Purdue Agriculture - In Focus

April 2011

From the Dean




Most people consider Friday a pretty good day, for obvious reasons. But, some Fridays are truly better than others – especially for our College. Last Friday, April 8, was one of those exceptional Fridays for the College of Agriculture.

I started my day on the campus of IUPUI, where the Purdue Board of Trustees was meeting. The Trustees approved naming our new student project facility the ADM Agricultural Innovation Center, in recognition of ADM’s leadership gift of $1.5m for the facility. The new $4.3m facility will also house the soon-to-be-relocated Central Machine Shop. Our students in agricultural and biological engineering will have a much-improved space to work on senior design projects and other experiential learning activities. This is an exciting investment in our academic program by a company that, according to their records, hires more students from Purdue than any other university.

Later in the meeting, the Trustees approved the promotion of 17 of our faculty. We had 8 assistant professors promoted to associate professor with tenure and 9 associate professors promoted to full professor. We certainly congratulate these exceptional faculty for reaching this professional milestone. In her report to the Board of Trustees, President Córdova talked about the new $32m USAID Afghanistan project led by International Programs in Agriculture and also talked about Spring Fest and our College’s role in this terrific event. (At the Thursday Board meeting, Vice Provost Lechtenberg gave the Trustees an update on our Extension activities in his Engagement Governance Report.) 

Later Friday evening, the College Spring Awards Program was held in Loeb Playhouse. The Agricultural Council did a great job planning and hosting the event. We celebrated our exceptional teaching faculty and staff, student scholarship winners ($1.4m in scholarships awarded), and our outstanding students. The OAP staff, including Tim Kerr, Lori Pence-Barber, Tracie Egger, Linda Austin and Kelly Lough, deserve a big thanks for pulling this new event together.

Of course, Friday was followed by the weekend and Spring Fest (Danica Kirkpatrick and an army of volunteers delivered again); the Midwest Forestry Conclave (Mike Saunders in FNR had teams of students from across the Midwest competing in a variety of lumberjack skills); the Stihl Timbersports regional competition (on ESPN2 and ESPNU in July); multiple banquets...there was not much more the College could pack into a weekend!

Yes, Friday was a very good day for our College. An incredible amount of great work came to fruition/was recognized: Tammy Kettler, Bernie Engel, and Eric Putman worked for many months on the ADM gift; promotions are the result of years of effort on the part of our faculty; the student awards program represented the culmination of a great academic year for those involved in Academic Programs; and the weekend events came off flawlessly because of months of careful planning and preparation. Given the pace at which we all operate, it is easy to get lost in the activity of the day, but Fridays like the last one are vivid reminders of the ongoing quality of our academic programs and the excellence of our faculty, staff, and students.

As we wrap up another semester, thanks to each of you who have played a role in another great academic year for the College.


All the best,

Jay signature


News Around Purdue Agriculture

Spring Fest:  Fun and much more

Danica KirkpatrickWe have just wrapped up another highly successful Purdue Spring Fest—the annual, two-day campus event that showcases the lighter side of higher education. Spring Fest is Purdue’s largest engagement event and this year’s ideal weather helped attract thousands of people to campus. The diverse activities allow visitors of any age to learn and engage with the people of Purdue and build connections that last.

Teachers bring busloads of students to Spring Fest to experience Purdue’s campus, often for the first time, and to show them how fun learning can be. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and 4-H groups come from all around the state. Spring Fest provides a fun day for people in and outside our immediate community, but beyond the fun, it helps build interest in science, agriculture, and education among the community and especially our young people. Kids can stick their hand inside of a living cow to literally feel how the stomach works. They can visit an insect petting zoo, watch a sheep being shorn, milk a cow, and pet a rabbit. They can explore polymers by making lava lamps, slime and worms, and they can see what it takes to make a plant grow and how it's processed after harvest. Through experiences like this, kids begin to see careers in agriculture as available, viable and diverse. By piquing their interest with fun, educational activities, students begin to think about a career in such a field.

