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College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654



Catching Up with CALS March 22, 2017

Dean's Message — Demonstrating Value

When I joined the deans of nearly all of the nation’s 72 land-grant universities in Washington, D.C., recently, one message was consistent and clear: we all need to demonstrate the value of cooperative extension and the agricultural experiment stations.

University of Idaho Extension helps Idaho’s people live better, healthier lives and continues to connect the public to research-based information to solve problems. The Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station helps make the state’s agriculture the economic powerhouse that it is.

We need to help our elected representatives at the state and federal levels to remember that agriculture is a job creator and an export generator.

Our ties to global markets is why we had eight students in Mexico and five in Taiwan on spring break field trips. It is why we are working to enhance ties with universities in China, Ireland and Spain. These trips organized by Robert Haggerty are very important as we look to increase our international connections at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our students need to understand other cultures to help agriculture and Idaho prosper.

Too few people realize that our work helps to train the educated workforce necessary to produce the nutritious, abundant and inexpensive food supply that most of us take for granted.

Fortunately, Idaho’s Legislature is demonstrating that it values education and research conducted by the University of Idaho and CALS. The ambitious plan to create the Center for Food, Agriculture and the Environment took a major step forward last week with the appropriation of $10 million.

It is important to remember that legislators themselves with the support of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter led the revival of an effort to expand the state’s agricultural research and extension capacity that began more than a decade ago.

Legislators also endorsed an appropriation to expand funding for graduate student housing and laboratory renovations badly needed at CALS existing research and extension centers.

CALS Dean Michael Parella shows off a walking stick to second-grader Wil, in the blue Pirates shirt, and his classmates during a school assembly March 15.

Last Wednesday, I had the chance to put what we do in perspective. I visited Notus Elementary near Caldwell to meet Wil, a second grader there. His teacher, UI alumnus Cory James, asked his students to write a letter asking for information about a future career.

Wil wrote to UI asking how to become a scientist and a farmer.

I was able to meet Wil and nearly 200 of his schoolmates during an assembly. I used the fascinating world of insects as an entry into broader science issues facing agriculture. Their enthusiasm for science was real and uplifting. It was a reminder of why we should be optimistic about agriculture’s futures and Idaho’s.

I also visited another UI alumna, Danielle Reynolds who is the ag educator at Notus High School. It was wonderful to see her outstanding facilities and to know that she continues to educate the next generation of UI students, who in turn will contribute to Idaho agriculture.

Dean Michael Parrella

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

By the Numbers 

2,060 meals provided by the Idaho Foodbank will result from donations of $514.85 from CALS Harvest for Hunger fundraising drive. The Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department donated the most: $267.85. Donations from non-academic departments totaled $116. Other donations included $55 from agricultural and extension education, $26 from animal and veterinary science, $10 from agricultural economics and rural sociology, $10 from family and consumer sciences and $5 from agricultural systems management.

Our Stories — Students Expand Horizons with Spring Break Trips

Students enrolled in Ag Ed 407 studied far from home during spring break, visiting different countries to gain insights into global food and fiber systems.

The class, Ag Ed 407 Global Agricultural and Life Sciences Systems, offers students a semester-long, three-credit class focused on a country, including a short-term study abroad experience during spring break. This year, five students traveled to Taiwan, and eight traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico.UI CALS students show the flag during their field trip to Taiwan with Taipei's skyline in the background.

The course helps students experience different cultures and gain international travel experience, said Bob Haggerty, CALS director of international programs who oversees the course, which offers two sections.

The course relies on ties with the National Chiayi University in Taiwan and the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico’s Jalisco state. Each of the trips was led by professors with strong international experience: Bob Tripepi and Mireille Chahine for the Mexico trip and Matt Powell and Samantha Ramsay for the Taiwan trip.

Each country is selected because of its strong relation to Idaho agriculture through trade, production or research. Both countries are in subtropical environments, exposing students to different management practices of agricultural production systems, business, textile manufacturing and food processing facilities.

Students traveling to Mexico with Tripepi, professor of horticulture, and Chahine, dairy science extension faculty, explored Jalisco’s dairy industry and its blue agave and tequila industry.

Students toured a vertically integrated dairy cooperative and agave processing plant at a tequila distillery.

