smarter ag™, smarter agriculture™, & purdue university

TEACHING

SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS IN AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

This course is primarily intended for PhD students in the broad discipline of agricultural sciences who want to learn how to develop a publishable systematic review (SR) for their dissertation topic and/or in future work. The course goal is for students to understand the distinguishing features of important SR typologies and be able to apply their understanding to selecting and conducting the SRs that are appropriate to their own research questions. Students will meet twice a week with experts in agricultural sciences (e.g. agro-ecology, soil, animal, crop, socioeconomic sciences, etc.), information studies, data sciences and statistics; class time will typically involve 40 minutes of lecture followed by collaborative work activities. Students will identify questions to work on individually and/or together in teams in a semester-long effort expected to lead to a peer-review publication. The research questions are anticipated to focus on management and technology efficacy in broadly-defined agricultural systems (including livestock), agricultural impacts on ecosystem services, etc. Weekly assignments will follow the sequential steps of a full SR.

agronomy e-learning academy

 AGRONOMY E-LEARNING ACADEMY

 

The business of growing crops has become increasingly complicated in recent years, as agriculture has been challenged with growing demands to increase production while minimizing the environmental impact. New technologies and a knowledge-based future will demand a more thorough understanding of the entire crop production system. Purdue University’s Agronomy e-Learning Academy prepares agriculture professionals for the work of tomorrow in a flexible and convenient format.

  1. Agronomy Essentials: The Agronomy Essentials non-credit course is delivered 100% online to meet the needs of professionals in all areas of agriculture. The course provides a comprehensive baseline understanding of agronomy for growers and employees of agricultural service and supply companies. Agronomy Essentials promotes important knowledge that will expand your understanding and communication skills.
  2. Nutrient Management: Agricultural nutrient applications are associated with some of today's most concerning environmental issues, including impacts on water quality and contributions to greenhouse gasses. In addition, crop nutrient expenses are second only to land costs as an overall expense for farmers. Managing nutrients is one of the more complicated aspects of producing crops, as considerations vary by nutrient source, placement, timing, the rate of application, and are dramatically affected by the weather.
  3. Precision Agriculture: Applying technology to crop production through mechanization, fertilizers, crop protection ​chemistry, genetics, and other innovations over the years has resulted in multiple-fold gains in productivity and efficiency. The application of information technology to crop production, known as precision agriculture, has already transformed many aspects of crop production and promises even more. Today's precision farming era took root in the 1990's, but its origins go back further from advancements in computer processing, data storage and transmission capabilities, global positioning systems, robotics, and much more.

Extension

the fertilizer recommendation support tool

Soil Test FRST

The primary goal of FRST is to increase soil testing transparency by promoting clear and consistent interpretations of fertilizer recommendations by removing political and institutional (public and private) bias from soil test interpretation and providing the best possible science in order to enhance end-user adoption of nutrient management recommendations. A secondary goal is to provide a catalyst for innovation in soil fertility – useful to those making recommendations as well as those evaluating those recommendations.

Minimum dataset and metadata guidelines for soil-test correlation and calibration research

VIEW THE PUBLICATION

The primary goal of FRST is to increase soil testing transparency by promoting clear and consistent interpretations of fertilizer recommendations by removing political and institutional (public and private) bias from soil test interpretation and providing the best possible science in order to enhance end-user adoption of nutrient management recommendations. A secondary goal is to provide a catalyst for innovation in soil fertility – useful to those making recommendations as well as those evaluating those recommendations.

 

Research

FOSTERING RESILIENCE & ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN LANDSCAPES BY INTEGRATING DIVERSE PERENNIAL CIRCULAR SYSTEMS

CRIS

A landscape transformation from prevailing annual crop systems towards increasing diversity, promoting perennial forages, and integrating livestock has potential to solve several environmental and socioeconomic problems in agriculture, if substantial policy, economic, and social barriers can be addressed. Our vision is to transform the current agricultural landscape through a process of engaging a diverse network of stakeholders and researchers to promote the environmental and socioeconomic benefits that will arise from the adoption of diverse perennial circular forage systems. Our transdisciplinary team will foster climate resilience, ecosystem services, profitability, social inclusion, and human health by identifying and quantifying benefits, as well as incentivizing and promoting diverse perennial circular systems across major US agro-ecoregions.

FORAGE DATA HUB

We will quantify resilience (using compiled data from a forage data hub) soil and biodiversity ecosystem services (from field experiments and farms), environmental impacts (life cycle assessment), health impacts, and economic and social value of diverse perennial circular systems in contrast to prevailing systems. We will analyze economic conditions, social structures, and public policies that prevent wider adoption of these systems and develop policy recommendations to overcome these constraints. We will develop on-line decision tools and maps, communicate results to farmers, consumers, lenders, and policy makers, and develop and deliver coordinated educational materials to K-12 and university students.

 

International

AFRICAN CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE & BIODEVERSITY CONSERVATION: PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HARAMAYA UNIVERSITY AND PURDUE

The World Bank is financing the establishment of African Centers of Excellence (ACE) inside African universities to build graduate programs in agriculture, health, science and technology.  With Purdue support, Haramaya University in eastern Ethiopia, developed and received funding for a graduate program focused on Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation.  A five-year, $6,000,000 project was approved including a budget for Purdue support as Haramaya’s primary university partner with a role to strengthen Haramaya’s capacity to deliver quality graduate education and research.

Course Work & Teaching Opportunities

  • Three course curricula have been drafted and reviewed for approval: 1) PhD in Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation, 2) MS degree in Climate Smart Agriculture and 3) MS degree in Biodiversity Conservation.  The curricula builds upon Haramaya’s current offerings while proposing new courses for the three degree programs.  Purdue faculty may help fill the gaps in a variety of ways such as team teaching, offering short courses and seminars with Haramaya faculty eventually taking over teaching responsibilities.  The course offerings will be in a broad range of disciplines.  Most agricultural production is carried out by small holder farmer households located in various agro-ecological zones.  A significant degree of social, economic and cultural variability impact community and household resilience to climate change.

Research Potential

  • The coursework will help provide graduate students in the ACE II program to acquire knowledge and skills to conduct research.  A preliminary list of research topics has been drafted and exchanged between Haramaya and Purdue.  Although research can be carried out at any appropriate site in Ethiopia, ACE II students originating from other countries in the region may choose to conduct research in their home countries.  This provides flexibility for Purdue faculty with research interests in other countries such as Kenya and Tanzania to receive support from Haramaya if they are working with ACE II students. We envision our partnership with Haramaya providing opportunities for Purdue graduate students to conduct research in Ethiopia and other partner countries, for Purdue faculty to be part of Haramaya student thesis/dissertation committees as well as Haramaya faculty forming part of Purdue graduate student committees.