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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 — April 17, 2019

Dean's Message — Promoting Discussion

Tomorrow CALS will welcome Ali Noorani, an important voice in the nation’s discussion about immigration. He is executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

I hope you will join us Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m. in the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre at 508 S. Main St. in Moscow to learn more about the issue and its challenges and benefits. Noorani’s talk, “Out of Many, One: A Defining Moment for American Immigration,” will provide an insightful perspective.

It is a vital issue for the nation, for Idaho and for the agricultural industry. It also is a controversial topic in many quarters, although perhaps less so in Idaho because of the important role of foreign-born workers.

The idea to invite Noorani to Moscow as part of the CALS Speaker Series began when he presented at the Idaho Milk Processors Association annual meeting in Sun Valley.

Noorani’s consistent message is simple. To respond effectively to immigration issues, Americans must first understand the facts about what immigration means to communities.

The U of I has a strong record of working with Idahoans to gather those facts and present them in an unbiased way without taking a position.

CALS agricultural economist Priscilla Salant and rural sociologist J.D. Wulfhorst played important roles in those efforts beginning in 2009. Their widely respected report, “Community Level Impacts of Idaho’s Changing Dairy Industry,” charted the expansion of industry and its workforce.

A decade ago, CALS researchers took a deep dive into how communities were changing by analyzing data and talking to community leaders from law enforcement to churches.

They continued to track the changes through publications including, “Community Impacts of Idaho’s Dairy Work Force,” issued two years ago by the U of I McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

Their work shows that communities in Idaho adapt to complicated forces including market demands, people’s desires to lead better lives and many others. The changes often benefit communities but they can also challenge communities.

Those of us in agriculture know the best way to find solutions is to approach those challenges with the best information possible. We practice it every day by relying on research to understand a problem or opportunity, then test possible solutions.

Noorani approaches one of our society’s most complicated challenges in much the same way. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Kenworthy to hear Ali’s presentation. It is a presentation that should not be missed.

Michael P Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Michael P. Parrella

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

By the Numbers

22,200,000 Idaho trout weighing in at 27,000,000 pounds or an average of 1.2 pounds apiece set up a lot of tables for fine dining in 2018, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data show. Idaho production declined 20 percent from 2017. Idaho trout producers captured 40 percent of the $100 million in trout sales nationally. Overall the estimated value of trout sold for restoration, conservation, enhancement or recreation totaled $129 million in 2018 nationally, down 3 percent from 2017.

Our Stories — Growing Food Around the House

In spring thoughts turn to gardening, and University of Idaho Extension offers a new publication that combines beauty and practicality as homeowners consider landscaping makeovers.UI Extension Bulletin 921 explores edible landscapes

“Designing an Edible Landscape in Idaho” gives gardeners some food for thought about how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into attractive yards.

The booklet, UI Extension Bulletin No. 921, provides a primer on the basics of landscape planning, design and maintenance. It explores opportunities to add a wide range of plant groups from fruit and nut trees and shrubs into the landscaping mix. Nor do the authors ignore fruit-producing shrubs and vines, perennials and annuals.

Stephen Love of Aberdeen, a co-author and Extension urban horticulture specialist, has spent much of his long career with UI Extension bridging the worlds of food and flora.

Love’s co-authors include Ariel Agenbroad, Boise-based Extension community food systems and small farms area educator; Tony McCammon, a former Twin Falls-based Extension educator; and Isabelle Taylor, an Idaho Advanced Idaho Master Gardener volunteer in Ada and Canyon counties.

Agenbroad said the team capitalized on its varied interests from McCammon’s interest in landscape design and Taylor’s expertise and citizen’s-eye view to Love’s encyclopedic knowledge.

“In working with people interested in local food, it became clear that we needed more Idaho-specific information that gave people practical advice on how they could grow more at home,” she said. The publication’s attractive appearance is enough to entice more homeowners to try the concept.

Homeowners’ interest in adding traditional gardens grew in recent years although the numbers are hard to come by, Love said. His work with gardeners shows the trend clearly, and so do reports from vegetable seed companies that work hard to keep up with rising demand.

One feature of the new publication that he’s most proud of, Love said, is a six-page section that helps homeowners substitute edible plants for more conventional options.Kale brightens up a landscape and the plate.

A few examples: choose a currant over a burning bush or cotoneaster, try a chestnut instead of a horsechestnut or pick a blueberry over a boxwood.

Some perennial choices based on characteristics like foliage or flower color offer tasty alternatives, too. Substitute strawberries for Vinca, lavender for lambs ear or bronze fennel for Artemesia.

“People may go to nurseries with the idea of planting edible plants, but when they get there and ask, the answers aren’t always readily available. We wanted to provide some ideas to help people transition their landscapes,” he said.

The financial uncertainty a decade ago seemed to spur more interest in home gardening, perhaps to cut food costs, Love said. Greater emphasis on finding locally-grown, safe, nutritious food led some searchers home again.

With many homeowners limited by their lot’s size, the urge to grow food expanded beyond the tidy garden plot and into their landscaping.

The challenge of maintaining curb appeal and providing tasty harvests can be substantial, Love said, and rewarding.

"Designing an Edible Landscape in Idaho,” UI Extension Bulletin 921, is available in print for $5 a copy or as a free PDF online.

CAFE Listening Session This Morning Seeks Ideas

CALS will sponsor a listening session Wednesday, April 17, at 10 a.m. on the Moscow campus to solicit comments from U of I faculty and staff regarding plans for the nation’s largest research dairy, the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE).

An online Zoom session will link the meeting in the Idaho Commons Whitewater-Clearwater Room for others across the state who are interested in the project.

The U of I-led mission seeks to include faculty and staff from all colleges. CAFE’s long history and complexity challenged efforts to track the project’s progress for many.

The listening session will offer an overview of current plans, an updated timeline and other details.

In March, CALS joined with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association to purchase property for the dairy near Rupert from the Whitesides family, which donated additional acreage to the project.

Survey stakes are in the ground near Rupert, and momentum is growing to add physical substance to the concept of CAFE.

The college is also pursuing the purchase of property near Jerome to serve as an education and outreach center for CAFE and as a base for faculty, staff and students.

More information about CAFE is available online at Those wishing to join the meeting online can link in through Zoom at

Faces and Places

CALS students Ryan Bumstead, Colt Stowell, Amber Chambers and Hunter Kaarlsen took the No. 1, 3, 4 and 5 in this spring’s Barker Trading Competition that just concluded.


  • April 17CAFE Listening Session, Michael P. Parrella, Whitewater-Clearwater, Idaho Commons, 10-11:30 a.m. Zoom:
  • April 18 — CALS Speaker Series hosts Ali Noorani, National Immigration Forum executive director, Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main St., Moscow, 6 p.m.
  • April 19 — Quest for Earth, Earth Week motivational talk by CALS environmental chemist Greg Moller, Ag Science Room 106 Auditorium and online, 9:30 a.m.
  • April 19 — CALS Alumni and Friends Awards nomination deadline
  • April 23 — All CALS Meeting, Vandal Ballroom, Bruce M. Pitman Center, Moscow, 8:30 a.m.
  • May 2 — CALS Awards Banquet, RSVP before April 29, reception 5-6 p.m. banquet 6-8 p.m., International Ballroom, Bruce M. Pitman Center

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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