February 2016

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From the Dean

Jay AkridgeWhile more and more educational activities happen in the digital world, our stakeholders still flock to meetings and conferences to tap the expertise of our faculty and staff – and many times in record numbers. 

The new year kicked off on January 6 with the Indiana Green Expo in Indianapolis, a three-day event with a variety of educational workshops, seminars, and the largest green industry trade show in the state. Some 1,500 green industry professionals attended this year. The Expo is sponsored by the Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association and the Purdue-based Midwest Regional Turf Foundation, along with various green industry partners. Aaron Patton and Cale Bigelow, faculty members in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (HLA), are the Purdue leads on this important event.

Next up was the Indiana Horticultural Congress and Trade Show, a three-day event designed to meet the needs of growers with information on production practices, pest and disease control, processing, marketing, agritourism, food safety and legislative/regulatory concerns. More than 750 specialty crop producers, small farmers, wine makers, individuals in the agritourism industry, etc. attend the Hort Congress every year. A big thanks to HLA faculty Peter Hirst, Aaron Patton, and Kyle Daniel, and many, many Extension specialists, educators, and staff for all they do to deliver this event and serve these important industries.

The Indiana Arborist Association’s annual conference was also held in Indianapolis in January. The more than 300 conference attendees could take advantage of educational and certification opportunities and hear speakers from all over the country providing information on research, current trends, and industry issues. Lindsey Purcell (FNR), Lenny Farlee (FNR), Fred Whitford (BTNY), Janna Beckerman (BTNY), Cliff Sadof (ENTM), and Kyle Daniel (HLA) all conducted lectures and workshops during the conference.

Purdue Extension staff and specialists were heavily involved in the Fort Wayne Farm Show, presenting daily educational seminars at the three-day event which attracted more than 20,000 participants. Purdue Agriculture and Extension are also represented at the National Farm Machinery Show at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, billed as the largest indoor farm show in America, where more than 300,000 gather to see and hear about the latest in agricultural technology.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Center for Commercial Agriculture faculty and staff were in Ponce, Puerto Rico for the 2016 conference of the Association of Agricultural Production Executives (AAPEX), offering educational programming and networking opportunities for the farm business to about 200 commercial farmers from across North and South America.

Coming in March, the 2016 Indiana Small Farm Conference will offer workshops and educational opportunities for farmers, local food entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, students, businesses, and more. This will be the 4th year for this conference that is organized by the Purdue Small Farm and Sustainable Agriculture Team.  

And, speaking of huge events, this year’s Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry will go down as one of the best and most memorable of all time. Coach Gene Keady, Coach Bob Knight, and sports writer Bob Hammel entertained 2,300 Purdue Agriculture friends, alumni and supporters with stories and memories. My thanks to Danica Kirkpatrick, Donya Lester, Kelly Delp, Dinah McClure and the more than 100 volunteers who made the 2016 Ag Alumni Fish Fry one of the very best ever!

We will continue to evolve how we deliver science-based insights to our stakeholders. That said, there is little doubt that these stakeholders are turning out in droves for the opportunity to engage our faculty and staff in a personal way. My thanks to all of you who make these (and many, many other) educational events happen!

All the best,



Purdue Agriculture People

Ag Research Spotlight: Haley Oliver

Haley OliverThe 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 February is on Haley Oliver, Food Science, whose work underscores the theme, “Enhancing Food and Health.”

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



6 honored with Purdue ag alumni's top award

CD winnersSix agricultural leaders received Purdue University Agricultural Alumni Association's top award during the group's annual Fish Fry in Indianapolis. The Certificate of Distinction recognizes contributions to agriculture - and society in general - that go well beyond the requirements of a job or profession. "We are awed by the contributions of professional and community service of this year's award recipients," said Donya Lester, executive director of the alumni association. "They represent the best of our agricultural and natural resources profession. Our university, our profession, and certainly a number of our communities are stronger because of their work, and we are delighted that we can honor and thank them at one of Indiana's largest agricultural meetings."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/6-honored-with-purdue-ag-alumnis-top-award.html


Purdue Agriculture students deliver water to Flint, Michigan

Water to FlintTwo Purdue College of Agriculture students proved even a small effort can go a long way. They took more than 250 cases of donated water to Flint, Michigan, where residents in the city of about 100,000 people were exposed to water contaminated with lead. Brandon Allen and Amonté Martin, both graduate research students in the Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education, started a bottled water drive to help the citizens of Flint. Martin has family in Flint. After learning about the situation there, he began to wonder how he could help. When Allen approached him about starting a water drive, Martin knew he had his answer.

