June 2015

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From the Dean

Jay AkridgeJune is already half gone, and so much has happened in the College since my last column in April (the May issue of InFocus is our awards issue). In this issue, you’ll read about many of the significant events of the last couple of months: the latest College of Agriculture ranking by QS Global Rankings; our three recipients of Purdue’s Morrill Award; Agricultural Economics alum and Honorary Doctorate recipient Dr. Akin Adesina elected President of the African Development Bank; final funding and approvals to begin building the Agricultural and Life Sciences Building, the new home of our Department of Animal Sciences; the newest USDA/NIFA report on employment opportunities for college graduates in food, agriculture, natural resources and the environment. There is more, but you get the picture – it was quite an end to the Spring semester!

Now, we are into that ‘slow’ time of year – at least the time of year when I have to respond to the question ‘what are you doing with your free time now that the students are gone’.  I know many, of you respond to that same question throughout the summer.

I also know summer is just as full of activity for the College as the fall and spring semesters.  First, a big shout out to all of our Extension Educators who will be supporting county fairs and the Indiana State Fair this summer.  These fairs are an important part of our 4-H/Extension program and the time and energy invested by our County Extension Educators and staff to make sure that youth (and adults) wring the maximum educational value out of the experience is much appreciated.  Our Office of Academic Programs is busy welcoming our newest students through STAR (Summer Transition, Advising and Registration), giving them academic advice and helping them create their class schedules for Fall 2015. 

Indiana 4-H members are visiting campus for workshops covering everything from animal sciences to food science and nutrition, to robotics, to energy, to computers and engineering sciences, to plants, insects, natural resources and the environment; the Indiana State FFA Convention is going on this week, and Molecular Agriculture Science Institute (MASI) is bringing 13 students to campus for a one week workshop.  Later this month, the 83rd annual Farm Management Tour will cover Jay and Adams counties in eastern Indiana; July brings the Purdue Agribusiness Science Academy (PASA) and the PASA teacher workshop, as well as the Top Farmer Conference. Across the state, our staff are conducting summer workshops, field days and trainings.

Of course, we have multiple study abroad programs underway; work at our eight Purdue Ag Centers and ACRE is in full (soggy) swing; the Student Farm is in the middle of an active summer; and many, many graduate students are working to get their theses and dissertations deposited to meet summer graduation deadlines.  And all this just scratches the surface of everything going on in Purdue Agriculture over the summer!

I know everyone is amazingly busy, but I do hope you, your family, and your friends will find some time to get away, relax, and enjoy at least a few days of that summer vacation that folks think we are on!

All the best,


Purdue Agriculture People


May Ag Research Spotlight: Kevin Gibson 

Kevin GibsonThe 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. Our spotlight for May is on Kevin Gibson, Botany and Plant Pathology, whose work underscores the theme, “Facilitating informed decision making to improve economic and social well-being.”

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/Spotlight-Gibson.aspx#


June Ag Research Spotlight: Weiguo Andy Tao

Andy TaoOur spotlight for June is on Weiguo Andy Tao, Biochemistry, whose work underscores the theme, “Utilizing molecular approaches to expand the frontiers of agriculture and life sciences.”

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/Spotlight-Tao.aspx#


Graduate Research Spotlight: Elizabeth Dobis 

Liz DobisThe Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. This month’s spotlight is on Elizabeth Dobis, Agricultural Economics; advisors Raymond Florax and Michael Delgado.

