Tillage timing influences nitrogen availability and loss on organic farms

In the battle against weeds, tillage is one of the strongest weapons at the disposal of organic or ecologically based farmers. But, depending on when it is used, tillage can also be a strong driver of nitrogen losses that contribute to groundwater pollution, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

‘Reinventing’ sustainability: A collaborative passion

A portable, lightweight wind turbine to assist with energy demands during a natural disaster; an on-campus food bank for hungry, food-insecure students; greenhouse technology to help small share farmers in Africa grow their own food and diversify their diets; and thousands of photographs taken to document the transformation in our local communities resulting from the Marcellus Shale boom. These are the creations of Penn State students with a passion for addressing sustainability issues — locally, regionally and across the globe — with assistance from the Reinvention Fund, an internal grant program to support collaborative projects by faculty, staff and students that improve and expand sustainability efforts at Penn State. The fund, managed by the University’s Sustainability Institute, invested more than $850,000 in such projects in 2014 and simultaneously provided valuable learning experiences for the participants.

Business Majors Night informs students about academic choices

The Division of Undergraduate Studies, in partnership with many academic colleges across University Park, will host Penn State’s sixth annual Business Majors Night on 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in 110 Business Building. This event is an annual program for students who have business goals but are not sure which major(s) might match their interests and abilities, or who may not know if a business curriculum would be a good fit at all.

Penn State to host engaged scholarship leaders at international conference

Penn State will host the 16th annual Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference — “Engaged Scholarship: Advancing Rigor, Elevating Impact” — from Sept. 29-30 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus. The international conference will welcome approximately 400 leaders — faculty, administrators, staff, community members and select students — of engaged scholarship.

A passion for the past: Penn State’s Pasto Agricultural Museum

In 1974, the alumni of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences began an extensive project to gather and preserve pieces of agricultural history. With a mere $1,500 in donations from alumni, what is today’s Pasto Agricultural Museum officially opened on Aug. 22, 1979. The museum will kick off its 2015 fall open-house series, held home football game Sundays, starting Sept. 13.

A passion for the past: The Pasto Agricultural Museum

In 1974, the alumni of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences began an extensive project to gather and preserve pieces of agricultural history. With a mere $1,500 in donations from alumni, what is today’s Pasto Agricultural Museum officially opened on Aug. 22, 1979. The museum will kick off its 2015 fall open-house series, held home football game Sundays, starting Sept. 13.

Construction update: Greenhouse renovations

Renovations to the infrastructure of eight of the nine greenhouses located near the Tyson Building on the University Park campus are currently underway. The greenhouses are used for teaching and research by faculty and students in both the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Eberly College of Science.

Penn State Hosts 19 National Science Foundation graduate researchers

Penn State is hosting 19 new National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recipients for the 2015-16 academic year. The students join 62 prior recipients continuing in the University’s graduate degree programs in the Eberly College of Science and the colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, Health and Human Development, Information Sciences and Technology, and the Liberal Arts, as well as the Intercollege Graduate Degree Programs.

For trout fishermen, climate change will mean more driving time, less angling

When trying to explain the potential effects of climate change on plants, fish and wildlife, scientists usually resort to language that fails to convey the impact of warming. Now, a study by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences fisheries researchers clearly explains the impact of projected warming waters on wild brook trout in the eastern U.S. for fishermen.

Fields of dreams grow blue and white

If you get a chance to watch a game of the Little League World Series Aug. 20-30 — on TV or in person — you’ll quickly notice the high-quality of the fields at both Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Little League Volunteer Stadium, in South Williamsport, Pa.

Ag Progress Days sessions to cover workforce and economic development, avian flu

Government officials, industry representatives and university experts will gather in public forums at Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, set for Aug. 18-20 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, to exchange ideas and discuss solutions for two critical issues facing Pennsylvania agriculture: workforce and economic development, and highly pathogenic avian influenza. Both sessions are open to the public.

