Fourteen Penn State faculty recognized with lifetime honor

December 5, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fourteen Penn State faculty members in areas ranging from physics and engineering to entomology and plant science have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. A lifetime honor bestowed upon members by their peers, a total of 443 individuals are being recognized for their extraordinary achievements in advancing science. “At Penn State we believe in the power of brilliant minds creating new possibilities through exploration, collaboration and innovation,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “I commend our 14 scholars receiving this high honor and thank them for their continued dedication to the University’s research enterprise.”

Penn State research projects awarded USDA organic agriculture grants

November 15, 2019

Three organic-agriculture projects led by faculty members in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have received grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The funding, totaling more than $1.3 million, was awarded through USDA-NIFA's Organic Transitions Program.

Penn State plant scientist honored with USDA national teaching award

November 14, 2019

Dennis Decoteau, professor of horticulture and plant ecosystem health in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, is among four public university faculty honored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities with national teaching awards recognizing excellence in agricultural sciences teaching and student engagement.

Choosing most cost-effective practices for sites could save in bay cleanup

November 7, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Using site-specific watershed data to determine the most cost-effective agricultural best management practices — rather than requiring all the recommended practices be implemented across the entire watershed — could make staying below the Chesapeake Bay’s acceptable pollution load considerably less expensive. That’s the conclusion of a novel, five-year study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of Penn State and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, who modeled and compared runoff and pollution from Spring Creek watershed in central Pennsylvania under two scenarios: using all of the best management practices ( BMPs) identified for a watershed and a customized, most cost-effective set of BMPs tailored for Spring Creek watershed.

Embracing sustainable practices would help some winery tasting rooms stand out

October 21, 2019

Wineries in the mid-Atlantic region should consider recycling and encouraging their customers to bring bottles to their tasting rooms for refilling to distinguish their businesses from so many others, according to a team of wine-marketing researchers who surveyed consumers.

Penn State senior shares his passion for landscape contracting

October 6, 2019

Jack Pohutsky, a senior in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, was attracted to the rewarding, hands-on work of landscape contracting, and he took to the major immediately. Through small, student-focused classes, which touched on subjects such as horticulture, biology and design software, he has gained valuable knowledge and experience.

Novel use of laser technology reveals interactions between roots, soil organisms

September 16, 2019

A novel use of a custom laser system — developed in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences eight years ago — allows researchers to see how soil organisms affect plant roots. The discovery has implications for future breeding of more resilient and productive crops, according to an international team of scientists.

Ash tree species likely will survive emerald ash borer beetles, but just barely

September 7, 2019

“Lingering ash." That’s what the U.S. Forest Service calls the relatively few green and white ash trees that survive the emerald ash borer onslaught. Those trees do not survive by accident, and that may save the species, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a six-year study of ash decline and mortality.

McGraw receives 2019 Excellence in Academic Advising Award

September 4, 2019

Ben McGraw, associate professor of turfgrass science, has received the Excellence in Academic Advising Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences for 2019.

'Planting green' cover-crop strategy may help farmers deal with wet springs

July 1, 2019

Allowing cover crops to grow two weeks longer in the spring and planting corn and soybean crops into them before termination is a strategy that may help no-till farmers deal with wet springs, according to Penn State researchers.

Penn State scientists expanding work to help farmers learn about industrial hemp

June 27, 2019

With the passage of the 2018 farm bill and new regulations that allow the crop to be grown for sale for a range of uses, hemp production in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has taken off, with more than 300 permits approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture this year. Even before hemp was green-lighted by the federal government, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences was at the forefront of industrial hemp research in Pennsylvania.

Industry groups award funding for fruit research and extension projects

June 13, 2019

New and ongoing tree-fruit research in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences received a boost with the recent awarding of funds totaling more than $261,000 by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Apple Program.

From weeds to Washington: Penn State agronomy student advocates for change

April 25, 2019

Haleigh Summers, a master’s degree student in agronomy in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is one of this year’s 18 recipients of the American Society of Agronomy’s Future Leaders in Science Award.

