Catching Up with CALS — Feb. 21, 2018
Dean's Message — Well Deserved
This year’s Larry Branen Ag Summit will include deserved recognition for U of I President Chuck Staben.
As CALS dean, I have appreciated President Staben’s recognition of the importance of the land-grant mission at U of I and what it means to our college.
In the two years since coming to work as dean, the college and the university worked closely to resolve a major issue with broad implications: how researchers and the colleges share in licensing revenues collected at the university level.
The case in point involved the sharing of royalties from wheat varieties developed by CALS researchers.
With the president’s help and that of the Idaho Wheat Commission, the new royalty distribution system invests more in the researchers and the system that produced them. I want to acknowledge the help of Janet Nelson, U of I vice president for research, in this decision.
No system is perfect so there may be additional work ahead in the future, but the new system will promote more innovation and progress. It is also a good model for other crops including oilseeds and potatoes where the university and college play major roles in partnership with industry.
That is just one specific case. There are many other reasons why this U of I president has earned the goodwill of Idaho’s agriculture industry.
The U of I - CALS and Idaho Wheat Commission relationship has also yielded innovative agreements to expand the college’s research and industry collaborations. Those are key to translating the 1862 Morrill Act and the 1887 Hatch Act that creating the land-grant university system and the Agricultural Experiment Station, to modern realities.
In other major land-grant universities, agriculture often seems to take a back seat to other missions. It is refreshing to have a U of I president with a more informed, broader view. It will be a pleasure to applaud him for that at this week’s Ag Summit.
MICHAEL P. PARRELLA
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
1,190,000 acres in Idaho were planted to wheat in 2016, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farmers harvested 1,125,000 acres, which yielded 91.4 bushels an acre for a total harvest of 102,795,000 bushels that yielded an average of $4.10 a bushel for a total of $421,817,000.
Our Stories — Scarves Highlight Invasive Species
And look really good doing it.
University of Idaho Extension educator Melissa Hamilton worked with Lori Wahl, an apparel, textiles and design instructor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, to create a set of bandanas and scarves with patterns reflecting invasive weeds in Valley County.
Hamilton — who is based in Valley County and focuses on community development, agriculture and horticulture programs — wanted to combine the idea of telling stories through apparel with invasive weed patterns to help slow the spread of the weeds.
About 70 percent of homeowners in Valley County do not live there full time, Hamilton said. While their properties are vacant, invasive weeds can take root.
“If the homeowners had more knowledge about how they needed to care for their property when they weren’t there, they might take additional actions to make sure they were being good stewards of the land,” Hamilton said. “This was a fun, visually appealing way to convey that information.”
Wahl turned the idea over to her senior portfolio-development class in 2016.
“A big part of my teaching philosophy is experiential learning, learning-based simulations — stimulating real client-designer relationships and real product development scenarios so the students have a chance to practice what they learned in multiple courses simultaneously,” Wahl said.
By the end of the semester, the class had created a prototype of three bandanas and three scarves with designs resembling spotted knapweed, yellow toadflax and oxeye daisies — all invasive weeds found in Valley County as well as other locations in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.
Hamilton and Wahl spent the past year getting the products on the shelf, including obtaining licensing, finding a wholesaler and determining product quality and fabric types. The 100 percent cotton broadcloth bandanas are sized 21 inches by 21 inches, and the 100 percent polyester twill scarves are sized 36 inches by 36 inches.
“It’s been a partnership between the different entities in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,” Hamilton said. “It really is a project that’s solely in the college and it really shows how diverse this college is. I think sometimes we get branded as just agriculture but we’re a lot more than that, especially if you look into Extension and all of the individual programs we offer.”
Each scarf and bandana is accompanied by a hangtag, also created by the students, with information about the weed that each piece represents, as well as the title of the project, “Know the Land, Save the Land.”
Hamilton and Wahl hope the project will grow beyond its original local emphasis, and focus groups showed the potential for nationwide interest.
“I strongly believe that education is the easiest and most economical form of weed control,” said Steve Anderson, Valley County weed superintendent. “Most people I deal with had no idea they were growing noxious weeds on their property; someone dug it up and replanted it thinking it was just a pretty flower that eventually filled in their flower garden, crept across the yard and now has jumped the road and has taken over the pasture. It's our job to educate and eradicate so future generations can enjoy our beautiful county and state.”
The bandanas and scarves are available for purchase at www.uidaho.edu/weedscarves. Bandanas are $12, and the scarves are $30 each. UI Extension also recently published the ninth edition of the Idaho’s Noxious Weeds publication, which can be found at http://bit.ly/2nFPhwA.
Faces and Places
U of I President Chuck Staben was honored at the Larry Branen Ag Summit for his commitment to the university’s land-grant mission and his support for Idaho agriculture. Staben was lauded for his support of CALS and for advancing the university-level Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE).
- March 8 — Visioning for the Future: Parma Research and Extension Center, Parma Ridge Winery, 24509 Rudd Rd, Parma, contact: Carly Schoepflin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-885-4037
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