September 2014

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From the Dean

Jay AkridgeAs many of you know, we will be developing a new strategic plan for the college over the coming academic year. There are plenty of opinions on the value of strategic planning, and just as many opinions about how to go about the process. Since I taught strategic management/business planning for many years before moving into this role, it is no surprise that I believe taking a longer-term look at where an organization should be going and how it is going to get there is a very useful exercise! The intensity of the day-to-day job and the almost endless stream of decisions and adjustments we all make in response to the near-constant changes around us can often move the “urgent” ahead of the “important.” Periodically, it is important to step back, assess where you are, and ask the big, important questions about the future.

The timing is certainly right for us to consider our future. Calls for the “reinvention” of higher education are everywhere. You can find many of the current criticisms about the state of higher education and predictions of the future in two letters President Daniels wrote to the Purdue family:; and Or, if you want a challenging look at the future of higher education, take a look at the lead story in the June 28 issue of The Economist magazine. How will MOOCs (massive open online courses), on-line technology, competency-based degrees, cost pressure, employer demands, etc., affect how we approach our learning/teaching mission? What capabilities, skills, and knowledge do our graduates need as they launch careers that will take them though 2050? How do we fully exploit all of the advantages of being a residential program; how can technology help us amplify the residential experience; how will we as a College choose to pass President Daniels’ “pajama test”?

Of course, teaching is just one of our land grant missions. Federal funding, a critical source of support for our research enterprise, is under tremendous pressure. If you don’t believe me, ask any of our researchers pursuing NSF or NIH funding, where in many cases more than 90 out of 100 proposals are rejected. Industry is certainly a potential partner and source of research funding (indeed, industry is already both for our College), but how do we balance our responsibilities as a public research university with private sector competitive issues? What should our research portfolio look like in a world where public-private partnerships are more the norm, and how should these relationships be structured so that Purdue-industry-public all “win”? 

Looking ahead, our research enterprise has so much opportunity. The research problems we work on are among the most important our society faces: feeding a growing world; securing new sources of energy; building resiliency to a changing climate into our agricultural and natural systems; enhancing health In a variety of ways; and much more. The need for what we do is strong, and these issues are not going away. How do we reach across discipline, department and college lines and bring the full power of the people of Purdue to bear on these issues? More broadly, how do we engage other university partners, private partners, NGOs, and government entities in our quest to make the world a better place?

Of course, Extension has its own set of big questions. As Extension clientele continue to evolve, what mix of digital and personal delivery is right to ensure that we remain a preferred provider of objective, science based insight? Sources of information and education have exploded over the 100 years since the Smith-Lever Act was signed. But for me, this land grant idea of deeply engaging with the people we serve, of bringing those people objective educational programming based on the latest research and re-imagined for the 21st century, remains a powerful principle and foundation for securing our role in developing human talent.

I could go on with important questions – there are many more. How should our international activities be integrated through our three land grant mission areas? How do we best structure teams and engage faculty and staff to pursue the types of very large scale funding increasingly common in the international arena? Perhaps most importantly, what steps will we take to continue to build a climate of excellence and respect in the College, a place where a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students want to be? 

As I said, it is a good time to be asking these questions. As the number 8-ranked college of agriculture in the world, we have a lot of momentum across all of our missions. Our last strategic plan provided a framework for progress across the College. Now is the time for all of us to think boldly about where we want to go, where we need to go, to serve our important societal mission – and how we get there.

We will start the conversation about our future this fall. A steering committee, to be announced soon, will help us facilitate this process. We will bring some prominent individuals to campus to engage the College in thinking broadly about our future – and, hopefully, challenging us to think boldly. I really look forward to hearing from you and engaging you in this important discussion. We need your insights and perspectives as we work to build an even better Purdue University College of Agriculture.

All the best,


Purdue Agriculture People


Ag Research Spotlight: Kee-Hong Kim

Kee Hong KimThe 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 Kee-Hong Kim, Food Science, whose work underscores the theme, “Utilizing molecular approaches to expand the frontiers of agriculture and life sciences.”


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Regional educators to strengthen Extension community development programs

ExtensionPurdue Extension has hired five new regional economic and community development educators to expand delivery of ECD programs throughout the state. They will primarily serve their geographical districts, but each has an area of expertise and will also serve as a statewide resource. The new appointees and their areas of expertise are Tanya J. Hall, economic impact analysis and decision making, Southeast District; Tamara Ogle, local and regional government, East District; Kris Parker, leadership, civic engagement and collaboration, Northwest District; Heather Strohm, economic and business development, Southwest District; and Steve Yoder, natural and environmental resources, Central District. The appointments were announced Aug. 19 by Purdue Extension Director Jason Henderson. Parker, Strohm and Yoder started Sept. 1, and Hall and Ogle will start on Oct. 1.

