AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
A MELTDOWN ON CAMPUS, AND IT'S NOT EVEN FINALS WEEK
Like college students preparing for finals week, 20 agricultural economists gathered at Iowa State this week, Nov. 12-17, for what they call a "meltdown"a study session to crunch numbers and predict the economic future of agriculture. The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) meeting includes economists from ISU and six other land-grant universities. They will generate economic projections for U.S. and world agricultural markets for the next decade. FAPRI's final projections are presented to Congress and other policy-makers as background for their discussions on agricultural issues. "Our initial projections will be presented in December to congressional staffers, industry specialists, USDA officials and other governmental agencies," said John Beghin, director of FAPRI at Iowa State. FAPRI will update the figures in January, and a final report will be released in March. The initial forecasts will be available on the Web by mid-December at http://www.fapri.iastate.edu. Contact Beghin, (515) 294-5811; Frank Fuller, Economics, (515) 294-0470; or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2957.
WATTLE HAPPEN TO TURKEY INDUSTRY? ISU ECONOMISTS TALK TURKEY
A new Iowa State report concludes that Iowa is a prime location for turkey production, but producers in the state aren't raising enough birds to keep Iowa's processing plants running at full capacity. About 7.5 million birds are produced annually in Iowa, but the state's three turkey processing plants could handle twice that number. The plants now run at about 60 percent of capacity with birds imported from other states. The ISU report outlines the condition of the state's turkey production and processing industry and compares it to other states. The report also details expansion opportunities, marketing contracts and the industry's economic impact. Contact Phil Baumel, Economics, (515) 294-6263; John Lawrence, Economics, (515) 294-6290; or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705. (For a copy of the 28-page report, contact Thompson.)
E IS FOR EFFORT (AND VITAMINS) IN GROUND TURKEY STUDIES
Iowa State is searching for a way to make ground turkey safer and more attractive for consumers. In three related studies, researchers at Iowa State are studying how vitamin E affects turkey meat quality when used as a supplement in turkey feed. Three main areas of research are in preliminary stages. In the first area, Irene Wesley, a microbiologist at the USDA National Animal Disease Center in Ames, is studying the impact of vitamin E on the safety of turkey meat. The turkeys are fed vitamin E, which is known to boost the immune system. This may help birds resist pathogenic bacteriain particular, Listeriaand improve the microbial safety of turkey meat. In the second area of research, Aubrey Mendonca, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, is investigating whether irradiation affects the quality of ground turkey containing vitamin E. In the third area, Dong Ahn, associate professor of animal science, is determining whether vitamin E will protect turkey meat from undesirable changes in color. In grocery stores, turkey meat color usually changes to a light green (from the normal pink) after six to seven days under fluorescent lights. Because the color change does not necessarily indicate meat spoilagebut spoils the meat's consumer appealpreventing the change prolongs the shelf life of meat. Contact Aubrey Mendonca, (515) 294-2950, or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2957.
NEW PHOSPHORUS MANAGEMENT TOOL DEVELOPED
Studies have shown phosphorus run off from farm fields can potentially cause water quality problems. Iowa State scientists and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff have developed a new tool to help farmers better manage phosphorus. The Iowa Phosphorus Index uses a number of factors to calculate the potential for phosphorus loss from a field. The index will be used by Iowa NRCS staff to provide assistance to producers on federal nutrient management guidelines. Contact Gerald Miller, College of Agriculture, (515) 294-4333; Antonio Mallarino, Agronomy, (515) 294-6200; John Sawyer, Agronomy, (515) 294-1923; or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705.
