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Mikaela Hermstedt sits on the Cliffs of Moher.  Image: Penn State
August 5, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Plant Science majors Casey Baxter and Mikaela Hermstedt may know all there is to know about the Irish potato famine. This past spring, they took HORT 499H Walking in the Footsteps of the Irish During the Irish Potato Famine: Examinations of New World Crops in Old World Societies. The honors class included a 10-day trip to Ireland after a semester of lectures on the potato and other essential crops of both the United States and Ireland.

The ability to grow industrial hemp could benefit farmers in Pennsylvania by allowing them to diversify their crop bases.  Image: Courtesy University of Kentucky
August 1, 2016

On July 20, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law allowing the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and institutions of higher education to grow hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) for research purposes. Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is working with the state department of agriculture to develop the policies, procedures and applications needed to facilitate and guide such research projects.

John Boujoukos, left, and Hayly Hoch carry bins of harvested red lettuce. For the first time this year the Penn State farm club has a new plot of land off of Fox Hollow Road.
July 8, 2016

Summer marks first production season for student-run farm 1-acre farm grows and sells produce to university, local businesses Organization plans to host tours and events for summer

Scott DiLoreto, greenhouse operations manager, uses climate-control technology to reduce energy output and costs in Penn State's greenhouses.
June 21, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A group of Penn State students huddles over a wooden worktable in Headhouse II. Their hands move in unison as they clip the leaves and clean a harvest of microgreens, which were planted in the greenhouse in early spring. In a few days, the gardeners-in-training will dine on the tiny leaves (that look more like shamrocks than lettuce) during an end-of-semester potluck. Alongside their microgreens, the students grew organic tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers and herbs as part of a hydroponics and aquaponics class, which taught the ins-and-outs of using soilless processes to grow plants. The students’ efforts — which on a weekly basis yielded up to 80 pounds of cucumbers alone — were a success, in part, due to new technology added to the nearly 60-year-old greenhouse.

A farmer in Ecuador opens cocoa pods to remove the beans. The endowed cocoa research program at Penn State is helping to ensure a stable supply of quality beans for the benefit of growers, chocolate manufacturers and chocolate lovers around the world.
June 15, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When trade organizations representing the chocolate industry created an endowment in 1986 to support Penn State research on Theobroma cacao -- the cocoa tree -- the use of biotechnology to improve plants was still in its infancy. Now, three decades later, the endowment has grown, and along with it the scientific knowledge that is helping to promote economic security for cocoa farmers in developing countries and to ensure a reliable supply of the raw material needed to manufacture one of the world's favorite delicacies.

Farmers in the developing world would benefit from nutrient-efficient crops.
June 2, 2016

Old-fashioned breeding techniques are bearing more fruit than genetic engineering in developing hyper-efficient plants.

The College of Agricultural Sciences has introduced University of South Carolina faculty member Erin Connolly as head of Penn State's Department of Plant Science.
May 5, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Erin Connolly, professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, has been named professor and head of Penn State's Department of Plant Science, effective May 15.

Dwight Lingenfelter, weed science extension associate in the College of Agricultural Sciences, stands next to a Palmer amaranth plant in a corn field. The weed can grow to as high as 8 feet.
May 4, 2016

The battle against invasive species is never-ending for agricultural producers, and the latest example is a pair of weeds that threaten to cause significant damage to crop yields across Pennsylvania. Researchers and extension specialists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are warning growers to be on the lookout for Palmer amaranth and waterhemp, two species of pigweed that are gaining a foothold in the state.

March 9, 2016

Over thousands of years, most forests in the eastern United States evolved with frequent fire, which promoted tree species and ecosystems that were both fire and drought resistant. In little more than a century, humans upset that balance, suggest researchers, who blame the change, in part, on the well-meaning efforts of Smokey Bear.

March 4, 2016

Earlier this month, Tom Serensits traveled from his home in central Pennsylvania to the warm coasts of Hawaii and California to spend his days not in the sand and surf, but in the turf. Specifically, the turfgrass-covered field for the 2016 Pro Bowl and the practice fields for Super Bowl 50. Serensits, manager of Penn State’s Center for Sports Surface Research (CSSR) and a former assistant field manager for the Philadelphia Eagles, was on site to consult with the teams’ field managers to make sure the Pro Bowl field was ready for game day and that each of the seven Super Bowl practice fields met safety guidelines during the week of rough-and-tumble practices leading up to the championship.

October 8, 2015

The Horticulture Club will be hosting the 102nd Anniversary of the Horticulture Show at Snider Agricultural Arena on Homecoming weekend, Saturday October 10th and Sunday October 11th.

August 25, 2015

Penn State turfgrass grad overseeing fields at Little League World Series.

June 12, 2015

The new Plant Genetics and Biotechnology option is a combination of basic science and technology-based classes designed for students who are seeking careers in agricultural sciences, plant breeding, plant molecular genetics and plant biotechnology based industries.

October 31, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jonathan Gingrich originally came to Penn State to wrestle, but found another passion -- landscape contracting -- along the way.

For more than a century, the Horticulture Club in the College of Agricultural Sciences has put together this annual free show, which allows visitors the opportunity to explore various aspects of horticulture.
September 12, 2014

The "Seasons of Horticulture" will be the theme of the 101st annual Penn State Horticulture Show, Sept. 27-28.

Gettysburg, Pa., native Nancy Kammerer in a pit practicing soil judging for the international event. She plans to graduate at the conclusion of the spring 2015 semester and then work in the field of soil conservation.
September 9, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The study of agricultural sciences can lead to incredible opportunities. Penn State student Nancy Kammerer discovered this firsthand during her recent trip to Jeju, South Korea, for the first International Soil Judging Contest.

As co-owner of T&A Farms, Alex Cante grows produce sold only in his hometown of Lancaster, Pa., at the company's own stands.
July 8, 2014

Farming seven acres of land and selling the vegetables at two roadside stands, three grocery stores and a large market may seem like a lot for a student to take on. For Penn State sophomore Alex Cantey, it's business as usual.

April 28, 2014

What does the hardness of the football field have to do with concussions? According to a recent post in USA Football's "From the Field" blog, field density plays a sizable factor in head injuries. In fact, Penn State's Center for Sports Surface Research reported that 10 percent of concussions come from how hard the ground -- or the artificial turf -- is on a football field. A properly maintained playing surface can help reduce head injury risk. Whether natural or synthetic turf, field management practices directly affect field hardness and, in turn, risk of head injury. As a result, monitoring field hardness is key. In fact, the NFL now requires field managers to measure surface hardness before every game.

February 20, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Students majoring in Turfgrass Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences will receive first consideration for a new Trustee Scholarship established by a pair of Penn State alumni. With a gift of $50,000, William F. and Diane Randolph, of Powell, Ohio, created an endowment to fund the M. Forest Randolph and William F. Randolph Trustee Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student in the college with demonstrated financial need. The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program maximizes the impact of private giving while directing funds to students as quickly as possible, meeting the urgent need for scholarship support. For Trustee Scholarships created through the end of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students on June 30, 2014, Penn State will provide an annual 10 percent match of the total pledge or gift.

Sean Fitzsimmons
January 7, 2014

Sean Fitzsimmons was one of the lucky 13 chosen from around the country to work as an intern at Ball Horticultural Co. in 2012. The fifth-year Penn State horticulture student was thrilled to land the position at the huge international corporation's North American plant in Chicago. "Ball is one of the biggest names in horticulture," the Frankfort, Ill., native said. "I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with them." The main project Fitzsimmons worked on was comparing unreleased varieties of vegetables and flowers developed by Ball to those of existing and new varieties from the company's competitors.