Purdue Agriculture InFocus

April 2019

Purdue Ag People
Purdue Ag in the News
Dates and Deadlines
University News
From the Dean

Karen Plaut
Sustainable Solutions for Agriculture.  That is what the last few weeks on campus have brought us: an opportunity to educate people and think about the current practices and future oppor-tunities for agriculture, food and natural resources and to think about how to develop sustainable solutions for the future. It all started on April 1 with Ag Week, a student organized event to help introduce the rest of campus to agriculture. Some numbers from Ag Week: On Milk Monday, students served 1,000 grilled cheese sandwiches and 1,000 cups of Boiler Tracks ice cream. Tuesday’s feature event was Hammer Down Hunger, where 1,000 volunteers packed 150,000 meals for distribution to those in need in Greater Lafayette as well as Haiti and Honduras. On Wednesday, students served 1,150 sausage breakfast sandwiches and on Thursday, the line of 1,500 stretched around Memorial Mall to get hamburgers. Ag Week wrapped up on Fry-Day, when students served free fries for more than four hours. More than half of the people who were served were from outside the College of Agriculture and while free food may have drawn them in, they also got more information on where their food comes from. Congratulations to Alexie Schroeder and all our students for their unbelievable work and dedication to spreading the word about food and agriculture. 

A highlight of Ag Week was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s visit to campus and his public conversation with President Mitch Daniels. Speaking to a standing room only audience, the Secretary and President discussed many issues important to agriculture including trade; workforce development; the use of gene editing technologies in developing a sustainable agricultural system; the importance of agriculture; and the importance of people. Secretary Perdue had one important connection to Purdue: he took an executive education class taught by Dr. Dave Downey, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Economics, that he said made a big difference in his career (Dr. Downey flew in from Arizona just to attend this event). It was great to hear about the impact that one of our Boilermakers had on the Secretary. 

While these events were spectacular, they were just the start of this month’s discussions on sustainable solutions for the planet. Chef Joseph Yoon of Brooklyn Bugs, invited by Andrea Liceaga of Food Science, gave a lecture to a packed room to discuss “What IF we used insects as our protein source?” Not only did we learn about the small amount of water and land that insects use, we also learned that 80% of the world’s countries eat insects as part of their food supply! This entertaining and tasty event led right into Spring Fest, with a weekend of perfect weather that brought thousands of community visitors to campus. Clubs and departments from all across campus had activities that not only entertained but also demonstrated the importance of food, agriculture and natural resources for our planet. From plant necklaces, to cricket eating (and spitting), to lessons about insects and interacting with live animals, both children and parents learned a lot and had great fun. 

The following week, we moved on to a global perspective with “What IF we end global hunger?”, a colloquium that brought thought leaders from around the world together to talk about what steps are needed to end global hunger. Speakers discussed nutrition security, global policies, the use of technology, and many other topics. All agreed on the fact that hunger has been on the rise in the last three years and that we have a moral imperative to provide nutrition security and end global hunger. Well-known author Roger Thurow is summarizing the colloquium’s discussions and will help us formulate a roadmap for the future. While the Ending Global Hunger Colloquium was happening on campus, a Purdue group was in Washington DC, where together with individuals from the African Development Bank, they launched the Scale Up Source Book that was put together as result of our September Scale UP Conference. This sourcebook provides an e- blueprint for scaling up new technologies in developing countries and will serve as a very valuable reference for the future.   

These are just a few of the exciting things happening now and being planned in the College of Agriculture as we look forward to a sustainable future for agriculture, food and our natural resources. With the leadership of our faculty, staff and students in addressing these big issues, I know we will be on the front lines of the innovation that will make a difference around the world.

All the best,
Karen signature

Purdue Ag People

Omar Zayed Graduate Research Spotlight: Omar Zayed 

The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The April spotlight is on Omar Zayed, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
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Jarrod Doucette Behind the Research: Jarrod Doucette

Many people are involved in the remarkable range of programs, services and facilities that undergird research in the College of Agriculture. Collectively they are integral to the college fulfilling its research mission. “Behind the Research” explores their individual roles. Each academic year, we profile six people whose work supports the College of Agriculture’s global reputation for developing innovative, multidisciplinary solutions to challenges and then putting those solutions into action. This month we profile Jarrod Doucette, Forestry and Natural Resources.
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Horticulture Finalists named for Head of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

After conducting a national search, three finalists for the positon of Department Head of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture will interview in late April/early May. Each finalist will give a 40-45 minute public presentation followed by audience questions. Finalists and their presentation dates are below. All presentations will be in the Deans Auditorium, room 241 Pfendler Hall, at 9:00 a.m. Candidate information including CVs and feedback survey links is here: https://ag.purdue.edu/hla/Pages/Department-Head-Search.aspx
  • Dr. Reid Smeda, University of Missouri – Thursday, April 25
  • Dr. David Kopsell, Illinois State University – Monday, April 29
  • Dr. Steven Vaughn, USDA, Agricultural Research Service – Wednesday, May 1
Team Stroy Environmentally friendly soy straws win ISA annual competition

