STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences: Volume 4, Issue 1
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences scientists and graduate students are researching technologies, biomass and cropping systems to help Iowa become a leader in the bioeconomy. Together they are partnering with farmers, businesses and industry to produce food, feed, fiber and fuel and create new opportunities for Iowans. To watch the video visit www.ag.iastate.edu/stories.
Robin Habeger, development officer with the ISU Foundation, moonlights as a search and rescue dog trainer. She often visits animal science undergraduate courses to demonstrate training methods. During the demonstration she emphasizes the importance of body language, timing and play as a reward for working dogs. The students picture are in Anna Johnson's domestic animal behavior and well-being class (see story on Johnson on page 18). Moses, a yellow labrador-golden retriever mix, is one of two search and rescue dogs owned by Habeger. He is a FEMA disaster dog in training.
Steven Hoff, an Iowa State University professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, has developed a system for operating odor mitigation systems only when the weather is most likely to cause the odors to become a nuisance to neighbors. Hoff's odor mitigation prototype monitors several climate variables and operates only when neighbors may be affected. The system is a miniature weather station that includes locations of neighbors as part of its programming. "If no one is going to be impacted by the odors emitting from a pig house, let's say, or a poultry house, then save the farmer some money and don't mitigate, he says. Learn more at www.ag.iastate.edu/stories.
Farm accident fatalities have significantly decreased in the 20 years Charles Schwab has been ISU extension’s farm safety specialist. “There used to be 80 to 90 deaths each year on U.S. farms,” he says. “Now that number is closer to 30.” There was a nationwide push in the 1990s to ramp up farm safety education. “I believe education has been a big reason for the decline in farm injuries and fatalities,” he says. Schwab is director of ISU Extension’s Safe Farm program, which helps make Iowa farms safer places to work and live. As a professor in the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, Schwab has developed and taught farm safety courses, and his research has included more than 50 funded projects worth $4 million.
In an effort to improve animal health and food safety, Chris Tuggle and colleagues are finding new ways to identify animals harboring salmonella. "We are developing a blood test to identify animals that shed the least amount of salmonella into the environment," says Tuggle. Pigs can contact and carry salmonella without showing any symptoms. Infected animals shed the bacteria in their manure, which often is used to fertilize crops. Tuggle, professor of animal science, and his research team examine the genetic makeup of pigs and sample blood and fecal matter for evidence of salmonella. Then they look for relationships between the expression of genes in blood and the level of salmonella shed by the pig.