Purdue Agriculture InFocus
June 2017
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From the Dean
Jay Akridge

While summer in the College is nearly as busy as the academic year with county fairs, PK-12 outreach programs, 4-H and FFA events, study abroad, summer courses, field research, conferences, and much more, summer also affords our leadership team a time to think about the future direction of the College. We had the chance to do just that at a couple of very productive full-day retreats last week. I want to share a few thoughts with you on the most important (and big!) idea we worked on: a new College-wide initiative in Digital Agriculture.

Digital Agriculture may be a new term to some of you, but nearly all of you have seen, heard, and/or experienced it in some way. The idea of collecting, integrating, and analyzing massive amounts of data to make more informed decisions – indeed, to make decisions never before possible – has been growing in agriculture for decades. We have called it “precision agriculture,” “site-specific farming,” “site specific management” and “data science.” We collect and use data on individual animals to monitor health and tailor nutrition programs. We use unmanned aerial systems to fly over forested properties to assess timber conditions. We collect and put data to work in more sophisticated ways every day – across the agriculture-food value chain and in the management of natural resources – indeed, in just about every area our College touches.

A few examples of ongoing work: Dennis Buckmaster (ABE) has led the Open Ag Data Alliance that focuses on making data available across types and brands of equipment; Bob Nielsen and Tony Vyn (AGRY) have explored the use of new approaches to measuring nitrogen utilization in corn. Bryan Pijanowski (FNR) is collecting sound recordings from across the globe that help us understand the health of the planet; Brian Dilkes (BCHM) is using bioinformatics tools to discover new ways to analyze genetic differences in plants and animals; Sylvie Brouder and Jeff Volenec (AGRY) have been leaders in developing protocols for building and managing massive data sets. Our plant sciences initiative has enabled us to collect more data in the last year than we have collected in the last decade. While our faculty and staff have been working in these areas for a long time, this Digital Agriculture initiative will enable us to move to a new level that embeds data and analytics across the work we do.

The increased push for data-driven decisions in agriculture and life sciences creates new and exciting opportunities for our students as well. We hear it regularly from industry: today’s employers want students with skills beyond what we have traditionally offered—our students must be able to use new computational skills to make decisions in a data rich environment.

Of course, this focus on ‘Big Data’ has created important educational needs for our stakeholders – everything from the farmer looking to maximize the value of a precision agriculture program, to a community leader who wants to build a new economic development strategy based on data never before accessible.

With such a groundswell from our faculty and staff, as well as industry, new opportunities for our students, and the educational needs of our stakeholders, it is time we take a national leadership role in this space. To that end, we will be launching a cluster-hire program this fall and filling five faculty positions in Digital Agriculture over the next two years.

Already, we teach at least 15 courses in this broad area. It is time to review what we have and ask what is missing in our undergraduate and graduate programs and how we partner with other units across campus to knit courses together for a minor, major or certificate in this space. We need to reach across the university and deepen/formalize research and teaching partnerships. We need to enhance our Extension offerings and move quickly to enter important areas that are emerging. And, we need to consider what opportunities an initiative like this can create for our international programs.

There is no question that there will be interesting industry partnerships to explore as well – some with our traditional partners and some with new partners. We have already been working with companies such as Hewlett Packard-Enterprises (HP-E) in this space and we are cultivating relationships with other partners that have an interest in digital agriculture.

Big ideas like this usually “simmer” for a while before being ready to serve up, and this one has been on the burner with our faculty, staff, and students for long enough. The time is right to respond to the energy and opportunity in this area with a bold new initiative—an initiative that my interim appointment in Hovde can’t slow down. Our leadership team is firmly behind this idea, and with the full engagement of our faculty and staff, Karen will be moving this Digital Agriculture initiative forward on an aggressive timeline this fall. I firmly believe this is an exciting next chapter for our College, one that touches every department and every mission...and is exactly what we need to be doing to serve the needs of our rapidly evolving industry. You will hear more from Karen about Digital Agriculture over the coming months.