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Day of events to celebrate teaching excellence

Suzanne NielsenThe College of Agriculture will celebrate teaching excellence on September 23 with events throughout the day, culminating in the Kohls Lecture by Dr. Suzanne Nielsen, Food Science. The day will include a workshop conducted by Dr. Michael Wetzstein, Agricultural Economics; a grad teacher-mentor lecture by Dr. William Johnson, Agronomy; and a showcase of innovation and excellence. Faculty, staff and graduate students are invited to attend all events.

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Old Masters announced for 2014 fall program

John MadiaThe Purdue Old Masters Central Committee has announced that the 2014 Old Masters have been selected for the November program. Purdue Agriculture Alumnus John Madia, BS Animal Sciences 1978, is one of the ten 2014 Old Masters. The Old Masters will be on campus Nov. 2-4 and will participate in classroom talks, student organization receptions, social activities and a new convocation that will be free and open to the campus community.

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Boilermaker Butcher Block taking orders for tailgaters

Butcher Block crewFootball fans are invited to order the meat for their tailgates early through the Boilermaker Butcher Block. Orders placed by 5 pm on the Wednesday before a home football game can be picked up at Ross Ade Stadium or Purdue West shopping center up to four hours before game kickoff. Football fans will also find a Boilermaker Butcher Block products at several of the Ross Ade concessions this year. Pictured here are some members of the Butcher Block crew: L to R: David Gasper, Technology; Jessica Buening, Animal Sciences; Alan Mathew, Animal Sciences; Jacob Mattox, Ag Education; and Mike Booth, a member of the Meat Lab staff.

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Training modules available for faculty and staff

Risk Management, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, announces the availability of the Risk Management Employment Claims Initiative education program. The program helps employees and supervisors understand employment-related issues such as discrimination, harassment, disability awareness and accommodations, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), overtime rates, and other university leave policies. Participants will complete four training modules and corresponding certification quizzes: 1) Equal Opportunity; 2) Americans with Disabilities Act; 3) Wage and Hour Issues for Employees and Supervisors; and 4) Family and Medical Leave Act and University Leave Policies.

The training modules and instructions for accessing the certification quizzes are located on the Purdue Employee Portal. Each training module is approximately 20 to 25 minutes long. Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Opportunity will also fulfill College of Agriculture requirements for civil rights training as required by the USDA. All faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to complete these training modules. Faculty and staff participation in these training modules impacts the College's share of insurance costs.


A/P Staff Advancement Work Begins

The 2014-2015 Administrative/Professional Staff Advancement Program is underway. All A/P staff should have received the materials via email. Advancement documents are to be processed and approved through the individual department committees this fall before they are submitted to the Dean’s Committee for evaluation (due January 14). It is recommended that staff update their advancement documents each year to make it much easier when they are eligible to submit a document for advancement.  For details, visit the College of Agriculture’s A/P Staff Advancement Program web site under the “Faculty & Staff” tab on the Purdue Agriculture home page:


Call for 2014 AgSEED Proposals

The first AgSEED callout in 2013 was a great success. We received 95 proposals and were able to fund 19 projects, 4 of which received 2 years of funding. Now it’s time for the 2014 callout. AgSEED is an internal competitive grant program focused on applied research/extension and basic research that fit the strategic themes of the college with a focus on plant or animal agriculture and rural development. AgSEED is open to faculty and staff in the Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.  The current funding period is one year and up to $50,000.  A few 2 year grants may be awarded up to $75,000.  Proposals must be submitted by your Pre-Award office by October 1, 2014 at 4pm.  Please contact your Pre-Award office as soon as you know you will be submitting a proposal. The sooner you contact them the better they can serve you!    FAQs and the required cover page are available here. Please direct questions to Meredith Cobb, or 494-3951.

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Nominees sought for Purdue's Hovde Award

Nominations are now being accepted for this year's Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence, given annually to a member of Purdue University's faculty or staff who has displayed outstanding educational service to rural Indiana. Any active member of the faculty or staff is eligible. A person's contributions may have been in the classroom, in counseling, in research or through Purdue Extension. "It is important that Purdue honors one of its own for his or her commitment to rural communities through excellence in work and service," said Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension. "We look forward to recognizing yet another faculty or staff member who fits the criteria for the Hovde Award and has demonstrated outstanding support for the people of Indiana." More details about the award and how to nominate are available by contacting Becky Rice at The nomination deadline is Sept. 22 at 8 a.m. EDT.