Spring Fest would not happen without the efforts and dedication of an army of faculty, staff and student volunteers—and most importantly, the leadership of Danica Kirkpatrick. Danica's attention to every detail and answers for questions large and small made Spring Fest 2011 another spectacular showcase for our College and Purdue. Thanks to everyone for all your Spring Fest contributions!

For a gallery of Spring Fest photos, click here: http://purdue.photoshelter.com/gallery/G0000fzmngeC6Ws0


Purdue center to seek solutions to enhance global food security

Gebisa EjetaPurdue has established the Center for Global Food Security to take up one of the world's most pressing challenges: getting enough food to people who need it the most today and producing enough to meet even greater demand in years to come. The center has begun operations at Discovery Park. "We are looking not only at food, agriculture and natural resource solutions for today but also for future generations," said the center's executive director, Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and a 2009 World Food Prize laureate. "We must define what our legacy will be." The issue of food security is a deepening global concern as the need for more food continues to increase with a rapidly growing world population. About 1 billion of the world's nearly 7 billion people suffer from chronic hunger because of economic, social, political and environmental conditions. Scientists project that agriculture will need to double plant and animal production by 2050, producing it more efficiently and safely on less farmland, to meet the needs of a population expected to reach 9 billion people.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110324EjetaCenter.html


Purdue Agriculture begins second phase of help for Afghanistan

AfghanistanPurdue Agriculture's efforts to help war-torn Afghanistan improve the capabilities of its agricultural universities enter a second phase with an agreement for $32 million in additional funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Strengthening Afghan Agriculture Faculties agreement, announced on April 4, is a five-year grant to continue and expand the work Purdue initiated under the USAID-funded Advancing Afghan Agriculture Alliance, known as A4. Led by International Programs in Agriculture, Purdue received $7 million in funding under A4, which ended March 31. Purdue partners under the new project are Kansas State University, North Carolina State University, Tennessee State University, University of Missouri and Washington State University. Three universities in India – University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Horticulture, and Karnaktaka Veterinary Animal and Fishery Sciences University - also will continue as Purdue partners in A4.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110404CordovaAfghanistan.html

Purdue, ADM partner in new innovation center

ADM logoThe Purdue University Board of Trustees on April 8 approved naming a new College of Agriculture building with enhanced laboratory and classroom space the ADM Agricultural Innovation Center. Archer Daniels Midland Co. is contributing $1.5 million toward the estimated $4.2 million cost to build the 27,000-square-foot, steel-frame center. The remainder will come from Purdue and other sources. The project is an extension of a longstanding partnership Purdue and ADM have shared in the education of students as innovators in agricultural and biological engineering, said university President France A. Córdova. ADM over the past three years has recruited more students from Purdue than any other university. Construction of the center on the south side of campus will begin in late May and is expected to be completed in December.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110408CordovaADM.html


Book addresses changing climate's influence on weeds

Jeff DukesProfessor Jeff Dukes, Forestry and Natural Resources, has co-authored a new book that explores the interaction between a changing climate and weeds and the steps that might be needed to address new weed problems. "Weed Biology and Climate Change", written with Lewis H. Ziska, a plant physiologist in the Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, brings together literature from across the fields of weed biology and climate change into one book, which Dukes said could be used as a textbook or reference for researchers. "There are a lot of reasons to expect weeds will become an even bigger issue in a changing climate," Dukes said. "There are a wide variety of weeds that seem to grow well when you add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere." An example, Dukes said, is that poison ivy becomes more toxic with more carbon dioxide, and ragweed produces more allergens that are released over a longer period. Other weeds become more difficult to kill with current herbicides such as glyphosate.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110411DukesBook.html

50-year professor honored with retirement celebration

Bob TaylorRobert W. Taylor, professor of agricultural economics for 50 years, will be honored at a retirement celebration from 1-3 p.m. April 22 in the Purdue Memorial Union's North Ballroom. Taylor's students, colleagues and friends are invited for a time of career memories and refreshments. Those planning to attend should RSVP to aeevents@purdue.edu and include the number in their party. Dr. Taylor joined the Purdue faculty in 1961. He teaches undergraduate macroeconomics and farm management, leads a graduate seminar on teaching agricultural economics, and serves as faculty adviser for 30 undergraduate students. He also has taught farm management in Brazil and Portugal. His Extension focus is family farm business arrangements and general practices. He has taught and mentored more than 40,000 students, including, in some cases, multiple generations from the same family. He has received several teaching awards from Purdue and was honored with the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to Rural People of Indiana in 1991.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/faculty/2011/110411FosterTaylor.html


