Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture has its first woman dean. Catherine Woteki stepped into the post just in time for the budget-making process as planners decided how budget cuts will affect the college the next few years.She says the downturn is just part of a cycle, and will turn around. Woteki was the USDA’s first undersecretary for food safety, and followed that with a USDA post as deputy undersecretatry for research, extension and economics. She says that’s the kind of experience that’ll keep the College of Agriculture on the cutting edge in the 21st century.She says ISU’s research, educational and outreach programs like extension will offer the knowledge to solve problems facing the state. Woteki says research already underway on animal and crop science promises a big payoff.Understanding genetics will give a look at the likelihood of disease in crops, animals, and people and let genetics be a tool to make improvements. Wotecki’s worked for years on subjects like irradiating food to preserve it, and tracking outbreaks of food-poisoning bacteria. She says her particular focus on food safety will mean the work already underway at ISU can have a long-term impact on the nation’s health.
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