Purdue Agriculture InFocus

November 2020

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

A Different Thanksgiving

The Good News: We have made it to the end of residential instruction for our students. We are able to send students home saying – We did it.  Purdue students showed what can be done when we all work together as a team.

I am proud of each and every student and every single faculty and staff member who did all they could to provide a residential learning experience for our students. 

Highlighting Achievements

Despite a semester that was unlike any other, our students and faculty excelled in many ways. Grace Johnson, one of our Natural Resources and Environmental Science students, was one of 55 students in the U.S. to win a Udall Scholarship for her efforts on environmental policy.

Zachary Brown, a graduate student in Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication (formerly YDAE) became the national graduate student president of Minorities in Agriculture Resources and Related Sciences organization, and Elizabeth Flaherty, a faculty member in Forestry and Natural Resources, won both the Murphy Award from Purdue and the USDA Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.

Continuing to Deliver

In agriculture, we recovered from the one of the biggest shocks the food supply chain has experienced in recent years. The industry rose to the challenge and, as a result, we are still able to provide the ingredients everyone needs for a delicious Thanksgiving meal.  

Our research and Extension faculty continue to think about Thanksgiving in many different ways. Jayson Lusk, head of Agricultural Economics, cautions us that our holiday meal will cost more this year, including wholesale turkey prices which are about 15 percent higher than last year. 

With many looking at smaller gatherings this year, Darrin Karcher, faculty member in Animal Sciences, encourages us to think about alternatives, like duck, for Thanksgiving. Indiana is the top duck producing state in the U.S. and duck can provide a lean meat that is not as large as a turkey. However, if you opt for turkey, Indiana is a leading state for turkey production as well.  

At your Thanksgiving table this year, please say an extra thank you to all those in agriculture who are on the front line providing the food for our tables.

Moving Forward

Students will continue to take classes and exams from home for two additional weeks as they finish their semester. As students leave for home this week, we ask them to get tested for COVID-19 before they leave campus or immediately after they get home and quarantine until they have a negative test. We are also requiring students to get tested either prior to or upon their return to campus for the start of classes on January 19.  We look forward to their return with more in person classes and enhanced activities while still following the Protect Purdue Plan.

This year has not been without its challenges. Some have lost loved ones, others will not be able to spend time with family members who are susceptible to COIVD-19, and others, through job losses and other circumstances, may not be able to experience the holidays the way they used to. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let us keep in mind the challenges so many are facing this season. 

Please stay safe and be well.
All the best,
Karen signature

Purdue Ag People

Ayodeji "Ayo" Aderibigbe Graduate Ag Research Spotlight: Ayodeji "Ayo" Aderibigbe

The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The September spotlight is on Ayodeji "Ayo" Aderibigbe, a doctoral student in Animal Sciences.

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Paul Ebner Animal Sciences Professor to Address Food Safety in Cambodia 

Paul Ebner, Animal Sciences, will co-lead a project to decrease risk posed from foodborne pathogens in Cambodia through a grant from the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety.

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Purdue Pete Ag Alumni Share Their Purdue Pete Lore

Nearly two dozen Purdue ag alumni have portrayed Purdue Pete since the late 1950s.

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John Whittington Hand Sanitizer Makes "Scents" to Purdue Ag Alum

John Whittington, BS '96, is always looking for the next big thing. An entrepreneur at heart, Whittington operated a large trucking company with his father, owned and operated an RV park in Florida and been a part of a successful NASCAR team.

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Josh Widhalm Joshua Widhalm Receives Showalter Trust Grant

Joshua Widhalm, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, is one of 11 early career faculty in the university to receive a one-year Showalter Trust grant. Each researcher will receive $75,000 in funding.

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Megan Gunn "Education is Multidimensional" 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or so the adage goes. But if you're agricultural sciences education and communication graduate student Ryan Kornegay, it might be more appropriate to suggest, when life gives you cucumbers, make pickles.

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Statue of Liberty image 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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Awards and Recognitions

Liz Flaherty Cale Bigelow Marina Mehling
Elizabeth Flaherty, Forestry and Natural Resources, is a national recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Teaching Award for Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Cale Bigelow, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, won the Crop Science Society of America's Crop Science Teaching Award.

Marina Mehling, Agricultural & Biological Engineering (Honors College), received the Research and Innovation pillar award as part of the merit-based Homecoming Pillars of Excellency presented by the Purdue Student Union Board.
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Purdue Ag in the News

Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese Continues Tradition at Indiana Creamery

Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese was first produced in 1969 when Dave Pfendler, an associate dean of agriculture, launched the program in the now closed Purdue Creamery to raise money for student support.
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Haley Oliver Food Safety Lab Grants $2.9M for New Global Projects

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety, co-located at Purdue University and Cornell, has announced $2.9 million in grants for research projects to improve food safety and prevent foodborne illness in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya and Senegal.
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Ag Barometer Ag Economy Barometer Rises to Record High

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose 27 points to a reading of 183 in October and set an all-time high for the index. Farmers were more optimistic about both the future and current financial situation on their farms.

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Emerald Ash Borer Tree Emerald Ash Borer Puts Trees on Path to Functional Extinction

Since the emerald ash borer's introduction to the U.S. at the beginning of the 21st century, forest ecologists and government officials have striven to stem its destruction of ash forests. Despite those efforts, the invasive pest may be winning the war.

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Mideast Dam Climate Change Could Attribute to Drop of GDP in Middle East

A team of agricultural economist from Purdue University assessed the economic impacts of climate-change induced water scarcity and crop yields change for six Middle Easters countries in a research report supported by World Bank Group.

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Asian Reforestation Big Data, Machine Learning Shed Light on Asian Reforestation Successes

Purdue University's Jingjing Liang, Forestry and Natural Resources, led an international team to measure forest carbon capacity in northeast Asia.

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Family dealing with COVID Purdue Extension: Building Resilience in Communities

Crises often leave families feeling helpless and out of control. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. With the help of Purdue Extension, Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences, is helping families cope with change and even find positivity during the pandemic.

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University News

Purdue's Winter Commencements to Celebrate Accomplishments of Class of 2020

Purdue University's on-demand winter commencements will go live the week of Dec. 7, complete with a guest speaker and student responders.

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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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