Over the last few weeks we have been putting together Purdue Agriculture’s report for our mid-year management review with the Provost. As we gathered all the information from our departments and units, I was reminded again what a dynamic, productive place Purdue Agriculture is!
In the face of a very challenging funding environment, Purdue Agriculture researchers have continued to find funding – more than $20m since July 1. More importantly, the focus of our research, from genetics and genomics (plant and animal), to renewable energy, to assessing environmental problems, to fertility recommendations for Indiana farmers, is making a difference in our state, nation, and world.
From floods to financial crisis, Purdue Extension has continued its history of providing immediate, relevant response and information to improve the lives and livelihoods of Indiana citizens. We have continued to work with the state’s agricultural industries to increase their competitiveness and profitability.
In academic programs, our faculty have been engaged in a comprehensive, systematic review of our undergraduate curriculum. Our undergraduate program has enjoyed robust growth – at 2535 this year, the highest enrollment in the last 11 years. Our graduates move into the workforce or on to graduate/professional school at an exceptional rate—93% last year. The new Steve and Sandra Hageman Center for Student Access and Leadership opened this fall – an incredible resource for our students.
In the international arena, we are well on our way to reaching 8000 villages through the PICS project in Niger and Burkina Faso. Agriculture faculty developed and delivered five days of instruction to nearly 30 Indiana National Guardsmen who will be teaching agricultural practices in Afghanistan. We are moving our diversity efforts forward with initiatives like the Ag Discovery Camp that brought 27 minority high school students to campus in July.
During the six months since July 1, we have moved our strategic planning process forward with the development of white papers in the areas of discovery, engagement, learning, and international programs, and our working groups will present those white papers to the College in January. A new web-site will come on line next year.
These are terribly uncertain times and there are many challenges ahead for our college, our university, and our stakeholders. But I could not be more confident in Purdue Agriculture’s ability to both manage whatever the budget environment brings, and more importantly, to continue to serve the very broad stakeholder base that looks to us for scholarship and education that makes a difference. Thank you for all you do for Purdue Agriculture – you make this place the terrific organization that it is!
Have a safe and happy holiday!
All the best,
Researchers find nature's shut-off switch for cellulose production
A team of researchers led by Dr. Nick Carpita found a mechanism that naturally shuts down cellulose production in plants, and learning how to keep that switch turned on may be key to enhancing biomass production for plant-based biofuels. Dr. Carpita, a professor of botany and plant pathology, said that small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) play a normal role in plant development by shutting off genes involved in primary cell wall growth in order to begin development of thicker, secondary cell walls.
'Blending wall' stands in way of ethanol growth
Ethanol production opened the door to the renewable fuels industry. The industry now must get past an imposing wall of federal regulations and market conditions if it hopes to grow, says Dr. Wally Tyner, Ag Economics, who specializes in energy policy. "The ethanol industry is now faced with what is called a 'blending wall,'" he said. "The ethanol industry will not and cannot grow with the blending wall in place. That means we won't have cellulosic ethanol and the demand for corn for ethanol will be limited unless the blending wall is somehow changed or we find a way around it."
Holiday firewood should be purchased, burned locally
With temperatures plummeting and the holiday season in full swing, it may be time to light the fireplace. But being selective about firewood can help prevent a whole host of problems in the months to come. Although emerald ash borer is inactive during the winter months in Indiana, its larvae hibernate under the bark of ash wood until warmer weather arrives in spring. This means that moving firewood, even now, can spread the devastating insect - and other diseases of trees and invasive species - to new areas.
Conference helps growers learn the ins and outs of organics
The fifth annual Midwest Organic Production and Marketing Conference and Trade Show, held in conjunction with the Indiana Horticulture Congress, will be Jan. 21-22 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Indianapolis. "Participants will leave the conference with a better understanding of organic production techniques," said Jim True, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service educator and co-conference planner. "Once a grower can produce the product, they'll need to market it and we've got sessions explaining different marketing strategies such as community supported agriculture and how to sell to wholesalers."
To cut back on calories, eat at home
When you choose Swiss Chalet over McDonald's, don't be thinking you're doing your waistline any favours. According to a new study, table service meals typically contain more calories than fast food meals because they have bigger portions and offer more variety. "People are always talking about how bad fast food is, but they're both pretty bad from a standpoint of calories and so forth," said James Binkley, the lead researcher and a professor of agricultural economics.
Fish back on the menu for Ag Alumni Fish Fry
The Ag Alumni Fish Fry on Feb. 7 will reintroduce fish into the menu - in addition to pork - at the 11:30 a.m. luncheon in the Toyota Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The Indiana Soybean Alliance is sponsoring the fish that will be served as part of its Aquaculture Initiative. The Indiana Packers Corp. will continue to sponsor the pork, as the group has since 1999.
Randy Woodson recognized for rural service
Randy Woodson, Purdue University provost and the former Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, is this year's winner of the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to Rural People of Indiana. The award, which honors Purdue staff with a record of outstanding achievement and service to rural Indiana, was presented on December 5 at the Indiana Farm Bureau convention in Evansville. Randy was recognized for his efforts to improve agricultural opportunities and educate people in various audiences about the importance of agriculture.