As you all know, the next issue of InFocus will be Karen’s. I could not be more excited about her leadership of the College while I serve as Interim Provost and Chief Diversity Officer. I will certainly miss being in the middle of the College’s great work, but I am looking forward to working with President Daniels and serving the university I love in a different way. And, I do look forward to hearing about all the great things you will do under Karen’s leadership!

All the best,
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Purdue Agriculture People
Shams Rahmani
The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The April spotlight is on Shams Rahmani, Agronomy.
Barbara Golden
The May Graduate Research Spotlight is on Fatemeh Sheibani, Horticulture.
Obed Hernandez-Gomez
Linda Mason, Entomology, has been named Interim Dean of Purdue's Graduate School, effective August 1.
Raymond Florax
Brianda Elzey, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Food Science, has been awarded a George Washington Carver Doctoral Fellowship
Kelly Delp
Distinguished Agriculture Alum elected to National Academy of Sciences
Craig S. Pikaard, PhD 1985, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Pikaard is a distinguished professor of biology at Indiana University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Betty Moore Foundation investigator. His research focuses at the intersection of plant epigenetics and human disease.
Kelly Delp
Fred Whitford, Botany and Plant Pathology, has authored a new book, Scattering the Seeds of Knowledge, that examines the early history of Purdue Extension and how Extension specialists helped develop solutions to the challenges facing farmers a century ago. He says the book shows the impact of Extension: "You can see agriculture changing because of what Extension specialists did. We brought science to the farm.”
And Justice for All
A reminder about tracking civil rights and diversity training
The 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. We have a formal tracking system in place to verify that all faculty, staff and graduate students receive appropriate training in civil rights and diversity issues each year. 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
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.
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Awards and Recognitions
Jay Akridge
Mary Catherine Aime, Botany and Plant Pathology, is the recipient of the 2017 Agriculture Research Award for her significant contributions and excellence in research to agriculture, natural resources and quality of life across the globe. The award is presented annually to honor an outstanding mid-career faculty member.
Monika Ivantysynova
Indrajeet Chaubey, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and International Programs in Agriculture, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
Jozef Kokini
Frank Dooley, vice provost for teaching and learning and professor of agricul-tural economics, has been promoted to senior vice provost for teaching and learning. Frank will lead the coordination of academic and support functions for the new public university being created by the acquisition of Kaplan University, in addition to his current duties.
Suzanne Nielsen
Mike Gunderson, Agricultural Economics, has been named 2017-2018 Chair-Elect of the Agribusiness Economics and Management (AEM) section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
Haley Oliver
Peter Hirst, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, has been named a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences. Election as a Fellow is the highest honor that the ASHS bestows on its members, in recognition of outstanding contributions to horticulture and the Society.
Maria Sepúlveda
Michael Ladisch, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineer-ing professionals, with more than 50,000 members from over 100 countries.
Brittini Brown
Liz Flaherty and Patrick Zollner , both in Forestry and Natural Resources, were named recipients of the Association of Public and Land-grant University’s 2017 Innovative Teaching Award.
Animal Sciences students Tanner Wise, Clint Peacock, Sydney Hancock and Lexi Weldon
Maria Marshall , Agricultural Economics, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award. She is being recog-nized for her extensive work that impacts the livelihoods of small and family businesses. 
Maria Sepúlveda
Dan Szymanski, Botany and Plant Pathology, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists. The ASPB has about 4,000 members and publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals, The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology.
Brittini Brown
Rick Foster (lead), Greg Hunt, Christian Krupke, John Obermeyer, Doug Richmond, Cliff Sadof, and Fred Whitfordreceived the 2017 Entomology Educational Project Award from the Certified Entomologists of Mid-America for the Extension series “Protecting Pollina-tors." 
Animal Sciences students Tanner Wise, Clint Peacock, Sydney Hancock and Lexi Weldon
Leanne McGiveron, AgIT, earned her Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP) certification through the Business Relationship Management Institute. This is an important award for the strategic work AgIT is doing in standing up the IT Relationship Management program. 
Maria Sepúlveda
Shelly Wischmeier (left), Account Clerk in Forestry and Natural Resources; Sheri Fell (center), Business Assistant in Food Science; and Susan Kremer (right), Business Manager for ARP, Plant Science, PACS and Ag Fund Accountant, are the 2017 winners of the College of Agriculture Business Office Service Award. 
Brittini Brown
The Purdue Agricultural and Biological EngineeringTeam was named the overall winner of the 2017 1/4-scale Tractor Student Design Competi-tion held June 1-4 in Peoria, Illinois, earning a $1,500 cash prize and $2,000 in scholar-ships. 
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Purdue Agriculture in the News
W. Andy Tao
Purdue Ag leaders join commission to solve U.S., global food and nutrition security challenges
Three Purdue leadersJay Akridge, Gebisa Ejeta, and Vic Lechtenbergare part of a national commission announced in May as part of a comprehensive, coordinated effort to solve food and nutrition security challenges in the U.S. and abroad that pose significant humanitarian, environmental, and national security risks. The Challenge of Change Commission is comprised of 34 prominent university, government, non-governmental organizations, and business leaders.
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Joseph Irudayaraj
Study: Food ingredient blends more sensitive to climate change
Lisa Mauer, Food Science, led a recent Purdue study that deciphers why food ingredient blends are more sensitive to changes in climate than single ingredients. Understanding how food ingredients interact differently when blended can help those in the industry consider best practices to handle or package their product for a longer shelf life.The study was featured on the cover of the May edition of the Journal of Food Science.
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hydroponic lettuce
FoodLink launches new, updated resources for 2017
After a successful first year, Purdue Extension’s FoodLink is serving up a full menu of new online resources to help consumers prepare convenient, healthy meals. FoodLink is a free online information hub with nutrition facts, recipes and purchasing tips for nearly 60 fruits, vegetables and herbs. This year, the website features 19 new foods and dozens of new recipes, said Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension-Hancock County educator and one of the program administrators.
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Kingsly Ambrose
Research reveals Integrated Pest Management best option for treatment of soybean aphids

