August 2016

Facebook Twitter More...

From the Dean

Jay Akridge

Welcome back to many of you! As always, summer went quickly, but I hope you had a productive and enjoyable one. I attended the new student induction ceremony yesterday in Mackey Arena where about 12,000 students and their families gathered to formally launch their Purdue educational experience. It was a hot, but energizing, beginning to our new semester - and we have a big class of new students to welcome to the College!

As the new academic year begins, the Indiana State Fair is winding down. A big, big thanks to Dr. Jason Henderson, Dr. Renée McKee, Angie Abbott, Danica Kirkpatrick, and the more than 400 Purdue staff, faculty, and students who were involved in the State Fair. There were more than 10,000 4-H exhibits and 4,000 4-H livestock at this year’s Fair. And, we had some outstanding exhibits and displays (thanks to the Ag Communication Exhibit Design Team) in the Purdue Extension Agriculture and Horticulture Building (including the Zombie Apocalypse exhibit on emergency preparedness that drew national attention on The Weather Channel.) A big thanks also to Nick Rogers, Greg Lindberg and all the Extension folks who came up with the creative “Golf Cart Get-Down” music videos and recruited “celebrities” in the agriculture community to participate. The performances (with the exception of a certain dean) were great! Because we’ve been at this so long, it is easy to take the State Fair for granted – but putting Extension and the College in front of 900,000 visitors is an enormous, high-impact undertaking and my thanks to all for making it successful.

There is lots to look forward to in the coming academic year.  A few highlights:

-- On August 29, President Daniels will help us dedicate the new $14 million Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center, a 25,000 sq. ft. field scale phenotyping facility located at ACRE (Agronomy Center for Research and Education).  In addition, planning for the new controlled environment phenotyping facility will move ahead this year.

--From August 29-31, we will host the North American Plant Phenotyping Network Inaugural Convening Event.  More than 150 individuals from seven countries representing 29 academic institutions and 13 regulatory agencies and commodity groups are expected to attend this inaugural gathering of scientists working in the broad area of plant phenotyping.

--On September 23, we will dedicate the Beck’s Floor for Agricultural Economics (Krannert Building) the Beck’s Genetics Lab (Lilly Hall) in September – two major improvements in our facilities made possible through the generosity of Beck’s Hybrids and the Beck family.

--We will be moving our College of Agriculture Transformational Experience (CATE) program into high gear this year and tracking individual student participation in activities including undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, Leadership Development Certificate Program, etc. Expanding CATE participation and tracking that increased participation is the goal we committed to pursue in order to secure the additional 0.5% salary increase for faculty and staff.

--The Office of Academic Programs will launch a new Teaching PREP (Professors Reviewing Excellent Practices) course in the spring. Developed by a team led by Dennis Buckmaster, this 10-week program is designed for new faculty to help jumpstart their success in the classroom.

--The Student Farm will be relocated from its current site on State Street to a new site on Cherry Lane near the Daniel Turf Center.

--Our Distance Education program (called Purdue Ag Online for now) will get rolling under the leadership of Jeff Nagle, who stepped in as program manager on July 1.

--We will be featuring individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the climate of our College every month in InFocus this year.

--Under the leadership of Maureen Manier, the Agricultural Communication department is developing an exciting new strategic communications plan (including some new student recruiting initiatives) that will be rolled out later this semester.

--Finally, we are delighted to welcome 20 new faculty members and three new department heads to the College this year. It is an extraordinary group and you’ll meet them in a week or so in our new faculty issue of InFocus. We will also be interviewing for another 13 new faculty positions this year.

Of course, this list really doesn’t do justice to what promises to be another exceptional year in the College. Our students are back, the campus is buzzing with activity, and I wish each of you the very best in the coming academic year!

All the best,



Purdue Agriculture People

Ag Research Spotlight: Jeffrey Dukes

Jeff DukesThe 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 Jeffrey Dukes, Forestry and Natural Resources, whose work underscores the theme, “Strengthening ecological and environmental integrity in agricultural landscapes.”​

Full story:



Provost appoints Fellow for 2016-2017

Joan FultonJoan Fulton, Agricultural Economics, has been named a Provost Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion, effective August 15. During her one-year appointment, she will work with Provost Deba Dutta and Graduate School Dean Mark Smith on the university's Diversity Leadership Team. The Provost Fellows program was created to provide faculty who have an interest and potential in university administration with opportunities for a general overview of the provost's office. 



