Issue: 858

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
July 13, 2015 – No. 858

Top Stories

Schnable and Tang Research Teams Tour Corn Growers’ Farm in Western Iowa
On Saturday, July 11, a group of about 25 ISU researchers who are members of the labs of Pat Schnable, agronomy, and Lie Tang, agricultural engineering, toured the farm of Larry and Bonnie Buss in Logan, Iowa. The tour was organized by the Iowa Corn Growers Association. The researchers, who spend much of their time studying maize genomics and building agricultural robots, learned about current farming practices, agricultural machinery, commodity markets, challenges facing agriculture and opportunities for further research. Schnable and Tang are collaborating on the development and deployment of robots that can collect data on the growth and development of corn and sorghum in fields. Also present on the tour were members of the James Schnable laboratory from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The two Schnables are father and son, as well as research collaborators. Pat Schnable is the Iowa Corn Promotion Board Endowed Chair in Genetics and director of the Plant Sciences Institute. 


Around the State: Update at Research and Demonstration Farms

  • Plots demonstrating nine species of milkweed have been planted and identified for research and demonstration purposes related to monarch butterflies.
  • 140 sycamore trees and 120 Norway spruce trees were planted this spring at the McNay Research Farm to create shade and a windbreak for beef cows. The site was designed by ISU forestry extension staff.
  • A new root washing station has been built at the Johnson Farm south of Ames, to be used by entomology researchers to wash soil from corn roots as part of research related to corn rootworm. Also, a new rice paddy has been constructed for research.
  • An electric-powered, GPS-controlled, one tower, 230-ft long pivot irrigation system was installed at the Muscatine Island farm for irrigating research projects.
  • The Southeast Research Farm hosted 60 farmers from Poland on June 4.
  • The Armstrong Research Farm hosted an Ag Career Day sponsored by Wyffels Hybrid on June 17, with 50 area high school students attending. On July 1, 20 Iowa Western Community College students toured the farm.
  • Trumpeter swans have nested and hatched cygnets at the Kelley Farm wetland.
  • Wayne Roush, superintendent at the Western Research Farm retired July 2. Jim Kubik, ag specialist at the Horticulture Research Station retired July 6. Micah Smidt, superintendent at the Northern Research Farm resigned effective July 10 to take a position in private industry.

Teaching and Students

Phi Tau Sigma Named Chapter of the Year
The ISU chapter of Phi Tau Sigma, the honor society of food science and technology, was recognized as Chapter of the Year at the Institute of Food Technologists annual national conference in Chicago on July 10. Terry Boylston, food science and human nutrition, is the faculty advisor.

Extension and Outreach

Managing Farm Financials Easier with Crop Marketing Videos
A series of educational videos addressing various components of grain marketing fundamentals was recently created for Iowa farmers. Crop Marketing 101 features faculty and staff from ISU Extension and Outreach and is available to view on the Ag Decision Maker website and the ISU Extension and Outreach’s Agricultural and Natural Resources YouTube channel. More

New Publication Describes Food Hub Start-up Strategy
A new publication describes how emerging food hubs can grow successfully under money constraints if cash flow is managed strategically. Produced by ISU Extension and Outreach, the Leopold Center and the Iowa Food Hub, “Managing Cash Flow for a Low-Capital Food Hub Start-Up” is part of the Iowa Food Hub: Local Food System Toolkit series designed to share knowledge gleaned from local foods work and research in Northeast Iowa. More

Around the College

New Human Resources Coordinator to Begin July 27
Tasha Barton is joining CALS as a human resource coordinator and will begin July 27. She will support position description review, hiring, C/D base EPAs and special projects. Barton will work with Kathey Schuckert, the college’s human resource liaison.

Road to Ag Engineering/Agronomy Research Farm Closed
Beginning today, July 13, U Avenue will be closed for grading and paving from Highway 30 past the Ag Engineering/Agronomy Research Farm and the BioCentury Research Farm. Access to the farms will be from the south only. Exit Highway 30 on V Avenue, travel one mile south to 240th Street, then one mile west to U Avenue, then north to the farms. Watch for detour signs. Closure is expected for six to seven weeks.

