Issue: 327

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COLLEGE NEWS
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COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE DEC. 16
College of Agriculture faculty, staff and students are invited to a holiday open house on Dec. 16. The open house is from noon to 2 p.m. in 142 Curtiss Hall. Refreshments will be served.

THREE PORTRAITS ADDED TO DEAN COLLECTION
The portraits of three past deans of the College of Agriculture were unveiled at a ceremony Friday. The portraits replaced photographs of deans Lee Kolmer, David Topel and Richard Ross that hung in 142 Curtiss Hall, the College conference room. Mary Muller, a Des Moines artist, painted the portraits, which join a collection of other past College deans in the conference room. The three former deans and family members attended the unveiling.

HOIBERG RETIREMENT RECEPTION SET FOR DEC. 17
A retirement reception for Associate Dean Eric Hoiberg will be held from 3 to 5 p.m., Dec. 17, Campanile Room, Memorial Union. A short program is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Hoiberg joined the sociology faculty in 1974 and became associate dean of academic programs in 1995.

HOIBERG NAMED HONORARY MEMBER OF MANRRS
Associate Dean Eric Hoiberg has been named an honorary member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). ISU MANRRS chapter members Rebecca Ramos, Chansi Williams and Robert Jackson presented Hoiberg with the honor Friday, Dec. 3, making note of his support and contributions in helping the ISU chapter organize in the 1990s, arranging ISU to host the national conference in 1998 and 2004 and supporting the work of the College's Diversity Committee.

COLLEGE’S GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY ON THE WEB
A white paper describing the College of Agriculture’s global engagement strategy has been posted on the Web. The white paper was developed by Dean Catherine Woteki and Associate Dean David Acker at the recommendation of the Global Agriculture Programs Faculty Advisory Committee. Its purpose is to provide a clear rationale and vision for global engagement in the College. The report: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/news/globalengagement.html

FORESTRY CLUB SELLING TREES AND WREATHS THIS WEEKEND
The Forestry Club is selling Christmas trees Friday through Sunday, Dec. 10 to 12. On sale are balsam fir trees from $40 to $45, white and Scotch pines from $20 to $25 and balsam fir wreaths from $15 to $20. Trees will be on sale from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday; and 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Reiman Gardens maintenance shed. Contact: Andy Bartlett, bartlett@iastate.edu.

ISU INITIATIVE TARGETS IOWA CORN, SOYBEAN GROWERS
The ISU Corn and Soybean Initiative is a new effort to better serve the needs of Iowa's number-one-in-the-nation corn and soybean growers. The initiative is led by Greg Tylka, plant pathology. Details: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/2004releases/csi.html

NEW PROGRAM WILL ASSIST WITH NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANS
A new ISU program will make it easier for livestock producers across the country to get help when developing comprehensive nutrient management plans that are required for participation in some federal farm programs. The program is led by Robert Burns and Lara Moody, agricultural and biosystems engineering. Learn more:
http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/2004releases/cnmp.html

AGRONOMY DEPARTMENT RECOGNIZED BY AGRONOMIC SOCIETIES
The Department of Agronomy received several national awards at the 2004 annual meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America Oct. 31 – Nov. 4 in Seattle. Details: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/2004releases/agronawards.html

DEADLINES AND REMINDERS
Dec. 10: Richard Willham portrait unveiling, 3 p.m., Kildee Hall atrium

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COMMUNICATIONS KIOSK
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AG ONLINE IS ARCHIVED ON THE WEB
If you want to check on something from the last issue of Ag Online but have deleted it from your “In” box, don’t fret. Previous issues of Ag Online are archived on the Web at: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/agonline/agonline.php

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INFOGRAZING
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CROP BREEDING STUDY FINDS DECREASED NUTRIENTS
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied 43 garden crops and concluded that over the past 50 years, intensive efforts to breed new varieties with greater yield, resistance to pests or adaptability to different climates have resulted in a nutrient decline in those crops. Out of 13 nutrients studied, six showed declines: protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. More: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-12/uota-ssn120104.php

REPORT LOOKS AT BIOTECHNOLOGY REGULATION
The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology has issued a report that looks at how state regulators are responding to agricultural biotechnology and the federal-state partnership to ensure food safety and protect the environment. It is titled, “Tending the Fields: State and Federal Roles in the Oversight of Genetically Modified Crops.” The report is available as a PDF: http://pewagbiotech.org/research/fields/

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EXTERNAL VOICES
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AG BUSINESS ALUMNI HAVE TIPS ON CHRISTMAS TREES
Nick Hunter (ag business '83) and his brother, Mike (ag business '78), operate Hunter Bros. Tree Farm in Chariton. The following is an interview with Nick that appeared in last week’s ISU News Flash, an alumni association newsletter:

They began planting trees in addition to soybeans and corn in 1984, and have grown their tree farm into a business that attracts customers from all over southern Iowa, who buy about 700 trees from the full-service choose-and-cut farm each year. Some might call the Hunter Bros. Tree Farm a Winter Wonderland, as they have refurbished a one-room schoolhouse on the farm that is open during the holiday season as a gift shop. The Hunters also sell more than 200 specialty wreaths each year, shipping to places as far away as Texas, Massachusetts, and California. We thought we'd interrupt Nick during his busiest time of year and talk trees "fir" a few minutes:

Q. Nick, what are the advantages of buying a tree from a choose-and-cut farm?
A. For a lot of families, coming to the farm and choosing their own tree is a holiday tradition. They get to choose their own tree, but we do all the work while they just enjoy the fun of the atmosphere. But besides the tradition, a tree that is cut fresh will stay fresh. And you can't beat the full service of having the tree, cut, shaken, wrapped, and tied on the car.

Q. Do you have any tips for keeping the tree fresh once it's inside the home?
A. All a tree needs is water! And the water should not require any additives. Just use warm, almost hot, tap water, and remember to keep watering. A six- to eight-foot tree will absorb one to two quarts a day, which is a lot. And I don't like to hear when trees are banned by landlords for being unsafe, because they are not fire hazards if they are watered.

Q. Are certain varieties of trees messier than others once you get them in the house?
A. Most of the trees that we have are Scotch pine and white pine. The Scotch pines tend to have more old needles that get hung up in the tree, so they might be a little messier in terms of needles. The needles in those trees, however, are not needles that are drying while they're in your house ... they are usually old needles that hang on even after we shake out the tree.

Q. Any trends in tree-buying to be noted?
A. We are starting to go more toward firs. They have excellent needle retention, and they are very elegant. With a fir, you'll have soft needles and good, stiff branches that will hold ornaments better.

Q. How much should we expect to pay for a holiday tree this year?
A. We don't change our prices much from year to year. Pines are $3.50 a foot, so a six-foot tree will be in the $20 range. A six-foot fir tree will be in the $40 range.

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MARGINALIA
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WERGIN TO BE HONORED WITH GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARD
WHO Radio farm director Gary Wergin will be honored posthumously Wednesday, Dec. 8, with the Iowa Good Neighbor Award. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge, the Wergin family and WHO representatives will honor Gary Wergin in the atrium of the Henry A. Wallace Building, Des Moines. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the presentation to the Wergin family at 11:45 a.m. The Iowa Good Neighbor Award initiative to support Iowa’s livestock industry was Wergin's idea. He died Nov. 4 at his home from complications of colon cancer.

Next issue: Dec. 13
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AG ONLINE
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EDITOR
Ed Adcock, edadcock@iastate.edu
Phone: (515) 294-5616 Web site: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/

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