Issue: 378

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COLLEGE NEWS
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SATURDAY’S CONVOCATION TO HONOR GRADUATES
Faculty and staff are invited to honor graduating seniors at the College of Agriculture Convocation Saturday, Dec. 17, at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. About 195 students will be graduating this weekend. The convocation begins at 9:30 a.m. A reception with refreshments is served in the lobby at starting at 8:30 a.m. Abby Lauenroth, dairy science and animal science, will be making the address to fellow graduates during the program. The Agriculture Student Council will present awards. Chelcee Hindman, agricultural education, will receive the outstanding senior award; Nick Thompson, agricultural studies, will receive the leadership excellence award; Charlwit Kulchaiyawat, animal science, will receive the academic achievement award; and Stefan Knudsen, public service and administration in agriculture, will be presented the distinguished service award.

AFTER NEARLY TWO DECADES, STUDENT EARNS MASTER’S
On Friday Dave Serfling, a full-time farmer will complete his master’s degree from Iowa State after about 17 years after he started taking classes. Serfling, 46, manages a 350-acre crop and livestock operation near Preston, Minn. After earning his on-campus undergraduate degree in farm operation in 1981, Serfling started earning his Master in Agriculture degree with a major in professional agriculture in the spring of 1989, just three years after daughter Hannah, now a sophomore at college in Grand Rapids, Mich., was born. More: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/2005releases/serfling.html

BBMB RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTED IN PLANT PHYSIOLOGY COVER STORY
The cover story in the November issue of Plant Physiology journal is devoted to research led by Robert Thornburg in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Inside, in a section on Plants Interacting with Other Organisms, is a paper by Thornburg's research team on the isolation and characterization of certain nectarins, proteins found in the nectar of ornamental tobacco plants. The compounds may be potent inhibitors of enzymes that enable fungi to to penetrate a plant's cell walls. The issue was posted online on Dec. 1, http://www.plantphysiol.org/.

BEITZ HEADS COUNCIL FOR AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Don Beitz, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Animal Science and Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, assumed the presidency of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology at its November board meeting in Albuquerque. He replaces Stanley Fletcher, University of Georgia at Griffin.

ANIMAL SCIENTISTS HONORED AT SWINE CONFERENCE
An animal science faculty member and student were honored during the recent National Swine Improvement Federation annual conference. Recognized for their notable and continuing contributions in the area of swine study were Max Rothschild, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, and graduate student Clint Schwab. Rothschild received the Charles Stanislaw Memorial Distinguished Service Award. Schwab was presented the Lauren Christian Memorial Graduate Student Award.

UKRAINE HOOP CONFERENCE INCLUDES IOWA STATERS
An alternative swine production conference held last week in Ukraine included members of Iowa State’s Hoop Group. Peter Lammers, graduate student in animal science, and Ben Larson, former graduate student, were invited speakers. ISU representatives also demonstrated a three-dimensional virtual reality model of the ventilation in a hoop barn filled with pigs. The conference had about 400 participants.

ALUM HIRED IN COLLEGE DEVELOPMENT OFFICE
ISU agriculture alumnus Craig Schmidt will become director of development for the College of Agriculture effective Jan. 1. Schmidt earned a bachelor’s degree in farm operations in 1980. He is currently director of development in ISU’s College of Engineering. Schmidt joins the Development Office staff of Rich Bundy, Ray Klein, Kim Peter, Colleen Rogers and Peter Gudlewski. With Schmidt’s hiring, the College’s fundraising team is fully staffed.

HOMELAND SECURITY REPORTS ISU CHICKEN LINES PRESERVATION
A recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security publication, the Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report, made note of Iowa State’s efforts to preserve its chicken genetic lines, which are the world’s oldest. Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Animal Science Susan Lamont was quoted in a College news release distributed last month. The Department of Homeland Security publication is a daily summary of “open-source published information concerning significant critical infrastructure issues.”

JANUARY WEBCAST TO FOCUS ON BEEF MARKETS
The Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State is planning a statewide webcast that will focus on qualifying for Japanese beef exports, the cattle market outlook, risk management and new cattle insurance products. It will be held 7 p.m., Jan. 9, and available to producers at extension locations throughout the state. Learn more: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2005/dec/060602.htm

LOCAL CONVENIENCE STORES, LOCAL FOODS
Iowa convenience stores could be an untapped opportunity for Iowa producers to market local products, according to the results of a recent survey of Iowa convenience store operators. The study was for the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG) coordinated by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The study area included 180 convenience stores in a rural area (Guthrie and Audubon counties) and in an urban area (Polk and Dallas counties). The survey results, which represent 60 percent of the stores in the study area, showed that respondents were interested in carrying more local foods. "Most operators cited the importance of supporting the local economy as their number one reason, and fulfilling customer requests for more local foods as their second reason for being interested in stocking local foods," said Mary Holz-Claus, from ISU Extension's value added agriculture program and an author of the study's final report. "Others felt a local foods presence could help differentiate the store from competitors, or result in a better quality, fresher product provided there was sufficient customer demand." The report is available online at www.valuechains.org/rfswg/convenience_rfswg02-05.pdf.