Cale Bigelow finding new ways to engage students

Cale Bigelow“Tomorrow we begin #turf fertility for my ‘Lawns 101 class’…What are the three most important take-aways related to feeding lawns? #discuss”. Is this the #futureofeducation? All hashtags aside, for Cale Bigelow, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, the future – and present – includes social media. In 2011 and 2012, he and colleague John Kaminski (from The Pennsylvania State University) surveyed turf students about their social media use and attitudes. Although their motivation was to increase student engagement, their findings and experience provided a broader reach.

Full story:


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. Nominations are due electronically to Ruth Ann Weiderhaft by Noon on Wednesday, September 7 ( Click here for the Hovde Award nomination form.

More information:


Nominations open for top Purdue Ag Alumni 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 12 for the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award and October 1 for the Certificate of Distinction.

All nomination materials and award descriptions, as well as lists of past winners, can be accessed at


A reminder about tracking civil rights and diversity training

Civil Rights logoThe College of Agriculture is committed to making ongoing improvements to policies and practices to assure that race, ethnicity and gender are not barriers to success. During our USDA Federal Civil Rights Compliance Audit in 2012, it was brought to our attention that we did not have a formal tracking system in place to verify that all faculty, staff and graduate students received appropriate training. In order to comply with this, individuals are required to receive training in civil rights (the regulations), diversity awareness or sexual harassment each year. Therefore, we created a system utilizing the Qualtrics survey tool to have individuals self-report completion of their training. Rather than mandate a specific training, we are asking you to comply by recording training you have been to already or attend any training that fits your needs and interests and enhances your knowledge/understanding of diversity, civil rights or sexual harassment. 

Report training at:

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


Bruce BordelonBruce Bordelon, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture – Eastern Section at their conference in St. Louis in July. He was recognized as an outstanding teacher and the author and editor of practical publications for the grape industry, and for “being everywhere in the Midwest and helping everybody.”



Bernie EngelBernie Engel, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, was given the James R. and Karen A. Gilley Academic Leadership Award at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) annual meeting in Orlando. The award is given to “honor and recognize annually an ASABE member who is currently providing outstanding academic leadership while serving as department head/chair of a Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department (or similarly named department) in the United States that presently has an ABET accredited Agricultural/Biological Engineering program.


Thomas HertelTom Hertel, Agricultural Economics, received the Publication of Enduring Quality Award for his publication, "Global Trade Analysis: Modeling and Applications" at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) annual meeting in Boston.





Shaneka LawsonShaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service-Research Plant Physiologist & FNR-Adjunct Assistant Professor, has been chosen to receive a Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the USDA’s Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards Ceremony. She is being recognized for her numerous community volunteer efforts in support of environmental sustainability. The award ceremony will be held on September 13th at Jefferson Auditorium in Washington, D.C. ​




John LumkesJohn Lumkes, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, was presented with the Kishida International Award at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) annual meeting in Orlando. The award honors outstanding contributions to engineering-mechanization-technological programs of education, research, development, consultation, or technology transfer that have resulted in significant improvements outside the United States.



Horan and WalkerWilliam Horan, ANR and Community Development Educator in Wells County and Danielle Walker, County Extension Director and ANR Educator in Washington County, were presented with Distinguished Service Awards by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents at the group's annual meeting and professional improvement conference in Little Rock, Arkansas in July. The NACAA has presented the Distinguished Service Awards since 1938. Award recipients are chosen by their peeras and the Directors of Extension of the various states.



