Purdue Agriculture InFocus

February 2021

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

Looking to the Future

As a College, it is important that we work towards the future even as we continue to stay vigilant against COVID-19 and its impacts. Over the last year, we have been developing our 2021-2026 strategic plan. Many faculty, staff and stakeholders worked with us to provide content and critical review of the plan, and I am happy to report the plan is now available on our website at ag.purdue.edu/strategic_plan/.            

Let me articulate a few highlights of the plan that will help our College move forward over the next five years starting with our vision: Achieve worldwide leadership in growing a sustainable future addressing challenges in food, life and natural resource sciences while working across disciplines. 

The theme of the plan is “Growing a Sustainable Future” because sustainability must underpin much of what we do, including:
  • In undergraduate education, sustainability means we prepare our students for the jobs of the future so they have careers that are impactful long past their days in the classroom.  
  • In Extension, sustainability means supporting rural communities and helping them to determine their future.  
  • For research, sustainability means being on the cutting edge and answering questions that are important for the future and have impact.  
In all areas of our college, we must build a future that is sustainable and allows Purdue Agriculture to continue to be a global leader. Our strategic plan is built around four foundational themes – Inclusive Excellence, Teaching, Discovery and Engagement
Inclusive Excellence, which focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion, is about building a culture and climate that enables everyone to succeed. This foundation allows us to excel in teaching, discovery and engagement by creating an environment where opinions and ideas are valued and integrated into our mission. 

Just like inclusive excellence, we incorporate global leadership into everything we do. In today’s society, the role of agriculture, food and natural resource sciences is important across the world and we have to apply that global lens in all that we do as a College.

We believe in a world where everyone has access to innovative education, cutting-edge research, and Extension resources to help provide impactful answers to challenges in their community whether local or global.

Periodically, I will use this column to describe the various aspects of the strategic plan and some benchmarks we have developed to track our progress. Right now, we are focusing on melting snow, getting through the semester safely and starting to make progress on our plan.

Purdue Ag People

Ranjeeta Adhikari Graduate Ag Research Spotlight: Ranjeeta Adhikari

The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The February spotlight is on Ranjeeta Adhikari, PhD student, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
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Kirby Kalbaugh Behind the Research: Kirby Kalbaugh

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. This month’s spotlight is on Kirby Kalbaugh, applications and systems administrator, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
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Barry Pittendrigh Purdue welcomes back former professor as endowed chair

Barry Pittendrigh is the new Osmun Endowed Chair in Urban Entomology and will focus much of his efforts on using his knowledge of insect genomics and evolution of resistance to pesticides. 
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Christian Butzke Faculty ambassador program aims to support ag innovators

Christian Butzke, Food Science, has been named the first innovation and entrepreneurship fellow as part of a new campus wide program to help connect Purdue University innovators with novel paths for entrepreneurship and commercialization. 
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John Blanton New Animal Sciences department head joins Purdue Agriculture

John Blanton began his new role as Department Head of Animal Sciences on Feb. 1. Blanton comes to Purdue Agriculture from Mississippi State University where he served as professor and department head since 2013.
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College names 2021 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni

Four individuals have been chosen to receive 2021 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Awards. The Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award was created in 1992 to recognize mid-career alumni of the College of Agriculture. 

W. Kess Berg, Chief Technical Officer, Advanced Agrilytics (MS ’02, PhD ’04, Agronomy)

Rachel Cumberbatch, Director of International and Regulatory Affairs, Animal Health Institute (BS ’07, DVM ’11, Animal Sciences)

Jing-Ke Weng, Associate Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD ’09, Biochemistry)

Amanda Wuestefeld, Director, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (BS ’96, Forestry & Natural Resources)

Recipients from both 2020 and 2021 will be recognized in a virtual ceremony on Friday, March 19.
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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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Awards and Recognitions

