AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
PRODUCERS CAN QUERY ISU SWINE SPECIALISTS AT THIS WEEKS IOWA PORK CONGRESS
Several Iowa State University faculty and staff members specializing in swine production and related fields will present educational programs Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 19 and 20, at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines. During the annual meeting and trade show of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, ISU specialists also will be available to answer producer questions and concerns at ISU's Ask-A-Specialist booth located in the lower level of Veterans Auditorium. ISU specialists participating are Tom Baas, Ken Prusa, James Kliebenstein, Pat Halbur, Alan Vontalge, Dave Stender and Tom Glanville. They represent animal science, food science, economics, the Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory, ag and biosystems engineering, Extension and the Iowa Pork Industry Center. Contact Sherry Hoyer, (515) 293-4103, or the Iowa Pork Producers Association, (800) 372-7675.
SUSTAINABLE AG SEMINAR SERIES BEGINS TONIGHT
The Leopold Center-funded spring sustainable agriculture seminar will open its sixth year with a focus on alternative marketing. The series will run 10 Wednesday nights, beginning at 7 p.m. Jan. 19, on the Iowa State University campus. It also is available at numerous Iowa Communications Network sites throughout the state. Featured speakers include Diane Endicott, who has successfully marketed Rainbow Farms "natural" beef in the Kansas City market, Iowa producers who are part of the Precision Beef Alliance and several organic growers. Other sessions highlight the certification process, green labeling, electronic marketing and institutional use of local foods. The program is open to the public without charge except for students who are enrolled for credit. Contact Jim Russell, Animal Science, (515) 294-4631, or Anne Larson, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, (515) 294-0626.
ISU RECEIVES $483,000 TO SUPPORT AG GRADUATE STUDENTS
Iowa State University has received $483,000 in USDA funds to help outstanding graduate students pursue degrees in food and agricultural sciences. The funds will provide three-year fellowships for seven graduate students. Three of the fellows will study animal biotechnology, two will study plant biotechnology and two will study food science and human nutrition. For 1999-2000, the program awarded $6.3 million nationwide, providing support to 91 students at 21 universities. The USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship Grants Program aims to help meet the nation's ongoing need for scientific and professional expertise in food and agricultural sciences. Contact Gerald Klonglan, College of Agriculture, (515) 294-4763, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
BEEF CENTER CREATES 'VIRTUAL COFFEE SHOP' FOR PRODUCERS
Iowa beef producers can now chat with other producers and cattle experts in the "Bull Pen," an Internet bulletin board operated by the Iowa Beef Center at ISU. "We hope this serves as a virtual coffee shop, with serious discussion of issues," said center director John Lawrence. "This is meant to be a discussion place for producers to talk to producers. Center staff can weigh in on a particular topic from time-to-time." The Bull Pen is located on the Iowa Beef Center's Web page at www.ibc.iastate.edu. Contact Lawrence, (515) 294-6290; Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center, (515) 294-1058; or Tracy Petersen, Iowa Beef Center, (515) 294-5672.
'SHIFTING GEARS' OPENS DOORS TO OFF-FARM JOBS
Ninety-six percent of those surveyed in last year's Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll said more farm families will rely on off-farm work in the years ahead. In Sioux City, ISU Extension has developed the Shifting Gears program to help northwest Iowa farmers look for off-farm jobs. "Traditional employment services are not always geared to working with members of a family seeking off-the-farm jobs while remaining on the farm," said Peggy Haafke, area director, ISU Outreach Center in Sioux City. "Farmers may also underestimate their marketable skills and the work ethic that is a part of agriculture." The program offers testing and career assessment tools, support and referral assistance and job-seeking skills preparation. Financial assistance is available for transportation and child-care expenses for workshop participants. Partial scholarships also are available for vocational training. Contact Haafke or Jolene Stevens, ISU Extension Outreach Center, (712) 274-0048.
HIGH DEMAND FOR AG GRADUATES PREDICTED THROUGH 2005
During the next five years, agriculture students with science and marketing skills will be in high demand by employers, according to a new USDA-Purdue University report that forecasts employment opportunities in agriculture. Mike Gaul, director of agriculture career services at Iowa State, said the hottest employment opportunities will occur in the areas of food safety, food quality assurance, food production, horticulture and biotechnology. Gaul said jobs in these areas are popular because of the good economy and because Americans are very health conscious. According to the USDA-Purdue report, careers expected to be in greatest demand are food scientists and engineers, landscape horticulturists, plant geneticists and outdoor recreation specialists. Annual job openings in food and agricultural sciences are projected to be about 58,000 while the number of graduates qualified for those jobs will be approximately 57,000, according to the report. Contact Gaul, (515) 294-4725, or Barb McManus, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0707.