A soybean-based drinking straw earned top honors at this year’s Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition funded by the Indiana Soybean Checkoff. The contest encourages students to develop novel applications for soybeans that meet a market need.
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Graduate with banner Register to attend Commencement receptions  

Mark your calendars for the spring Commencement receptions honoring our graduates. As always, we welcome you to join us for these events to celebrate the students that you have worked with over the last several years. Faculty and staff ONLY can register at this link for either or both the graduate student and undergraduate receptions. Registration is required and due by Friday, May 3 at 5:00 p.m.
Search underway for Head of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 

Dr. Stephen Cameron, Department Head of Entomology, is chairing the search advisory committee for the next head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. The following faculty, staff and student are serving on the committee:  
  • Sarah Daly, Graduate Association President
  • Jane Frankenberger, Professor 
  • Sherry Harbin, Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Klein Ileleji, Professor
  • Jian Jin, Assistant Professor
  • Sara McMillan, Associate Professor
  • Martin Okos, Professor
  • Shweta Singh, Assistant Professor
  • Robert Stwalley, Assistant Professor
  • David Umulis, Associate Professor 
  • Nikki Zimmerman, Graduate Program Administrator
Please send your recommendations of nominees to Becky Rice (rdr@purdue.edu).
Search begins for Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs  

Dr. Marcos Fernandez has announced that he will move away from his administrative role to be a full-time member of the Animal Sciences faculty, effective January 2020. The following faculty, staff and students have agreed to serve on the search advisory committee for the next associate dean and director of academic programs:  
  • Pamala Morris, Assistant Dean and Director of Multicultural Programs in Agriculture, Search Chair
  • Nathan Bowser, Undergraduate Student, Agronomy
  • Bailee Cook, Undergraduate Student, Agricultural Economics
  • Amanda Deering, Clinical Assistant Professor, Food Science
  • Levon Esters, Associate Professor, Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication
  • Elizabeth Flaherty, Assistant Professor, Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Tim Kerr, Senior Assistant Director, Academic Programs
  • Jayson Lusk, Department Head and Distinguished Professor, Agricultural Economics
  • Maureen Manier, Department Head, Agricultural Communication
  • Christopher Oakley, Assistant Professor, Botany and Plant Pathology
  • Linda Prokopy, Professor, Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Scott Radcliffe, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences
  • Daniel Taylor, Assistant to the Department Head, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Kranthi Varala, Assistant Professor, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Please send your recommendations of nominees to Becky Rice (rdr@purdue.edu).
Justice for All graphic Don’t forget to track Civil Rights and Diversity Training  

All Purdue Agriculture faculty and staff members are required to receive training in civil rights (the regulations), diversity awareness or sexual harassment each year. Rather than mandate a specific training, we ask that you attend any training that fits your needs and interests and enhances your knowledge and understanding of diversity, civil rights or sexual harassment. Please use our Qualtrics survey tool to report training activities.
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Foresters Conclave
Purdue hosts Foresters Conclave

More than 160 college students from around the Midwest participated in the 67th Midwestern Foresters’ Conclave hosted by Purdue at Martell Woods. The two-day event featured competitions in log rolling, wood chopping, sawing, timber tossing, ax throwing (at targets), wood identification, dendrology and tobacco spitting.
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Awards and Recognitions

Justin Couetil
Justin Couetil, Biochemistry, received Purdue’s 2019 G.A. Ross Award, given to the university’s outstanding senior man.
MANRRS Group The Purdue MANRRS Chapter received several awards at the National MANRRS Conference. Full list here
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Purdue Ag in the News

Paul Ebner with Cairo Official USAID and Cairo University establish Center of Excellence for Agriculture with Purdue and others

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a five-year, $30 million cooperative project with Cairo University and four U.S. land-grant universities, including Purdue, to create a Center of Excellence for Agriculture in the Faculty of Agriculture (COEA) at Cairo University.
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CAPES Fellows Program signing Brazil and Purdue launch new graduate fellowship program in agriculture

The College of Agriculture and the Brazilian Ministry of Education through CAPES, a public foundation for the development of graduate education in Brazil, have signed an agreement to establish the CAPES-Purdue Agriculture Ph.D. Fellows program.  
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Forest fungus U.S. forests’ changes are double-edged sword for environment

