Animal Science Conference Continues Iowa State University Commitment to International Agriculture Education

April 26th, 2016

AMES, Iowa — Seven Iowa State University animal science faculty will journey to Honduras in May to help educate producers, students and faculty about advances in the science and technology to improve livestock production, while emphasizing reasonable and sustainable use of resources.

The Honduras conference is the latest in a series of international animal science conferences known as the Ensminger Schools that began more than 50 years ago.

The Ensminger School will be held May 13 and 14 at Zamorano University near Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

“Zamorano is an outstanding university in Latin America and it’s in a relatively poor, developing country. Agriculture and livestock are important in Honduras, so it was a natural choice for an Ensminger School,” said Max Rothschild. Rothschild is a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Ensminger Endowed Chair of International Agriculture at Iowa State.

This year’s conference topics center primarily around cattle. Iowa State faculty will address genetics, reproduction, nutritional feeding, and heat stress and disease. Other invited presenters will cover such topics as intensive silvopasture – the practice of combining fodder shrubs planted at high densities with trees and pasture as a way to rehabilitate degraded lands and enhance milk and meat production.

Prior to presenting, conference faculty will participate in field trips to learn about the local culture and agriculture, and interact with local producers, students and faculty. In addition to the exchange of knowledge, Ensminger Schools help to encourage the development of international networks for collaborative research.

The Ensminger Schools were created in 1964 by Marion Eugene Ensminger to promote animal agriculture education abroad. Ensminger was dedicated to animal agriculture education, serving on the faculty at universities in Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Washington. He was chair of Washington State University’s animal science department from 1944 to 1962.

Since they were established, the Ensminger Schools have been held in more than 70 countries. Iowa State faculty got involved in assisting with the Ensminger Schools in 1990. An endowment following the death of Ensminger, and his wife Audrey, helps Iowa State finance the continuation of his international animal agriculture conferences, which are designed to educate and train people around the world to improve animal agriculture.

In addition to Rothschild, the Iowa State animal scientists who will travel to Honduras are Don Beermann, animal science department chair; Hugo Ramirez, Patrick Gunn; Leo Timms; Curtis Youngs and Suzanne Millman. Other presenters at the conference are from Virginia Polytechnic Institute; University of California-Davis; CIPAV, a foundation in Colombia; and the University of Guelph in Canada.

Recent Ensminger Schools have been held in Peru, China, Spain, Costa Rica, Hungary, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Rothschild said countries under consideration for the next school include South Africa and Cuba.


Max Rothschild, Animal Science, (515) 294-6202,
Ed Adcock, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, (515) 294-2314,