Catching Up with CALS — Dec. 16, 2020
Dean's Message — Thank You
It is time to sum up one of the most momentous years of CALS’ long history. Let me repeat a familiar refrain: Thank you.
With this newsletter, my official view of the year 2020 lurches into history. Gratitude is the one word that fits, in spite of all of the complexity we have faced as a world, as a nation, as a state, as a university, as a college and as a team in the dean’s office. I am grateful my family is healthy and safe and I hope that yours is, too.
My presentation about CAFE on Dec. 1 for the Malcolm Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium renewed my faith that good work is its own reward. Nearly five years ago the project landed on my to-do list. For those interested in the complete presentation, you can view this on YouTube.
This really started as an idea that everyone agreed was needed but no one understood how to unify some of the principles involved to best serve Idaho and agriculture. Seeing more than 100 gathered online to hear an update affirmed the college’s investment of time and effort was well worthwhile.
CAFE is succeeding because of partnerships. The Idaho Dairymen’s Association kept its commitment to support the project even when times were tough by helping us secure a site near Rupert. Plans for the nation’s largest research dairy are on the drawing board and call for construction to begin in 2021.
A quick correction here: a production error in the last issue led to an error. Economists quickly responded to the previous message that misstated dairy's role in Idaho’s economy. Dairy accounts for about a quarter of agriculture’s 13% share of Idaho’s gross state product.
In partnership with the Idaho Potato Commission, the state and other stakeholders, the groundwork for the new Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory is well underway near the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center.
The Idaho Wheat Commission continues to support CALS with transformative funding to improve our commodity risk management expertise and research and Extension capability.
In Parma, a broad and important array of agricultural interests — and others including the J.A. and Kathyrn Albertson Foundation — are laying groundwork for a necessary expansion of the facility.
I want to recognize the Auen and Berger Foundations, Idaho Cattle Association’s and other stakeholder support for the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center’s new office and classroom building near Salmon. Superintendent John Hall’s undaunted diligence to the project contributed greatly to its success.
I must also thank the Idaho Barley Commission and the multitude of public and private partners who have funded, given, donated and supported the college.
All these good things happened despite a global pandemic that upended everything we thought we knew about how to do our work, how to educate students and how we live our lives.
It would be wrong to list wins without losses. We are missing friends and loved ones. We missed traditional celebrations of the best things in life. Graduations, including Saturday’s Winter Commencement, went virtual.
And yet, we adapted; we carried on.
When we raise our glasses to 2021, let us look forward and remember the best is yet to come. I think we will all be thankful to put 2020 in our rearview mirror.
Michael P. Parrella
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
Idaho produced 45,045,000 bushels of spring wheat in 2020, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. That was nearly 6 million bushels more than in 2019. The increase reflected 495,000 acres harvested, 55,000 more than in 2019, and an average yield per acre of 91 bushels in 2020, up from 89 bushels per acre the year before. Winter wheat production in Idaho in 2020 totaled 66,660,000 bushels of wheat on 660,000 acres harvested and an average yield of 101 bushels per acre. Average production rose in 2020 by 14 bushels an acre from the 2019 average, boosting production by 6.5 million bushels despite a harvest that was 20,000 acres smaller.
Our Stories — Holiday Recipes Still Shine
Perhaps fitting for an appetizer, a recipe for baked butternut squash and pecan puff pastries grabbed the people’s choice award during the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences’ holiday recipe competition.
A class exercise through the school’s coordinated program in dietetics, a recipe for holiday cheesy potatoes won U of I President Scott Green’s selection as the president’s choice award.
The competition sponsored by the university’s Advancement Services division challenges students in FCS 483 Quantity Food Production and Equipment and its lab to devise crowd-pleasing, nutritious recipes. This year’s selection of eight recipes are online.
U of I’s president, faculty, staff and alumni judge the recipes and select their favorites. The same held true this fall with a notable change, said Katie Miner, the food and nutrition senior instructor who teaches the class.
The assignment called on students to consider trends related to COVID-19 that showed cooks shifted their focus toward simple comfort foods this fall.
The judging process changed most noticeably. Rather than judges and students gathering in the Carmelita Spencer Foods Laboratory, the students spread throughout the Niccolls Building and the judges rotated through the stations.
The change allowed for social distancing and gave judges a chance to tour the building, Miner said. Students also geared up with masks and shields to comply with health protocols.
“Changing to this format was an extra challenge for the students,” Miner said. “Since they were not all in the foods lab, we had to consider how to keep food at proper temperatures, and also allow enough time for transporting food to the different locations.”
Students also encountered other challenges. Several participated in the presentations through computer connections as a result of health rules. “Even though it was a competition, students from other teams really stepped up to help their classmates who were missing a team member!” Miner said.
“Despite all the extra challenges, the students were very excited about the event,” she said. “With so much canceled this year, everyone appreciated the opportunity to be involved and find a way to make the recipe presentations happen in a safe way.”
CALS Food Pantry Seeks Donations
Join the college in spreading holiday cheer by helping stock the CALS Food Pantry to benefit students, faculty and staff. In 2019, nearly half of University of Idaho students experienced food insecurity. Unsurprisingly, the fall 2020 semester saw an increased use of the CALS Food Pantry. Help us ensure the pantry is stocked when students, faculty and staff return for the spring semester. Give today.
To make things interesting, we’re holding a competition to see which unit can raise the most money for the pantry. Encourage faculty and staff across your unit to help the cause by making a gift before Dec. 22. Winning department will be announced on Dec. 23.
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Faces and Places
Agricultural and Extension education student Emiliano McLane was selected as an All Nations Alliance for Minority Participation scholar. He is majoring in agricultural science, communication and leadership.
Family and consumer sciences student Ellie Hafer, a freshman in apparel, textiles and design from Lewiston, won a $783 grant from the U of I Sustainability Center to build and install recycling bins for scrap fabric and paper in ATD’s design studios. The bins will reduce the amount of reusable material entering the waste stream and will educate students about textile sustainability.
- Jan. 12 — Deadline to register for North Idaho Annie's Project training for women farmers and ranchers. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/north-idaho-annies-project-tickets-131650288557
- Jan. 13 — U of I spring semester classes begin
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