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A smallholder farmer harvests Acacia pennata (Cha-om) shoots from her "living fence" in Cambodia.   Image: Penn State
June 7, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In a perfect world, everyone would have access to nutritious, affordable food. However, as Rick Bates knows, there is no such thing as utopia when it comes to food security, as millions of people around the world have limited food resources. One of those places is Cambodia in Southeast Asia, one of the world's poorest countries, where the rural poverty rate is 24 percent, and 40 percent of children younger than 5 are chronically malnourished, making them vulnerable to significant health problems.

Rob Crassweller, professor of horticulture and extension tree-fruit specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
May 22, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Rob Crassweller, professor of horticulture and extension tree-fruit specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has received the 2018 American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Extension Educator Award.

Jonathan Lynch, distinguished professor of plant science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named the 2018 winner of the Dennis R. Hoagland Award.
May 16, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jonathan Lynch, distinguished professor of plant science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named the 2018 winner of the Dennis R. Hoagland Award for his work in improving scientific understanding of crop productivity and plant nutrition to improve production and food security.

Image Credit: Andrew Fister/Penn State
May 16, 2018

Use of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 could help to breed cacao trees that exhibit desirable traits such as enhanced resistance to diseases, according to plant scientists. The cacao tree, which grows in tropical regions, produces the cocoa beans that are the raw material of chocolate. Reliable productivity from cacao plants is essential to the multi billion-dollar chocolate industry, the economies of producing countries and the livelihoods of millions of smallholder cacao farmers.

Erin L. Connolly, Ph.D.   Professor and Head
May 16, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Department Executive Officers (DEO) Program has gained five additional Fellows from the Penn State ranks. The BTAA is the academic consortium of the Big Ten universities. Through its leadership program, participants who have demonstrated leadership ability through University administrative assignments or through other significant leadership positions in public, private or professional organizations, are aided in further developing their leadership and managerial skills. Erin Connolly, head, Department of Plant Science, College of Agricultural Sciences.

April 30, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric Barron presented 11 awards to more than 30 graduate students in recognition of outstanding achievement during the annual Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held April 25 at the Nittany Lion Inn. The following students received awards. Articles about this year’s award recipients are linked below, by award category. Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award: Kirsten Lloyd, doctoral student in horticulture.

April 30, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric Barron presented 11 awards to more than 30 graduate students in recognition of outstanding achievement during the annual Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held April 25 at the Nittany Lion Inn. The following students received awards. Articles about this year’s award recipients are linked below, by award category. — Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award and Distinguished Doctoral Scholar Medal: Mitchell Hunter, doctoral student in agronomy.

Differences in bean plant growth observed by researchers were striking. Image: Jonathan Lynch Lab / Penn State
January 19, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Bean plants that suppress secondary root growth in favor of boosting primary root growth forage greater soil volume to acquire phosphorus, according to Penn State researchers, who say their recent findings have implications for plant breeders and improving crop productivity in nutrient-poor soils. The increase in the length of the root is referred to as primary growth, while secondary growth is the increase in thickness or girth of the root. Because root growth confers a metabolic cost to the plant, bean plants growing in phosphorus-depleted soils that send out longer, thinner roots have an advantage in exploring a greater volume of soil and acquiring more phosphorus.

December 1, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Elliot Redding, a junior in landscape contracting, is taking full advantage of his time at Penn State to dig into the world of agriculture and find a career he is passionate about. From landscape competitions to networking to mountain biking, Redding is getting hands-on experience doing what he loves. Redding’s interest in landscape contracting began with a job he held between high school and college with Boyer Nurseries and Orchards Inc., a small family-owned business in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. “Working for Boyer helped me realize that I really did want to go into horticulture as a career,” said Redding. He had the opportunity to work with a group of people who were always willing to answer his questions and help him learn about the industry. It also gave him a wide range of experiences including working with design plans, observing day-to-day operations and spending time in different parts of the company.

