Agriculture, veterinary medicine and natural resources news from Iowa State University


A new instrument will help Iowa State University researcher Jacek Koziel study the components in livestock and poultry odors. Iowa State's Atmospheric Air Quality Laboratory recently obtained an instrument that can break down the gases and chemicals in livestock and poultry odors. The instrument--a multidimentional-gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometry-olfactometry (MDGC-MS-O)--is more commonly used by cosmetic companies to analyze pleasant aromas. Koziel, assistant professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, will use the instrument in several ongoing projects that are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Iowa State University. Contact Koziel, (515) 294-4206; or Barb McBreen, Ag Communications, (515) 294-0707.


U.S. consumption of flaxseed and flaxseed oil is increasing both in processed foods and for direct consumption. Flaxseeds are high in alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 essential fatty acid), which is important for cardiovascular health. Whole, ground flaxseed in livestock diets also can raise the level of healthy fatty acids in meat and eggs. A new facility for organic flaxseed oil processing in Cherokee, Iowa, will attract production in 2005. Other grain buyers also are increasing their purchase of flaxseed for animal feeds. Flax has similar production requirements as oats and barley. Flax is drilled in early April and harvested in late July or early August. Iowa State University agronomists and Extension staff will collaborate this spring with Practical Farmers of Iowa to research production specifics in Iowa for flax. Research will address planting dates, planting rates and weed management techniques, as well as flax in rotation with other crops. Contact Mary Wiedenhoeft, agronomy, (515) 294-3274; Margaret Smith, value-added agriculture extension, (515) 294-0887; Kathleen Delate, organic agriculture program, (515) 294-7069; Fred Iutzi, Practical Farmers of Iowa, (515) 294-8512; or Barb McBreen, Ag Communications, (515) 294-0707.


Farmers who sell fruits and vegetables directly to consumers, restaurants and food services -- some of the most rapidly expanding niche markets for growers -- have a new resource from Iowa State University. Three new publications outline on-farm food safety practices and how to document them, provide information about cleaners and sanitizers and offer tips for seasonal and part-time employees who handle the produce. "Foodservice buyers consider locally grown foods for two main reasons -- food freshness and the public relations benefit from supporting the local economy," said Catherine Strohbehn, ISU adjunct assistant professor in hotel, restaurant and institution management (HRIM) and co-director of the project. "This project used HRIM extension's experience in food safety and commercial food service to provide Iowa farmers serving those markets with food safety resources."

The fact sheets were developed by Iowa State University Extension with a grant from the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State. The publication series, "On-Farm Food Safety," includes "Guide to Good Agricultural Practices," PM 1974a; "Guide to Food Handling," PM 1974b; and "Guide to Cleaning and Sanitizing," PM 1974c. Single copies are available at any ISU Extension office, from Extension Publications, (515) 294-5247, or viewed online at More information is available at Contact Strohbehn, (515) 294-7306; Rich Pirog, Leopold Center marketing initiative, (515) 294-1854; or Laura Miller, Leopold Center communications, (515) 294-5272.