RESISTANT SOYBEANS GET A REAL TEST ON INFESTED PLOTS
For the first time, the statewide soybean variety tests performed by Iowa State will include results from fields infested with soybean cyst nematodes (SCN). About 100 of the 820 varieties tested were SCN-resistant, and were put to the test in infested sites. The annual Iowa Crop Performance Test for soybeans is performed by the ISU agronomy department, administered by the Iowa Crop Improvement Association and paid for by participating companies. Tests are conducted at nine sites. Also, this year's testing program recorded an increase in the number of herbicide-resistant varieties. Sixty percent of the total were Roundup Ready varieties, a 10 percent increase from last year, said Bruce Voss, extension agriculture specialist. Test results will be published in the December issue of Iowa Soybean Review. Results also will be available online, http://www.agron.iastate.edu/icia. Contact Voss, (515) 294-6870, or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications (515) 294-2957.
ISU PROFESSOR TO TESTIFY IN NEW ZEALAND ON ETHICS OF GMOS
Iowa State Professor Gary Comstock will present testimony on the bioethics of agricultural genetic engineering to the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. Comstock, professor of philosophy and religious studies and director of Iowa State's Bioethics Program, will testify Nov. 22 in a public hearing. On the basis of the independent commission's recommendations, the New Zealand government will decide whether to allow the commercialization of genetically modified crops. The New Zealand hearings on issues surrounding genetic modification started in August and will conclude in June with a report to the government. "This process is being watched by other countries," Comstock said. "It is an unprecedented approach in that it is a very deliberate, intensive and concentrated public discussion of the issues surrounding this technology." Comstock's testimony will include his method for reaching ethically sound judgments on the acceptability of genetic modification of crops. Contact Comstock, (515) 294-0054 (before Nov. 18 or after Nov. 27), or Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE DEGREE PROGRAM STARTING UP
Applications will be accepted soon for a new sustainable agriculture graduate program at Iowa State. The program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, was approved in July by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. It officially begins next fall, offering both master's and doctoral degrees. More than 50 faculty members from 10 departments will be involved. Its core courses include agro-ecosystems analysis, integrated crop and livestock production, ecologically based pest management strategies, diversified farming systems and sustainable food systems. Contact program coordinator Matt Liebman, Agronomy, (515) 294-7486; Lorna Michael Butler, Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, (515) 294-6061; or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705.
ISU AG QUALITY INITIATIVE MEETING IS NOV. 21 IN CEDAR RAPIDS
"Globalization of Quality: Who Defines Agricultural Quality Around the World?" will be the focus of the Iowa Agriculture Quality Initiative's third meeting on quality and supply chain management and the implications for Iowa farmers and agribusinesses. The meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 21, from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza, Five Seasons Hotel in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Agricultural Quality meetings bring together leaders from Iowa agriculture to share information, learn of opportunities to improve quality management and discuss implications for market access and profitability. "All About ISO," a separate session, will be held from 10 a.m. until noon. The workshop will explore ISO, a universal quality management system used by manufacturing and many service industries and endorsed by more than 110 countries. Sponsors are ISU College of Agriculture, ISU Extension and CIRAS. The meeting is free and open to the public. Registration is requested; call Janet Gardner, (515) 294-5366 to register. Contact Reg Clause, ISU Extension, CIRAS, (515) 370-0268, or Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778
AG DEAN TO HOLD DINNER MEETINGS IN FIVE COMMUNITIES
The public is invited to meet with Richard Ross, dean of Iowa State's College of Agriculture, during five visits around the state. Each dinner meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and will include a presentation by Ross. Each person will be responsible for the cost of his or her own meal, which will range from approximately $10 to $16. To help the restaurants plan for the meals, RSVP by phone (515-294-7677) or e-mail (email@example.com) a week prior to each date. Dates and sites are: Nov. 21, Pete's Supper Club, Hartley; Nov. 28, University Park Holiday Inn, West Des Moines; Dec. 7, Icehouse Restaurant, Clarinda; Dec. 14, Sirloin Stockade, Mount Pleasant; and Jan. 4, Johnson's Supper Club, Elkader. Contact Mike Telford, Alumni Relations, (515) 294-7677, or Karen Bolluyt, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-5616.