July 2014

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From the Dean

Jay AkridgeAs always, summer is flying by…  As I said in my message last month, to those who don’t know the College, summer on campus means ‘vacation’. “With the students gone, things must really slow down” is a comment I hear regularly.  Hardly! 

The campus has been busy this summer with more than 2,000 Indiana FFA members here for State Convention, hundreds of 4-H members attending Round-up as well as almost every kind of workshop imaginable—from animal sciences to computer science; from food science and renewable energy to plants, insects and natural resources. We also welcomed our Fall 2014 incoming students and their families during STAR (Summer Transition, Advising, and Registration), where the students register for classes and begin to get acquainted with life at Purdue. According to Associate Dean Marcos Fernandez, we have another terrific class of undergraduates joining us next fall!

While most of our undergraduate students are away for the summer, some are here on campus taking summer courses or working in labs on research projects. Seven of these undergraduates are involved in PACE (Purdue Agricultural Centers Experience), a collaboration between the Office of Academic Programs and Agricultural Research at Purdue that enables undergraduates to work on research projects at one of our eight Purdue Agricultural Centers around the state. Of those not on campus, many are involved in study abroad. This summer, our students are studying in Brazil, France, Germany, Taiwan, Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Ireland, Colombia, Cameroon, Zambia, China, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, South Korea, Spain, Tanzania, Turks & Caicos Islands, and Canada!  I have heard from many students who are on internships, literally from coast to coast. The Purdue Student Farm has been busy and the students are now selling their produce at farmers’ markets on and off campus (see the story below for more information on where you can buy their produce).

Of course, summer is an incredibly busy time for Purdue Extension. County fairs provide a showcase for our 4-H program; field days around the state are coming up; the Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center at ACRE is running flat out; and events such as the Purdue Farm Management Tour and the Top Crop Farmer Workshop provide important educational offerings for eastern Corn Belt farmers. The Indiana State Fair is just around the corner. We will have around 500 people involved in Purdue’s presence at the fair; literally thousands of 4-H Exhibits will be on display, and the College/Purdue exhibits will feature "Bone Zone Carnival of Healthy Choices”; an exhibit about the Farm to School Program; and "The Edible Journey: The Incredible Story of How Your Food Gets to You”, which outlines the productions, processes and paths your food takes as it travels from the farm to your fork. I enjoy my frequent trips to the Indiana State Fair and if you have not been, I encourage you to make the trip – it is an educational and entertaining day! (And, you can cool off with this year’s signature food, the Fruit Twister Shake-up. If you want something a little stronger, the State Fair will be serving Indiana produced wine and beer for the first time since 1946 as well!)

Our faculty and staff involved in research are travelling the country and the world to attend professional meetings, to visit collaborators, and more. Most of those I run into talk about getting writing done this summer and working to help graduate students finish theses and dissertations. Field research is in high gear, with more than 400 projects moving at the PACs, and many more at ACRE and ASREC. On-farm research is an important part of our portfolio, and farmers all around Indiana are collaborating with Purdue On-Farm Research this year.

We will have 10 new tenure track faculty joining us this fall, and the New Faculty Tour is coming up in early August. We cover a different area of the state each year; this year we’ll be going to Northern Indiana. We invite faculty in their first three years, and those who participate in the New Faculty Tour are very positive about the experience. I hope our new faculty who are eligible to go will take advantage of the opportunity.

Of course, we spend a good part of the summer getting ready for the next academic year.  We have been talking about our College strategic planning process that will be launched this fall; responding to the biennial Academic Program Assessment; identifying priorities for the coming year; and developing our plan for the coming State Legislature biennium budget session. And, for me, summer is a good time to visit donors and friends of the College, so I have had plenty of airport and windshield time so far this summer.

There is nothing ‘slow’ about the Purdue College of Agriculture in the summer! Faculty, staff, and students, research, teaching, Extension – no matter who you are or what area you work in, summer is an important season for our College. Having said that, I do hope that you and your family and friends find some time to get away and enjoy this time of year.