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/Spotlight-Dobis.aspx#



Purdue, West Lafayette celebrate Lechtenberg’s service

Vic LechtenbergPurdue University and West Lafayette celebrated a master bridge builder, Victor “Vic” Lechtenberg, whose service to Indiana and beyond spanned more than four decades. Lechtenberg, who has held more leadership positions at Purdue than perhaps anyone else, officially retired on March 1. "Vic has been a great scholar and also a dynamic problem solver who has operated quietly, often out of the limelight, to make Purdue an engine for Indiana's economic development," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. The university celebrated Lechtenberg during a private event where he received the Order of the Griffin, one of Purdue's highest honors, which is presented to individuals whose commitment and service to the university go well beyond the call of duty and whose strength and vision have greatly benefited the institution. The city of West Lafayette, in recognition of his contributions, also proclaimed June 8 as “Vic Lechtenberg Day.” Lechtenberg began his career as a professor of agronomy and served as dean of agriculture (1993-2004) and vice provost for engagement (2004-11). He also was the person to whom the university turned twice to fill vacancies on an interim basis while searches were underway for provost and vice president for government relations. In his parting role at Purdue, he was director of the Center for Purdue Regional Development and special assistant to the president.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue,-west-lafayette-celebrate-lechtenbergs-service.html


New Biochemistry department head named

Andy MesecarAndrew Mesecar, Walther Professor of Structural Biology and Deputy Director of the Center for Cancer Research at Purdue, has been appointed professor and head of Purdue's Department of Biochemistry, effective August 1. He succeeds Clint Chapple, who is returning to his role among the College of Agriculture faculty after serving as department head since 2008. Dr. Mesecar received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Purdue, his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame, and served as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California-Berkeley before joining the faculty of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He came to Purdue in 2010 as the Walther Professor of Cancer Structural Biology with a primary appointment in Biological Sciences and a courtesy appointment in Chemistry. He was also deputy director of the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. Dr. Mesecar will retain a 10% faculty appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences. "Andy brings leadership experience, an outstanding scholarly record, commitment to teaching, creativity, energy, and passion, and a demonstrated ability to bring people together to his new role," said Dean Jay Akridge. "I am really looking forward to working with him to build on the extraordinary job that Clint Chapple did as department head. I also want to thank the search committee for the good work that led to this successful outcome."



Agriculture alum elected President of African Development Bank

Akinwumi AdesinaAkinwumi Adesina, an alumnus of Agricultural Economics and Purdue Honorary Doctorate recipient, has been elected president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). The AfDB is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries. Founded in 1964, the AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region. Before his election, Dr. Adesina had served as Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development since 2011,

More information on Dr. Adesina: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/dr.-akinwumi-ayodeji-adesina--doctor-of-agriculture.html


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. The nomination deadline is September 8, 2015. Click here for the Hovde Award nomination form.

More information: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus/2015/June/HovdeBrochure15.pdf


Nominations sought for Purdue Agriculture's top awards

Nominations 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 14 for the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award and October 1 for the Certificate of Distinction.

Information and nomination forms available here: https://ag.purdue.edu/agalumni/Pages/Awards.aspx


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.

Awards and Recognitions


Morrill AwardsPurdue's Morrill Awards were given May 5 at the Faculty Awards Convocation to three professors whose careers have demonstrated excellence in their teaching, research and engagement missions, as well as in demonstrating synergies among them: Gebisa Ejeta, Agronomy; Michael Ladisch, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; and Wally Tyner, Agricultural Economics. This is the fourth year of the Morrill Award, initiated to honor the Morrill Act of 1862, which allowed for the establishment of land-grant colleges and universities. 

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2015/Q2/2015-morrill-award-winners-announced.html


Larry MurdockThe Purdue Board of Trustees on May 15 ratified the appointment of Dr. Larry Murdock as Distinguished Professor of Entomology. Dr. Murdock has been researching basic insect physiology, as well as pest-management techniques in Africa since the early 1980s. He developed the technology that led to the three Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) projects, multiyear initiatives to improve crop storage by low-resource people in Africa and beyond. His research also led to the invention of a device for the detection of insects feeding in seeds, woods and other hard materials by their ultrasonic emissions, and he developed a solar technology for disinfesting insect-infested cowpea grain on low-resource farms in Africa. His research shed new light on how hermetic storage protects grain against insects.


Natalie CarrollThe Soil and Water Science youth curriculum development team led by Natalie Carroll, Youth Development and Agricultural Education, has received the Universities Council on Water Resources' Education and Public Service Award. The team won the award for producing Indiana 4-H's first online curricula, which aims to help students in grades 3-12 nationwide learn about soil and water. The award will be presented at a banquet at the annual conference of UCOWR on June 17 at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada.



