Issue: 1123

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
September 14, 2020

Top Stories

CALS Award Nomination Deadline Nov. 17
Nominations for annual awards presented by CALS are due Nov. 17. The list of college awards and nominating guidelines are available online. Of special note: CALS nominations are open this year for the Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award, which recognizes a tenured faculty member who has demonstrated a truly exceptional level of creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching and service, and who shows great promise of continuing such achievement. Nominations will be reviewed by the CALS Awards Committee in December and presented during the annual CALS Awards Program, scheduled for March 11. Nominations for most awards presented by ISU need to be submitted to the college first. The college deadline for university award nominations is Nov. 17. The CALS Awards Committee will review and forward the best two to three nominations for each award. The list of university awards and nominating guidelines are available online. University awards are presented at the ISU Fall Convocation in September. The award page on the CALS website provides a complete list of awards available, frequently asked questions and a list of past recipients. Contact your departmental awards committee for additional information.


NSF Grant to Connect Farmers to Share Agronomic Data
The new Smart Integrated Farm Network for Rural Agricultural Communities project recently received a three-year, nearly $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop technology to allow farmers to pool data and share knowledge. The data will help farmers respond to production obstacles such as weeds, disease and pests. The multidisciplinary research team led by Asheesh Singh, agronomy, will pair innovative data gathering methods with machine learning to make the information easily accessible. More  

ISU Scientists Lead National Genome to Phenome Collaboration
A new federal grant will support an Iowa State-led effort to spur development of a “genome to phenome” infrastructure for scientific collaboration across crops and livestock. The three-year, $960,000 project will lay the groundwork for a larger federal Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative sponsored by the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Patrick Schnable, agronomy, is leading the effort with Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, agronomy and genetics, development and cell biology, and Christopher Tuggle and Jack Dekkers, animal science. They will work with partners at the University of Arizona, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Idaho. More  

U.S. Ready to Meet China’s Surging Import Demands
China’s demand for U.S. corn is surging, and according to researchers at Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, the U.S. is ready to meet that demand. Dermot Hayes, Wendong Zhang and Xi He, CARD, have updated a May 2020 study and now predict China will import $21.63 billion in agricultural products from the U.S. in the first year of the phase one trade deal. More  

Study Reveals How Soil Organic Matter Forms Across Ecosystems
A new study found patterns in how soil organic matter forms across a wide range of climate types. Understanding how soils break down or preserve organic matter is important because organic matter plays a central role in the kind of services soils can provide, such as whether they make good agricultural soils or if they can sequester carbon to slow climate change. Steven Hall, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, is lead author of the study published in Nature Geoscience. More  

Shrink-Smart Town Study Expanding to Include Curriculum, Big Data
Iowa State’s rural smart shrinkage project has received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build upon its pilot study examining whether there were towns in Iowa that have lost population but perception of quality of life has remained stable or improved. The research team includes David Peters, sociology, and Zhengyuan Zhu and Heike Hofmann, statistics. More  

Teaching and Students

Class Introduces Students to the Science of Predicting Pandemics
When Nancy Boury, plant pathology and microbiology, introduced her class, Predicting the Next Pandemic, in fall 2019, she had no way to foresee just how timely the topic would become just a few months later. More  

CALS Council Seeking Nominations for Senior Awards
The CALS Student Council is seeking nominations for fall 2020 senior awards. Every fall and spring semester, CALS Council recognizes graduating seniors through six different awards: outstanding senior, leadership excellence, academic achievement, distinguished service, outstanding ambassador of agriculture and life sciences, and commitment to diversity. Nominations are due Sept. 25. More  

Study Abroad Opportunities Available for Spring 2021
Information meetings are being held and application deadlines are set for spring study abroad programs. If travel is possible during spring 2021, CALS Study Abroad programs will be offered as planned. If travel is not possible due to COVID-19, students will not be charged a program fee so there is no risk in applying. Students are encouraged to learn more about CALS Study Abroad programs by contacting Jessica Boertje ( to set up a virtual advising session. More  