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP SENSORS THAT COULD MEASURE GRAIN DAMAGE
Real-time grain damage sensors provide an opportunity to optimize combine operating conditions to minimize grain damage and prevent "invisible yield loss" during harvest. Grain damage sensors also have a number of applications in the marketing and processing of commodity and specialty grains. Stuart Birrell and Carl Bern in ABE have invented a method to use multi-frequency dielectric measurement techniques to sense mechanical grain damage. Under laboratory conditions, these dielectric techniques have made it possible to predict different levels of severely damaged and moderately damaged corn. In addition, the same dielectric variables also can be used to predict moisture content and bulk density. Commercial partners are being sought to transfer the laboratory technology to the real world. The ISU developers say the sensors could make it possible to do simultaneous, real time measurement of grain damage, moisture content and bulk density. The sensors also could be applied to static or flowing material, would provide a measurement system that is non-destructive and essentially non-contact, and would make it possible to conduct measurements of all grain in a lot, rather than just samples. It's expected the sensors could be used in combines, the marketing and distribution system, food production, the grain milling industry and the seed production industry.

ORGANIC AGRICULTURE AS RURAL DEVELOPMENT?
Could organic agriculture be a key to rural development? A grant from the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG) at Iowa State is being used to conduct an assessment of Woodbury County's food and farm economy. In June 2005, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors approved a new policy that would provide up to $50,000 annually in property tax rebates countywide to farmers who convert land to organic production. County leaders hope the policy will attract organic food processors and other related businesses to create jobs. They also plan to purchase more locally grown food for use at county food facilities. "The Regional Food Systems Working Group acted quickly once this new policy was approved to find the expertise to conduct this initial assessment," said Rich Pirog of the Leopold Center, who coordinates RFSWG projects. Those projects are funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "Future plans are to look at the impact that organic agriculture will have on the regional economy," he said. Initial results showed that 28 farms in Woodbury County sold $200,000 in food directly to consumers, a 300 percent increase in the past five years.

AGMRC WEB SITE REACHES 2 MILLION HITS
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center's Web site, www.agmrc.org, registered 2 million hits in October 2005, a new high for the center. AgMRC is a national Web site that provides producers with education and research about agricultural opportunities, business development and marketing channels related to value-added agriculture. The Web site contains state contacts and directories, interactive tools and commodity-specific information designed to help build successful value-added agricultural enterprises. The AgMRC is partially funded through a grant to Iowa State, Kansas State University and the University of California from the USDA’s Rural Development, Rural Business Cooperative Service.

USDA FUNDS FOUR-STATE WATER QUALITY WORK
Water quality research, education and outreach programs in four Midwest states are coordinated under the Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative, which has leadership from several College of Agriculture faculty. The initiative, which first received funding from the USDA in 2002, links water quality programs at land-grant universities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. A new round of funding recently announced by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns continues the project through September 2006. Organizers say better coordination makes university resources more accessible to water quality improvement efforts in the region, while reducing duplication. And it enhances opportunities for communities to adopt voluntary approaches to reduce agricultural nonpoint sources of water quality impairment. Technical working groups coordinate symposiums and workshops, develop fact sheets and Web-based information resources, and lead other activities that promote collaboration on water quality issues. Current priorities for the program are water quality issues related to animal manure management, nutrient and pesticide management, and citizen involvement in watershed management. More information is online at http://www.heartlandwq.iastate.edu/.

DEADLINES AND REMINDERS
Dec. 17: College Convocation for graduating seniors, 9:30 a.m., C.Y. Stephens Auditorium
Jan. 5-6: "Visions for Animal Agriculture and the Environment," national symposium focusing on animal agriculture and the environment, Kansas City, more: http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/Airy_home.htm

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COMMUNICATIONS KIOSK
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TELLING THE COLLEGE'S STORY
People love stories, Jeff Kallay reminds us. They pay attention to them, they learn from them, they believe them. So why are colleges spending so much effort on branding and taglines, and so little effort identifying and telling their unique stories? "When crafting your marketing, find the stories that set you apart," Kallay told participants of a recent TargetX workshop called 50 Ways to Recruit Today's Students. Stories are much more credible than other forms of marketing communications, he says. "Students can spot phony marketing. Claims of faster, righter, stronger, better just don't work anymore. A story can serve as a point of proof." Kallay is director of Breakthrough Marketing at Mindpower Inc. (TargetX's Email Minute, Dec. 9., http://www.targetx.com/knowledge/)

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INFOGRAZING
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DEC. 16 DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR FACULTY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
“Creating Undergraduate-Faculty Teaching Partnerships (UFTP) to Improve Teaching and Learning” is the title of three workshops scheduled for January in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. They provide an opportunity for faculty development and to gain details regarding the UFTP award of innovation program. Two sessions are set for Jan. 13 at Purdue University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the site of the Jan. 20 workshop. Dec. 16 is the registration deadline. More: http://lct.aces.uiuc.edu/UFTP/register/

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EXTERNAL VOICES
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JOHNSON ON CURIOSITY
Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.
--Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Next issue: Dec. 19

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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/

SUBSCRIBE
Ag Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture, is e-mailed every Monday. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Ag Online subscribe" to edadcock@iastate.edu. To unsubscribe, send "Ag Online unsubscribe."

Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, disability or status as a U.S. Vietnam Era Veteran. Any persons having inquiries concerning this may contact the director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 3680 Beardshear Hall, (515) 294-7612.

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