Showalter ScholarsMaria Sepúlveda, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Shihuan Kuang, Animal Sciences, were selected as Showalter Faculty Scholars. The Showalter Faculty Scholars are chosen by a selection committee from among University Faculty Scholars in the life sciences area and receive funding from the Showalter Foundation.





Beth TranBeth Tran, Biochemistry, has been elected as a Board member of the RNA Society, a non-profit, international scientific society dedicated to fostering research and education in the field of RNA science. As a Board member, she will help develop and contribute to long-range planning for the Society. Her term will begin in 2016.





Michael WilcoxMichael Wilcox, senior associate at the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) and assistant program leader for economic and community development with Purdue Extension, received the Distinguished National Service Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP). He was recognized for his contributions that have been critical to the success of the professional association, both as an elected board member and an association member. He was cited for providing high quality service to functions critical to the success of NACDEP.


Tiffany EakinTiffany Eakin, Office of Academic Programs, has been elected vice-chair of the Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee (CSSAC) for 2015-16. As vice chair, she will be chair of the Bridge Committee and a member of the Membership subcommittee as well as chair CSSAC meetings when the chair is not available. She will succeed the chair the following year.


Susan KremerSusan Kremer, Agriculture Business Office, received a "Thumbs Up" recognition from Sue Bennett, also in the Agriculture Business Office: "Thumbs Up to Susan Kremer for going above and beyond to help with my inaugural budget. Her willingness to stick with me until the job was done is very much appreciated." -- Sue Bennett (Business Office Agriculture) 



Jeanette MerrittJeanette Merritt and her team in Food Science received a "Thumbs Up" recognition from department head Brian Farkas: "A big 'Thumbs Up' for putting on another terrific Vintage Indiana Wine and Food Festival in Indianapolis. The event celebrated Indiana wines and winemaking. With thousands in attendance, live music, arts and crafts, and plenty of great food, it was no small task to put the event together -- all to showcase some of Indiana's finest wineries. Great job, gang!" -- Brian Farkas (Food Science)



Cameron MannCameron Mann, a junior in Youth Development and Agricultural Education and Agricultural Economics, was appointed by Governor Mike Pence as the student representative to the Purdue University Board of Trustees. She will serve a two-year term through June 30, 2017.




Elise LofgrenElise Lofgren, Youth Development and Agricultural Education, won first place in the graduate student competition at the Equine Science Society meetings. She won the Teaching and Extension Graduate Student Competition with a presentation entitled “Information Seeking Behavior of the Horse Competition Industry: A Demographic Study”. Dr. Colleen Brady is Elise's advisor.




Jason HendersonPurdue Extension has won the 2015 Arthur G. Hansen Recognition Award for its relationship with its retirees. The award, sponsored by the Purdue University Retirees Association and the Office of the President, will be presented June 25 to Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension, at the University's annual retirement banquet in Purdue Memorial Union. Purdue Extension will receive a trophy and be listed on a plaque in the corridor of the Union. The award also includes $2,500, funded by TIAA-CREF, to be used to help strengthen the department's ties to its retirees.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-retirees-honor-purdue-extension.html

Purdue Agriculture in the News


Purdue College of Agriculture rated fifth worldwide

QS RankingsThe British company Quacquarelli Symonds that specializes in information about higher education and careers has ranked Purdue's College of Agriculture fifth-best among colleges of agriculture and forestry worldwide. Purdue's ranking, tied with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is up from eighth last year. QS ranked the institutions in 36 subjects based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research citations per paper. "The ranking is a testament to the great work of our current faculty staff and students as well as a reflection of the reputation established by those before us that we work to build on every day," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "With our new strategic plan being rolled out this summer, we are very excited about the future of Purdue Agriculture." Purdue placed behind top-rated University of California-Davis, Cornell University, Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the University of California-Berkley. Rounding out the top 10 were Australian National University, Iowa State University, Oregon State University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The full rankings are available at http://tinyurl.com/nmbrf84.


