AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
GMO CONFERENCE FOR PRODUCERS SET FOR FEB. 24 AT ISU
Iowa State University will host a conference designed to assist producers and agribusiness organizations in assessing the risk and management of genetically modified organisms. The Feb. 24 conference, "GMO 2000: Assessing Risk and Seeking Opportunities," will be in the Scheman Building at Iowa State. Participants will learn to identify new decision making tools. An emphasis will be on marketing GMO crops, the seed industry, and legal issues and liabilities. The conference is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, ISU College of Agriculture, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and ISU Extension. Information is on the Web at www.ag.iastate.edu/news/gmohome.html. Contact Wendy Wintersteen, College of Agriculture, (515) 294-1823, or Elaine Edwards, Extension Communication Systems, (515) 294-5168.
AG BUSINESS ON THE WEB: WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN TO CLICK
"Agricultural enterprises, from the farm to corporate level, have just begun to leverage the Internet for a competitive advantage." So says Michael Erbschloe, vice president of a private research firm, who will speak at ISU's Agricultural Forum, "E-commerce: The 'Net' Effect on Agribusiness," Feb. 28 in the Scheman Building, ISU. Opinions on the directions of agricultural e-commerce will be shared by representatives from agribusinesses, academia and several ag dot.com companies. More information is available on the Web at: www.agforum.org. Contact Judith Pim, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, (515) 294-6257, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
SCIENCE AND CONTROVERSY OF GMOS: MARCH 3-4 CONFERENCE
Scientific and lay viewpoints on genetically modified organisms will be offered for students, educators and the public at "The Science and Controversy of Agricultural GMOs," a March 3-4 conference in the Scheman Building at Iowa State. The meeting will address the scope of the controversy; the science of GMOs; risks, ethics and regulations; and impacts on the marketplace and on the food and feed industries. One session will outline case studies in risks related to Bt corn research. Speakers include officials from the USDA, University of California, Purdue University, Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute, Pillsbury, Optimum Quality Grains, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the British Ministry of Agriculture and ISU. The meeting is sponsored by several ISU programs, including the Plant Sciences Institute, ISU Extension and the Bioethics Program. Registration is $45. For registration information, call (515) 294-4202. Contact Karen Bolluyt, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
NEW SOYBEANS MAY SOLVE DEFICIENCY IN FARM-ANIMAL DIETS
An Iowa State University researcher has developed new kinds of soybeans that may help solve a multimillion-dollar livestock diet problem. American poultry and swine producers spend millions to supplement the soybean meal they feed to their young animals. Why? Because soy protein is deficient in two sulfur-based amino acids methionine and cysteine that are necessary to provide proper animal nutrition. ISU agronomist John Imsande developed two soybean lines that contain high levels of these amino acids that would potentially eliminate the need to supplement soybean meal. The high-sulfur soybeans could save U.S. poultry growers about $150 million a year and swine producers about $4.5 million a year. Contact Imsande, Agronomy, (515) 294-2505, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.
VET MED RESEARCHERS DEVELOP FASTER MODEL TO STUDY INTESTINAL DISEASES
Scientists at Iowa State University's Veterinary Medical Research Institute have developed a more predictable model for studying the onset of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in mice. The faster model could eventually lead to better prevention and treatment of the disease in people and animals. IBD in humans is characterized by Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis whose causes are unknown and for which there are no cures. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America estimates that up to 1 million U.S. citizens suffer from these chronic diseases, which cost billions a year in medical treatments. Contact W. Ray Waters, Veterinary Medical Research Institute, (515) 294-6842; Michael J. Wannemuehler, Veterinary Medical Research Institute, (515) 294-3270; or Glenda Webber, Office of Biotechnology, (515) 294-9818.