Thanks to each of you for all you do to ensure that summer is a time when the College continues to make a difference for our students and our State – as well as our world…

All the best,


Purdue Agriculture People


Ag Research Spotlight: Andrea Vacca

Andrea VaccaThe Ag Research Spotlight shines each month on an individual whose work reflects our commitment to the six strategic themes that guide Agricultural Research at Purdue. This month's spotlight is on Andrea Vacca, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, whose work underscores the theme, “Strengthening ecological and environmental integrity in agricultural landscapes.”

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/SpotlightVacca.aspx#.U7xQ9PmwLYg



Dooley to lead area of new Student Academic Affairs Division

Frank DooleyThree of Purdue's administrative units -- Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Housing and Food Services -- have been consolidated into one division called Student Academic Affairs, which will be focused on the personal, professional and intellectual growth of Purdue students. The new organization stems from Purdue's Foundations of Excellence initiative, which seeks to enhance first-year students' success. The Division of Student Academic Affairs consists of six focus areas that will collaborate under the leadership of the Office of the Provost: Frank Dooley, professor of Agricultural Economics and Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, was named to lead the focus area on Teaching and Learning.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2014/Q3/purdue-creates-division-of-student-academic-affairs.html


Pruitt to lead Purdue’s Center for Molecular Agriculture

Bob PruittBob Pruitt, Botany and Plant Pathology, has been named director of the new Center for Molecular Agriculture. The appointment took effect this month. The center is integral to the basic biological research portion of Purdue's Plant Sciences Research and Education Pipeline – an initiative intended to enhance the university's position as a world leader in plant research to help feed a rapidly growing world population. The initiative also will help recruit and train the next generation of plant scientists. Pruitt, who also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Food Science and is a member of the Purdue Center for Food Safety Engineering, has been a member of the agriculture faculty since 2000. His research has focused primarily on molecular mechanisms of inheritance, molecular mechanisms controlling development and human pathogen-plant interactions.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q3/pruitt-to-lead-purdues-center-for-molecular-agriculture.html


Fresh Produce for Sale from the Student Farm

Student FarmPurdue's Student Farm is once again selling produce at the West Lafayette Farmers' Market and the Purdue Farmers' Market. The student farm is the first farm at Purdue University managed primarily by students. It sits on five acres on the west edge of campus. The farm is developed for and by the students to increase Purdue’s opportunity to offer real-life farm development, management and marketing skills. The students raise a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and animals. Produce is currently sold to restaurant outlets on campus and through produce baskets (a CSA - community supported agriculture project). 

More information on where to by Student Farm produce: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus/2014/July/StudentFarmProduceJuly2014.pdf


Nominations sought for Purdue Agriculture's top awards

Purdue AgricultureNominations are being accepted for the top two annual awards of the Purdue College of Agriculture and the Ag Alumni Association recognizing achievement and service to the agricultural profession. The Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award recognizes mid-career alumni of the College of Agriculture who have a record of outstanding accomplishments, have made significant contributions to their profession or society in general and exhibit high potential for professional growth. The alumni association's Certificate of Distinction recognizes those who have contributed to agriculture through professional accomplishments, activity in organizations, community service and other activities that make the nominees a credit to their profession. Nomination deadlines are September 15 for the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award and October 1 for the Certificate of Distinction.

More information: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus/2014/July/2015AgAlumniAwards.pdf

Awards and Recognitions


Bruce HamakerBruce Hamaker, Food Science, has been elected a Fellow in the Institute of Food Technologists. The recognition is given to a select group of distinguished scientists whose work has significantly impacted food science and/or the food industry. Bruce has been a research leader in carbohydrate chemistry, functionality, and its relation to health for many years.



Kevin KeenerKevin KeenerFood Science, received the 2014 Research and Development Award from the Institute of Food Technologists for his research program that enhances food quality and food safety, improves processing efficiencies, and reduces waste in food manufacturing.




Lisa MauerLisa Mauer, Food Science, received the Marcel Loncin Research Prize from the Institute of Food Technologists in support of her research on water-solid interactions, physical structure of ingredients, and vitamin stability. This is the premier research recognition in her field. 





