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Another year has passed

LET TER from the chair

at Iowa State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and we are pleased to share U.S. News & World Report ranked our graduate program as No. 2 in the nation. We ranked No. 1 last year. Continually ranking in the top two spots is in part because of our dedication to real-world education, world-changing research, and extension and outreach. Our undergraduate engineering programs continue to be a top-ranked as well, coming in at No. 2. New facilities are scheduled to open in the coming year: the Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Sciences Complex, the Soil-Machine Dynamics Lab, and the Off-Highway Vehicle Chassis Dynamometer. Our dedication to student success never wavers even during a pandemic. COVID-19 was a challenge for everyone, but ABE graduating seniors rated the overall ABE experience 4.6 out of 5 stars per our 2020-21 senior exit survey. And our AE/BSE students taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam in 2020 had a 93% pass rate. Also for fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 26, 2021), our research expenditures had no downturn. Long-time chair of our department, Steve Mickelson, moved on to another opportunity within the Iowa State community. Effective March 1, he embarked on his four-year appointment as special advisor for student information systems in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. We are thankful for his leadership as chair since 2011 and his contributions throughout 39 years of service to Iowa State. Please keep us informed about developments going on in your institutions. We encourage you to follow us on the web and social media, and we appreciate your interest in our program here at Iowa State University.

Lindsay Frueh CoE (College of Engineering), Outstanding Achievement in Advising Adina Howe ASABE (American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineering), New Holland Young Researcher Award Amy Kaleita TBP (Tau Beta Pi), TBP Outstanding Advisor Award; ASABE Iowa Section, Engineer of the Year Ramesh Kanwar ASABE, ADS/Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award Dirk Maier ASABE, Sukup Global Food Security Award Gretchen Mosher ASABE, SMV Technologies Ergonomics, Safety and Health Award Joshua Peschel CoE, Spring 2020 Teaching Innovation Award

—  Amy        


Kaletia, interim chair


Elaine Phompheng CALS, (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), Professional & Scientific Award for Diversoty Enhancement; ISU (Iowa State University), Award for Inclusive Excellence Brett Ramirez ASABE Iowa Section, Young Engineer of the Year Saxson Ryan CALS, Spring 2020 Teaching Innovation Award Chuck Schwab ASABE, Fellow Michelle Soupir ISU, Award for Mid-Career Achievement in Research Lie Tang CALS, Outstanding Achievement in Research Award James Wright CoE, Inclusive Excellence; CALS, Distance Education Teaching Award


AREAS 1. Advanced Machinery Engineering and Manufacturing Systems 2. Animal Production Systems Engineering 3. Biological and Process Engineering and Technology 4. Land and Water Resources Engineering

OUR DEPARTMENT ranks top in research and development spending among the nation’s agricultural and biosystems engineering departments at public universities. These investments totaled $14.3 million in fiscal year 2020.

WHILE MAINTAINING our traditional connection to agriculture, our faculty researchers are also developing alternative production systems, leading innovative research for renewable energy sources, developing value-added products and processes, and implementing new methods to improve air and water quality.

OUR RESEARCH TEAMS conduct many projects that deliver life-sustaining and industry-changing innovations to citizens throughout the state, the Midwest, the nation and the world.





5. Occupational Safety Engineering




Student Enrollment





According to U.S. News & World Report


In fall 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked Iowa State second overall, and second among public universities, for the best undergraduate program in biological/agricultural engineering.




graduates Transition to online course delivery was so successful for our students this past year, student evaluation data was same or improved in some cases on average compared to past years that were COVID-free.





