Purdue Agriculture InFocus

July 2020

Purdue Ag People
Purdue Ag in the News
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From the Dean - Continual Growth

Karen Plaut
While we can talk about the lost opportunities during the pandemic, it is time to start focusing on the new opportunities that are emerging here at Purdue. As we redesign our classrooms and teaching methods and attend virtual 4-H fairs and conferences, we continue to learn, grow and stretch our imagination about how we do things. 

Over the last month, it has become clear that we need to do more to not only support, but also lead, when it comes to promoting diversity within our agricultural community. Through the efforts of our Office of Multicultural Programs and trained Extension facilitators, we have been able to offer coffee hours and other programming to learn from BIPOC students, faculty and staff in our College. Their shared experiences have helped us realize we need to do better.   

As a College, we will be exploring our recruitment procedures for faculty, staff and students, examining our graduate programs, offering more opportunities for personal and professional growth and providing resources to help us move forward. Through working together and building partnerships, we have an opportunity to provide a future for agriculture that is inclusive and welcoming to all.  

Building Partnerships  

During this pandemic, it also has become clear that building stronger partnerships will ensure that the College can continue to grow and flourish. During this period of hunkering down, many of you have not been on campus for a while to see its continued transformation. The new Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building is on track and will provide state-of-the-art teaching and research spaces.  

Discovery Park is no longer just an area for multi-disciplinary work but is now a district which will include businesses, apartments and many other amenities. We are excited that three agricultural companies have committed to a presence at the Convergence Center in the Discovery Park District.

Companies that locate next to Purdue’s campus will be able to be part of our community, have the opportunity to partner on exciting research and work side by side with our graduate and undergraduate students. Their presence will also help our researchers and students better understand the issues our industry is facing. I have no doubt that the relationships we build with these companies today will become a hallmark of the College of Agriculture in the future.  

We must also continue to strengthen our partnerships across the University. For example, Mohit Verma in Ag and Biological Engineering and Jennifer Koziol in the College of Veterinary Medicine are working with a team of researchers to develop and test a new paper-based sensor for bovine respiratory disease. Recently, they received $1 million in funding for their work which will allow for rapid detection of this viral disease which is devastating to cattle.   

However, this work is not only important for cows. Verma and his group were able to partner with medical professionals to pivot their work and have been developing a rapid paper based test for another virus, COVID-19. His work has the potential to revolutionize testing for the virus.   

Another area of continual growth is our partnerships with communities. It has taken a village (well, actually a county) to develop both virtual and in person 4-H events that deliver a quality experience for our youth during this pandemic. (See the photo below of an exhibitor at a Howard County 4-H event.)  While it is not the same experience as last year, our communities, our local health officials, 4-H committees and Extension educators have all worked together to do what is best for the community and the 4-H youth.   

One of our strengths within the College of Agriculture - and something our farmers can relate to - is resilience.  We know that if we continue to grow, develop opportunities and work together, the College will be stronger on the other side of this pandemic.    

All the best,
Karen signature
4-Her Showing Beef Cattle
Photo by Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune

Finalists Named for Head
of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture

After conducting a national search, three finalists for the position of Department Head of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture will interview in late August/early September. Each candidate will give a 40-45 minute Zoom presentation followed by questions. Finalists and their presentation dates are below. All presentations may be accessed at 9:00 a.m. via the following link - https://purdueextension.zoom.us/j/91500100200  

Candidate information including CVs and feedback survey links are available on the HLA department head search link.    
  • Dr. Mark Lagrimini, University of California, Davis - Thursday, August 27  
  • Dr. Linda Prokopy, Purdue University - Monday, August 31
  • Dr. John Lindquist, University of Nebraska - Wednesday, September 2

Purdue Ag People

Sarah Corwin Graduate Ag Research Spotlight: Sarah Corwin

The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The June spotlight is on Sarah Corwin, Food Science.
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Hayley Bush Six agriculture students named Big Ten distinguished athletes 

Six student-athletes from Purdue University's College of Agriculture have earned the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Purdue volleyball player Hayley Bush, Agribusiness - Ag Finance, is shown at left.
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Yaohua Feng Researcher to study food safety in low-moisture food staples 

Low-moisture products, such as flour, dried fruit and nuts, are often perceived as safe from food pathogens in consumer’s eyes despite recent bacteria outbreaks. Like other raw food commodities, these low-moisture food products are at risk for foodborne bacteria if there isn’t a “kill step” or heating process to eradicate bacteria during harvest or processing.
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Plant Scientists Plant scientists maintain critical research to save data and irreplaceable plants