Brian Dilkes Haley Oliver Aaron Patton
Brian Dilkes, Biochemistry; Haley Oliver, Food Science; and Aaron Patton, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, were named University Faculty Scholars for 2021. The University Faculty Scholars program recognizes those deemed to be on an accelerated path for academic distinction.
Andy Oppy Jo Thomas
Andy Oppy and Jo Thomas, both of Agricultural Economics, were recently honored by the Purdue Academic Advising Association. Oppy received the Outstanding Advisor Award and Thomas received the Outstanding New Advisor Award.
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Purdue Ag in the News

Purdue Ag Economics Purdue & IU McKinney partner to offer first dual degree program in ag law

Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics and Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law have joined forces to create the first MJ-MS ag economics and law program in the nation.
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Gone Fishin Sign Virtual alumni pitching event opens doors for Purdue startups

The Purdue Ag Alumni Association hosted Fish Tank, a virtual pitching event held during its Gone Fishin' event, the virtual alternative to its annual Fish Fry. Twelve Purdue startups pitched their innovations to ag leaders, alumni and business executives.
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Extension Impact Report Purdue Extension shares impactful stories from 2020

Purdue Extension has released its 2020 annual impact report sharing the many ways Extension served Hoosiers as an educational partner during the past year.
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Simpson and Chapple Purdue scientists develop methods to improve molecular identification in plants

Uncovering the complex associations among genes, proteins and the molecules they produce in a living organism can be a monumental task. Some scientists may devote entire careers to one particular protein and spend decades tracking a handful of metabolic pathways.
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Mike Ladisch Scientists use doppler to peer inside cells

Doppler radar improves lives by peeking inside air masses to predict the weather. A Purdue team is using similar technology to look inside living cells, introducing a method to detect pathogens and treat infections in ways that scientists never have before.
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Candance Croney Pigs can be taught how to use joysticks, experiment finds

The intelligence of pigs has long been renowned -- and scientists in the U.S. - including Candace Croney, Animal Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine -  have now found that they are clever enough to be able to use computer joysticks.
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Davide Cammarano Ag-Analytics and agronomy professor announce research partnership

Ag-Analytics and Davide Cammarano, Agronomy, have announced a recently established research partnership. Using precision agriculture data, Cammarano’s research team will develop farm management strategies that optimize economic outcomes for businesses and individuals.
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Jayson Lusk Purdue-developed dashboards offer timely food supply info during crises

Jayson Lusk, Agricultural Economics, leads a partnership among Purdue University, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and Microsoft to create open-access online dashboards that can track and report the factors that could lead to food supply disruptions during national and global emergencies.
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Grain Dust Explosions 2020 grain dust explosions result in zero fatalities

Kingsly Ambrose, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, recently released the 2020 annual grain dust explosions report that catalogues the number of deaths and injuries nationwide.
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Madelyn Zimmerman Indiana 4-Her leads nationally

Madelyn Zimmerman, Milford, Ind., began her 4-H story in the third grade with a limited agriculture background. Now, 12 years later, Zimmerman is the 2021 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Agriculture winner, Indiana’s first, and a passionate advocate for agriculture education and inclusion.
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Aaron Walz Ag Data Services: Turning data sets into data assets

Ag Data Services (ADS) is a new team within the College of Agriculture supporting researchers through the important steps between collecting data and applying it to discovery. 
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Betty Feng COVID pandemic can lead to better food safety

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many people practicing better hand-washing and sanitation practices in their homes to stop the spread of the virus. A team of food scientists led by Purdue University believes that poses an opportunity to thwart foodborne illnesses.
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Dates and Deadlines

March 2: Global Agriculture Innovation Forum

March 19: College of Agriculture Distinguished Ag Alumni Ceremony - Virtual

April 22: College of Agriculture Spring Awards Banquet - Virtual

May 8: Semester Ends

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University News

New mix could double concrete's carbon intake

Purdue University engineers have discovered a way to make concrete more sustainable. Their new recipe for concrete has the potential to cut carbon emissions dramatically, creating building blocks for a better world.
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Purdue testing lab able to detect UK variant of COVID-19 virus

Innovators at Purdue’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) have used their expertise to make the on-campus testing facility one of the only labs in Indiana actively looking for and able to detect the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus.
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