A look back for CALS

Annelise Wells

A bacon expo. A boys beauty pageant. A rodeo.

While these events may seem completely different, they do have one major similarity: they are all a part of the upcoming CALS Week hosted by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This upcoming week includes many activities for students and faculty to celebrate the college. Students within the College of Agriculture helped to organize these events.

“We have a really great team of student leaders that are involved with the student council this year,” said Associate Dean David Acker. “We always have terrific leaders but this year’s team just really seemed to raise one more notch up.” 

Looking back over the past year, the College of Agriculture has accomplished a lot of goals and hit many milestones.

Firstly, last fall started off similar to this one with the agricultural and biosystems engineering program being ranked No. 1 in the country.

This was followed by the announcement that scholarships awarded throughout the college exceeded $3 million.

“We’re proud to have reached the $3 million mark in scholarships, made possible by many generous alumni, friends and supporters,” said Wendy Wintersteen, endowed dean of the College of Agriculture. “The college continues to attract many excellent students, and scholarships play a key role.”

Additionally, a $1.1 million grant by the Food and Drug Administration was given to Iowa State in response to new federal regulations given through the Food Safety Modernization Act. The grant was given for classes to be taught about changes in food safety and advancing technology. 

In November, Acker was elected senior vice president of the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences.

This organization is a group that encourages collaboration on an international level and working on outreach programs in the field of agriculture.

This year, Acker shared that one aspect of the college that he takes pride in is the college’s study abroad program. 

“Study abroad in general and international engagement has just grown at a tremendous rate,” Acker said.

The college sent about 450 students abroad this past year, and 20 years ago that number was 45. Acker said this is because of the college’s constant work on raising scholarship money and the faculty who have stepped up and said that the College of Agriculture definitely wants to participate more in the agricultural business field.

Acker was not the only faculty who was recognized over this past year. Last November, the 2016 Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service in Agriculture Award was given to Wintersteen.

The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium also continued their research and initiatives to bring population numbers up of the eastern monarch butterfly. In February, the consortium released a strategy to help Iowa and Midwestern states establish breeding places for these butterflies.

Looking ahead, the next big project in store for the College of Agriculture is their feed and grain mill facility. The college was donated $14 million toward this new facility by major agricultural companies such as the Kent Corporation, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Sukup Manufacturing.

While that project is estimated to be done in 2020, the events of CALS Week will happen a lot sooner. The festivities will be held Oct. 2 to 6.