ISU Dean Named To Board of Binational Ag Research Organization

ISU Dean Named To Board of Binational Ag Research Organization

Iowa State University's Dr. Wendy Wintersteen is appointed to board of directors of U.S.-Israel Ag Research & Development Fund.

The dean of Iowa State University's College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has been named to the board of directors of the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. The announcement was made June 2, 2014.

Wendy Wintersteen was appointed to the position by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Wintersteen is one of three Americans serving the organization's board, along with Chavonda Jacobs-Young, administrator of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, and Neal Van Alfen, professor of plant pathology and former dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis. The board also has three members from Israel.

ISU COLLEGE OF AG: Iowa State University participates in a number of international ag research efforts. One of them is the Binational Ag Research and Development Fund, a program for mutually beneficial projects involving applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by U.S. and Israeli scientists.

Organization helps fund research projects at Iowa State University
The U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, or BARD, is a competitive funding program for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by U.S. and Israeli scientists. For 30 years, the program has provided $270 million in funding for nearly 1,200 research projects. Over the years, BARD has funded 25 research projects at Iowa State University.

Wintersteen is the Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and holds the first endowed deanship established at Iowa State. She also is director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. Wintersteen, who became dean in 2006, is the 10th dean of agriculture in Iowa State's 156-year history.

Wintersteen also serves on the board of trustees of the Farm Foundation and the board of trustees of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.

ISU soil scientist co-authors Natural Resources Roadmap
In other news from ISU's College of Agriculture, it was announced recently that an Iowa State University soil scientist is a key author on a new national report on challenges facing natural resources. Richard Cruse, professor of agronomy and director of the Iowa Water Center at ISU, is lead author on the sustainability section of the new report, "Science, Education, and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources", released May 1 by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

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Also making major contributions to the section were ISU agronomy graduate students Karl Gesch and Victoria Scott. The report details six "grand challenges" facing the U.S. in the areas of sustainability, water, climate change, agriculture, energy and education. The report recommends a series of research, education and outreach activities to meet these challenges over the next decade.

Cruse was part of a team of 35 scientists who authored the roadmap after receiving significant feedback from researchers at public and land-grant institutions across the country.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored the report through a grant to Oregon State University, which then partnered with APLU.

"While there have been many high-level reports and strategic plans written about the topics covered by this report, most have tended to break natural resources into sub-disciplines representing particular resources: atmospheric, coastal, fisheries, forests, marine, rangelands, water, wildlife and others. Although universities frequently segregate these fields through disciplines, the resources themselves are all interrelated and need to be dealt with as a whole," the report says.

The goals of the roadmap are to:
* Chart a path for natural resources research, education, and outreach direction for public universities over the next 5-10 years

* Identify major challenges, knowledge gaps and priorities

* Provide guidance for policymakers in strategic planning and investment

* Support natural resources agencies, professional societies, and non-governmental organizations in advocating for the use of sound science in natural resources decision-making

* Facilitate the development of interdisciplinary research, education and outreach teams focused on natural resources challenges.

The six grand challenges addressed in the report are:
1. Sustainability:
The need to conserve and manage natural landscapes and maintain environmental quality while optimizing renewable resource productivity to meet increasing human demands for natural resources, particularly with respect to increasing water, food, and energy demands.

2. Water: The need to restore, protect and conserve watersheds for biodiversity, water resources, pollution reduction and water security.

3. Climate Change: The need to understand the impacts of climate change on our environment, including such aspects as disease transmission, air quality, water supply, ecosystems, fire, species survival, and pest risk. Further, a comprehensive strategy is needed for managing natural resources to adapt to climate change.

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4. Agriculture: The need to develop a sustainable, profitable, and environmentally responsible agriculture industry.

5. Energy: The need to identify new and alternative renewable energy sources and improve the efficiency of existing renewable resource-based energy to meet increasing energy demands while reducing the ecological footprint of energy production and consumption.

6. Education: The need to maintain and strengthen natural resources education at our schools at all levels in order to have the informed citizenry, civic leaders, and practicing professionals needed to sustain the natural resources of the United States.

"Scientists at our public and land-grant universities have developed this report to more clearly identify the challenges we face and prioritize our research, education and outreach efforts," APLU President Peter McPherson said. "It provides a needed framework and should help guide policy decisions in the coming years."

APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 235 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations. 

Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, APLU member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.1 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $41 billion in university-based research.

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