Catching Up with CALS Jan. 11, 2017
Dean's Message — Starting 2017 Strong
Welcome back to campus to our students and many of our faculty and staff who enjoyed some time off during winter break!
The most exciting news is that the year is off to a momentous start with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s State of the State Address on Monday. He outlined an agenda showing strong support for investing in Idaho’s future by funding education.
The governor’s call to support the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) by proposing to dedicate $10 million to Idaho’s Permanent Building Fund for the project was especially welcome in CALS and across the UI campus.
The strong support for Idaho CAFE I mentioned in our Nov. 30 newsletter has gained momentum. The center’s goals of supporting Idaho’s agricultural and food processing industries and the environment to sustain all of them and Idaho’s economy speaks clearly to many stakeholders.
CAFE will be UI-led, but our hope is that its focus on education and research will draw together many partners including the College of Southern Idaho, Brigham Young University - Idaho and others.
CALS has a big stake in CAFE, but the idea again is to broaden its base and impact with participation from the College of Natural Resources, College of Engineering, College of Science and others.
We will also need strong support from many industry groups representing dairy, food processing, crop and livestock agriculture, to name a few of the key players.
The preliminary price tag for what will be the state’s largest new research, extension and teaching center is $45 million, which will be shared equally by the state, university and industry.
The next major step will be the receipt and review of a feasibility study that will go a long way in filling out the details of how CAFE can best meet its goals. More information is available online at www.uidaho.edu/research/entities/cafe.
We will talk more about CAFE and CALS tomorrow during the all-college meeting for faculty and staff scheduled from 10-11 a.m. PST/11 a.m.-noon MST in the Bruce M. Pitman Center Vandal Ballroom. Online links and call in options are also available.
In addition to CAFE, we want to share with you an explanation of our submitted appropriation request for the state-funded Agricultural Research and Extension Service for the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Idaho Extension. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Appropriation Committee will hear our request Jan. 25.
An encouraging note is the governor’s budget for this year includes some of the key enhancements in our ARES budget request, including funding for laboratory equipment and graduate student housing.
We will also talk about an initial draft of the CALS Cascaded Strategic Plan, which will guide our efforts in coming years.
MICHAEL P. PARRELLA
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
$7.2 billion in cash receipts were generated by Idaho farmers and ranchers last year, according to projections in “The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2016,” by CALS economists Ben Eborn and Garth Taylor. Cash receipts dropped 4 percent from 2015 and the projected net farm income of $1.6 billion dropped 13 percent from the previous year, according to the report.
Our Stories — Gov. Otter Backs Proposed Magic Valley CAFE
The Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) was included in Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s State of the State message Monday. The governor recommended that the state this year invest $10 million in the center. UI and other partners will identify funding for the other two-thirds of the project, which is planned in the Magic Valley near Twin Falls.
The center will focus on environmental solutions, economic development and educational opportunities to ensure the sustainability of livestock and crop agriculture and food processing in Idaho. More about the center is online at www.uidaho.edu/research/entities/cafe.
“We thank Gov. Otter for his support for an initiative we feel is critical to Idaho’s future,” University of Idaho President Chuck Staben said. “This effort is led by the University of Idaho but relies on support and participation from education, industry and economic development partners.”
Agribusiness contributed $27.8 billion in sales, one-fifth of Idaho’s total economic output and 128,200 jobs in Idaho in 2014, according to a recent report by UI agricultural economists. The importance of livestock, dairy and food processing to Idaho’s economy has grown dramatically in the last 10 years. Idaho is now the third largest dairy producing state in the U.S., much of which leaves the state as high value food products like cheese and yogurt.
The support from the governor and Idaho Legislature leaders was instrumental in moving forward the plan for a major new research center in southern Idaho.
“Finding new and better ways of improving and adding value to our diverse and dynamic agriculture industry, our growing food production and processing businesses, and our state’s environmental quality are great goals and great investments in our future,” Otter said. “I’m confident the work that will be done at CAFE will help all of Idaho take important steps toward reaching our full potential.”
Much of the planning hinges on a feasibility study due to the university later this month.
Over the last three years, UI leaders have been deepening relationships with agricultural research companies, food producers and processors. The six-county Magic Valley area was recently selected as a top 12 U.S. manufacturing community by the U.S. Department of Commerce Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, emphasizing the leadership role this region plays in food processing.
Idaho CAFE would use a working dairy as a setting for dynamic research into topics of state and worldwide importance, including:
- Nutrient and wastewater management
- Water conservation use and protection
- Forage cropping and agronomy
- Food safety
- Food science and manufacturing
- Sustainable dairy/livestock production management
- Soil health and fertility
Idaho CAFE would also provide interdisciplinary learning and research opportunities for higher education partners across the region. The University of Idaho will lead this effort and is actively seeking educational partnerships among higher education institutions and investments in research and infrastructure from the private sector.
“As Idaho’s statewide, land-grant institution, we view this endeavor as a critical asset for all of Idaho,” Staben said. “We look forward to partnering to create a dynamic research and educational center whose impact will position our state, its citizens and its industries for growth and opportunity well into the future.”
Kronenberg Delivers Food Processing Training to Kyrgyzstan
Fermented mare’s milk and crunchy yogurt balls were among the most interesting foods that Jeff Kronenberg sampled while visiting Kyrgyzstan to deliver food safety training through a U.S. Agency for International Development program.