December 1, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State was recognized for its leadership among land-grant universities for its work in entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development at the recent annual meeting for the 237-member Association of Land Grant Universities (APLU) in Washington D.C. At the meeting, Penn State President Eric Barron was named the new chair of the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP). Penn State Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey was acknowledged as an Innovation & Economic Prosperity (ICEP) University Award finalist. Sharkey was a featured speaker, sharing institutional strategies driving the success of the Invent Penn State initiative.

October 30, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A test to determine whether bitter pit — a disorder that blindsides apple growers by showing up weeks or months after picking — will develop in stored Honeycrisp apples was developed by a team of Penn State researchers, promising to potentially save millions of dollars annually in wasted fruit. While Honeycrisp is not yet the most popular apple in the U. S., trailing Gala and Fuji in sales, more Honeycrisp trees have been planted in recent years than other varieties, according to researcher Rich Marini, professor of horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences. That is because consumers prefer Honeycrisps and they typically wholesale for 30 to 40 cents more a pound than other varieties, he said.

Marvin Hall, professor of forage management
October 19, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Marvin Hall, professor of forage management in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was lauded by his alma mater, Bluffton University, for his professional accomplishments. Hall was a recipient of Bluffton's Professional Achievement Award, an honor given to alumni and faculty who have reached milestones in their professional career. He received the award during a ceremony in Bluffton, Ohio, on Oct. 7.

Dr. Bruce Bugbee
October 11, 2017

Dr. Bruce Bugbee's Seminar will be held on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 10:30am in 101 Agricultural Science & Industries Building, University Park Campus. His seminar is titled " Turning Photons into Food: on Earth and on Mars”, or “What Mark Watney Would Have Learned from a Horticulture Degree at Penn State.”

Barb Stettler - Marvin Hall
September 26, 2017

Exceptional Bluffton University alumni and faculty are honored each year during Homecoming weekend at the President’s Banquet. During the event, alumni and faculty who have reached milestones of achievement, service and giving are recognized. This year, alumni awards will be presented to Dr. Marvin H. Hall, a 1977 graduate who will receive the Professional Achievement Award, and Barbara Stettler, associate professor emerita of family and consumer sciences, who will receive the Faculty/Staff Service Award.

September 13, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Plant-based sensors that measure the thickness and electrical capacitance of leaves show great promise for telling farmers when to activate their irrigation systems, preventing both water waste and parched plants, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

August 29, 2017

Post-doctoral position to coordinate and conduct research and extension activities in a multidisciplinary project on approaches to reducing tillage in an organic, cover crop-based feed grain production system in the Mid-Atlantic region.

May 18, 2017

June marks the start of what many here in the Northeast believe is the sweetest part of summer — berry season. It's a time ripe with strawberry festivals, pick-your-own-berries and local farmers' markets.

March 23, 2017

STATE COLLEGE - A few years ago, the federal government changed its regulations that allowed people to do research on industrial hemp. The state passed legislation last year that made that possible in Pennsylvania. On Friday, the Department of Agriculture announced that 16 teams from across the state were approved to conduct studies on the plant. Penn State Professor Greg Roth is the head of one of those research teams.

Farmers roll a hairy vetch-triticale cover crop into a thick mat which serves as a mulch and weed-suppressant. Photo credit Clair Keene.
March 3, 2017

Organic farmers have to make hard choices between protecting soil from erosion and controlling weeds. For example, large-scale organic farming relies heavily on tillage. Tilling breaks up the soil to kill weeds and prepare for planting. But intense tillage can compact soil, cause erosion, and deplete nutrients. As a result, some organic farmers are turning to cover crops for weed control.

Agricultural research, like that conducted at Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center (shown) is facing daunting challenges as scientists attempt to greatly increase food production in a sustainable way and protect the environment.
February 23, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- "Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population." This truism has been repeated so often in recent years that it has become widely accepted among academics, policymakers and farmers, but now researchers are challenging this assertion and suggesting a new vision for the future of agriculture. Research published today (Feb. 22) in Bioscience suggests that production likely will need to increase between 25 percent and 70 percent to meet 2050 food demand. The assertion that we need to double global crop and animal production by 2050 is not supported by the data, argues Mitch Hunter, doctoral student in agronomy, in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. He says the analysis shows that production needs to keep increasing, but not as fast as many have claimed.