Funding Opportunities

USDA NIFA Schedule of Requests for Applications
NIFA’s Office of Grants and Financial Management has established a schedule of Requests for Applications showing the anticipated month of publication. The schedule will be updated on a biweekly basis and is for informational purposes only. NIFA does not guarantee that RFAs will publish by the anticipated dates. The schedule includes four RFAs anticipated for release in July. More

NSF Offering S-STEM 2015 “Flipped” Webinars
A series of webinars and presentations provide information on the recently released solicitation for the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program. Pre-recorded webinars will communicate general information and program elements that are new or have changed since previous S-STEM solicitations. Live Q&A sessions will allow PIs to get questions answered by NSF Program Leaders on July 15, 16 and 21. S-STEM proposals are due Sept. 22 and May 16. More

National Academics Keck Futures Initiative Conference Accepting Topic Ideas
NAKFI is an experiment to examine, stimulate and promote interdisciplinary research in exciting areas. This initiative harnesses the intellectual horsepower of the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds who apply to attend an annual "think-tank" style conference to contemplate the real-world challenges of our day. Seed grants are awarded to conference participants to enable further pursuit of new ideas and inspirations generated at the conference. Ideas for future conference topics are now being accepted. More

Funding Information, Opportunities and Deadline Reminders
Dates listed are application deadlines. Contact: Roxanne Clemens, Additional information is posted at CALS Pre-award Resources

July 15 (pre-proposal): ISU Research for Tracking Water Quality Progress; $250,000. More

July 30 (letter of intent): NOAA Climate Program Office FY 2016 Federal Funding Opportunity. More

Aug. 6: NSF Unsolicited Proposals for Quantitative Approaches to Biomedical Big Data; $100,000. More

Aug. 14: USDA Risk Management Education Partnerships Program; $20,000 to $99,999 for one year. More

Sept. 2 (letter of intent): Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Beckman Young Investigator Program; $750,000 over four years, must be within first three years of a tenure-track position or equivalent, contact the ISU Foundation ( with interest. More

Sept. 4: HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Special Projects; $500,000 over three years. More

Sept. 29: NSF Science of Science and Innovation Policy Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants; $20,000 direct costs, indirect costs allowed. More

Sept. 30: NSF Restricted-Access Research Data Centers; access to secure Census Bureau micro data, up to $300,000 over three years. More

Oct. 1 (letter of intent): Whitehall Foundation Bioscience Research Projects; assistant professor or higher in basic research in vertebrate and invertebrate neurobiology, $30,000 to $75,000 per year, up to three years, contact the ISU Foundation ( with interest. More

Oct. 5: NIH NEI Audacious Goals Initiative in Vision Research High Priority Research Area: Molecular Therapies for Eye Disease (R01). More

Oct. 8: USDA NIFA Small Business Innovation Research Program – Phase I; Universities eligible as consultant or subcontractor only. More

Oct. 12: NIH Cancer Prevention, Control, Behavioral Sciences and Population Sciences Career Development Award (K07). More

Communications Kiosk

A Trick to Better Proofreading: Change the Font
“As anyone who writes or publishes can tell you, attaining a perfect proofread – ferreting out every typo, missing word and so on – is staggeringly difficult. You can read over something six times, swear it’s perfect – and then show it to someone else who spots a typo instantly,” said David Pogue in a blog entry posted June 29. He offers a trick to better proofreading – change the font. “A different typeface in your word processor gives the text a different layout, with different line wraps, making it look fresh,” Pogue said. “The writing no longer looks like yours, making it easier to spot errors.” More


Iowa DNR Changes Environmental Emergency Telephone Number
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has changed its 24/7 Environmental Emergency telephone number. Spills can happen any time, so having the correct number -- in your emergency action plan, on-site records and your cell phone -- can help ease worry and stress during unwanted events. The new number is (515) 725-8694 and should be used to report manure, fertilizer or chemical spills, as well as fish kills and other environmental emergencies. The IDNR Environmental Reporting Hotline Guide is available online.   

Atlanta Summit Aug. 6-9 Supports Non-Heterosexual Men in Agriculture
A first-of-its-kind conference, “Cultivating Change Summit: Gay, Bi, Trans and Questioning Men in Agriculture,” will take place at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business on Aug. 6-9. The inaugural event was created to strengthen the community of non-heterosexual men involved with agriculture. The event’s organizers include Marcus Hollan, graduate student in University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Kris Elliot, an assistant professor of urban agricultural education at the University of Georgia. More


ISU Participating in #MyTopCollege Competition
Iowa State University is participating in the 2015 Forbes #MyTopCollege competition, which measures school spirit and alumni engagement via Twitter and Instagram for U.S. colleges and universities. Twitter and Instagram users are asked to participate by posting why you think Iowa State University is a great institution. Tag @IowaStateU and use #MyTopCollege and #ISUCALS as hashtags for your post. The competition runs through July 29. The winning school receives a feature story in Forbes magazine. 

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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