The Food Science department recently announced its 2015-2016 academic year departmental award winners. The Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and Outstanding Counselor awards are determined through online evaluations completed by undergraduate students. Recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Educator Award and Outstanding Service to Students Award are selected by the Food Science Awards Committee from faculty and staff nominations. The award winners for 2015-2016 are:

Haley OliverHaley Oliver, Jack Long Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award






Suzanne NielsenSuzanne Nielsen, Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor Award






Bruce ApplegateBruce Applegate, Outstanding Graduate Educator Award






Laurie Van KeppelLaurie Van Keppel, Outstanding Service to Students Award







Paul Lengemann, doctoral student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, was presented with the Robert E. Stewart Engineering-Humanities Award at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) annual meeting in Orlando. The award honors a graduate or undergraduate student for outstanding contributions to the profession and the humanities.


Luis Pena LevanoLuis Moisés Peña-Lévano, a doctoral student in Agricultural Economics, was part of the team that won third place in the Graduate Student Case Study Competition at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) annual meeting in Boston. Luis also won third place in the Graduate Student Extension Competition.




Jason XiaoJason Xiao, a senior in agricultural economics, won first place in the Undergraduate section of the Outstanding Paper Competition at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) annual meeting in Boston.





Purdue Agriculture in the News


Student farm breaking new ground on campus, in education

Student FarmWhen spring returns to West Lafayette in 2017, the volunteers and students at the Purdue University Student Farm will be planting into new ground - both figuratively and literally. The farm has provided practical education to students and fresh produce to the surrounding community from its current location on west State St. for five years. By 2017, a new research and innovation district will bring aerospace research facilities, business and conference centers, apartments, homes and grocery stores to the area, including the five acres currently occupied by the student farm. After the current growing season is complete the students and volunteers will pack up their equipment and greenhouses and head to a new location a mile and a half away on Cherry Lane.

Full story:


USDA August Crop Production report forecasts bumper grain crops

CornAfter sluggish harvests last year, Indiana farmers could produce record or near-record grain crops this year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Aug. 12. The report forecasts Indiana corn production at 1.05 billion bushels, up from 822 million bushels last year. That would be the second highest production on record. Yield is projected to be 187 bushels per acre, compared to 150 bushels per acre last year. Soybean production in the state is expected to be a record 312 million bushels, up from 275 million bushels last year. Yield is forecast to be 55 bushels per acre, compared with 50 bushels per acre last year. Dean Jay Akridge moderated a Purdue Extension panel discussion on the crop report at the Indiana State Fair. The panel included Greg Matli, state statistician for the USDA's National Agricultural Statistical Service; Bob Nielsen, Extension corn specialist; Shaun Casteel, Extension soybean specialist; and agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Full story:

Bit by a tick? Next steps and species to know

Tick graphicAs you savor the great outdoors this summer, protecting yourself from ticks doesn't just spare you an irksome bite - it might also help you dodge a serious health problem, says Purdue University medical entomologist Catherine Hill. Ticks can carry a wide variety of pathogens, parasites and viruses and can potentially spread diseases to their hosts by regurgitating infected saliva into the feeding wound they create in hosts' skin. "Ticks have a greater impact on human health that we sometimes give them credit for," Hill said. "They can be powerful vectors of disease." Indiana is home to several medically important tick species, including the blacklegged or deer tick, which can transmit Lyme disease, the most common vector-borne illness in North America.

Full story:


Purdue students launch agricultural drone startup to help reduce farming costs

aerial agricultureAerial Agriculture LLC, a startup company launched by students in the College of Engineering, aims to revolutionize the agricultural industry by building drones in-house to capture multispectral images of entire crop fields. This technology could allow farmers to reduce excess fertilizer and input costs while simultaneously increasing yields. Aerial Agriculture uses specialized cameras to convert images into valuable vegetation indices that represent crop health and allow agronomists to determine the amount of nitrogen and fertilizer that needs to be applied in specific locations throughout the field.

