Agriculture
Riley Wilgenbusch, senior in agronomy and global resource systems, talks about his summer internship with Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks! in a June 24 blog post. He said his internship has given him a diverse perspective on Iowa agriculture to contrast his prior international work experiences and studies in global resource systems. More

Student Intern Learns Fruit and Vegetable Production
Planning, plotting and planting approximately two-and-one-half acres of fruits and vegetables to sell this summer is a learning experience for Alice Paulson (’20 horticulture), student intern at the Horticulture Research Station. Each Friday during the growing and harvest season, Paulson can be found distributing produce to customers on campus. More

Agronomy Student Interns at Reiman Gardens
Chase Krug, junior in agronomy, is a plant collection intern at Reiman Gardens this summer. He manages the garden’s collection of diverse plants and provides the public with educational outreach. More

Extension and Outreach

Liquidity Remains a Concern on Iowa Farms
Despite a higher average income in 2019, Iowa’s mid- to large-size farms actually saw a considerable decrease in farm liquidity and working capital over the past year according to Alejandro Plastina, economics. He provides an overview in the June edition of Ag Decision Maker. More

Learn to Optimize Corn Yield Following a Cereal Rye Cover Crop
Iowa Learning Farms will hold a webinar at noon on Wednesday, July 1, on how to incorporate cover crops into corn without sacrificing yield. Alison Robertson, plant pathology and microbiology, will present. More

Around the College

Moore Senior Editor of Updated Textbook on Forages
Kenneth Moore, agronomy, is senior editor of the recently updated publication Forages: The Science of Grassland Agriculture, a textbook that has been used around the world. The lead author and editor of the original 1951 edition was Harold Hughes, a professor of agronomy at Iowa State from 1910 until his retirement in 1946. More

Ellinwood Named Chief Scientific Officer of National MPS Society
Matthew Ellinwood, animal science, has been named the inaugural chief scientific officer of the National MPS Society. The society’s biomedical research initiatives, collaborative research networks and research grant program create new pathways leading to the further understanding of MPS and ML therapies and eventual cures. Ellinwood will retire from Iowa State effective June 30 and will serve as emeritus professor. More

Germplasm Licensing Service Continues Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
With soybean farmers across the United States relying on access to non-GMO soybean varieties from the Iowa State University Research Foundation, Iowa State leadership acted fast to ensure critical services such as the Germplasm Licensing Program remained open amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This continuation of services is a collaborative effort among the ISURF, the Committee for Agricultural Development, the Iowa Crop Improvement Association and the Department of Agronomy. More

Rao to Serve as Interim Vice President for Research
Guru Rao, associate vice president for research and professor in the Roy J. Carver department of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, will serve as interim vice president for research effective July 1. He will succeed Sarah Nusser. More


June 30: Webinar to Address Food Insecurity, Inequality and COVID-19
A forum on Food Insecurity, Inequality and COVID-19 will be held on Tuesday, June 30, at 11 a.m., presented by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with The World from PRX and WGBH. Catherine Woteki, food science and human nutrition, former dean of CALS and former USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture, will be a panelist. More 

July 1: Global Ag Trade Webinar
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will give an agricultural trade policy update during a webinar at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, hosted by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s international trade office. Lee Schulz and Chad Hart, economics, will also share their insights into the international livestock and commodity markets and economic forecasts. More

Communications Kiosk

Associated Press Now Capitalizes Black, Indigenous
Associated Press has updated its stylebook to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. The lowercase black is a color, not a person. AP also now capitalizes Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place. These changes align with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American. As a global news organization, they continue to discuss within the U.S. and internationally whether to capitalize the term white. More


Process Improvement Challenges Sought for Student Class Projects 
Faculty instructors for Industrial Engineering 361 (Statistical Quality Assurance) are asking for help in identifying internal projects for students for the 2020-21 academic year. As part of the course requirements, students conduct a process-oriented quality improvement project with a client. The project goal is to make data-driven recommendations to improve the quality of a process the client cares about. Examples could be assistance needed with in a group, team, office, lab or department — on or off campus. Instructors estimate they’ll need 15 projects for fall and 22 for spring. Send ideas or questions to

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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