Jerry PetersJerry Peters, Youth Development and Agricultural Education, received the Distinguished Service recognition from the Indiana FFA Association at the 85th annual Indiana FFA State Convention held at Purdue in June. The Distinguished Service award recognizes the efforts of others who work for the betterment of Indiana FFA and go above and beyond in their service to the organization.



Holly WangHolly Wang, Agricultural Economics, was elected a Director in the 2014 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Executive Board election. She will be one of six Directors and will serve a three-year term. The AAEA is a not-for-profit association serving the professional interests of members working in agricultural and broadly related fields of applied economics.



Purdue IAMA teamPurdue's Agricultural Economics team won the International Student Case Competition at the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association conference in Capetown, South Africa in June. Teams were presented with a case for which they had to develop and present a business plan. There were 20 teams from all over the world competing. The winning team was composed of graduate students David Boussios, Brian Bourquard, Rachel Carnegie, John Tobin, and John Lai and was coached by Professor Mike Gunderson. John Lai also won an award for best graduate student poster.


James Bartos, fertilizer laboratory supervisor in the Office of The Indiana State Chemist, selected for the Official Methods Board (OMB) Award for Achievement in Technical and Scientific Excellence from AOAC International for his work on the New and Improved Methods of Analysis for Plant Food Materials (Fertilizer). He will be presented the award at the 128th AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting and Exposition in Boca Raton, FL on September 8.

Business office Service AwardJill Hufford, Agricultural Economics business office (left), Matt Clawson, College of Agriculture business office (center), and Juanita Robertson, College of Agriculture business office (right) are the 2014 winners of the College of Agriculture Business Office Service Award. The award was established to recognize the significant efforts of business office staff members who consistently exert effort above and beyond expectations to help accomplish the College's strategic goals.


Wright FrazierWright Frazier, web team leader for the Multimedia Unit in the Department of Agricultural Communication, received a "Thumbs Up" recognition from Joan Crow, Multimedia Unit coordinator: "Wright brings a lot of analytic and SEO (search engine optimization) skill to Purdue Agriculture's Web team. We recently offered a training on search engine optimization to those around our college who work with websites. Wright provided that training and knocked it out of the park. His presentation was thorough, and many walked away understanding the importance of improving their efforts on the Web. Thanks, Wright!"


Ed StathEd Stath, building director in the Department of Agronomy, was recognized with a "Thumbs Up" note from Dr. Linda Lee: "A double thumbs up to Ed Stath for his consistent, timely, and above the call of duty response to facilitate the many needs of multiple departments and colleges that use Lilly Hall. Lilly Hall, the biggest building on campus, is continually under renovation; thus, keeping it functional and optimized for faculty and students are constant challenges. Without Ed, things would not go as well as they do. Ed, you are awesome! Thank you!"



Cameron MannCameron Mann, an Agriculture Communication major from Cloverdale, Indiana, has been selected as a 2014 Cargill Global Scholar. As a Cargill Global Scholar, Cameron will join a global network of high performing undergraduate students, who through this program will be given the opportunity to develop leadership competencies through training modules, mentoring and coaching by Cargill employees, as well as learning and networking opportunities with Cargill businesses.


Purdue Agriculture in the News


Deadly fire blight in flowering pear trees still a problem

fire blightFire blight is infecting flowering pear trees in large numbers in Indiana for the third consecutive year, with Purdue Extension specialist Janna Beckerman again urging homeowners to check their trees for symptoms. Symptoms of the potentially deadly disease with no cure are wilting shoots, cankers on branches and blackened leaves, which give the disease its name because trees appear to be scorched. Purdue plant pathologists have been receiving many inquiries from homeowners about the condition of their trees in recent days. Staff at Purdue's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory also are hearing from tree owners about the problem, said Tom Creswell, director.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/deadly-fire-blight-in-flowering-pear-trees-still-a-problem.html