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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.

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Awards and Recognitions


US NewsUS News and World Report has ranked the undergraduate program of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering department number 1 for the fourth consecutive year. ABE's graduate program was ranked number 1 earlier this year for the sixth consecutive year. Department Head Bernie Engel thanked faculty and staff by saying, "Undergraduates, this is truly a special recognition as our colleagues nationally have consistently identified our undergraduate program as one of the best in the country in the biological/agricultural engineering area including our agricultural systems management program. You, as well as alumni of our program, are critical to the perception of our colleagues. Your excellence in all you do as students both on and off campus as well as the excellence of our alumni are important – and greatly appreciated. Thank you faculty and staff for all you do in supporting our program. It’s great to see your efforts in supporting our undergraduate program recognized in this way. I truly appreciate your efforts."


Raymond FloraxRaymond Florax, Agricultural Economics, was awarded the 2014 European Investment Bank (EIB)-European Prize in Regional Science. The EIB-ERSA Prize in Regional Science recognizes the outstanding contributions of scholars to the advancement in regional science and in related spatial area studies. Recipients are chosen on the recommendation of an independent jury of six eminent regional scientists, four from Europe, one from the Americas and one from the rest of the world. The awarding ceremony took place on the closing ceremony of the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) Congress 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Mitzi BarnettMitzi Barnett, coordinator of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Food Science, has been selected to chair the Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee (CSSAC). Her term began on September 9. Mitzi says she wants to ensure that clerical and service staff are aware of what CSSAC is and the purpose it serves as the voice for clerical and service staff to bring their suggestions and concerns to administration. She also wants to help more employees take advantage of the programs and opportunities offered through or because of CSSAC.


Jeanette MerrittJeanette Merritt, marketing director for Indiana Wines and the Purdue Wine Grape Team, has been named by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann to the Indiana Grown Initiative Commission. The Indiana Grown program promotes the variety of food and beverage items produced by the Indiana agriculture industry. The commission, chaired by ISDA Director Ted McKinney, will provide guidance and direction to the staff of ISDA who will be responsible for connecting businesses that use or sell agricultural products such as restaurants, grocers, wholesalers, processors, and farmers’ markets with Indiana-based producers of meat, fruits, vegetables, wine and forest products.


Jeffrey PetersJeffrey Peters, a doctoral student in agricultural economics, joined 459 young researchers from around the world at the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Economic Sciences in Germany. He was nominated to attend the conference by the Office of the Vice President for Research and passed an international selection process. The conference featured lectures and panel discussions with 17 Nobel laureates in economics and one Nobel laureate in literature. The meeting aims to provide an open exchange of economic expertise and spark cross-cultural and intergenerational conversations among economists worldwide.



Purdue Agriculture in the News


Agricultural revolution in Africa could increase global carbon emissions

Thomas HertelProductivity-boosting agricultural innovations in Africa could lead to an increase in global deforestation rates and carbon emissions, a Purdue University study finds. Historically, improvements in agricultural technology have conserved land and decreased carbon emissions at the global level: Gaining better yields in one area lessens the need to clear other areas for crops, sidestepping a land conversion process that can significantly raise the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Agricultural advances in Africa, however, could have the reverse effect, increasing globally the amount of undeveloped land converted to cropland and raising greenhouse gas emissions, said Thomas Hertel, distinguished professor of agricultural economics. "This study highlights the importance of understanding the interplay between globalization and the environmental impacts of agricultural technology. They are deeply intertwined," he said.

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Purdue celebrating 10 years at Farm Science Review

Farm Science ReviewWhen the Farm Science Review opens its three-day run Sept. 16 in London, Ohio, Purdue and Ohio State universities will commemorate a decade of working together to make the event one of the largest agricultural expositions in the Midwest. "As land-grant institutions, Purdue and Ohio State know the importance of investing in both education and agriculture. Educating farmers about new advances in production agriculture helps increase yields, sustainability and profits, which ultimately benefit our respective states," said Dean Jay Akridge. The Farm Science Review draws about 130,000 farmers, growers, business people and students each year, nearly half of them from Indiana. The partnership has benefited both universities, the Farm Science Review and the farmers who attend it, said Chuck Gamble, manager of the event.

