Iowa State University

June 1997

Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Natural Resources News from Iowa State University

Iowa businesses looking at China, South America

China and South American nations head the list of countries in which Iowa companies expect to expand business activities in the next five years, according to an Iowa State University study. The report, International Needs Assessment of Iowa Businesses, indicates Iowa companies currently are doing most of their international commerce with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Central and South America. Agribusiness processing and other agribusiness companies made up about one-third of the study's respondents. The report also indicates firms want information on international trading opportunities, laws and tariffs, and foreign business contacts. Foreign language training is ranked relatively low as a need. The report was undertaken in order for ISU to internationalize parts of its curricula and improve service to Iowa businesses engaged in international commerce. Contact Steffen Schmidt, political science, (515) 294-3825, Augie Ralston, business, (515) 294-9355, or Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294- 4778.

ISU developing methods for making soy-oil polymers

Soybean oil is the main ingredient in fast-drying paint, tough plastics and smooth varnish produced in ISU chemistry labs. Chemistory professor Richard Larock and colleagues are developing methods to produce unique polymers from soybean oil. Larock says soy polymers will degrade in the environment, will be more economical than petroleum-based polymers and are made from a readily available, renewable resource. The researchers are applying for patents on their processes. Contact Larock at (515) 294-4660 or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294- 0706.

Studying swine manure's effects on soybean diseases

Swine manure applied to fields as a crop fertilizer appears to spur production of some soybean disease pathogens, but may have the opposite effect on soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Because manure is being applied to more fields before soybeans are planted, ISU plant pathologists Charlie Martinson and Greg Tylka have been studying the connection between pathogens and swine manure. Manure in the soil increased the incidence of Phytophthora root rot, some damping-off (stem rot) diseases and white mold in field tests, but didn't increase brown stem rot. Field studies last year of a manure effect on SCN yielded no conclusive results, but the studies will be repeated. Tylka said work in the lab indicates there might be both an inhibitory and a stimulative effect of manure vapors. Martinson and Tylka agreed that planting soybeans in manured soils is still a viable option if producers take the potential problems into account. Contact Martinson at (515) 294- 1062, Tylka at (515) 294-3021 or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.

ISU academy offers teachers ideas to raise ag awareness

In Iowa, two out of three workers are in jobs directly or indirectly tied to agriculture. Often, however, agriculture is not an integral part of school curricula in the state. ISU has been joined by the state's farm and commodity groups to offer training sessions for Iowa teachers and show them how to incorporate agricultural information into their classrooms. Two sessions, June 16-18 and 18-20, will mark the sixth year for the Teacher's Academy on Agricultural Awareness. Teachers receive hands-on demonstrations of curriculum materials, tour farms and work in small groups to develop classroom activities. Contact Robert Martin, agricultural education and studies, (515) 294-0896, or Susan Anderson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294- 0705.

Camp introduces middle school students to ag careers

A three-year pilot project is underway to interest more middle school students in pursuing agricultural careers. Funded by ISU's Vision 2020, the project involves students from urban schools in the Des Moines area. Project coordinator Eldon Weber calls the project an "early experience career path" program. A three-day camp, June 23-25, will bring 40 middle school students to ISU to expose them to careers in agriculture. Teachers also will attend to develop curricula to support what the students experience at the camp. Student mentoring by workers in the agriculture industry is also a part of the project. Contact Weber, agricultural education and studies, (515) 294-0893, or Susan Anderson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.

ISU to host 50th annual gathering of meat scientists

ISU will welcome more than 500 meat scientists from around the U.S. and the world for the American Meat Science Association's 50th annual Reciprocal Meat Conference, June 29-July 2. The conference, hosted by ISU's Department of Animal Science, emphasizes several topics, including the future of the meat grading system, food marketing trends, meat safety, and updates on current issues such as mad cow disease and irradiation. Speakers will include the president of Cargill's meats group. Contact F.C. Parrish, animal science, (515) 294-3280, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.


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