Climate change, nitrogen deposition and fire suppression are leading to shifts in the types of trees that dominate American forests. A study led by Songlin Fei, Forestry and Natural Resources, says the environmental consequences of these changes will potentially be both positive and negative.
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Sylvie Brouder How to feed the world while preserving the environment

Sylvie Brouder, Agronomy, works to help farmers get the most out of their fields while reducing the potential for environmental harm. Her work focuses on carbon and nitrogen cycling in soil, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality impacts of farming. 
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March Barometer Farms showing financial stress, producers express concern about future conditions

Producer sentiment weakened slightly in late winter, according to the March Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reading. The barometer declined 3 points to a reading of 133, down from 136 in February.
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Gerald Shively Purdue joins U.N. network to tackle global challenges

Purdue University has joined the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), designed to bring together international scientific and technological expertise to address global challenges. Gerald Shively, Associate Dean and Director of International Programs in Agriculture, will serve as Purdue’s SDSN liaison.
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Cricket Egg dish Bug Appétit: Working toward wide-scale adoption of alternative proteins

“How long until humans start eating insects?” Andrea Liceaga, Food Science, asked. “We already are and we have been for hundreds of thousands of years. Now, how long until Americans start eating insects? That’s a different question.”
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Gene editing graphic New protein for gene editing may improve disease treatment, crops, sustainable manufacturing

Kevin Solomon, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, leads a team of Purdue researchers that has developed a new technology that could change how gene editing is approached in the future. The research team presented the work on April 4 at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in early April.
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Beescape Online tool identifies best, safest places to keep bees

A new online tool, developed by entomologists from Penn State University in partnership with Brock Harpur, Entomology, and other collaborators at the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota and Dickinson College, helps beekeepers identify safe places to establish their colonies.
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Betty Feng Purdue offers courses for food safety professionals

Dr. Yaohua “Betty” Feng, Food Science, will lead two multi-day courses for food safety professionals that address preventive controls and requirements for food importers, while also learning more about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of training.
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agBOT graphic 'What IF High-Speed Broadband Reached Everyone?'

The College of Agriculture has partnered with Gerrish Farms for the NextGen Expo and agBOTChallenge 2019, which will take place May 16-18 at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE). The events provide a venue for farmers, entrepreneurs, teachers, club leaders, students and agtech innovators to see a variety of unmanned machine innovations and participate in hand-on activities.
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Purdue Extension graphic Purdue Extension helps producers ensure successful hay harvest

With the hay harvest just a few weeks away, two free “Beef Tips” videos now available from Purdue Extension could help Indiana beef producers maximize the quality and quantity of their forage crops. The videos were developed by Ron Lemenager, Extension beef specialist, and Keith Johnson, Extension forage specialist.
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Dates and Deadlines

April 24: College of Agriculture Awards Banquet

April 24: Purdue Day of Giving

April 25-26: World Food Prize Youth Institute

May 10: Grad Student Commencement and Reception

May 11: Undergraduate Student Commencement and Reception

May 13-14: Microbiome Symposium

May 16-18: AgBOT Challenge

August 2-18: Indiana State Fair

September 13: Scholarship Dinner

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

Entrepreneurial academy advances faculty commercialization possibilities

The Entrepreneurial Learning Academy is accepting applications from Purdue faculty interested in finding out more about the commercialization possibilities for their research. Tenured or tenure-track faculty including research and clinical faculty are eligible.
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Board approves winter recess for 2019-20

At the recommendation of President Mitch Daniels, Purdue University’s Board of Trustees on April 12 approved for 2019 the addition of a four-day winter recess on Dec. 23, 27, 30 and 31 for faculty and staff on the West Lafayette, Northwest and Fort Wayne campuses. The four days are in addition to approved university holidays already scheduled for Dec. 24, 25, 26 and Jan. 1, 2020.
NASA picks Purdue for new institute researching space habitats

NASA announced that Shirley Dyke, a Purdue engineering professor, will lead a new research institute dedicated to designing and operating deep space habitats. She will lead the new Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats institute (RETHi) to be located in West Lafayette.
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‘Transformative' microscope to be installed at Purdue

Purdue has partnered with five other organizations known for advanced life sciences research to purchase a Thermo Scientific Krios G3i Cryo Transmission Electron Microscope. The microscope will be housed in the CryoEM facility at the Wayne T. and Mary T. Hockmeyer Hall of Structural Biology.
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Feedback sought regarding Purdue’s Institutional Review Boards

Purdue's Human Research Protection Program and associated Institutional Review Boards have undergone significant changes over the past 18 months. The Purdue research community is being asked for its feedback regarding the changes as well as for suggestions regarding future process improvements.
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Boiler Up Against Hate and Bias logo Report Hate and Bias

Purdue 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 www.purdue.edu/report-hate 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.
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