Randall Cass

randall cass holding honey combRandall Cass knew what he wanted to do, he just didn’t know where to go to find his perfect job.

“On a whim I Googled the words my dream position would include – beekeeping, research, extension, university – followed by the word job,” Cass said. “I didn’t think a position like this would even exist. I applied and before I knew it I was moving to Iowa. I feel extremely lucky to have found such a great place at Iowa State.”

How long have you worked for ISU Extension and Outreach?

I started working for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach two years ago.

What do you do for ISU Extension and Outreach?

I conduct honey bee and native bee research and talk to beekeepers, farmers, and landowners about best management practices for bee health and pollinator conservation. Throughout the year you can find me in the field collecting data from our research hives or traveling across Iowa giving talks about the state’s nearly 400 species of bees.

What is the best part of working for ISU Extension and Outreach?

What I love most about working in extension is how relevant it is. The research I am conducting has real-life implications that directly benefit beekeepers and farmers. I translate academic concepts into practical recommendations that our stakeholders can use. Additionally, I am passionate about the work I am doing and believe it will have a positive impact on environmental conservation efforts as well as farmer and beekeeper awareness.

Do you have any big upcoming projects or events?

Our team just completed the final round of hive inspections for our primary bee research project funded by USDA. The project explores the challenges honey bees and native bees face in Iowa’s agricultural landscapes. Next summer we hope to begin some new research projects and host several field days for folks interested in learning more about bees and pollinator conservation.

With your time with Extension, what is one thing you would like to accomplish in this position?

I hope to grow the bee program at Iowa State to both continue relevant research and provide services to beekeepers and farmers that they do not currently have access to. This includes presentations, classes geared toward more diverse audiences, guides for the most current best management practices, and innovative research projects.

Name one fun thing about yourself that not many people know.

I had my appendix removed in Brazil, so a little part of me is still in South America. 

What do you do in your free time?

I really enjoy traveling. In the past year I’ve visited Vancouver, Montreal, San Francisco, Washington DC, Cancun, and Santiago, Chile.

How do you create a #StrongIowa?

I always try to support Iowa businesses – whether that’s seeking out honey from local beekeepers, buying vegetables at the Ames Farmer’s Market, or visiting an Iowa-based brewery.