Alumni News – Spring 2019


Ben Albright (’04 ag studies), Iowa farmer, National Outstanding Young Farmer Honoree, National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress

Alan Blaylock (’89 Ph.D. agronomy), senior agronomist at Nutrien, 2019 Soil Science Industry and Professional Award, Soil Science Society of America

Amanda DeJong (’02 ag business), state executive director for the Iowa Farm Service Agency, Young Leader in Agriculture Award, Agriculture Future of America

April Hemmes (’82 animal science), Iowa farmer, Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award, Top Producer magazine

Richard Isaacson (’72 ag business, ’75 MS ag economics), founder and owner of Agri-Management Services, Professional Farm Manager of the Year, American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, Syngenta, Farm Journal’s AgPro magazine

Neil Knobloch (’92 ag and life sciences education, ’92 ag extension education, MS ’97), professor of agricultural sciences education and communication at Purdue University, National Experiment Station Section Diversity and Inclusion Award, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Don Latham (’69 agronomy), Iowa farmer, United Soybean Board Outstanding Achievement Award

Tom Miller (’61 animal science), executive director of the Arizona Pork Council, Hall of Fame Honoree, National Pork Producers Council

David Nielsen (’77 meteorology, ’79 MS agronomy) retired research agronomist with USDA Agricultural Research Service Central Plains Research Management Unit, 2018 Soil Science Applied Research Award, Soil Science Society of America

Rob Stout (’78 farm operations), Iowa farmer, American Soybean Association National Conservation Legacy Award

Steven Brockshus (’17 ag and life sciences education), founder and CEO of FarmlandFinder, 2019 American Farm Bureau Fedration Ag Innovation Challenge winner

Mitchell Hora (’17 agronomy, ag systems technology), founder and CEO of Continuum Ag, 2019 American Farm Bureau Fedration Ag Innovation Challenge semi-finalist


Ken Isley (’84 ag and life sciences education), head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, presented the 2019 Carl and Marjory Hertz Lecture on Emerging Issues in Agriculture on April 9 at Iowa State. As administrator of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, he leads offices around the world in expanding trade and export opportunities for American agriculture. Isley’s presentation, “The Role of the U.S. in the Global Food and Agriculture Marketplace,” is available online at www. (read more about Isley on page 36).


Jay Jacobi (’89 agricultural business), program analyst at Rain and Hail Insurance, and Julie Jacobi (’88 agricultural business), start-up investor, received a 2018 ISU Foundation Order of the Knoll Emerging Philanthropist Award.

Doug Jeske (’89 agricultural journalism and public service and administration in ag), president of The Meyocks Group, and Karen Jeske (’89 distributed studies, Ph.D. ’10 sociology), pastoral residency and connections coordinator for Plymouth Congregational Church, received a 2018 ISU Foundation Order of the Knoll Emerging Philanthropist Award.

Dana Robes (’67 dairy science) and Martha Robes (’15 honorary) received the 2019 ISU Foundation Order of the Knoll Cardinal and Gold Award. Robes began his career in animal nutrition and went on to start Dana Robes Woodcraftsmen, a successful furniture business that he and his wife, Martha, owned for 22 years.


Iowa ‘STATEment Makers’ is an honor bestowed by the ISU Alumni Association that recognizes the early personal and professional accomplishments and contributions to society of Iowa State graduates 34 years of age and under. 2019 awardees from CALS are:

Majd Abdulghani (MS ’18 genetics, development and cell biology) is the first-ever Saudi Arabian person to earn the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. A research assistant at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Michigan, Abdulghani is among the 100 scholarship recipients for 2019 who are studying this year at the University of Oxford.

Karl Kerns (’14 animal science), is conducting research to improve in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies for both humans and animals. Kerns, who recently earned his Ph.D. in animal science with an emphasis in molecular reproductive physiology from the University of Missouri, has 14 manuscripts published or under review and two provisional patents.