Full story: http://bit.ly/1TlCp93


Finalists set for Botany and Plant Pathology Department Head

Three candidates have been invited to interview for the Botany and Plant Pathology Department Head position. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the seminar presentations of the candidates, which will be streamed and archived on the department head search link on the department home page. The candidate credentials and feedback survey links will also soon be available via this site. Finalists are:

Dr. Nilda Burgos, University of Arkansas
Interview:  Monday and Tuesday, February 29 & March 1
Seminar: Monday, February 29, 9:00 a.m. in Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. Mohamed Khan, North Dakota State University
Interview:  Thursday and Friday, March 10 & 11
Seminar: Thursday, March 10, 9:00 a.m. in Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. Christopher Staiger, Purdue University
Interview:  Thursday and Friday, March 24 & 25
Seminar: Thursday, March 24, 9:00 a.m. in Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall


Purdue Today profiles April Agee Carroll

April CarrollPurdue Today featured a profile of April Carroll, director of phenomics at Purdue. She is working with students and faculty on research that could contribute to feeding the world. Their work is a key part of the Plant Sciences Research initiative of Purdue Moves.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/purdueprofiles/2016/Q1/purdue-profiles-april-agee-carroll.html


College participates in Bravo Awards Program

Bravo AwardPurdue Agriculture participates in the university's Bravo Award program. The Bravo Award is intended to highlight the excellence found across all areas and job functions at Purdue by recognizing and rewarding extraordinary achievements on every scale. The Bravo Award is a one-time cash award to employees at all levels in recognition of substantial accomplishments that extend well beyond regular work responsibilities. Acknowledging employee accomplishments that help Purdue make a difference with our students and in our state and help us move the world forward is vital to the University's mission and the morale of our faculty and staff. Click here for more information and FAQs about the Bravo Award. You can find the Bravo Award nomination form here. Please use this form—not any older versions. If you have questions, please contact your business manager.



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:  https://ag.purdue.edu/civil_rights/Pages/report.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

Klein Ileleji and Aaron PattonKlein Ileleji, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Aaron Patton, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, are among eight Purdue faculty members named Scholarship of Engagement Fellows by the Office of Engagement. Each Fellow will receive a $1,500 stipend to identify and complete a project with societal benefit and scholarly output, prepare a submission-ready grant application for project support, and develop a manuscript or alternative form of scholarly output representing the scholarship of engagement. SOE Fellows also will help plan Purdue's annual Scholarship of Engagement workshop in the spring.


Learning CommunityJeff Dukes, Reuben Goforth, Julie Pluimer, Linda Prokopy, and Rob Swihart, all Forestry and Natural Resources, Learning Community Instructors for The Nature of Wild Things LC, are recipients of the Purdue 2015-16 Learning Community Real-World Experience Award. The Real-World Experience Award is given to Learning Community Instructors who especially succeed at planning events and activities that offer introductions to various opportunities within their respective academic fields.




leadership in action award winnersJoan Fulton, Agricultural Economics, April Sauer, Agricultural Economics, and Ashley York, Animal Sciences, received 2016 Leadership in Action Awards from the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence for their exemplary leadership within their respective areas of expertise.





Marshall MartinMarshall Martin, Senior Associate Director of Agricultural Research, Assistant Dean and Professor Agricultural Economics, was honored by the Indiana Crop Improvement Association with the Indiana Crop Improvement Association and Seed Industry Meritorious Service Award. One of Dr. Martin's duties in Agricultural Research is working with the Indiana commodity groups on behalf of the College of Agriculture.





McKee and PearsonErika McKee (left), a sophomore in Animal Sciences and Alexis Pearson (right), a sophomore in Agricultural Education, received 2016 Leadership Seminar Scholarships from the Sigma Alpha Sorority Educational Foundation. Scholarship recipients were recognized for their outstanding leadership skills within Sigma Alpha Sorority, the community, and the university. Their scholarships cover the cost of attending a Leadership Seminar in St. Louis, Atlanta, Denver, or Pittsburgh.