Tenured and tenure-track

16% females




EXTENSION Peer-reviewed journal papers appearing in print this calendar year


Fact sheets developed


Extension programs tied to research grants


Popular press instances (e.g. radio interviews, appearing in or writing magazine articles)


Peer-reviewed journal papers accepted and to be published in next calendar year


Journal papers in review


Distinct stakeholder groups served


Conference papers appearing in print


Distinct programs led


Book chapters appearing in print


Books appearing in print


Licensed Technology Transfer Agreements


Patents issued


Annual research reports completed and submitted


Educational workshops/programs organized


Plenary, invited or keynote lectures given


Extension talks delivered


Professional society fellows


Fact sheets downloaded


Conference leadership roles

14,031 4

Views on websites, podcasts, etc. Programs documenting change in clientele behavior based on program education




Total full-time equivalents (FTE) of Professional & Scientific (P&S) and merit staff supervised Significant cross-department or interdisciplinary cooperative programming efforts


Postdoctoral researchers supervised


Ph.D. students supervised as a major professor


Ph.D. students supervised as committee member


Ph.D. students graduated


M.S. students supervised as a major professor


M.S. students supervised as committee member


M.S. students graduated


Total funds on submitted proposals


Undergraduate students supervised


Total awarded amount



Submitted proposals


Awarded proposals

ABE’s Bailey Adams wins first place in Three Minute Thesis Competition

Grant to help fill gaps in how livestock manure management affects antibiotic resistance What does manure have in common with antibiotic resistance? For starters, they both stink, though in different ways. But there might be even more to the relationship than that. Adina Howe, ABE assistant professor and principal investigator, received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how manure management systems in livestock production affect the development of bacteria capable of resisting antibiotics. The effort builds on previous research the scientists have conducted to determine how livestock production interacts with other complex factors, such as environmental processes, to contribute to antibiotic resistance. “The reason this is so important is we cannot discover new antibiotics fast enough to fill in for the medications that are losing their effectiveness,” said Howe.

Iowa State launches partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University The U.S. Embassy in Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Iowa State University launched the U.S. State Department Bureau of African Affairs’ University Partnerships Initiative (UPI) in the fall of 2020. Iowa State is partnering with the KNUST College of Engineering to implement institutional capacity building through its student organizations Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Faculty and students from both universities will partner with the Ullo Traditional Area in the Upper West Region to collaborate on smallscale community development. These projects will promote research-driven practical solutions to address poverty,

food security, nutrition and health, potable water security, sustainable agriculture, and improved economic opportunity. This ‘learning by doing’ approach will bolster the students’ critical thinking skills, real-world problem-solving abilities and globalize the undergraduate engineering curricula at both universities. “We will also jointly teach a new course called Introduction to Global Engineering available for students at both universities during the 2021 spring semester,” said Dirk Maier, Iowa State professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering and faculty co-advisor for the university’s EWB student chapter, which consists of 80 students representing various majors across Iowa State’s campus.

Third-year agricultural and biosystems engineering Ph.D. student Bailey Adams won first place in Iowa State University’s fifth annual Three Minute Thesis competition. Three Minute Thesis (3MT) celebrates research conducted by master’s or Ph.D. students around the world. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases a student’s capacity to explain their research in a short amount of time and in a vocabulary appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Iowa State students across campus participate in preliminary competitions, with seven selected to vie for top ISU honors this year, including first place, runner-up and People’s Choice. Adams presented “Sprayer Chassis Suspension Optimization for Improved Boom Performance.” His research concentrates on data analytics and state-of-the-art virtual engineering techniques to answer questions about agricultural machinery systems and improve agricultural machinery performance.

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@ISUABE @ISU_ABE @ ISU_ABE Search “Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Alumni and Friends” For questions regarding this publication, contact Kristine Perkins, editor & designer phone: (515) 294-9034 email:

Copyright © 2021. Iowa State University of Science and Technology. All rights reserved. Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination polices may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, 3350 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011-1098, tel. (515) 249-7612, email

The ISU Fluid Power Club competed in the virtual Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge and received both the Best Presentation and Innovative Use of Electronics Awards for their vehicle, a hydraulically-powered recumbent tricycle. To be considered, the team submitted videos of three different races the vehicle had to complete and compete against other university teams. This was the second year to compete virtually.

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ABE Impact Report 2020-2021  

The Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering recaps the past year.

ABE Impact Report 2020-2021  

The Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering recaps the past year.

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