Animal Science Graduate Breeds Horse for Kentucky Derby
Paige Gilster, a 2017 graduate with a degree in animal science and an emphasis in equine management, is the breeder of Kentucky Derby runner Finnick the Fierce. She made all her own breeding decisions with a broodmare she decided to purchase when she was a student at Iowa State. More

Extension and Outreach

Agronomy Team Debuts New Weather Tool for FACTS
ISU Extension and Outreach has released a new tool on the Forecast and Assessment of Cropping Systems website that displays weather summaries for every crop reporting district in 12 Midwest states. The weather summaries include data from 1984 through today, updated every month and with information on temperature, precipitation, radiation and other weather indicators. More  

Virtual Organic Field Day Video Available Online
A video from the virtual organic field day at Neely-Kinyon Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm is available online from ISU Extension and Outreach. The field day covers the variety of organic research at the farm including organic corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa, peppers, winter squash and grapes. More  

Around the College

Huff-Lonergan Recognized for Innovative Teaching
Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan, animal science, was presented the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Meat Science Association in recognition of the innovative teaching methods she uses in the classroom to help students learn and be prepared for a professional career. More  

Journal of Dairy Science Recognizes Baumgard
Lance Baumgard, animal science, was awarded the 2020 Journal of Dairy Science Highly Cited Award from the American Dairy Science Association. The award recognized Baumgard and his co-authors for an article published in the March 2017 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Dairy Science, “Glucose requirements of an activated immune system in lactating Holstein cows.” More  

Roelfs New Executive Director of CALS Development Office
Sarah Roelfs has accepted the unit lead position for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences development team. Roelfs joined the ISU Foundation as a member of the college team in June 2011. In May of this year, Sarah agreed to serve as interim unit lead and effective immediately, Sarah will begin her role as Executive Director of the CALS Development office. 

Karl Kerns Joins Animal Science
Karl Kerns has joined the animal science department where he will teach anatomy and physiology courses and conduct research in reproduction. More  

Annual United Way Campaign Begins
Iowa State University’s annual United Way campaign has begun. CALS plays a major role in the success of this community-wide fundraising effort. This year's contributions will be made paperless through donating by credit card on the Iowa State United Way website or through payroll deduction via Workday.   


Sept. 16: Webinar Features Monarch Conservation
Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Sept. 16 at noon, featuring monarch butterfly conservation efforts in Iowa. Steve Bradbury, natural resource ecology and management and entomology, will present. More  

Sept. 18: George Fuller Memorial Lecture
The George Fuller Memorial Lecture will be held virtually on Sept. 18 from 3:40 to 5 p.m. Costas Arkolakis, a professor of economics at Yale University, will present “Not-Parametric Gravity: Measuring the Aggregate Implications of Firm Heterogeneity.” More

Communications Kiosk

Damage vs. Damages
“Damage” is destruction of loss: Authorities said the storm caused more than $1 billion in damage. “Damages” are awarded by a court as compensation for injury, loss, etc.: The woman received $25,000 in damages. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2018 edition, pg. 76)


Iowa State Named Finalist for Innovation and Economic Prosperity Award
Iowa State University is one of six universities named by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities as a finalist for its eighth annual Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards. Iowa State and the University of Memphis are finalists for the IEP Innovation award, recognizing exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development. Winners will be announced during the association’s virtual annual meeting on Nov. 9-11. More


Insect Zoo Available to Schools Virtually
Iowa State’s Insect Zoo is offering virtual Live with Bugs programs that can be tailored to fit the needs of any learning plan. The one-hour programs can be offered via Zoom, Google Classroom or other online platforms. More  

Courtney on a Quest to Photograph Aquatic Insects
Greg Courtney, entomology, believes photographing live insects instead of preserved specimens advances students’ learning. His goal is to photograph every living species of aquatic insects throughout the world for a photographic insect book he hopes to publish. Courtney and his quest are featured in the fall 2020 issue of Iowa Outdoors Magazine, published by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 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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