Department

Senior in agronomy Perla Carmenate spends her time taking classes at Iowa State as well as working in Dr. Emily Heaton, Associate Professor and Extension Biomass Crop Expert's lab.

As a first-generation college student that has been commuting from Des Moines all four
years, it was difficult for Perla to get involved early on in her college career. However, she has participated in conversations with students and faculty members that have brought awareness to issues multicultural students face at predominately white institutions. This helped develop her communication skills. Because she commutes, Perla has also learned how to manage her time between schoolwork and home responsibilities. The time management skill is important to many employers. 

Junior in agronomy Erin Stichter spent her summer as a production intern for Wyffels Hybrids.

Erin performed an array of jobs during her internship, beginning in the warehouse backhauling corn. She also worked briefly with field operations early in the season to help plant the seed corn fields. Once the corn was backhauled, Erin spent her work days in field operations. She scouted fields for planting errors as well as other economic risks before detassling began. In the late summer, Erin dedicated the majority of her time to field inspections for quality assurance once detassling crews had went through the fields. Erin added that everyday there was a chance to learn something new.

A new rhizobial species,Bradyrhizobium frederickii, has been named in honor of the late Professor Llyod R. Frederick who was a professor of soil microbiology in the Iowa State Department of Agronomy.

The rhizobial species is a nitrogen-fixing lineage that is isolated from nodules of the caesalpinioid species Chamaecrista fasciculata and is characterized by tolerance to high temperature in vitro.

Padma Somasegaran, PhD and retired microbiologist, knew Professor Frederick for many years when he was with the NifTAL Project at the University of Hawaii Department of Agronomy and Soil Science. At the time, Professor Frederick was with USAID in Washington DC and would frequent Hawaii. 

The Borlaug Inspire Day on Norman Borlaug's boyhood farm took place on September 20 as part of the Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest. Several individuals from the CALS Dean's Office, including the Dean and Associate Dean, traveled to Cresco to help run an all-day education fair for around 300 fifth graders from Howard County. 

Students go to various stations, learning about agriculture and Dr. Borlaug from presenters as well as 25 visiting professors and graduate students from international agriculture universities in China, South Korea, and Japan. Sessions involved engineering, entomology, plant breeding, and Borlaug's work in Africa.

Junior in agronomy Marjorie Hanneman spent her summer working for Bayer Crop Science in Ankeny, Iowa at the high throughput genotyping facility as the Molecular Breeding Intern.

On a daily basis, Marjorie utilized lab robots to conduct real time PCR on a variety of crops and genetic traits. The project she worked on focused on testing and validating new master mix for quality and efficiency across crops, markers, and traits. She also used automated machinery to complete her daily activities as well as data collection and analysis.

"My favorite part of my internship was being able to complete lab work at such a large scale. I was able to work with about 15 different crops and learn how to manage huge data sets and design experiments. I also enjoyed working with state of the art machinery and robots and being at the forefront of biotechnology," Marjorie said.

Senior in agronomy Costas Hatzipavlides was a US Row Crop Sales Intern for Bayer last summer. 

On a typical day, Costas visited saleman and customers and addressed their needs. Each day posed a new adventure, such as putting in plots, going on sales calls, and evaluating and selling hybrids, varieties, and chemicals to customers. Costas enjoyed bringing solutions to customers the most as well as working on a fun team.

"Agronomy set me up with technical skills that made me stand our versus competitive companies. Iowa State University agronomy simply sets you up with a better skillset," Costas said.

Costas explained that internships help you to network and find out what company you want to work for after college. He recommends doing as many internships as you can because they help you apply what you learn in class as well as learn new things that you may never learn in a classroom.

Senior in agronomy Trace Bolsinger spent his summer working for the USDA: Natural Resource Conservation Service as a soil conservationist trainee. 

Trace spent his days working with landowners to develop, implement, maintain, and revise complex conservation plans under the 2018 Farm Bill. He also helped promote, market, and implement the initiatives of the 2018 Farm Bill. Maintaining positive relationships with private companies as well as state and federal agencies that were in relation to natural resource concerns was also an important role for Trace. He also had the opportunity to evaluate the implementation of conservation plans and their alternatives under supervision.

Have you ever walked by agronomy hall and looked up and noticed some strange equipment on the roof? It isn't for decoration and it isn't top secret.

The roof houses several weather stations and labs. "The actual answer is the roof contains two automated weather stations that take data at one-minute intervals. The variables measured are temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, mean sea-level pressure, solar radiation, and UV index," Associate Teaching Professor Dave Flory said.

Data from the weather stations is both stored and made available through the Department of Agronomy's Iowa Environmental Mesonet. The following link makes data available to students and anyone interested in what's going on outside: https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/other/

In addition to the automated weather stations, the roof also houses the meteorology program's instrumentation laboratory.

Students from five different high schools in Eastern Iowa had the hands-on opportunity to learn about Iowa's agriculture industry through the day-long seminar - "Get the 411 on agronomy." It was the event's first year.

Students got an insight into agronomy after going though various stations, showing them agricultural equipment and technology such as rainfall simulators, drones, and sprayer calibration and simulation.

Rebecca Vittetoe, Extension Field Agronomist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach described the main goal of the event being to give students some hands-on education outside of the classroom as well as to educate them about possible career interests.

The Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University has funded 16 new water quality and nutrient management projects for 2019-2020.

“I am pleased to announce the latest round of projects represent more than $2.03 million in funding for water quality research,” said Matt Helmers, Iowa Nutrient Research Center director and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State. “The new grants bring the total number of projects funded fully or partially by the center to 92, a total of more than $10.7 million invested in nutrient-related water quality research since 2013.”

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