Alter awarded for outstanding research

Ted Alter, Professor of Agricultural, Environmental, and Regional Economics, has been awarded the Community Development Society’s (CDS) 2015 Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award. This award is presented to a CDS member in recognition of a significant stream of superior research that exemplifies and positively impacts community development practice and represents a lasting contribution to the field.

Drink your vegetables: Center shows kids it can be easy and tasty to be green

The Green Smoothie Test is an outreach program of the center, in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, in which staff members travel around the community to demonstrate making “green smoothies”—containing green vegetables—for children. Students are involved in choosing and mixing the ingredients, tasting the creations, and discussing their experiences. The next demonstration will be later this month at Ag Progress Days.

Agricultural ‘Brigadoon’ offers a wide assortment of activities for visitors

Almost Brigadoon-like, a small agricultural “city” is nearly ready to spring up amongst the fields at Rock Springs, along state Route 45, 9 miles southwest of State College. Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, one of the East’s largest agricultural expositions, will be held Aug. 18-20, providing visitors with about 150 acres of commercial and educational exhibits, crop displays, machinery demonstrations, family and youth activities, equine presentations, workshops and an agricultural museum.

College of Ag Sciences researchers win funding to commercialize discoveries

Several promising technologies earned Penn State faculty researchers grants of $75,000 each to help them transform research projects into viable products on the market. The College of Agricultural Sciences Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program awarded the Research Applications for Innovation grants, which are designed to promote innovation and economic development by encouraging the transfer of technologies to existing and start-up companies.

Newly named research center reflects convergence of agricultural and energy law

Through its Agricultural Law Resource & Reference Center, Penn State Law has conducted extensive outreach activities in agricultural law for nearly two decades. To more accurately reflect the focus of this work and the interconnected nature of agricultural law and shale gas development, the center’s name has been changed to the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law.

Some vaccines support evolution of more-virulent viruses

Scientific experiments with the herpesvirus that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.

Ice Cream Short Course offers a sweet education

Believed to be the oldest continuing education course in the United States, the Ice Cream Short Course traces its roots to 1892, when the then-School of Agriculture at the Pennsylvania State College began to offer a class in dairy manufacturing during the winter, when farmers had less field work and could be spared away from their farms. By 1925, ice cream had become so popular that the college created a separate course devoted exclusively to the subject.

Yellow poplar weevil makes presence known in Pennsylvania, mid-Atlantic

Many residents in Pennsylvania and neighboring states are getting “ticked” about an insect that has made its presence known in large numbers this spring and summer. But this bug is not a species of eight-legged arthropod known to carry Lyme disease and other pathogens. It’s the yellow poplar weevil, which some people have mistaken for ticks because they count the insects’ antennae as a “fourth pair” of legs.

New faculty position to investigate pollinator health

Pollinators are declining rapidly throughout the world, and researchers are scrambling to figure out why. To assist Pennsylvania’s beekeepers, growers and others as they face this crisis, the Department of Entomology at Penn State has created a new faculty position that will be responsible for conducting research, education and outreach on pollinator health, conservation and management.

Penn State partnering to help orphaned children worldwide stay with families

An estimated 8 million children worldwide live in orphanages and similar institutions, children of whom an estimated 80 percent have living parents or families who could look after them with the right assistance. A newly announced research partnership between British author J.K. Rowling’s nonprofit children’s organization Lumos and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at National University of Ireland Galway — and including Penn State’s UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership and Youth Development program — aims to change that by transforming the lives of children living in orphanages.

Project to reduce risk of harmful algal blooms in ponds and lakes

A new project to help identify and remediate harmful algal blooms could make Pennsylvania ponds and lakes safer for people and animals. With a grant from the Penn State-based Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center, trained Penn State Extension educators will collect data to help determine the abundance of these blooms and conduct workshops and other outreach activities to educate and assist pond and lake owners.