Full story:


Producer sentiment jumps despite decline in crop prices

Ag BarometerAgricultural producers are feeling more optimistic about the health of the agricultural economy despite declines in key commodity markets in June and early July, according to the latest survey results from the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The July Producer Sentiment Index jumped to 112, an eight-point increase over June's 104 reading. The index is based on a monthly survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers. It includes measures of sentiment surrounding both current conditions and future expectations. The increase comes on the heels of falling crop prices and was primarily driven by optimism about the future, said Jim Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Full story:


Agriculture undergraduates uncover mechanism tied to plant height

Norman Best and Brian DilkesDwarfed plants add color and a diversity of architectures to landscapes and gardens, and a Purdue University undergraduate class discovered a key mechanism that leads to their small stature. Horticulture and Landscape Architecture graduate student Norman Best led an undergraduate plant physiology class in an exercise that identified a mutation in a dwarf variety of sunflower, called Sunspot, that keeps the plant short. The eight Purdue students, along with scientists that supported the work, published their results in the Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science. Norman Best's thesis advisor is Dr. Brian Dilkes, Biochemistry.

Full story:


25th Indy International Wine Competition blends tradition, innovation

Indy wineMore than 2,000 wines from around the world were entered in the 2016 Indy International Wine Competition, an event that blends history and culture with modern science. Now in its 25th year, the competition is the largest independent wine contest in the United States, with participants ranging from small private winemakers to large commercial wineries. It was held Aug. 3-4 at the Purdue Memorial Union. Submissions are grouped into 79 classes and each wine is tasted by several of the 55 professional judges on the panel. Entries were considered for Best in Class and double gold, gold, silver or bronze medals. Class winners then competed for Wines of the Year. Trophies were also awarded for the best international winery, winemaker, label and packaging. Indiana winemakers also competed for state honors.

Full story:,-innovation.html


Purdue survey: Indiana farmland values continue to fall

FarmlandIndiana farmland values have continued their downward trend of last year, with average declines of 8.2 to 8.7 percent depending on land quality, according to the 2016 Purdue Farmland Value Survey. Declines of this size have not been seen since the mid-1980s. Over the past two years, the average farmland value has fallen about 13 percent. Cash rents - the amount a farmer pays to rent land to farm - also declined for the second consecutive year. "The collapse in grain prices and the impact of tighter gross margins are working their way through the agricultural economy," wrote Purdue agricultural economists Craig Dobbins and Kim Cook, authors of the report. "While the underlying reasons for multiple years of tight gross margins now are not the same as in the 1980s, a series of years with downward adjustments in farmland values and cash rents like the 1980s may still be the result."

Full story:


Drink-seeking rats provide sobering look into genetics of alcoholism

bill muirAlcohol-craving rats have provided researchers with a detailed look into the complicated genetic underpinnings of alcoholism. By comparing the genomes of rats that drank compulsively with those that abstained, Purdue and Indiana University researchers identified 930 genes associated with alcoholism, indicating that it is a highly complex trait influenced by many genes and the environment. The study confirmed genes previously identified as being linked to alcoholism and uncovered new genes and neurological pathways, some of which could be promising targets for treatment. But the sheer number of genes that contribute to the trait suggests pharmaceutical treatments for alcoholism could be difficult to develop, said William Muir, professor of genetics. "It's not one gene, one problem," he said. "This trait is controlled by vast numbers of genes and networks. This probably dashes water on the idea of treating alcoholism with a single pill."

Full story:


Purdue researcher takes canine welfare personally

Candace CroneyCandace Croney, director of Purdue's Center for Animal Welfare Science, was motivated to lead research that resulted in new, higher standards for the treatment of commercially bred dogs not just because she is a scientist. She is a dog owner and wants the best for her pet as well as all dogs. The research by Croney and others at the Center for Animal Welfare Science over the past three years resulted in a new national certification program that sets rigorous standards for the care of dogs and puppies by professional breeders. Canine Care Certified was announced Aug. 2 in Las Vegas during a national conference of the pet care industry.

Full story:


Open Ag Data Alliance, Servi-Tech launch Real-Time Connections API for weather, soil moisture data

Ag sceneThe Purdue-led Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA) and partner Servi-Tech, Inc. announced Aug. 1 a commercial demonstration of its Real-Time Connections initiative, continuing their mission to help farmers better use data in their daily decisions across all of their operations. Servi-Tech, the largest crop consulting and agronomic services company in the nation, and OADA worked together to harness the power of OADA application programming interface (API) standards to publish an open, nonproprietary cloud-based data exchange for weather and soil moisture data. By publishing the data exchange paradigm as open source, it is free for anyone to make contributions and use. The open source computer code is available now and resides at