A two-year, multi-state study revealed that even during periods of infestation by the soybean aphid, the neonicotinoid treatment produced the same yields as using no insecticide at all. Christian Krupke, Entomology, participated in the research and was an author of the study.  The study was a joint effort of Purdue University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, the University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University, and the University of Wisconsin. 

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U2U Logo
Seminar to focus on ag finance for non-financial managers

The Center for Food and Agricultural Business will host a four-day seminar in July to help non-financial managers better understand how their decisions impact profitability. Agribusiness Finance for Non-Financial Managers is July 18-21 on the university’s West Lafayette campus. Instructors include Michael Gunderson, associate professor of agricultural economics and associate center director; Michael Boehlje, distinguished professor of agricultural economics; and Jaclyn Kropp, assistant professor of food and resource economics at the University of Florida.

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fruit trees
Mosquitoes and ticks – little pests carry big risks
While researchers say it is difficult to determine whether unusual weather patterns this winter and spring have led to larger mosquito and tick populations in the Upper Midwest this summer, one thing is certain: anyone planning to spend time outdoors should take steps to avoid the potentially dangerous pests. “If you’re going to be outside anytime from early spring to late summer and early fall, you need to be thinking about prevention and protection,” says Catherine Hill, Entomology.
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Ag Economy Barometer
Purdue Extension training program helps local schools connect with local farmers

Local educators and community members can learn how to provide elementary and high school students with healthy meals and nutrition education through a new training program offered by Purdue Extension in partnership with the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education (SARE) program. The Farm-to-School Professional Development Training initiative will help connect local schools with area farmers, said program organizer Jodee Ellett, local foods coordinator for Purdue Extension.