ABE to honor Don Jones on his retirement
The Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department invites you to a retirement celebration for Professor Don Jones on January 16, 2009, 3:00-6:00 p.m.(with presentation at 4:30 p.m.) at the Beck Agricultural Center. If you'd like to include a letter, photo or story to share about Don, please submit it to Becky Peer, ABE (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 7.
Terry Stewart honored by national society
Dr. Terry Stewart, Animal Sciences, was recognized by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars as an outstanding faculty advisor to the Purdue Chapter of the organization. The NSCS is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and extends membership invitations to first- and second-year undergraduates who are in the top 20 percent of their class and have achieved a grade point average of 3.4 or higher. NSCS awards more scholarship dollars to undergraduates than any other honors organization nationwide. Faculty advisors work with chapter members in programs, community service opportunities, career resources and scholarship offerings.
Mike Boehlje receives distinguished service award
Dr. Mike Boehlje, Ag Economics, received the 2008 Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) at the group's annual meeting in November. The award is presented to an individual or group in appreciation of their service to agriculture other than directly in the farm management and rural appraisal professions. Dr. Boehlje is among such award recipients as Orvill Bentley, William Thompson, John Block, Edward Madigan, James Moseley, Richard Lugar, and the National FFA Organization.
Sustainable Agriculture Outreach Award goes to Maria Marshall
The Hoosier Environmental Council has named Professor Maria Marshall the winner of the 2008 Sustainable Agriculture Outreach Award for her innovative work in fostering the development of “Indiana Market Maker,” which is a Purdue University-maintained web tool that connects consumers, agricultural businesses and farmers. Indiana Market Maker provides a one-stop shop to help Indiana consumers locate locally grown food products. More information: http://in.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/
Grad student named Teaching Academy Associate Fellow
Nadia Carmosini, a graduate student in Agronomy, has been inducted into the Purdue Teaching Academy as an Associate Fellow. The Teaching Academy honors and supports excellence in teaching and works to strengthen teaching quality throughout the university. Nadia was one of 14 members inducted at the Teaching Academy ceremony in October.
Purdue's Animal Welfare Judging Team wins intercollegiate contest
Congratulations to Purdue's Animal Welfare Judging Team, which placed first at the Intercollegiate Judging Contest. The contest was held November 1-2 at Michigan State University. This year was the largest competition ever, with six universities (Missouri, Iowa, Michigan State, Guelph, Wisconsin, and Purdue) sending teams. Created as an educational exercise to enhance students' understanding of the welfare issues affecting animals used for human purposes, including livestock production, research and companionship, the event promotes critical thinking, teaches ethical reasoning skills, encourages objective assessments based on science, and improves persuasive public speaking and presentation skills.
Purdue takes series of steps to address economic downturn
On December 20, Purdue officials outlined the university's plan to address the uncertain economic times and continue its legacy of strong fiscal management. James S. Almond, the university's chief financial officer, summarized discussion from the Purdue board of trustees' regular meeting, saying several steps will be taken.
Purdue among best buys in higher education
In a new twist on traditional college rankings, an article in the January issue of Smart Money quantified the long-term value of a college education by spotlighting the relationship between tuition costs and graduates' earning power. Purdue was ranked 9th among public universities in the nation.
Purdue names new associate VP for government relations
The executive director of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and former aide to U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar has been named Purdue's new Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations. Timothy J. Sanders, a 1977 Purdue graduate who has led the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority since its launch in 2006, will serve as Purdue's chief liaison between the university and state officials. He also will have oversight of Purdue's interaction with federal officials.
January 12: Spring Semester begins
January 12-14: Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual conference in Indianapolis. Bob McCormick, Jane Frankenberger, and Laura Esman will represent their activities in the college at this event. Contact Danica Kirkpatrick at 494-9113 for more information.
January 12-14: Indiana Green Expo at the Indiana Convention Center. Contact Mike Mickelbart at 494-7902 for more information.
January 13-15: Fort Wayne Farm Show at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Purdue Extension in area XI will represent the college at this event. Contact Danica Kirkpatrick at 494-9113 for more information.
January 19-21: Indiana Horticultural Congress at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Indianapolis. Contact Tammy Goodale at 494-1296 for more information.
February 3: PCARET Legislative Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis. Contact Teresa Rogers at 494-8489 for more information.
February 4-6: HASTI (Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc.) at the Indiana Convention Center. Hours are Thursday (8:00 am – 5 pm) and Friday (8:00 am – 2:00 pm). Contact Danica Kirkpatrick at 494-9113 for more information.
February 7: Ag Alumni Fish Fry in the Toyota Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds at 11:30 a.m. Main event will be preceded by the Ag Forecast in the Old National Bank Grand Hall at 9:30 a.m. Contact Donya Lester at 494-8593 for more information.
February 11-14: National Farm Machinery Show and Tractor Pull at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Purdue Extension in areas I, II, and V will represent the college at this event. Contact Danica Kirkpatrick at 494-9113 for more information.
March 6: Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Awards convocation and reception. Contact Debbie Claeys at 496-7894 for more information.
April 18 & 19: Spring Fest on campus from 10 am – 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. College of Agriculture and other units from across campus present this educational event. Contact Danica Kirkpatrick at 494-9113 for more information.