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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 — June 26, 2019

Dean's Message — Welcome President Green

Next week, the U of I and CALS community will welcome C. Scott Green as its 19th president.

President Green brings a wealth of deep and varied connections to the U of I and to Idaho. Since the Idaho State Board of Education announced his selection April 11, he has been asking questions and assembling information to help him prepare for this enormous responsibility.

We in CALS welcome his interest and provided a snapshot of CALS activities since I have been the dean. He clearly wants to better understand the university today and how it has changed since he earned his undergraduate degree from the College of Business and Economics in accounting here 35 years ago.

As I approach the halfway mark of my fourth year as CALS dean, providing President Green a snapshot of CALS offered a welcome chance to reflect on our collective progress.

Let me say that it is impossible to do justice to all that our 222 faculty, 270-plus staff, 213 temporary workers and 238 student and hourly employees accomplish.

The Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station began work in the spring of 1892, months before the university’s first classes. Since its formal organization in June 13, 1901, the college focused on coordinating the experiment station’s work and educating students.

It also began acquiring and distributing practical, research-based information for Idaho residents’ benefit, a mission formalized in 1914 with passage of the federal Smith-Lever Act and the creation of UI Extension.

Through the experiment station and Extension, CALS oversees nearly 4,000 acres, nine research and extension centers and 42 county offices across Idaho. UI Extension tracked over 425,000 face-to-face interactions with Idahoans and involved 70,000 young people in 4-H youth development programs.

Throughout CALS, our initiatives include major efforts to improve facilities for future programs. Some of those efforts that are furthest along include:

Last year’s purchase of the Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center through a generous donation from businessman Dennis Pence and his family.

The nearly-complete classroom and office building at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center with the generous support of the Auen and H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundations.

Scheduled construction of a new Seed Potato Germplasm facility on the Moscow campus with generous support from the Idaho Potato Commission, Northwest Farm Credit Services, private growers and the legislature.

Next to the potato lab, the planned Agri Beef Meat Science Innovation Center Honoring Ron Richard promises to provide a beautiful new home for Vandal Brand Meats with significant support from Agri Beef and Northwest Farm Credit Services.

Then, there’s the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE). A statewide initiative, CALS is providing leadership for what will be the nation’s largest research dairy.

Earlier this year, the university bought a site for the dairy near Rupert with support from the Whitesides family and Idaho Dairymen’s Association. Earlier this month, the Idaho State Board of Education approved purchase of land for the Idaho CAFE Discovery Center near Jerome to give substance to more than a decade’s worth of planning and effort.

A $7 million plan to upgrade office and laboratory facilities at the Parma Research and Extension Center is generating support among growers, commissions and agricultural companies.

I’ll end our busy list here. Just know that many more notable efforts are under way.

A main point of today’s message is to celebrate new leadership and ask you to visit with President Green as he travels Idaho in coming months. We hope he will join as many CALS events as his schedule allows to hear from our faculty, staff and students, and from our alumni.

President Green needs to hear from those who benefit from the research we generate and communicate through the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station and UI Extension. If you are lucky enough to meet with President Green on his initial tour, please tell the CALS story from your perspective.

President Green was born and raised in Idaho. He returned home to rejoin our community, and to serve it. He is committed to moving the university forward, and I anticipate that CALS will be an important part of that plan.

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

Michael P. Parrella

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

By the Numbers

18 percent of Idaho’s spring wheat was headed through June 23, less than two-thirds the 31 percent reported last year and less than half the 5-year average of 40 percent. Most Idaho crops lagged slightly this spring compared to past years, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Warm weather the previous week helped crops recover from a slow start. Headed barley zoomed from 3 percent the previous week to 23 percent through June 23, about half the 5-year average of 47 percent.

Our Stories — Fosberg: A Land Ethic in Action

An urban oasis of hayfields, a restored patch of Palouse Prairie and a farmstead sheltered by trees along Mountain View Road links back to Moscow’s early days.A patch of Palouse Prairie on Maynard Fosberg's farm near Mountain View Road and D Street is being restored with help from the Latah County Soil and Water Conservation District.