Purdue Agriculture in the News


AgrAbility planning 25th anniversary activities

 AgrAbilityAgrAbility has entered 2016 with observances scheduled to commemorate 25 years of helping people in agriculture overcome their disabilities so they can continue to work and remain productive. The National AgrAbility Project, based at Purdue, is planning several activities during the year to celebrate its anniversary. AgrAbility, first authorized in the 1990 farm bill but with funding appropriations beginning in 1991, started with eight state projects and has grown to 20 this year along with six previously funded affiliate projects. Each project involves collaboration between a land-grant university and at least one nonprofit disability services organization. "The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities," said Paul Jones, manager of National AgrAbility Project. "Through education and assistance, AgrAbility helps to eliminate - or at least minimize - obstacles that inhibit success in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/agrability-planning-25th-anniversary-activities.html



Purdue innovation provides 'fingerprint' to identify foodborne pathogens, moves closer to production

BARDOTA Purdue University innovation that creates a "fingerprint-like pattern" to identify foodborne pathogens without using reagents has been licensed by Hettich Lab Technology, a company that designs, engineers and commercializes software and automated incubation systems for identifying pathogens using elastic light scatter techniques that fire lasers at a pathogen colony to create a light-scatter field that gives the pathogen a pattern or fingerprint. The patented device, called the Bacteria Rapid Detection using Optical Scattering Technology or BARDOT, has shown great promise in identifying dangerous pathogens such as Listeria, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Vibrio, and E. coli.  Other innovators of this technology are Dan Hirleman, Purdue's chief corporate and global partnerships officer; Arun Bhunia, professor of food science; Bartlomiej Rajwa, assistant professor of computational biology in the Bindley Bioscience Centter; and Euiwon Bae, senior research scientist in the School of Mechanical Engineering. The Purdue Center for Food Safety Engineering, under the leadership of director Dr. Lisa Mauer, also contributed to the development of the technology.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/purdue-innovation-provides-fingerprint-to-identify-foodborne-pathogens,-moves-closer-to-production.html


Controlling and avoiding mosquitoes helps minimize risk of Zika

mosquitoTaking steps to control mosquitoes and prevent bites can go a long way to protecting public health and curbing transmission of the Zika virus, says Purdue medical entomologist Catherine Hill. "There are a lot of questions surrounding Zika that we don't have answers to, and those uncertainties are making people uneasy - understandably so," said Hill, professor of entomology and Showalter Faculty Scholar. "But there's actually a lot we can do to control the mosquitoes that vector Zika and a number of steps people can take to minimize their risk of acquiring the virus." Zika, a flavivirus in the same group as dengue and chikungunya, requires a vehicle to spread - a mosquito. Controlling the mosquitoes that carry Zika can be an extremely effective way of reducing transmission of the virus, Hill said.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/controlling-and-avoiding-mosquitoes-helps-minimize-risk-of-zika.html


Purdue Extension 2015 Annual Report available online

Extension Annual ReportPurdue Extension has posted its 2015 annual report online, highlighting the ways in which its many programs educated and empowered millions of people throughout Indiana and helped promote economic vitality statewide. "We often find that people who are aware of Purdue Extension tend to know about only one facet of our organization," said Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and associate dean in the Purdue College of Agriculture. "This report provides a full picture of the breadth and depth of all that we do, with vibrant presentation, fast facts, powerful data and firsthand success stories from those we serve."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/purdue-extension-releases-annual-report-online.html


Market integration could help protect poor from climate-related food insecurity

Tom HertelGlobal market integration is key to buffering future commodity prices and food security from the negative effects of climate change on agriculture, says a distinguished professor of agricultural economics Thomas Hertel. Rising temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events will likely have adverse impacts on global crop production, leading to higher food prices and food scarcity. But global markets that have the ability to deliver food where it is needed most could help offset these consequences, he said. "If the pessimists are right, if we see the worst-case climate impacts in agriculture, what could we do in terms of economic adaptation?" he said in an interview before his presentation. "Trade agreements could significantly moderate some of the worst effects on food security."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/market-integration-could-help-protect-poor-from-climate-related-food-insecurity.html


Life science use of Purdue’s research supercomputers experiencing significant growth

Vikki WeakeVikki Weake’s lab has its eyes on genes involved in sight — and sight’s deterioration with aging — research that might lead to new ways of prolonging the eyes’ lifespan. The research involves sorting through changes in tens of thousands of genes from aging fruit flies, the lab’s model organism, and millions of pieces of sequencing data from those genes. That’s done, in part, with complex statistical models developed by Weake’s collaborator Rebecca Doerge, Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor of Statistics. Weake is one of a growing number of high-performance computing users from the life sciences on campus, particularly with the advent of the new Snyder cluster research supercomputer. From 2014 to 2015, nearly 100 new research groups began using Purdue’s Community Cluster Program supercomputers, the Research Data Depot data storage facility and related centralized resources from ITaP Research Computing. There were large increases in use by agriculture (54 percent), health and human sciences (57 percent) and biology (44 percent) along with new users in pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Full story: http://bit.ly/20rlGl6