Nanopolymer shows promise for helping reduce cancer side effects

Andy Tao in labProfessor Andy Tao, Biochemistry, has demonstrated a process using nanotechnology to better assess whether cancer drugs hit their targets, which may help reduce drug side effects. He developed a nanopolymer that can be coated with drugs, enter cells and then removed to determine which proteins in the cells the drug has entered. Since they're water-soluble, Tao believes the nanopolymers also may be a better delivery system for drugs that do not dissolve in water effectively. "Many cancer drugs are not very specific. They target many different proteins," said Tao, whose findings were published in the early online in the journal Agnewandte Chemie International Edition. "That can have a consequence - what we call side effects." In addition to the drug, the synthetic nanopolymer is equipped with a chemical group that is reactive to small beads. The beads retrieve the nanopolymer and any attached proteins after the drug has done its work. Tao uses mass spectrometry to determine which proteins are present and have been targeted by the drug.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110404TaoCancer.html

Study shows how plants sort and eliminate genes over millennia

Barry DilkesHybrid plants with multiple genome copies show evidence of preferential treatment of the genes from one ancient parent over the genes of the other parent, even to the point where some of the unfavored genes eventually are deleted. Brian Dilkes, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, worked with a team of scientists at the University of California Davis and University of Southern California to study the genome of Arabidopsis suecica, a hybrid species with four chromosome sets formed tens of thousands of years ago from a cross between Arabidopsis arenosa and Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant commonly used in laboratories for genetic research. Dilkes said the findings, published in the journal Genome Biology and featured as an editor's choice article in the journal Science, give a glimpse into the evolutionary forces and ultimate fates of genes contributed by the two parents to a hybrid

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110309DilkesScience.html


Trio of factors pushing food prices higher, economist says

Corinne AlexanderGrain shortages, Middle East turmoil and extreme weather in critical crop-producing regions have combined to send retail food prices higher this year, said a Dr. Corinne Alexander, Agricultural Economics. Prices could climb further if commodities markets continue their upward march. American consumers can expect to spend about 4 percent more for food this year than in 2010, she said. Beef, pork and poultry products likely will see even greater price hikes. U.S. food price inflation reached 7.5 percent in September 2008 before falling 10.5 percent by November 2009. It's been moving back up ever since. "We're returning to a period of food price inflation after coming off a period where we saw food price deflation," Alexander said. "We don't expect this to be a long-term, permanent higher food price period. We'll see these higher food prices until we rebuild global stocks of the primary crops."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110311AlexanderInflation.html

DeWoody wins Ag Research Award

Andrew DeWoodyAndrew DeWoody, Forestry and Natural Resources, is the recipient of the 2011 Purdue University Agricultural Research Award. This award is the highest honor given by the College of Agriculture's Research Office and reflects the exceptional contributions Andrew has made to the field of ecological and evolutionary genetics.  Andrew is the first-ever recipient of the Ag Research Award from Forestry and Natural Resources. The award ceremony and presentation will be held in the Pfendler Hall Dean’s Auditorium on Monday, May 2nd from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  Andrew’s presentation is entitled, “Vertebrate natural history in the 21st century:  genetics, ecology, and evolution.” 


Purdue students create new products from corn and soybeans

Students with denturalTeams of Purdue University students who developed a soy-based denture adhesive and a liquid bandage out of corn have won the top prizes in the annual Student Soybean and Corn Innovation Contests. The awards were announced at a banquet Wednesday night (March 23) at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. The competition, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, teaches students how to be innovative entrepreneurs with corn and soybeans. Some products that students have created in previous contest years have led to commercial development and further research. Soy crayons, for example, are available in stores under the Prang brand, and a soy pharmaceutical excipient is undergoing full-scale university research.