“This trip allows students to gain a perspective of regional innovations of agriculture and ways producers adapt to climate, terrain, infrastructure and current market options.” Chahine said.

For her part, Chahine said she was impressed by the focus and professionalism of the eight students on the Mexico trip.

This spring’s trip went smoothly and met the program’s overall goals. International travel, Tripepi said, enhances students’ cultural competencies and substantially reduces the barriers to their understanding of other cultures.

The Mexico trip allows students to develop a deep cultural connection to a nation that is both exotic and shares strong similarities to the U.S.

Taiwan is an important trading partner with Idaho, which exports wheat, processed potatoes, meat and horticultural products to the region. Students study freshwater as well as marine aquaculture, and orchid productions throughout the course.

Powell said one of the greatest values of the trip for students is the opportunity to be immersed in a completely different culture.

The visit to a nation that ranks among those with the highest population densities makes a lasting impression on students, Powell said. “It’s a completely different culture and I enjoy showing the students that and seeing how they respond.”

“Students get a lot out of it,” Powell added.

Faces and Places

CALS' Bob Haggerty, left; Lauren Keeney, third from left; Jim Toomey, fifth from left; and Paul McDaniel, right, paused for a photo during a visit to Spain to explore research and education collaboration opportunities there.Bob Haggerty, CALS director of international programs, led a trip to Spain to build educational and research collaboration with Public University of Navarra and University of the Basque Country. He was accompanied by Jennie Davis, a graduate student in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences; Jim Toomey, Caldwell Research and Extension Center business incubator director; and Paul McDaniel, Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department head.

Members of the Idaho Potato Commission accompanied CALS administrators on a visit to UC Davis to view a horticulture facility there.CALS Dean Michael Parrella and UI Extension Director Barbara Petty, Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station Director Mark McGuire, CALS potato scientist and Potato Association of America President Mike Thornton, and CALS nuclear potato program director Jenny Durren toured the plant services center at UC Davis with Idaho Potato Commission members during spring break.


  • March 24 — Small Farm Cultivating Success Workshop. Light refreshments provided. $20 registration fee, plus $5 for every additional family member or farm partner. University of Idaho Extension, Ada County, 5880 Glenwood St., Boise, ID. Register online. Email or call 208-287-5900 for more information. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • March 25 — UIdaho Bound
  • March 29 — Etiquette Dinner. $20. Register. International Ballroom, Bruce M. Pitman Center. 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
  • April 1 — UIdaho Bound
  • April 3-6 — University of Idaho Extension Annual Conference. Burley, ID. Register online by March 28.
  • April 5-8 — Idaho FFA State Leaders Conference. Twin Falls, ID
  • April 7 — Scholarship Luncheon
  • April 14 — Small Farm Cultivating Success Workshop. Light refreshments provided. $20 registration fee, plus $5 for every additional family member or farm partner. Location TBD, Weiser, ID. Register online. Email or call 208-287-5900 for more information. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • April 21Mom's Weekend
  • April 21 — Margaret Ritchie Distinguished Speaker Series during Mom's Weekend. Ag Sci 106. 3-4 p.m.
  • April 21 — Mom's Weekend Wine and Cheese Gala to benefit the Dean's Excellence Fund. $25. RSVP at 208-885-9056 or online. Shuttles from the VandalStore starting at 4 p.m. All ages welcome. Best Western Plus University Inn. 4-6 p.m.
  • April 22 — Plant and Soil Science Club Green Thumb 101. $25. Sixth Street Greenhouses. RSVP. 10 a.m.
  • April 22 — Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences Alumni Brunch. RSVP. University Inn Best Western, Gold Room. 10 a.m.-noon.
  • April 22 — Ritchie Fashion Show. $15 tickets available at the door. Vandal Ballroom. 4 p.m. silent auction, 6 p.m. fashion show
  • April 24 — CALS Awards Banquet. RSVP by April 17 or email Anna Pratt Bruce M. Pitman Center Vandal Ballroom. $8 for students, $18 for non-students. Reception, 5-6 p.m. Dinner and awards ceremony, 6-8 p.m.
  • April 28 — UI Engineering Expo. Bruce M. Pitman Center. 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • May 12-14 — Washington FFA Conference. Pullman, WA
  • May 13 — Commencement
  • June 7-8 — Idaho FFA Career Development Events. Moscow, ID

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College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654