Website helps consumers safely store, cook beef

beefPurdue Extension and the Indiana Beef Council have developed a website to help consumers store and cook meat safely. "Know Your Beef" offers tips on how to safely prepare beef, including the importance of refrigerating meat at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and how to measure internal temperature while meat is cooking. The site is at www.KnowYourBeef.org. "Although the U.S. meat industry is the safest in the world, it is still up to the consumer to properly handle and prepare meat to avoid illness," said Jolena Waddell, co-developer of the website and assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. "‘Know Your Beef' includes simple safety tips to help keep your family healthy while enjoying a great product." The site also has pages describing the differences between various cuts of beef and how they are made.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q3/purdue-website-helps-consumers-safely-store,-cook-beef.html


Purdue to determine prevalence of glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed

ragweedPurdue weed scientists are asking Indiana farmers to report glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed in their crops to assist in determining how widespread the weed is in the state. It is the time of year for postemergent herbicide applications, which means giant ragweed herbicide survivors can now be spotted. Purdue weed scientists are looking for live, whole-plant samples of giant ragweed that have survived an application of herbicide to confirm resistance. The information will enable them to assess and share the prevalence of glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed in the state. “Giant ragweed is the worst broadleaf weed problem in all of our corn/soybean cropping systems in Indiana,” said Bill Johnson, professor of weed science. 

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q3/purdue-to-determine-prevalence-of-glyphosate-resistant-giant-ragweed.html


Butterflies to be counted and identified at annual Encounter


butterflyPurdue entomologists will teach butterfly biology and identification to enthusiasts of all ages and lead a butterfly count at the annual Butterfly Encounter. The encounter, co-sponsored by the Purdue Department of Entomology and Evonik Corp., will be July 19 from 1-4 p.m. at Evonik's Tippecanoe Laboratories Wildlife Habitat Area at 1650 Lilly Road, Lafayette. Parking is available at the west gate. Directions can be found on the Entomology web site here. Participants will match adult butterflies with their caterpillars and host plants. They also will walk the trails, assist Purdue entomologists in counting the butterflies and learn about butterfly biology, conservation, identification and protection.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q3/butterflies-to-be-counted-and-identified-at-annual-encounter.html


Purdue ag economist: Retail pork prices still rising; relief expected in fall

Chris HurtRetail pork prices will keep rising to record highs this summer as the number of hogs going to market over the next several months will be lower than expected because of the PED virus, smaller spring farrowings and growing foreign purchases of U.S. pork, Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt says. But he also expects the price increases to level off in the fall and move somewhat lower into the winter as producers benefiting from higher profits increase production. Although producer profits were at a record high near $70 per head in the second quarter this year, he says the record will be surpassed this summer, with third-quarter profits expected to exceed $90 per head. "These extremely high profits are clear signals for producers to increase pork production," said Hurt, who analyzed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Hogs and Pigs report, released June 27. "The report did reveal that producers have received this signal, and they intend to increase farrows by 4 percent this fall."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q3/purdue-ag-economist-retail-pork-prices-still-rising-relief-expected-in-fall.html



Interagency group will develop sustainable farming programs

farm fieldPurdue University and two government agencies have created an interagency group to support Indiana farmers interested in alternative agriculture and provide resources to integrate best organic practices into more conventional farming systems. The 19-member team, which includes representatives of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Indiana's Soil and Water Conservation Districts, developed action plans after receiving training at the oldest organic farm in the U.S., the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pa. They learned about no-till organic systems, soil health, nutrient management, composting and integrating livestock in organic production. The training was planned specifically for the Indiana group and was funded by Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q3/interagency-group-will-develop-sustainable-farming-programs-.html


Tomato growers get quick, expert help from ‘Doctor’ app

tomato docHome gardeners needing some quick, expert advice about their tomato plants will find it right in their pockets with Purdue Extension's Tomato Doctor mobile app. The app will help gardeners diagnose problems and offer solutions to get their plants back to a healthy condition, said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue Extension plant disease specialist and content specialist for the app. The Tomato Doctor covers more than 80 common - and not so common - insect, disease and environmental problems that occur throughout the United States and around the world. It includes nearly 500 high-quality images to help users identify problems involving their plants.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/tomato-growers-get-quick,-expert-help-from-doctor-app-.html