Full story:,-servi-tech-launch-real-time-connections-api-for-weather,-soil-moisture-data.html



Faculty Retirements

Linda Chezem, Professor in Youth Development and Agricultural Education, retired July 1
Scott Mills, Associate Professor of Animal Sciences, retired July 1

Staff Retirements

Robert Albreght, Executive Secretary, Indiana State Dairy Association, Animal Sciences, retired July 1
Don Biehle, Superintendent, Southeast Purdue Ag Center, retired July 1

New Positions

Todd Applegate, Animal Sciences, took a position at University of Georgia
Rebecca Doerge, Agronomy, took a position at Carnegie Mellon University, Mellon College of Science

Dates and Deadlines

August 5-21: Indiana State Fair

August 22: Fall Semester begins

August 29: Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center Dedication

August 29-31: North American Plant Phenotyping Network Inaugural Convening Event

September 2: Graduate Student Welcoming and Networking Event

September 7: Hovde Award nominations due

September 12: Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award nominations due

September 15: College of Agriculture Celebration of Teaching Excellence

September 26: College of Agriculture Entrepreneurship Event

October 1: Purdue Ag Alumni Association Certificate of Distinction nominations due

October 4: College of Agriculture Fall Career Fair

For more dates and deadlines, check the Purdue Agriculture calendar.


University News

20 Indiana composite materials companies join Purdue to dedicate $50 million energy-saving research institute

More than 300 people and about 20 Indiana composite materials companies celebrated the recent opening of the $50 million Indiana Manufacturing Institute, based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. The institute will house the Center for Composites Manufacturing and Simulation where Purdue researchers and graduate students from the Purdue College of Engineering and Purdue Polytechnic Institute will conduct research and development on composite materials to increase energy efficiency for the vehicle production, wind, aerospace and other industries. Purdue’s Product Lifecycle Management Center and the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center, or IN-MaC, also will be located in the institute. The three centers will occupy 30,000 square feet of the 62,000-square-foot institute.

Full story:


Purdue hires Mike Bobinski as next athletic director

Purdue President Mitch Daniels and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael Berghoff on Tuesday (Aug. 9) announced the hiring of Mike Bobinski as the university’s new director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Bobinski has held the same position at the Georgia Institute of Technology since 2013, as well as the University of Akron and Xavier University previously. “Today’s announcement culminates an extraordinarily long and thorough process, befitting the importance of its subject,” Daniels said. “Purdue thanks a remarkable search committee, and our Board Chairman Mike Berghoff who led it personally. Together, Mike and I have logged many miles and hours looking for the best individual to build on the terrific 23-year record of our nationally admired AD Morgan Burke. His credentials, record, values and intensely competitive desire to win convinced us that Mike Bobinski is that person.”

Full story:


Research suggests new tool for cancer treatment based on cell type

A new tumor model has been shown to predict how certain types of cancer cells react differently to a commonly used chemotherapy drug, a potential tool for "precision medicine," in which drug treatment is tailored to individual patients and certain cancer types. Drug resistance and various subtypes of tumors represent critical bottlenecks for effective chemotherapy. "This means rapid and accurate screening of effective drugs and drug combinations can be extremely useful to realize precision medicine for cancer therapy," said Bumsoo Han, a Purdue professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering.

Full story:



Purdue employees eligible for football discount

Did you know that all Purdue employees are entitled to up to a 20 percent discount on football season tickets? Spending a gorgeous autumn afternoon at Ross-Ade Stadium watching the Boilermakers is a wonderful opportunity, and we invite all university employees to take advantage of this special offer. For more information, contact the athletics ticket office at 494.3194.

More information:


Report Hate and Bias

report hatePurdue University is a community where diversity is valued and incidents of hate and bias are not tolerated. Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors who feel that they have been the victim of a bias related incident (or who have witnessed a bias related incident) are encouraged to report it online at or to contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 765-494-1250. Your report can remain anonymous if you wish. Remember, if it is an emergency situation that requires immediate medical or emergency services attention, please call the Purdue University Police Department at 911 or 765-494-8221.