Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 03.22.2012

March 20, 2012

Today’s Program | Devon Barnes, classification (Halverson)

Birthdays: Rich Lorang (3/21) and Earl Crow (3/24).

Next Week: Secretary of state Mark Ritchie (Haslett-Marroquin)

Last Week: …..

(Editor’s Note: I am a Liberal Arts major, and you will find only two science courses on my transcript. With apologies to James Grabau, who inhabits a universe far, far from mine, the following is my ham-handed attempt to convey what transpired last week.)

It is a brave new world, and James Grabau has a front row seat.

He works in Applied Marketing for Illumina, Inc, selling DNA sequencing equipment. The company’s leading-edge technology is helping to transform agriculture by accelerating the selection process that identifies more productive crops and livestock.

He says there is a real need for this. Rising prosperity and longer life spans and are fueling worldwide population growth. All of us will need to be fed.

“We need to produce more food in the next 50 years than we produced in the last 10,000,” he said.

His company has a philanthropic program called the Agriculture Greater Good Initiative. It uses Illumina’s sequencing and genotyping technology to help struggling populations increase their food production. Its first project grant was to the International Rice Institute in the Philippines in 2011. This year, they are working on three projects in Africa, including work with goat herds and the giant Baobab tree.

The application of genetic sequencing science raises ethical questions, but James cautioned us to not confuse his company’s gene marker assisted selection with genetically modified plants. They are not the same.

In the end, he says, we will need the technology to sustain the species. Organically grown food will not meet the demand, he said.

Guests: Pablo (Bierman), Jon Snodgrass (Rich), David Jacobson (Rich), Merlin Paschall-Zinkell, George Zuccolotto and Amy Merritt (Amerman).

Scholarship Enhancement: Ivan Imm


— There will be a GSE Team club social Saturday, March 24, 6:30 p.m. at Laura Baker Services Association, Millis Hall. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The Brazilian exchange team will make a presentation and Aleka Pitsavas will perform. Members are free. Tickets for guests are $10. Please make your reservations.

— Brad Frago, our Youth Protection Officer, encouraged those who have significant contact with any of our exchange students to become a certified volunteer. It takes very little time to visit the Rotary website, watch a short video and take the test. The certification is good for three years.

— The club has donated $1,000 to underwrite 10 chicken agri-preneurs in Ethopia. Mark Abbott of the International Service committee said this gift supports Laurie Pappas’s work there.

— We will be hosting an exchange youth from the New Generations Exchange Program and need a host family for a three-month stay in the fall. A youth 19-25 will be engaged in a business internship. Clarice Grabau will coordinate the visit.

Coming Up:

March 24 – Saturday – GSE team from Brazil Social