Purdue Trustees OK Ag and Life Sciences facility

AgLS BuildingA new $60 million Agricultural and Life Sciences Facility that was designated as the university’s top priority in a 10-year capital plan submitted to the state was given the green light to move forward by Purdue’s Board of Trustees on May 15. The approximately 123,000 gross-square-foot Agricultural and Life Sciences Facility complex, to be built at the intersection of S. Russell and Harrison streets. The building will consolidate Department of Animal Sciences students, faculty and staff into a unified complex to better coordinate teaching, research and engagement activities, as well as provide needed upgrades to teaching, research and meat lab facilities.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/trustees-ok-ag-and-life-sciences-facility,-equine-center,-runway-project.html


Purdue Agriculture awards 17 state-funded AgSEED projects

AgSEEDThe Purdue College of Agriculture has awarded $1 million in state-funded grants to researchers for 17 projects designed to advance Indiana's leadership in plant and animal agriculture, human health and rural development. The grants are part of a program called Agricultural Science and Extension for Economic Development, or AgSEED. The Indiana Legislature first funded AgSEED in 2013 and again in 2015 through the state's Crossroads program - part of Indiana's commitment to agriculture and rural development. The 17 selected projects came from a pool of nearly 100 proposals submitted by faculty and staff in the colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine. The grants are $50,000 for one-year projects and $75,000 for two-year projects.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-agriculture-awards-17-state-funded-agseed-projects.html



Purdue Extension publication offers flood recovery advice

floodingPurdue Extension has a free publication to help homeowners recover from flooding that is expected to continue with more storms this week. First Steps to Flood Recovery is available free for download at Extension's The Education Store at www.edustore.purdue.edu. Search for product code ACS-101-W. Basement flooding from frequent, heavy rains in recent days already has been identified in pockets across the state, said Steve Cain, Purdue Extension Disaster Education Network homeland security project director and author of the publication. "The widespread nature of these storms means that basement flooding will also be widespread," he said. "This publication provides information that helps people help themselves and their families, care for pets and livestock and salvage their belongings.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-extension-publication-offers-flood-recovery-advice.html



Purdue hosts fourth Borlaug Institute on Global Food Security

Gebisa EjetaThe fourth annual Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security is being held from June 7-20 at Purdue, challenging graduate students from around the country to pool their research in various areas of study in finding innovative ways to alleviate world hunger. Forty graduate students were selected from 23 universities, including Purdue, from across the United States. Participants were selected based on their demonstrated interest and commitment to finding solutions to world hunger. All have chosen dissertation research that addresses global food security. The two-week program, hosted by the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, engages the students through lectures by prominent faculty and guest speakers, practicums, small-group research work and visits to local farms and research facilities at and near Purdue. Gebisa Ejeta, director of the Center for Global Food Security, distinguished professor of agronomy and the 2009 World Food Prize laureate, is among Purdue faculty who will work with the students during the institute.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-to-host-fourth-borlaug-institute-on-global-food-security.html


Top Farmer Conference focused on management strategies

Top FarmerFaculty from the Purdue  Center for Commercial Agriculture and University of Illinois farmdoc team, along with industry experts, will discuss key farm management strategies for the changing business environment at the annual Purdue Top Farmer Conference, July 9-10 in West Lafayette. The two-day conference is designed to focus on key management strategies farm managers can use to make their farm more successful, said Jim Mintert, director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture and a conference organizer. "Operating margins have tightened dramatically compared to a couple years ago," Mintert said. "We have organized the conference sessions to help farmers improve their management skills so they can better compete in this challenging economic environment. This year's conference also includes sessions that focus on the outlook for the U.S. economy, agricultural commodities, land prices, and land rental rates."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/top-farmer-conference-focused-on-management-strategies-.html


National report details expected job openings in agriculture, related fields

Al GoeckerNearly 58,000 jobs will open annually across the United States in occupations involving food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and environment over the next five years, according to an employment outlook report, released May 11, was produced by the College of Agriculture with grant support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The jobs reflect a need for a highly skilled and trained workforce to support the food, agriculture and national resources industries amid projections of a world population that is expected to grow from 7 billion people today to 9 billion by 2050, noted Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. That will create many opportunities for college graduates in those fields, said Allan D. Goecker, assistant dean emeritus and lead author of the report "Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015–2020."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/national-report-details-expected-job-openings-in-ag,-related-fields.html