On July 2 from 5:30-7 p.m., CALS emeritus professor Maynard Fosberg will open his 20-acre farm at the corner of D Street and Mountain View Road to visitors as part of a celebration sponsored by the Palouse Land Trust and the Latah County Historical Society.

The event, “Reflections on the Land: A Conversation with Maynard Fosberg,” will explore the decision by he and his late wife, Margaret, to permanently conserve the 20-acre parcel with the help of the Palouse Land Trust. The Fosbergs bought the property in 1951.

The event will include a half-hour guided tour of the property, then a conversation with Maynard Fosberg at 6 p.m. The Latah County Community Foundation is helping to support the event, which will also offer attendees a chance to celebrate his 100th birthday on July 7.

The event will also mark the Latah County Historical Society’s partnership with the Idaho Humanities Council and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce to display a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” The exhibit begins Aug. 23 at the chamber office on Main Street.

Maynard and Margaret Fosberg moved to Moscow in 1949 when he began teaching soil science at the U of I in CALS. He retired in 1989, but continued to teach for another year and remains active in 4-H and other youth education activities. A nurse, Margaret began working at Gritman Memorial Hospital, then worked as head nurse at the university’s Student Health Center until retiring in 1998.

The conversation will offer a first-hand account of Moscow’s evolution as a community. When Maynard and Margaret Fosberg bought the property, two dairies were its only neighbors.An aerial view of Moscow taken about 1940 from the west end of town facing east toward Mountain View Road. The arrow is the approximate location of the Fosberg property today at Mountain View Road and D Street. Latah County Historical Society photo 01-01-077.

It was an easy fit. He spent his earliest years on a farm near Turlock, California. While there he attended a community college in Modesto.

He then enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving as an instructor and photography specialist for pilot cadets at Moffett Field near San Francisco; Thomasville, Georgia; and elsewhere. He met Margaret while based in Thomasville.

When his Army service ended in 1945, his older brother, a distinguished botanist at the Smithsonian Institution, urged him to visit the University of Wisconsin. Maynard enrolled there, finishing his bachelor’s degree in 1946, his master’s in 1947 and beginning his graduate work there before taking the U of I job.

He had another job to consider about the same time. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright wrote to him from Taliesin West in Phoenix suggesting he sign on as a herdsman.

Instead, Fosberg began teaching soil science at Idaho, modeling his instructional methods after an influential professor at Madison who served on his graduate committee: Aldo Leopold. Leopold’s career spanned jobs from a range conservationist to perhaps the most influential wildlife management professor.

Following his death in 1948, Leopold’s most memorable work is instilling a land ethic in the generations that followed.

“He would lecture, then oversee the laboratory part of the class. For one exercise we had to go out and learn about an animal, create a trap for it, catch one to study. Then we let them go,” Fosberg recalled.

“One of my soil science professors did the same thing,” he said. “When I started teaching, I gave a lecture, and then for the lab I wanted students to see the soil and feel it.”

And that led to Fosberg’s work to collect soil monoliths, sections of soil carefully mounted and preserved to display their unique characteristics. His collection, assembled with the help of research associate Anita Falen, exceeds 430.

Many are on display along the first floor hallway in the E.J. Iddings Agricultural Sciences Building on campus.

He collected monoliths from throughout Idaho and across the West, including monoliths from the Arctic Coastal Plain near Prudhoe Bay. He worked with University of Alaska scientists there to understand the patterned soils that overlaid the permafrost there.

Surprisingly, he found similar soil types as close to home as Tomer Butte just southeast of Moscow and in southern Idaho. The Idaho soils were echoes of the cold, dry climates of the last ice age and continues to determine what types of vegetation grows on them.

That research and related work with colleagues at U of I helped him to complete his doctorate from Wisconsin in 1963.

Now Fosberg takes joy in watching a 5-acre hillside along D Street fill with blooms of native Palouse Prairie plants and planting a pollinator garden with help from the Latah County Soil and Water Conservation District.