RODENT ASSESSMENT AND CONTROL PROJECT UNDER WAY
Keeping rodent numbers down in a swine operation does more than make the facilities look clean. It also minimizes the potential for disease, feed contamination or structural damage. Iowa State University Extension livestock field specialist Terry Steinhart is developing a protocol for assessing rodent numbers and determining a control strategy. The project, funded by the Iowa Pork Industry Center at ISU, is conducted cooperatively with faculty at Kirkwood Community College's swine unit in Cedar Rapids. Individual producers will be able to use knowledge from this project to determine mouse infestation levels, evaluate treatment options and implement control plans, said Steinhart. Preliminary project results should be available later this spring. Contact Steinhart, Keokuk County Extension, (515) 622-2680, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
ANIMAL ART THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE WARM FUZZIES
Later this month, Iowa State University's Department of Animal Science will host "Warm, Soft and Fuzzy," a traveling exhibit of paintings depicting . . . well, warm, soft and fuzzy farm animals and pets. The exhibit, part of the corporate art collection of the Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Company of Kansas City, contains more than 50 paintings by American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. "The exhibit is an appealing collection of realistic and sentimental works that should interest anyone, whether they have ties to animal agriculture or not," said Charles Sauer, a program assistant in the animal science department. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to be on display from the end of February through May in Kildee Hall, next to room 1204. Contact Sauer, Animal Science, (515) 294-4524, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
ISU SOCIOLOGIST NAMED TO GROUP STUDYING AG STRUCTURE
An Iowa State rural sociologist has been named to a committee to review the impact of publicly funded research on the structure of U.S. agriculture. Cornelia Flora, director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, will serve on the group, convened by the USDA's Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. The committee will assess the role of public research on changes in farm size and numbers, with particular emphasis on the evolution of large-scale operations. The committee will make recommendations for future research and extension policies, and for access to research results on new farm production practices and technologies. [Editor's note: Flora is currently on sabbatical as chair of sustainable agriculture systems at the University of Minnesota, but can be reached by calling (612) 624-3702.] Contact Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
CAST AWARD TO BE PRESENTED TO DENNIS KEENEY
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology will present its top achievement award to Dennis Keeney, March 23, in Arlington, Va. Keeney, an ISU faculty member who recently retired as the director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will receive the Charles A. Black Award. The award is presented to a researcher who has made significant contributions to a scientific field and communicated the importance of the work to the public. Keeney will be honored as a pioneering environmental scientist in water quality; an international expert in sustainable agriculture; and someone who transferred his knowledge to the farm through his work at the Leopold Center. The Charles A. Black Award is named for an ISU agronomist who was a member of CAST's founding council. Contact Laura Miller, Leopold Center, (515) 294-5272.
ISU EVENT OBSERVES 40TH YEAR OF SELF-HELP
Atlantic farmer and former USDA official Duane Acker will speak on Feb. 22 at an ISU event celebrating the 40th anniversary of Self-Help International. Based in Waverly, Self-Help is a nonprofit organization that helps farmers in developing countries increase their efficiency and improve their incomes. Acker, who served as president of Kansas State University and as an official in the USDA, U.S. Aid for International Development and the World Bank, will speak about international opportunities and the role of groups like Self-Help in the next 20 years. The event, which begins at noon in the Campanile Room of ISU's Memorial Union, also includes photo displays and a lunch. It is sponsored by ISU's Office of International Agriculture Programs and Phi Beta Delta Honor Society. Contact Shelley Taylor, International Agriculture Programs, (515) 294-5393, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
PRACTICAL FARMERS OF IOWA HONOR ISU ANIMAL SCIENTIST
An ISU animal scientist has received the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from the Practical Farmers of Iowa. Mark Honeyman conducts research in swine nutrition and production. He was honored for his work with alternative swine production methods, including studies of outdoor farrowing and hoop structures for finishing pigs and gestating sows. Honeyman, who coordinates ISU's Research and Demonstration Farms around the state, also organized a demonstration of a Swedish pig production system that included no feed antibiotics and minimized animal stress. Practical Farmers of Iowa is a nonprofit group that promotes farming that is profitable, ecologically sound and good for families and communities. Contact Honeyman, (515) 294-4621, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
LEOPOLD CENTER A PARTNER ON TWO FARM-CRISIS PROJECTS
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is supporting two projects that address farmers' needs during the current stressful economic times. The first is a follow-up effort to "Together in Tough Times," an initiative by the Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa (EMI) to encourage communities to address stressful issues facing rural Iowa. Other partners are the Iowa Institute of Cooperatives, Iowa Association of School Boards and ISU Extension. The second project provides scholarships for parish nurses to attend a Rural Ministry Conference in Dubuque, March 12-14. Parish nurses combine ministry with health care, and meet patients in their homes to provide information about various services. The conference is sponsored by the Sharing Help Awareness United Network (SHAUN), which is affiliated with the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health in Iowa City. Contact Sarai Beck, EMI, (515) 255-5905; Michael Rosmann, SHAUN, (712) 755-1516; or Anne Larson, Leopold Center, (515) 294-0626.