Honeybee die-off less severe this year

Greg HuntThe honeybee population appears to have survived the winter in better shape than a year ago, but still faces several significant threats, according to Greg Hunt, professor of entomology and honeybee specialist.  After the brutally cold, wet winter of 2013-14 in much of the U.S., observers reported one of the largest bee die-offs ever recorded, with a mortality rate of about 65 percent for Indiana. Based on his primary investigation and discussions with beekeepers, Hunt estimated this year's losses at about 29 percent. Honeybees are essential to agriculture because they pollinate food plants such as fruits, nuts and vegetables. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honeybee pollination is worth about $15 billion a year in crop production. But the honeybee population has been declining for years, with the U.S. losing about one-third of its hives annually, Hunt said.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/honeybee-die-off-less-severe-this-year-.html


Evolution in action: Mate competition weeds out GM fish from population

Bill MuirPurdue Animal Sciences research found that wild-type zebrafish consistently beat out genetically modified Glofish in competition for female mates, an advantage that led to the disappearance of the transgene from the fish population over time. The study, the first to demonstrate evolutionary outcomes in the laboratory, showed that mate competition trumps mate choice in determining natural selection. "Mating success is actually a stronger force of evolution than survival of the fittest," said William Muir, professor of animal sciences. "If an organism can't get a mate, it can't pass its genes on. In terms of evolution, whether it survives or not doesn't matter." Muir and Richard Howard, professor emeritus of biology, conducted a long-term study of mating success in mixed populations of wild-type zebrafish and Glofish - zebrafish containing a transgene cloned from a sea anemone that produces a fluorescent red protein. Although female zebrafish strongly preferred the neon red males to their brown, wild-type counterparts, the females were coerced into spawning with the wild-type males who aggressively chased away their transgenic rivals. As a result, the rate at which the red transgenic trait appeared in offspring fell rapidly over 15 generations of more than 18,500 fish and ultimately disappeared in all but one of 18 populations.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/evolution-in-action-mate-competition-weeds-out-gm-fish-from-population.html


Summer gas prices likely to stay well below those of last year

gas pumpMotorists can expect gasoline prices this summer to remain considerably lower than what they were last year even though they have been edging up recently, Purdue energy economist Wally Tyner says. "The best bet for this summer is that gasoline prices will generally remain below $3 a gallon, except in California and Hawaii, where they are normally higher than the rest of the country," he said. Tyner noted that while the national average price was $2.69 per gallon in mid-May, it was 98 cents lower than at the same time last year.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/tyner-summer-gas-prices-likely-to-stay-well-below-those-of-last-year.html


Purdue experts develop app to treat emerald ash borer

emerald ash borerWith the emerald ash borer (EAB) in season again, a Purdue Extension mobile app can assist homeowners and community leaders in identifying and treating infested trees. Since the first sighting of the emerald ash borer in 2002 in Ohio, the highly destructive beetle has killed tens of millions of ash trees across the Midwest. The EAB was first spotted in Indiana in 2004 and since has spread to 95 percent of the state, destroying more than 1 million trees. Entomology professor Cliff Sadof and some of his colleagues developed the Purdue Tree Doctor app, which includes information on identifying and treating ash trees before it is too late for pesticides to work. The app is designed to help users diagnose the early signs of infested ash trees and identify whether there is still time for treatment.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-experts-develop-app-to-treat-emerald-ash-borer.html


Purdue releases new version of global economic database

globeThe Center for Global Trade Analysis based at Purdue released the latest version of its GTAP Data Base of worldwide economic transactions on May19. The ninth version incorporates global economic flows for the year 2011, the most recent available year for such data, while retaining important data from 2004 and 2007. A new version is released every five years. "This is a critical tool for governments and economic decision-makers around the globe," said Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, director of GTAP. The data influences policymaking on regional and global trade and environmental agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and international efforts to limit global greenhouse gas emissions, noted Thomas Hertel, executive director of GTAP. It also is used by international institutions, the private sector and economists at universities and research institutions.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-releases-new-version-of-global-economic-database.html