Kronenberg’s efforts focused on dairy processors by providing HACCP and food safety workshops for managers and workers, and on-site technical assistance for two small dairy processors.
The focus on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point training reflects Kyrgyzstan officials’ interest in producing export products that meet market standards.
His Oct. 31-Nov. 11 visit was a collaboration with BT Innovations in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital and largest city, and ACDI-VOCA, an international development nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.
Kronenberg is a food processing specialist and assistant professor for UI Extension and the UI-Washington State University School of Food Science who works with Boise-based TechHelp to provide food safety training and technical assistance to Idaho food processors and agricultural producers.
Darigold employees at its Caldwell plant supported the effort by providing pre-project support in preparing food safety and quality control information.
“I was impressed by the interest and the effort by the participants in the workshops,” Kronenberg said. “A lot of the food production and processing still relies on traditional methods and are small family operations. It is really a different culture, but they are very receptive to learning and applying what they learn,” Kronenberg said.
The difficulty is the facilities and equipment, which reflect both traditional approaches and the industry’s smaller scale. Applying international standards to a dairy that might only have five cows and is operated by a small family is challenging.
The emphasis on dairy products — both from cattle and horses — reflects the central Asian nation’s culture that is still closely tied to its people’s nomadic heritage, Kronenberg said.
Some of the products were unlike any foods he had sampled before during his previous international trips. Although it is unlikely that fresh or spray-dried fermented mare’s milk will become the next big thing in international cuisine — largely due to milking hazards and seasonal availability — other dairy products may influence markets.
The small processors’ other products included yogurt, dried skim milk, kefir, ayran, butter, cream and fluid milk.
“It wasn’t that long ago that yogurt was largely unknown in many supermarkets,” Kronenberg said. Now it is not uncommon to find drinkable yogurt products or kefir on shelves. The interest in other fermented products and probiotics may attract some attention to other traditional foods.”
Kyrgyzstan’s most important markets are Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States countries that have long been associated with it. Those trading partners, like the European Union and others worldwide, are increasingly focused on ensuring that imported goods meet safety standards.
Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek were exotic — the country is home to the World Nomad Games, a horse-centric olympics of rough and tumble events. The landscapes were also reminiscent of Idaho with high, dry steppes that produced rich stores of livestock, grains and fruit intertwined with mountain ranges.
The trip was his fourth to the region. He has also worked in Belarus, twice, and the Republic of Georgia.
“I like volunteer projects because I think you need to give back. I look at people when they’re learning new concepts and feel good about that, and then there’s a moral component: I appreciate having an impact on the improvement of public health,” Kronenberg said.
All-College Meeting Addresses Budget, CAFE and Planning
The fiscal year 2018 Agricultural Research and Extension Service budget request to the Idaho Legislature, an update on the Idaho Center for Food, Agriculture and the Environment and CALS Cascaded Strategic Plan will be on the agenda for the all-college meeting planned tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 12.
The meeting for CALS faculty and staff is planned in the Bruce M. Pitman Center Vandal Ballroom on the Moscow campus, beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific Time/11 a.m. Mountain Time.
Video conference connections will be available at Aberdeen, Caldwell, Idaho Falls, Kimberly, Parma and Twin Falls.
The college’s request for the state ARES appropriation for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, totals $31.3 million to fund the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Idaho Extension.
This year’s request includes a one-time request of $1.8 million that would invest $1 million in graduate student housing at off-campus locations, $500,000 for lab renovations and $351,000 for equipment. The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will meet Jan. 25 to hear the university and college’s budget requests.
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter included the Idaho Center for Food, Agriculture and the Environment in his State of the State Address to legislators Monday, Jan. 9. He proposed directing $10 million from the Permanent Building Fund to the project planned in the Magic Valley.
Preliminary estimates put the project cost at $45 million, which would be split equally among state, university and external funding sources.
The college’s cascaded strategic plan is tied to the university’s strategic plan. The major focus for the UI and college strategic plans is boosting student enrollment through promoting excellence in education, research and outreach activities.
Faces and Places
Carly Schoepflin, CALS director of alumni and donor relations, was recognized as a Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Region VIII 2017 Rising Star for alumni relations.
- Jan. 14 — UI Extension 4-H Youth Development will sponsor the FIRST LEGO League North Idaho Championship, UI Memorial Gym, Moscow, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Jan. 18-19 — Idaho Potato Conference and Ag Expo. Idaho State University campus in Pocatello. Ag show is held in Holt Arena, conference is held in the ballroom of the SUB. Grower-Speaker social held Wednesday at the Red Lion Inn poolside. https://www.uidaho.edu/cals/potatoes/conferences/idaho-potato-conference
- Jan 23 — North Idaho Cereal School, Lewiston, Lewiston Roundup Ketch Pen, RSVP to email@example.com, 208-799-3096, 7:30 a.m.-noon
- Jan 24 — North Idaho Cereal School, Greencreek Community Hall, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-937-2311, 7:30 a.m.-noon
- Jan 25 — North Idaho Cereal School, Bonners Ferry, Boundary County Fairgrounds, RSVP to email@example.com; 208-267-3235, 7:30 a.m.-noon
- Jan. 25 — CALS Budget request to Idaho Legislature Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee
- Jan. 31 — Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC) dedication, 10 a.m.
- Feb. 1-2 — Pesticide Stewardship Conference Managing Drift cosponsored by UI Extension and Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Riverside Hotel, Boise, Registration $175 before Jan. 24, $200 after. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-364-4581. Register online at https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1898325
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