Full story and more team photos: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110323StevensCornSoybeans.html

Nominations sought for annual Women in Agriculture Awards

Purdue Extension is accepting nominations for the 2011 Women in Agriculture Awards.The annual awards recognize women who have provided leadership and made positive contributions to Indiana agriculture through their involvement in an Indiana agricultural enterprise, agribusiness, farm or commodity organization, said Christa Holloway, Extension educator in Fulton County and awards coordinator. Two awards will be presented: The Achievement Award honors a woman who has been active in Indiana agriculture primarily through a home farm operation or agribusiness. The Leadership Award is given to a woman who serves in an agribusiness or policymaking position. An award nomination form is available online at http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/wia/index.htm

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110317HollowayNominations.html


REMINDER: College calendar now online

calendarThe College of Agriculture calendar is now online. This calendar is THE place to go for seminars, events, deadlines, and other happenings in the departments, Extension, and the College. To enter your event on your department's calendar, please consult your department's representative:

Administration: Tanya Dimmich; IPIA: Carole Braund; CES: Teresa Rogers; Ag Comm: Christine Strawsma; AGEC: Brenda Pearl; AGRY: Sandy Spitznagle; ANSC: Diane Patterson; BCHM: Kristi Trimble; BTNY: Pam Mow; ENTM: Paula Layden; FS: Steve Gauger; FNR: Marlene Mann; HLA: Colleen Flynn; YDAE: Jane Robertson

Bookmark this link: http://www.ag.purdue.edu/Lists/Agriculture%20Calendar/calendar.aspx



Awards and Recognitions


Indrajeet Chaubey, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Doug Jacobs, Forestry and Natural Resources; and Andy Tao, Biochemistry, have been named University Faculty Scholars for 2011. The University Faculty Scholar program is designed to recognize outstanding faculty members across the university who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction. The five-year award includes an allocation of $10,000 per year for the Scholar's discretionary use.

Paul Ebner, Animal Sciences, and John Lumkes, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, were among seven faculty members selected by the Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement and the Service Engagement Advisory Board to be Purdue's 2011 Community of Service-Learning Faculty Fellows. The program, which has been in place since 2004, selects fellows based on their experience with service-learning courses and potential for providing leadership and stewardship for service-learning to the campus.

Chuck Hibberd, Associate Dean and Director of Purdue Extension, returned to Oklahoma State University in early April to receive an Animal Science Graduate of Distinction Award. Dr. Hibberd earned his master's and doctorate degrees in animal nutrition with emphasis on beef cattle from Oklahoma State University.

Susan Tharp, Extension director in Clinton County, received the CHEP Community & Science Award from the Community Health Engagement Program. The program is part of the Indiana Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute. Susan was honored March 11 at a statewide meeting for her performance as a Purdue Extension Educator.

Tony Vyn, Agronomy, received the Werner L. Nelson Award from the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation at the recent Fluid Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made contributions to the development of soil fertility practices and plant nutrition management that have resulted in increased crop yields for North American farmers. Vyn is a researcher and Purdue Extension agronomist, specializing in cropping systems.

Faculty and A/P Staff Promotions

Congratulations to the faculty and administrative and professional staff members who have been advanced in rank beginning with the next fiscal year.

Faculty Promotions

Associate to Professor
Christian E. Butzke, Food Science
Indrajeet Chaubey, Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Douglass F. Jacobs, Forestry & Natural Resources
Kevin M. Keener, Food Science
Lisa J. Mauer, Food Science
Tesfaye D. Mengiste, Botany & Plant Pathology
Bryan C. Pijanowski, Forestry & Natural Resources
Mark A. Tucker, Youth Development & Agricultural Education
Holly Wang, Agricultural Economics

Assistant to Associate
Keith A. Cherkauer, Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Yiwei Jiang, Agronomy
Roman M. Keeney, Agricultural Economics
Jianxin Ma, Agronomy
Michael V. Mickelbart, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Phillip R. Owens, Agronomy
Yuan Yao, Food Science
Patrick A. Zollner, Forestry & Natural Resources