Purdue's Women in Ag Team presenting agribusiness webinar series

Purdue ExtensionPurdue Extension's Women in Agriculture Team is offering a series of agribusiness webinars for those who want to improve their management, planning and employee engagement skills. The first webinar, "Effective Management of Farm Employees," was held on May 28. Participants learned strategies to maximize the productivity of workers in an agricultural business. Other webinar topics to be offered in 2015 and early 2016 include Robotics in Agriculture; Downsizing Your Financial Maze; and Becoming a Legitimate Player – Marketing Your Business and Industry at the Same Time. The webinars are free, but registration is required. 

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdues-women-in-ag-team-presenting-agribusiness-webinar-series.html


Purdue offers award-winning agronomy course again

Bruce EricksonPurdue University again is offering a 12-week online course that will provide basic, broad-ranging knowledge of agronomic practices to agribusiness professionals. It begins June 24. Agronomy Essentials, part of a series of courses of the Purdue Agronomy e-Learning Academy, was awarded the 2015 Award for Excellence in Distance Learning from Purdue University. The class focuses on educating agribusiness professionals who work directly with farmers, individuals needing a better understanding of crop production who work for agricultural companies and those directly involved in production agriculture. The future will demand that those who work in crop production have a thorough understanding of the entire production system, said Bruce Erickson, Purdue's agronomy education distance and outreach director. He designed the course and is the lead instructor.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-offers-award-winning-agronomy-course-again.html


Nicotinoid and fungal disease team up to break down termites' tough defenses

termitesResearch led by Michael Scharf, the O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair and professor of entomology, shows that a small amount of nicotinoid pesticide substantially weakens termites' ability to fight off fungal diseases, a finding that could lead to more effective methods of pest control. The study also provides clues into termites' robust defense systems and how nicotinoids affect social insects. The team found that a sublethal dose of imidacloprid knocked out key microbes in the termite gut and suppressed the social hygiene habits that help keep a termite colony healthy. Their defenses weakened, the termites became vulnerable to a fungal pathogen that normally poses little threat. The combination of pesticide and pathogen wiped out laboratory colonies in seven days. "Understanding how to cripple termite defenses could lead us to new, safer control technologies," Scharf said.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/nicotinoid-and-fungal-disease-team-up-to-break-down-termites-tough-defenses.html


Purdue Partners with Indiana Zoos for Hellbender Conservation

Rod WilliamsWhen 50 young hellbenders moved from Purdue's Aquaculture Research Lab to one of three Indiana zoos to be reared for the next few years, it may mark about the farthest distance they will travel in their lives. Adult salamanders only range about 300 meters. But spending the first years of their lives in captivity will greatly improve their odds for survival. Led by Rod Williams, Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue is partnering with Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville in a conservation program that will involve raising year-old hellbender salamanders and then returning them to their southern Indiana habitat.

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/agricultures/Pages/Spring2015/04-SavingSpecies.aspx#.VXiZmJdVhBc


Carotenoid levels in breast milk vary by country, diet

Mario FerruzziA Purdue-led analysis of breast milk concludes that levels of health-promoting compounds known as carotenoids differ by country, with the U.S. lagging behind China and Mexico, a reflection of regional dietary habits.Carotenoids are plant pigments that potentially play functional roles in human development and are key sources of vitamin A, an essential component of eye health and the immune system. The carotenoid content of a woman's breast milk is determined by her consumption of fruits and vegetables such as squash, citrus, sweet potatoes and dark, leafy greens. "Evidence is increasing that carotenoids are important for both mothers and infants," said Mario Ferruzzi, professor of food science and nutrition. "Nursing women should eat fruits and vegetables as recommended in dietary guidelines. As long as your baby is happy with it, don't exclude bright orange or yellow produce and leafy vegetables from your diet."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/carotenoid-levels-in-breast-milk-vary-by-country-diet%20.html

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