Issue: Summer Sampler

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WHAT WE DID LAST SUMMER

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We recently asked departments in the College of Agriculture to send examples of the summer 1999 activities of faculty and staff. Here are some of the responses.

PRAIRIE RESTORATION ON A GRAND SCALE

Diane Debinski, animal ecology, worked on restoring prairie habitat for the rare Regal Fritillary butterfly at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Jasper County. When complete, the refuge will include 8,600 acres.

WITNESS TO KOBE BEEF PROCESSING IN JAPAN

Marvin Hayenga, economics, studied the world-famous Kobe beef slaughter, grading and auction process in Kobe, Japan, along with professors and agricultural economics students from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Agriculture.

AG ENGINEERS, FARM MACHINERY ‘COMBINE’ FOR INFORMATIVE TRIP

Graeme Quick and Stuart Birrell, agricultural and biosystems engineering, took a weeklong road trip around the Midwest to get a firsthand look at trends and developments in farm equipment. They visited with farmers, equipment dealers, manufacturers and custom harvesters in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. They studied the performance of combine harvesters in Kansas wheat fields, and took a "straw poll" of combine operators on what they wanted in the next generation of machinery. Quick and Birrell, who plan to use the information in courses they teach on farm machinery and precision agriculture, remarked that the people they met were "impressed with the fact that two academics from Iowa State would get out on the road for a ‘reality check.’"

MAPPING THE MILKWEED

Bob Hartzler, agronomy, and Doug Buhler, agronomy/USDA, traveled Iowa to map common milkweed infestations. The survey was conducted in response to concerns regarding impacts of genetically modified crops on monarch butterflies.

A LIFE-SCIENCES TREK THROUGH CENTRAL EUROPE

Tom Jurik, botany, and Warren Dolphin, zoology and genetics, led a group of 15 undergraduate life-science majors on a three-week field trip throughout Central Europe. Besides visiting large cities (Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna), they also toured Mendel’s monastery, national parks in the Sumava and Tatra mountains and small farms in the Eastern Carpathians and Austria. The trip was arranged with the University of South Bohemia and Slovak Agricultural University.

AGRICULTURE AND WILDLIFE ON TWO CONTINENTS

Bill Clark, animal ecology, participated in discussions of wildlife and agriculture in Europe and the United States at the International Wildlife Management Congress in Hungary. Clark and Barry Falk, economics, are modeling the associations between agricultural policy, habitat on the landscape and pheasant populations in Iowa.

COMPARING AG MARKETING IN ARGENTINA AND U.S.

Sergio Lence and Ebby Luvaga of economics, Tom Goldsby of logistics operations/MIS and Snajeev Agarwal of marketing accompanied 12 students to Argentina to compare the country’s agricultural marketing sector to that of the United States. The travel-study course on comparative marketing analysis of agricultural products is believed to be the first of its kind.

PROFESSIONAL PLANT BREEDERS GET MOLECULAR

More than 25 scientists from several companies in North America, Europe and South America traveled to ISU to attend two sessions of the Plant Molecular Breeding Short Course organized by Michael Lee, agronomy, and colleagues. The intensive two-and-a-half-day course, designed for private-sector scientists, included reviews of genetics and genomics as they relate to plant breeding and crop improvement.

DUTCH TREAT IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE POLICY

Wallace Huffman, economics, spent three weeks in The Netherlands lecturing and learning about agricultural science policies at Wageningen Agricultural University, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture.

EXPERIENCING COSTA RICA’S RICH BIODIVERSITY

Wayne Rowley, entomology, took 20 undergraduate life-science majors on a field trip to Costa Rica. Students conducted field studies in upland and lowland rain forests, dry tropical forests and high mountain forests in a land of incredible biological diversity. The trip was arranged through colleagues at the University of Costa Rica.

STUDENTS DO INTENSIVE ANALYSIS OF SUSTAINABLE FARMS

Ricardo Salvador, Lee Burras, Mary Wiedenhoeft and Gina McAndrews, all from agronomy, and Kathleen Delate, horticulture, put on a one-week field course in which students visited seven farms in three states in six days. The agroecosystems analysis course is offered through the North Central Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, which is led by Salvador. Using the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory as their base, the 15 students (five from ISU and the rest from universities in Nebraska, Minnesota and Utah) visited farms in southwest Minnesota, north-central Iowa and northeast Nebraska. They analyzed the farms’ sustainability in the areas of production, economics, ecology, landscape and social issues.

WEATHER COURSE A POPULAR SUMMER CHOICE

Thirty-three students spent a portion of their summer learning agricultural meteorology, taught by Elwynn Taylor, agronomy. This is the first time that ag-weather courses have been offered in the summer. Student response shows that it will be desirable to offer summer study again.

CORN BREEDING AND GENOMICS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD

Michael Lee, agronomy, gave invited presentations in Mexico and Brazil on the integration and application of genomics in maize improvement in the developing world. He discussed the topic with representatives of the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT), the Rockefeller Foundation, Sasakawa Global 2000 and USDA national program staff.

STUDYING THE ECOLOGY OF YELLOWSTONE

Dick Schultz, forestry, and Diane Debinski, animal ecology, led a group of 12 graduate students in the interdisciplinary ecology and evolutionary biology program to the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park on a 10-day field trip. The students studied issues of importance to the area, including bison management, forest fires and geyser-dwelling bacteria, and conducted independent projects.

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