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Center for Food Security launches and awards innovation grants for Purdue student projects in Africa, U.S.

CGFS logoThe Purdue Center for Global Food Security is awarding more than $21,000 for student-led projects focused on seeking solutions to a range of food security problems locally and abroad. Winners of the Discovery Park center's Student Innovation Grants initiative will receive the grants to put into action their contributions to the fight against world hunger: $10,000 for a project that will provide an adequate supply of water to the people in Endallah, Tanzania; $8,479 for an effort to design a multigrain thresher that can be easily manufactured in Africa; $3,150 for a Purdue campus food pantry project designed to address food security issues felt by the Purdue community. Each project will run for six months, with the goal to use the innovations generated by these initiatives to develop follow-up activities. 

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Extension resources help homeowners cope with tree damage

tree damageResidential trees have been taking a beating during the recent outbreak of summer storms across Indiana. Homeowners need to determine if they can take care of the damage themselves or if they will need the help of a professional tree service, says Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension's consumer horticulturist. "It can be hard for homeowners to decide whether trees with severe damage should be removed. Homeowners often are reluctant to cut down a tree, either because of sentimental attachment or because the tree provides shade or screening that won't quickly be replaced. It can also be quite expensive to have a large tree removed," she said. Purdue Extension's Education Store has publications available for free download to help homeowners assess storm-damaged trees, remove broken branches or find a professional arborist.

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Purdue Extension's 2015 ag outlook webinar set for Sept. 12

Extension logoPurdue Extension and the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture will present their "Agricultural Outlook 2015" webinar Sept. 12 to help farmers, land owners, suppliers and others interested in agriculture make better business decisions in the coming year. The webinar, to begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT (7:30 a.m. CDT), can be accessed at The program, free to the public, will be presented by Purdue University professors of agricultural economics James Mintert and Corinne Alexander. Mintert also is director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture. "Yield prospects for the state are among the best in the country, and this means the grain handling and processing industries will be at full capacity," Mintert and Alexander wrote in a preview of the outlook. "Prospects for record total Indiana production of corn and record high soybean yields are good, although late-season rainfall and early frost still present threats to yields." 

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Purdue Extension guide helps farmers control pests, diseases in hops fields

Hops guideFarmers interested in learning in-depth information on how to protect their hops from weeds, diseases and insects can find information on integrated pest management in a new Purdue Extension guide. The Integrated Pest Management Guide for Hops in Indiana 2014 lists pesticides registered for hops in Indiana as well as seven tables of information detailing herbicide, disease and insect information essential for growers to choose which practice is right for their hops operations. The guide was compiled by members of the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Entomology departments as part of their research and extension project on hops production in Indiana. Extension specialist Bruce Bordelon is the lead author. The other authors are Natasha Cerruti, a research assistant; Lori Hoagland, assistant professor of horticulture; Rick Foster, Extension entomology specialist and coordinator of Extension; and John Obermeyer, Extension entomology specialist. 

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University News

Trask Innovation Fund application deadline set for Sept. 19 (link is current)


Applications for the Trask Innovation Fund are being accepted through Sept. 19 to eligible Purdue University inventors at all campuses who are working to advance Purdue technologies toward commercialization. Applications must describe commercially relevant work that can be performed over a six-month period that advances the development of a technology disclosed to the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. The awards are competitive and must be used by recipients to further the commercial potential of Purdue discoveries. Information about the Trask application is available at

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Purdue implements new safety enhancements as students return for fall semester

As students return for the fall 2014 semester, they will notice enhancements to public safety on the West Lafayette campus that were implemented over the summer months. These additional safety measures were based on recommendations made by the security feedback panel that was commissioned last semester to evaluate feedback the University received after Jan. 21. "Based on the final report of the security feedback panel, we looked at what was possible to do now and we’ve taken the steps to implement the items we identified. We’re not done and we continue to evaluate ways to better prepare our campus community in the event of an emergency,” said Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety. “We want to give those on campus the information and the tools so they can make decisions to ensure their personal safety.”

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Big Ten + Graduate School Exposition brings information to Purdue

More than 70 institutions of higher education will be at Purdue University's West Lafayette campus Sept. 21-22 during the Big Ten + Graduate School Exposition. The event, in Purdue Memorial Union's North and South Ballrooms, is designed to aid prospective students. Students interested in pursuing graduate study in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and related disciplines can talk to faculty and students from several institutions. More than a dozen business, medical, and law schools also will be in attendance. Workshops on funding graduate study, applying to graduate school, and networking with recruiters also will be presented.

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