Transgenic plants' 'die and let live' strategy dramatically increases drought resistance

Yahg ZhaoResearchers in Horticulture found that engineering plants to produce high levels of a protein known as PYL9 dramatically boosted drought tolerance in rice and the model plant Arabidopsis. Under severe drought conditions, the transgenic plants triggered the death of their old leaves - a process known as senescence - to conserve resources for seeds and buds, a survival strategy some plant scientists refer to as "die and let live." The study offers insights into the drought survival mechanisms of plants and presents a possible means of protecting crops from severe drought stress. Yang Zhao, first author of the study and research assistant in the Jian-Kang Zhu lab, found that engineering rice to produce high levels of the protein PYL9 can improve the crop's drought survival rate by 40 percent.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/transgenic-plants-die-and-let-live-strategy-dramatically-increases-drought-resistance.html


Purdue Extension's updated corn, soybean guide now available

Field GuideThe 2016 edition of Purdue Extension's Corn and Soybean Field Guide is now available at Extension's The Education Store. The new edition includes updated information on nitrogen rate guidelines and timing for nematode scouting. "We added timeframe tables to our nematode section to provide producers guidance on when to sample their fields for nematodes, which can feed on the roots of corn and soybeans and remove nutrients from the plant, resulting in significant damage," said Corey Gerber, director of Purdue's Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center. The pocket-sized guide provides expert guidance and practical information on all stages of corn and soybean production from planting up to harvest. It includes reference websites for fertilizer and pesticide recommendations, as well as color photographs for pest identification and crop growth staging. Other sections cover nutrient deficiencies, soil fertility and herbicide damage. Individual copies of the guide are available at The Education Store for $9. Bulk orders of 25 are available for $202.50. To order, go to https://edustore.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=ID-179 or call 888-398-4636, extension 46794. 


AgReliant Genetics collaborates with AgSoil Analytics to provide unique functional soil mapping technology

Phillip OwensAgReliant Genetics has announced its formal collaboration with AgSoil Analytics, Inc., a Purdue-affiliated company led by Purdue University agronomy professor Phillip Owens. This partnership will allow the integration of a soil-mapping technology that provides practical information about soil’s functionality and productivity within AgReliant's Advantage Acre® precision farming platform. "This soil mapping technology will provide AgReliant and its customers with a better understanding of not just soil characteristics, but how a soil type truly responds to the environment it is in," said Noah Freeman, manager of precision ag technologies. "The relationship between seed and soil is critical as we continue toward our goal of higher productivity and profit potential for our growers."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/agreliant-genetics-collaborates-with-agsoil-analytics-to-provide-unique-functional-soil-mapping-technology.html


Bedbug genome uncovers biology of a pest on the rebound

bedbugPurdue University researchers participated in a multi-institute project that sequenced the genome of the common bedbug, a blood-sucking insect that has reemerged globally as a hardy pest capable of withstanding most major classes of insecticides. The genome of Cimex lectularius uncovers the genetic underpinning of bedbugs' unique biology and offers new targets for controlling them. Purdue entomologists Ameya Gondhalekar and Michael Scharf contributed to the international effort by annotating the bugs' antioxidant genes, which detoxify the blood they ingest and likely play a role in disarming certain types of insecticides. Bedbugs have plagued humans for at least 3,000 years, emerging at night to feed on blood, their sole source of nutrition and water. Widespread use of insecticides in homes after World War II curtailed their numbers dramatically, but over the past two decades, the bedbug has rebounded from near eradication in many regions to extraordinary levels of infestation on every continent except Antarctica.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q1/bedbug-genome-uncovers-biology-of-a-pest-on-the-rebound.html


Dates and Deadlines

February 26: Deadline for nominations for the Faculty Engagement Scholar Award, Corps of Engagement Award, Faculty Engagement Fellow Award, Staff Engagement Award, Christian Foster Award. Details about the awards, including purpose, criteria and the general guidelines, are available here

February 29: The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering invites the College to join them at 3:30 pm in the Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall, as they honor Mr. Robert Vollmer with a Lifetime Service to the Profession Award. More information: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus/2016/February/VollmerEvent.pdf

March 4: Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Awards

March 14-18: Spring Break


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


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