Got Nature? Environment is focus of Purdue podcasts

brian macgowanA new podcast series that began in June connects Purdue University experts in nature and natural resources to a growing audience of people interested in the environment. The "Got Nature?" podcasts offer science-based information on a wide range of issues, presented in an unscripted, conversational interview format. A podcast will be featured on the third Thursday of each month, with additional podcasts offered at other times as they are produced. "Anyone with an interest in nature and our natural resources will find it useful," said Purdue Extension wildlife specialist Brian MacGowan. "Nature is all around us no matter where you live. The 'Got Nature?' podcasts will give folks access to leading experts who will provide listeners with practical information to better appreciate our natural resources."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/got-nature-environment-is-focus-of-purdue-podcasts.html


Purdue fruit, vegetable food safety course now offered online

safe food handlingPurdue Extension is now offering in an online format a course covering food safety practices for fruit and vegetable growers. The course is based on a series of Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z workshops that were given in the spring. "Food safety continues to be a major issue in the produce industry," said Scott Monroe, co-chair of Purdue Extension's Produce Food Safety Team and Extension educator in Daviess County. "The new online workshop will allow us to better accommodate those who are in need of training in a more timely fashion than allowed by a traditional face-to-face event." The training will cover health and hygiene, water quality and treatment, animals and animal products, sanitation on the farm, documentation and recordkeeping, and farm food safety plans.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/purdue-fruit,-vegetable-food-safety-course-now-offered-online.html

University News

Summer college tours: Take this important tool with you


As tens of thousands of parents and teens make the annual pilgrimage to visit college campuses in the quest for that perfect fit, Purdue University is offering a handy checklist of questions to aid in their search. While prospective students are checking out classrooms, housing and recreational spaces on their campus tours, they also should find out about student-faculty engagement, high-impact experiences and affordability. The checklist, available at http://www.purdue.edu/checklist/, is based on the recently released Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of 30,000 college graduates. 

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/summer-college-tours-take-this-important-tool-with-you.html


Discovery Park center awarded $12 million DOE grant to advance research for converting plant biomass into liquid hydrocarbon fuels


A research center at Purdue University's Discovery Park has been awarded a $12 million, four-year grant as part of a $100 million U.S. Department of Energy initiative to accelerate scientific breakthroughs needed to build the 21st century energy economy. The Purdue-led Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio) will use the additional funding to advance methods for converting plant lignocellulosic biomass - the bulk of the plant - to biofuels and other bio-based products currently derived from oil by the use of new chemical catalysts and thermal treatments. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the award as part of the second round of funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), which are focused on enabling fundamental advances in energy production, storage and use.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/discovery-park-center-awarded-12-million-doe-grant-to-advance-research-for-converting-plant-biomass-into-liquid-hydrocarbon-fuels.html

Improved online tool helps researchers meet grant requirements

Purdue University Libraries and its collaborators recently announced a new version of the DMPTool -- a free, online resource that helps researchers write effective data management plans for their grant proposals. An increasing number of grant funders, such as the National Science Foundation, require the inclusion of such data management plans in proposals. The tool's new version makes it easier for researchers to collaborate and share their plans, and it provides new functionality for institutions to review and administer their researchers' plans, says Michael Witt, associate professor of library science. Witt is also head of the Distributed Data Curation Center (D2C2) at Purdue Libraries. "Researchers who are writing grant proposals can log onto the DMPTool 2 (http://dmptool.org), and select their specific funder and program, and the tool will guide them through a series of questions that are tailored to the data management requirements of the funding program," Witt says.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2014/Q2/improved-online-tool-helps-researchers-meet-grant-requirements.html

Purdue faculty, campus units getting state-of-the-art storage system for research data

The Research Data Depot is a new service from ITaP Research Computing (RCAC) that provides a high-capacity, fast, reliable and secure data storage system designed, configured and operated for the needs of Purdue researchers and campus units in any field and shareable with both on-campus and off-campus collaborators.

Full story: http://www.itap.purdue.edu/newsroom/news/140620_research_data_depot_announced.html


Diversity and Inclusion program guide offered online

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion's Spring 2014 Diversity and Inclusion Program Guide is now online. The guide, which offers a comprehensive listing of the division's programs and services, is available at www.purdue.edu/diversity-inclusion/program-guide.