ISU STUDENTS GREET THE MILLENNIUM IN PANAMA
Eighteen ISU agriculture students did something special to bring in the new year. They took part in a study-abroad trip to Panama Dec. 28 to Jan. 7. The program introduced the students to tropical agricultural production and marketing, with visits to farms producing coffee, sugarcane, watermelon, rice, shrimp, hogs, dairy, tomatoes and more. They also visited the Panama Canal. In preparation for the trip, the students were introduced to Panamas culture, politics, economy and agriculture in 10 class sessions last fall. Contact Eduarda Becerra, International Agriculture Programs, (515) 294-3972; Russell Mullen, Agronomy, (515) 294-3271; or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705. (Editor's note: Contact Thompson for students to interview.)
ISU DEVELOPS NEW INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IN PANAMA
ISUs Colleges of Agriculture and Liberal Arts and Sciences have developed a new internship program in Panama. The course, which will run May 10 to July 15, is aimed at undergraduate students interested in international development, international agriculture, Latin American studies and tropical social and biological systems. Students from agronomy, forestry, anthropology, sociology, political science, human nutrition and other disciplines will participate in classes before departure, and conduct individual research projects. Contact Mike Whiteford, Anthropology, (515) 294-8212; Eduarda Becerra, International Agriculture Programs, (515) 294-3972; or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
MARKETING PORK IN DENMARK: ANY LESSONS FOR IOWA?
Pork producers in Denmark own the entire industry chain through a cooperative system. A program on the Danish pork system will be presented at ISU on Jan. 21. Two members of the Danish cooperative will discuss procurement, pricing, risk management and marketing. The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Ensminger Room in Kildee Hall, ISU, noon to 1 p.m. It is presented by the Iowa Pork Industry Center. Contact Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4103.
FEBRUARY SUMMIT ON EDUCATION'S ROLE IN IOWA AGRICULTURE
The Summit on the Future of Agricultural Education will bring together educators, agribusiness leaders and government officials to discuss education's role in the future of agriculture. The Feb. 24 meeting will center on implementing the "Grand Plan for Agricultural Education in Iowa," a report issued last year by the Governor's Council on Agricultural Education. Robert Martin, chair of the council and head of the agricultural education and studies department at Iowa State, said the report includes 11 goals to increase understanding about agriculture in the state. "One of the summit's goals is to create an agenda for the future role of education in adding value to the food, fiber and natural resources system," Martin said. Invited speakers are Gov. Tom Vilsack and USDA Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. The summit will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State Historical Building in Des Moines. Copies of the "Grand Plan for Agricultural Education in Iowa" are available free of charge. Contact Martin, (515) 294-5904, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.
E-COMMERCE AND RURAL AMERICA: THE 2000 AGRICULTURAL FORUM
How will doing business on the Internet affect agriculture and rural America? That question and others will be addressed at the 2000 Agricultural Forum, "E-commerce: The 'Net' Effect on Agribusiness." The conference, scheduled for Feb. 28 at Iowa State, will examine how online business transactions are changing relationships among agricultural suppliers, processors, manufacturers, marketers, retailers and consumers. Also to be explored are implications of e-commerce for rural America, including whether the electronic future looks bright for agriculture and rural communities. Speakers will include e-commerce industry analysts, business leaders and university researchers. 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.
WAKE-UP CALL: FORUM ON CURRENT WATER QUALITY ISSUES
"Agriculture and the Environment: A Wake-Up Call for Iowans" is the theme for this years water quality conference at Iowa State University, March 7-8. The annual meeting will cover federal and state policies that potentially may affect land management in agricultural watersheds. Speakers will include Charles Fox, assistant administrator for water, Environmental Protection Agency, and Paul Johnson, director, Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Workshops will address maximum daily loads, nutrient criteria, animal feeding operations and source water protection. More information is available on the Web at: http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/aged/water_quality/wqconf.html. To register, contact Richard Larson, (515) 294-6429; for more information, contact Gerald Miller, (515) 294-4333, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
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