Administrative/Professional Staff Promotions

To Rank 6
Tracie Egger, Office of Academic Programs
Patrick L. Jones, Entomology
Betty S. Jones-Bliss, Agricultural Economics
Huahua Lin, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Suzan K. Norris, Youth Development & Agricultural Education
Stephen A. Sassman, Agronomy
Conni K. Vianco, Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems            
Barbara L. Wireman, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture

To Rank 5
Nate Linder, Purdue Ag Centers      
Jamie L. Loizzo, Agricultural Communication
Carolyn A. McGrew, Agricultural Communication
Kathryn J. Moore, Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Glenn RW Nice, Botany & Plant Pathology
Benjamin N. Paxson, Food Science
Rebecca J. Peer, Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Philip B. Reid, Animal Sciences
Patrick J. Rich, Agronomy
Robert J. Wakeman, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Melinda K. Walsh, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Sally S. Weeks, Forestry & Natural Resources
Jane E. Wiercioch, Agronomy
Marilyn K. Yundt, Food Science

To Rank 4
Meghan M. Alexander, Agricultural Economics
Elizabeth C. Carter, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Lori A. Edwards, Entomology
Kevin W. Gibson, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Kara J. Hartman, International Programs in Agriculture
Jason S. Kong, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Stephanie L. Koser, Animal Sciences
David M. McClure, Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems            
Yanqiu L. Qiao, Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Megan E. Sheridan, Agricultural Economics
Mark L. Straw, Animal Sciences

University News


Purdue programs engage Indiana

Purdue on April 7 released an annual report of its engagement efforts at a committee meeting of the university's Board of Trustees. Vic Lechtenberg, vice provost for engagement, said, "Our mission is to empower Indiana to achieve prosperity in a global economy and improve quality of life. We also strive to strengthen learning and discovery programs, making them stronger, more relevant, better focused and more valuable to the people of Indiana." One of the report's highlights was that Purdue Extension engaged more than 1.4 million Hoosiers in Extension programs and more than 3 million people visited its Purdue Extension website for assistance.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/outreach/2011/110407BOTEngagement.html

Purdue research may lead to therapy that delays onset, reduces severity of MS symptoms

People suffering from multiple sclerosis may benefit if patent-pending research conducted at Purdue shows that a decades-old drug approved by the FDA to treat hypertension also can delay the onset and reduce the severity of MS symptoms. Professor Riyi Shi is examining the effects of hydralazine on acrolein, a compound that can affect the central nervous system and damage nerve cells. Acrolein causes harm by reacting with the proteins and lipids that make up cells, including neurons. Hydralazine sequesters acrolein and acrolein-protein compounds, leading to their expulsion from the body. Shi is a medical doctor and a professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Center for Paralysis Research and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110314ShiMS.html

Nominations sought for new Web Accessibility Award

The Office of Institutional Equity is seeking nominations for the 2011 Web Accessibility Awards. Purdue's Web Accessibility Awards were initiated this year as a way to recognize colleges, schools, departments, programs, and units that have made great strides in meeting or exceeding the University's standards for accessible Web design while demonstrating excellence in design and communication. 

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/faculty_staff_news/2011/110405_WebAccessAwrd.html

IT positions review complete, report submitted

A University committee responsible for assessing IT positions on campus for possible reallocation to areas under the direction of the University chief information officer Gerry McCartney has presented its findings. The Purdue Campus Information Technology Plan (CITP), which was approved in April 2010, called for an assessment of IT resources on campus. Phase I and Phase II of that review have been completed by a seven-person advisory committee, which was led by Kevin Vedder, director of the Human Resources Service Center.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/faculty_staff_news/2011/110407_IT-Review.html

Mark Your Calendar


Check the College online calendar for all events, seminars and deadlines here: http://www.ag.purdue.edu/Lists/Agriculture%20Calendar/calendar.aspx


Purdue Agriculture In Focus Archive: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus
Contact Us:dmcclure@purdue.edu