Alumni News – Fall 2019


CALS graduates and friends were honored by Iowa State University for professional excellence and service during Homecoming events in October. To learn more about CALS alumni awards and the 2019 honorees visit

  • Floyd Andre Award, Steve Berger (’86 ag business), farmer, conservation leader, Wellman, Iowa
  • George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award, Diane Birt, Distinguished Professor, ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Henry A. Wallace Award, Dhamu Thamodaran (’83 PhD economics), executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief commodity hedging officer, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
  • Outstanding Young Professional Award, Kelly Norris (’08 horticulture, ’11 MS), director of horticulture and education, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
  • Outstanding Young Professional Award, Mike Taylor (’03 ag studies), co-founder and partner, Midwest Growth Partners
  • ISU College of Human Sciences Award, Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award, Larry Ebbers (’62 ag and life sciences education, ’68 MS, ’71 PhD education), University professor emeritus, ISU School of Education
  • ISU Alumni Association Award, James A. Hopson Volunteer Service Award, Ben Zelle (’14 ag business, management information systems), territory customer support manager, John Deere


Neil Harl (‘56 ag and life sciences education, ‘65 PhD economics), retired Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences, was elected to the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils Estate Planning Hall of Fame® and recognized as a Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner®. The award is given in recognition of distinguished service to the field of estate planning and was presented Nov. 7 at a ceremony during the organization’s annual NAEPC Advanced Estate Planning Strategies Conference.



Five college alumni have been recognized as part of Seed World ’s 20 under 30 future leaders in the seed industry. Honorees were selected as part of a nomination process.

  • Austin Dobbels (’13 agronomy, ag biochemistry), graduate student, University of Minnesota
  • Josh Earll (’16 ag and life sciences education), district sales manager, Bayer Crop Science
  • Katelyn Fritz (’19 global resource systems), graduate student, North Carolina State University
  • Andrew Lauver (’12 ag studies), manager of industry relations, Syngenta
  • Kyle Parmley (’16 MS plant breeding, ’19 PhD), soybean germplasm enhancement breeder, Bayer Crop Science


  • Tom Annear (’75 fisheries and wildlife biology), retired last year as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department water management supervisor after nearly 38 years with the department, Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award, American Fisheries Society
  • Walter Armstrong (’84 ag and life sciences education), key account manager with Bayer CropScience, 2019 International Certified Crop Adviser of the Year, American Society of Agronomy
  • Min Du (’01 PhD animal science, food science and human nutrition), professor and Endowed Chair in Growth Biology with Washington State University Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award, American Society of Animal Science
  • Peter Ferket (’87 PhD animal science), extension poultry nutritionist, director of the Animal Food and Nutrition Consortium and associate head of the Prestage Family Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University; American Feed Industry Poultry Science Association Poultry Nutrition Award
  • Cassie Jones (’12 PhD nutritional science), associate professor with Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, 2019 American Society of Animal Science Early Career Achievement Award
  • Dustin Loy (‘05 animal science, ‘09 DVM, ‘11 PhD vet microbiology), molecular diagnostician in the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center and faculty member in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Excellence in Diagnostic Microbiology, American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians
  • Doug Reynolds (’95 ag and life sciences education), U.S. leader for Marketing and Digital Communications at Corteva Agriscience, 2019 Professional Development Award of Excellence, National Agri-Marketing Association
  • Luis Verde (’01 MS plant breeding, ’03 PhD), maize product development director of Latin America and global sorghum lead for Corteva Agriscience, 2019 Plant Breeding Impact Award, National Association of Plant Breeders