The College of Agriculture accounted for more than a third of Purdue researchers who asked for access and support to continue critical research when facilities closed this spring.
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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

Karen Plaut Liz Flaherty Bob Nielsen
Karen Plaut, Glenn W.
Sample Dean of Agriculture, was named a Fellow of the American Dairy Science Association.
Elizabeth Flaherty, Forestry and Natural Resources, was named the Student Chapter Advisor of the Year by The Wildlife Society. More. Bob Nielsen, Agronomy, was named the 2020 Honorary Master Farmer, an award sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue College of Agriculture. More.
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Purdue Ag in the News

Mohit Verma Purdue team gets $1 million to develop rapid sensor technology for cattle disease

Purdue researchers, led by Mohit Verma, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, are developing technology to reduce diagnosis time to about 30 minutes. Their work is being funded by a $1 million USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Inter-Disciplinary Engagement in Animal Systems (IDEAS) grant.
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Klein Ileleji Purdue commercialization ecosystem drives 8-year upward trend

Purdue University technologies have generated 300-plus startups, helping millions of people in 100-plus countries and continuing Purdue’s commercialization ecosystem on a fast-paced upward trend to move inventions to the global market, where they can improve lives and advance the economy.
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Ag Barometer June Farmer sentiment rebounds amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns

Farmer sentiment improved in June, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. Ag producers became more optimistic about both their current and future farming operations compared with a month earlier.
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Tim Filley 'Carbon Farming' could make U.S. agriculture truly green

Tim Filley, professor of earth, atmosphere and planetary sciences at Purdue University, and his colleagues are working on new techniques to better measure how much carbon is contained in soil, a process that until recently has required farmers to send dozens of earth samples to a laboratory for analysis.
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Podcast Zac Brown Podcast: Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Agriculture       

Zachary Brown, Ag Sciences Education and Communication, joined Gerry Dick from Inside INdiana Business on an episode of the Ag+Bio+Science podcast, presented by AgriNovus Indiana, to talk about diversity in the agbioscience sector. Brown is the national graduate student president of MANRRS.
Listen Here
Larry Deboer Study: Rural-urban fiscal divide grows in response to decades of state tax overhauls

In the early 2000s, Indiana started making changes to its local revenue policies — altering the way counties assess property value, capping property taxes, adding local income tax options, and modifying funding formulas. The changes have made providing basic local governmental services easier in rural counties, while putting more fiscal pressure on urban areas, according to a Purdue University economist’s report.

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Nicole Widmar Majority agree masks have a role n U.S. response to COVID-19

Researchers from Purdue University and Oklahoma State University’s agricultural economics departments conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,198 U.S. residents to understand beliefs and knowledge regarding the role of masks in relation to the spread of COVID-19, as well as perceptions of the most important places to wear a mask.
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Todd Kuethe Indiana farmland values increase, but signs point to potential COVID-19 slump

The 2020 Purdue Farmland Value and Cash Rents Survey suggests that farmland prices across Indiana improved since the June 2019 survey; however, many of those gains occurred between June and December 2019. Since then farmland prices have declined modestly.

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Backyard Birding Backyard birding, tips to attract birds to your nest

Jessica Outcalt, Forestry and Natural Resources, provides tips on backyard birding and attracting birds to your yard. Outcalt graduated with her Ph.D. via a virtual ceremony this spring. 
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Nichols Family Entrepreneurs find learning opportunities amid COVID-19 pandemic 

As March 14 drew near, Purdue Agriculture alumni Woody and Kayla Nichols grew increasingly concerned about the upcoming open house at their store, Prairie View Ag Supply. More than 400 guests were expected at the annual event, but COVID-19 and uncertainty were beginning to spreading.
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Zamarano Supporing students from Zamorano to Purdue and home again

Staff in IPIA and Food Sciences worked behind the scenes this spring to ensure international interns’ well being and repatriation.
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University News

Chemicals released into the air could become less hazardous, thanks to a missing math formula for droplets 

Drones and other aircraft effectively spray pesticides over miles of crops, but the method also can pollute the environment if wind carries the mist off-target.
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Mentors are key part of welcoming new students to campus

As new Boilermakers arrive on campus for Summer Start and Early Start programs, they are welcomed by many people in a short amount of time. But it is the work of a small group of students who can make the biggest impression over a collegiate career: student mentors.
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Masks can make communicating tricky. Here are ways to make it easier.

As wearing facial coverings and masks becomes the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, learning how to communicate effectively while wearing them can be a challenge.
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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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