Department

Growing up, Megan Kemp just wanted to fit in with her peers in Durango, Iowa. At Iowa State University the junior in agronomy and global resource systems, says she found a place where she feels comfortable embracing and celebrating her differences.

“My mom is Filipino,” says Kemp. “She and my dad met as pen pals while he was serving in the military. He went to visit her in the Philippines, and that’s where they fell in love. It’s honestly the stuff movies are made of.”

Kemp’s extended family are involved in dairy and beef operations in northeastern Iowa. While she lived on a dairy farm, she didn’t do chores.

“My mom’s heritage instilled very traditional ideals about gender roles,” says Kemp. “So I spent more time in the kitchen.”

Lee Burras sets his Diet Pepsi on the podium and grabs a piece of chalk off the ledge. Class is about to begin.

Burras’ classroom is upbeat and adversarial; he encourages his students to challenge him as much as he challenges them. In order to keep students engaged he uses the chalkboard.

“I want students engaged,” says Burras. “I want whatever I’m talking about to come to life in front of them. I can’t make that happen with a Power Point presentation.”

Burras’ passion is infectious, not just for soils but also for life and for learning. His classes are some of the most sought after in the Department of Agronomy.

Ehsan Askari and his wife Sayareh Irani joined the Department of Agronomy as visiting scholars in 2012-2013 under Drs. Knapp and Lubberstedt. After graduation in 2014, Ehsan with a Ph.D in agronomy and Sayareh a Ph.D in plant breeding, the couple returned to Ehsan’s home town, Rafsanjan in Central Iran known as the capital of pistachio in the middle east.

Our Dr. Andrew Manu, George Washington Carver Endowed Chair recently attended a naturalization ceremony at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Missouri on May 30.  About 60 people took the oath of allegiance, officially becoming United States citizens. The following article was written by Kay Hively for the Neosho Daily News. Editor Todd Higdon gave us permission to repost. 

 

DIAMOND — It was a red, white and blue day as 57 people from around the world became American citizens yesterday in a ceremony at the George Washington Carver National Monument.

AMES, Iowa – New research led by an Iowa State University agronomist identifies clear patterns in how plants react to different environments that could lead to new ways of predicting crop performance.

The research focuses on flowering time in sorghum, a globally cultivated cereal plant, but the results could have implications for nearly all crops, said Jianming Yu, professor of agronomy and the Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding. The study, published recently in the peer-reviewed academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on phenotypic plasticity, or the way plant traits respond to environmental factors.

The 2018 growing season is well underway. It is now time to start assessing the rewards of the spring planting season. Our first FACTS (Forecasting and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS) is now live for the 2018 growing season. There have been a couple of changes going into our fourth year. A field site at the ISU Northern and McNay Research and Demonstration farms have been added to increase geographic coverage. For each site only the ‘normal’ or treatment nearest ‘normal’ is included on the webpage to reduce complexity. Yield forecasts have been moved to the opening page of the Forecast Tool and relative yield values have been removed. We hope these changes make for a more meaningful user experience.

Monsanto Company, along with its subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, today announced a partnership with the Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Agronomy to create an infrastructure project designed to monitor water quality and downstream nitrate loss. The project will provide researchers with valuable information on management practices that help keep nitrogen fertilizer from entering surrounding waterways.

Monsanto and The Climate Corporation invested more than $300,000 to fund the initial installation of the infrastructure, which features a system of drainage tiles and water monitoring equipment on 30 acres of ISU research plots. The installation will be owned and operated by the University.

Several field days are happening across the state throughout the month of June. Hear from our faculty experts along with other faculty and Extension and Outreach specialists about a variety of crop and pest related topics.

June 20 at 9:00 am: Northern Research Farm Summer Field Day - Kanawha, Iowa

A season review from ag specialists Matt Schnabel and Brandon Zwiefel
Sulfur use - Dr. John Sawyer
Weed control - Dr. Bob Hartzler
Cereal rye for seed - Dean Sponheim & Jamie Benning
Crop production issues - Paul Kassel & Angie Rieck-Hinz

June 27 at 1:00 pm: Northeast Iowa Agricultural Experimental Association Annual Spring Field Day - Nashua, Iowa

Crop weather outlook - Dr. Elwynn Taylor
Strip till and no till research - Dr. Mahdi Al-Kaisi
Nitrogen fertility - Dr. John Sawyer
Insect scouting and tips - Brian Lang

Each year Iowa State University recognizes the excellence of faculty and staff accomplishments through the conferring of university awards, celebrating faculty and staff who have demonstrated their commitment to learning, discovery, and engagement which are the cornerstones of Iowa State's land-grant mission. The awards will be presented at the University Awards Ceremony on September 14 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

 

Dr. Kendall Lamkey
Department Leadership Award

This award is to honor the recipient for demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities in advancing the faculty, staff, students and programs in his/her department. Dr. Lamkey became interim department chair in 2006 and officially took the position in 2007.

 

 

 

 

Outside of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, a contributing author to a Nobel Peace Prize winning project was born in a farm house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Eugene (Gene) Takle always intended to go back to the farm, but the young man who opted for agriculture classes and never took biology wound up getting his Ph.D. in physics.

Following Sputnik and the space race of the late 50s, the United States focused on science education for youth. It was an English teacher who set Takle on a scientific path. 

“My family did not subscribe to newspapers or news magazines,” said Takle. “My English teacher showed me a copy of Newsweek and gave me one of the cards from inside. I subscribed and actually read the thing every week for years.”

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