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Thomas Hertel
Trees are moving westward in response to precipitation changes, Purdue study reveals
After analyzing extensive data collected on 86 tree species in the eastern United States, a research team led by Songlin Fei, Forestry and Natural Resources, found that over the past 30 years, most trees have been shifting westward or northward in response to climate change. The research, based on the analysis of 30 years of data gathered by the U.S. Forest Service, was published in Science Advances on May 17. 
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Thomas Hertel
Corn seed treatment insecticides pose risks to honey bees, yield benefits elusive
Nearly every foraging honey bee in the state of Indiana will encounter neonicotinoids during corn planting season, and the common seed treatments produced no improvement in crop yield, according to a Purdue University study led by Christian Krupke, Entomology. The United States is losing about one-third of its honeybee hives each year, a significant problem since the bees pollinate many crops used to feed people and livestock. Neonicotinoids, which are highly toxic to honeybees, are being scrutinized as a possible contributor to the losses.
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Thomas Hertel
Purdue to host nearly 350 educators for 63rd annual NACTA Conference
Innovations in education related to agriculture will be among hundreds of topics explored during the 63rd annual North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference June 28 - July 1, 2017, at Purdue. The annual event gives hundreds of educators from all over the United States and Canada the opportunity to attend workshops, review more than 300 oral and posters presentations, and hear from some of the top leaders in the field.
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Faculty Retirements - May and June
Philip Abbott, Agricultural Economics
Freddie Barnard, Agricultural Economics
James Binkley, Agricultural Economics
Mike Boehlje, Agricultural Economics
Daniel Cassens, Forestry and Natural Resources
Harry Charbonneau, Biochemistry
Pete Dunn, Entomology
John Graveel, Agronomy
Gerald Harrison, Agricultural Economics
Patricia (Scotti) Hester, Animal Sciences
Greg Hunt, Entomology
Bob Joly, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer, Agricultural Economics
Kevin McNamara, Agricultural Economics
Bill Muir, Animal Sciences
John Patterson, Animal Sciences
Jerry Peters, Youth Development and Agricultural Education
David Rhodes, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Tom Turpin, Entomology
Steve Weller, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Faculty Resignations

Joseph Irudayaraj, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Brad Joern, Agronomy
Kiersten Wise, Botany and Plant Pathology
Jennifer Zaspel, Entomology
Staff Retirements
Victoria Cassens, CERIS
Philip Hess, Agronomy
Teresa Witkoske, Purdue Extension
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Dates and Deadlines
August 4-20: Indiana State Fair
August 7-8: New Faculty Tour
August 21: Fall Semester begins
September 23: Homecoming
September 25: College of Agriculture Annual Entrepreneurship Event
October 3: College of Agriculture Fall Career Fair
December 4: College of Agriculture Faculty Meeting
For more dates and deadlines, check the Purdue Agriculture calendar.
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University News
Major investment in multi-user equipment significantly improves Purdue’s research infrastructure
The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships (EVPRP) is pleased to announce eight awards to acquire major multi-user scientific instruments that will invigorate and accelerate research projects across the West Lafayette campus. These projects were made possible by support from the Office of the President and approved for funding in the 2017 spring semester. The investment was enabled by the record research expenditures in fiscal year 2016 of over $622 million, and recognizes and further supports faculty successes in research as well as their efforts to compete for sponsored research awards.
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NewU board OKs tuition rates for Indiana residents, Purdue employees
The Board of Trustees for Purdue’s new affiliated institution, currently referred to as NewU, approved plans to offer a dramatic tuition discount for Indiana resident students and free tuition for Purdue employees. The new Indiana resident rate, also approved by Kaplan University’s trustees, will take effect at the beginning of KU’s next academic term. The faculty/staff tuition policy will take effect when Purdue NewU becomes operational. Purdue employees will be able to take degree and non-degree programs tuition-free, and a spouse, child or immediate family member (sons/daughters-in-law, grandchildren and step-grandchildren) will receive a 50 percent tuition discount.
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Purdue trustees endorse WL campus tuition freeze, 2.5 percent merit pay increase
The Purdue University Board of Trustees’ Finance and Executive committees, acting on behalf of the board, endorsed a proposed tuition freeze for resident, nonresident and international students at the West Lafayette campus through the next two academic years, making a total of six years of no change in base tuition. At the same time, the committees approved the proposed all-funds conceptual operating budget for fiscal year 2018, which will provide for a 2.5 percent merit pay increase for employees at West Lafayette, with 0.5 percent contingent on supporting institutional priorities. The budget also includes investments in the university’s Purdue Moves and Think Summer initiatives.

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