First Chobani Scholars Chosen to Attend U of I

The U of I is celebrating National Dairy Month with the announcement of its first cohort of Chobani Scholars.

Four Idaho students will attend U of I CALS thanks to scholarship support from Chobani. They will pursue varied careers as the next generation of Idaho dairy professionals.

The Chobani Scholars program was established at U of I in 2018 and funds four $20,000 scholarships annually. The scholarships are for Idaho students with family connections to dairy farming and who intend to pursue a career in the dairy farming industry.

Chobani has committed to fund annual scholarships at two universities — U of I and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in New York. The commitment by Chobani is significant as a pipeline of well-educated graduates, armed with future-forward skills and modern farm management capabilities, is necessary for protecting the dairy industry’s important agricultural legacy and ensuring its future success.

“We’re excited to welcome the inaugural class of Chobani Scholars into our family. Supporting the next generation of dairy farms is important to us, which is why we are investing in the future of farmers through this unique program,” said Mark Broadhurst, senior director of public affairs at Chobani. “Through this partnership with University of Idaho, the students will learn valuable skills that they can use to positively impact the dairy industry of the future.”

The first class of Chobani Scholars who are enrolled to attend U of I in fall 2019 include:

  • Raquel Dimond of Jerome, a graduate of Valley High School in Hazleton, plans to study animal and veterinary science: business option. Dimond’s goal is to become a veterinarian and return to serve animals in the Magic Valley. A shortage of veterinarians in Idaho makes maintaining animal health a challenge and Idaho industries rely on healthy animals to produce quality products. The dairy industry affects every single person, from the milk in cereal to cheese on pizza, Dimond said.
  • Alejandro Jimenez of Wilder, a graduate of Wilder High School, plans to study agricultural science, communication and leadership. Jimenez wants to work in the dairy industry because he sees the value it has provided to his family and community — his father works wrapping silage for local dairies. According to Jimenez, a college education will enable him to educate others about the importance of Idaho’s dairy industry.
  • Kaitlin Mirkin of Jerome, a graduate of Jerome High School, plans to study animal and veterinary science: pre-veterinary option. A fourth-generation dairy farmer, her goals for attending college include learning about modern farming, milking, nutrient management and biosecurity techniques — knowledge she can take back to the industry.
  • Avelardo Vargas of Rupert, a graduate of Minico High School, plans to study agricultural systems management and agribusiness. Born in Rupert to parents who immigrated from Mexico in 1999, Vargas began working summers taking care of calves at Idaho Acres Dairy where his father worked, then began milking full time at Whitesides Dairy at age 16. He helped support his family after his father died in April 2018 while earning a 3.9 GPA in high school. The scholarship will help him pursue a college degree with the goal to eventually operate his own dairy.

“These students are demonstrating a real commitment to the future of Idaho’s dairy industry. They are one step ahead in recognizing the value a college degree will provide them as they pursue careers in an industry that is rapidly evolving and embracing technological advances to ensure efficiencies and sustainability in production. We look forward to welcoming these accomplished young Chobani Scholars to the college,” said CALS Dean Michael P. Parrella.

In addition to the scholarship, the Chobani Scholars will also have an opportunity to intern with Chobani during their college careers.

Faces and Places

Surine Greenway, UI Extension FCS educator in Owyhee County, was selected for Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished Under 40 Award for 2019.


  • June 24-27 — UI Extension 4-H State Teen Association Convention, Moscow.
  • June 25 — U of I Snake River Pest Management Tour, Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, 8:30 a.m.
  • June 27 — Northern Idaho Collaborative Field Day sponsored by U of I, CHS Primeland and Limagrain Cereal Seeds, Nez Perce County Fairgrounds, 1229 Burrell Ave., Lewiston. 8:30 a.m.
  • June 28 — Rodrigo Almeida, environmental science, policy and management professor, University of California, Berkeley, “Emerging plant disease epidemics: biological research is key but not enough,” E.J. Iddings Agricultural Sciences Building, Room 106, noon-1 p.m.
  • July 12-13Inland Northwest Artisan Grains Conference July 11-13 in Pullman and Moscow

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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