Stearns receives Educator of the Year award from national landscape association

April 22, 2019

Dan Stearns, J. Franklin Styer Professor Emeritus, who served as the inaugural professor and program coordinator of the landscape contracting program in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was named Outstanding Educator of the Year by the National Association of Landscape Professionals during its annual conference in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Insect-deterring sorghum compounds may be eco-friendly pesticide

April 3, 2019

Compounds produced by sorghum plants to defend against insect feeding could be isolated, synthesized and used as a targeted, nontoxic insect deterrent, according to researchers who studied plant-insect interactions that included field, greenhouse and laboratory components.

Manure application changes with winter crop can cut nitrogen loss, boost profits

April 2, 2019

Dairy farmers in the Northeast can improve water quality and boost the profitability of their operations by changing the timing and method of applying manure to their fields in the fall, along with planting rye as a cover crop between corn crops — or by double-cropping rye and corn, according to Penn State researchers.

Penn State research featured in new report on supercharging U.S. ag science

March 27, 2019

A new report issued today (March 27) shows how U.S. farmers — facing a surge of weather events and disease outbreaks — can increase production and revenues with innovations produced by federally funded agricultural research, including studies performed in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Guiltinan receives Black Award for excellence in research

March 26, 2019

Mark Guiltinan, J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is the recipient of the 2018 Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.

Penn State sophomore blooms in plant science studies, internship

March 25, 2019

Jessica Yaeger, a plant science major with a horticulture option, has been named the 2019 GPN/Nexus Intern of the Year, an award sponsored by Greenhouse Product News and Nexus Greenhouse Corp.

Harper to take the reins at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center

March 1, 2019

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has named Jayson Harper, professor of agricultural economics, as interim director of the college's Fruit Research and Extension Center, effective March 1.

Penn State World Campus helps University stay true to founding mission

February 22, 2019

Penn State remains committed 164 years after its founding to providing an agricultural education — no matter where its students live.

Manure injection offers hope, challenge for restoring Chesapeake water quality

February 6, 2019

Widespread adoption by dairy farmers of injecting manure into the soil instead of spreading it on the surface could be crucial to restoring Chesapeake Bay water quality, according to researchers who compared phosphorus runoff from fields treated by both methods. However, they predict it will be difficult to persuade farmers to change practices.

College of Agricultural Sciences faculty members honored for teaching excellence

January 25, 2019

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has recognized six faculty members for outstanding teaching in 2018.

Unraveling of 58-year-old corn gene mystery may have plant-breeding implications

January 18, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In discovering a mutant gene that "turns on" another gene responsible for the red pigments sometimes seen in corn, researchers solved an almost six-decades-old mystery with a finding that may have implications for plant breeding in the future. The culmination of more than 20 years of work, the effort started when, in 1997, Surinder Chopra, professor of maize genetics at Penn State, received seeds from a mutant line of corn. At the time, Chopra was a postdoctoral scholar at Iowa State University, and he brought the research with him when he joined the Penn State faculty in 2000.

College of Agricultural Sciences student selected for Land O'Lakes internship

January 16, 2019

This past summer, Izaiah Bokunewicz, a plant sciences major in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, had a unique opportunity to advance his knowledge of food security and global hunger by participating in a prestigious program sponsored by Land O'Lakes.

Unique graduate student cohort will explore gender and agriculture

December 19, 2018

Faculty in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are spearheading an initiative that will provide selected doctoral students with the opportunity for extensive study on gender and its relationship to agricultural production.

Recruiting ants to fight weeds on the farm

December 18, 2018

Harvester ants that eat weed seeds on the soil's surface can help farmers manage weeds on their farms, according to an international team of researchers, who found that tilling less to preserve the ants could save farmers fuel and labor costs, as well as preserve water and improve soil quality.

Penn State root research results in breeding of improved bean plants for Africa

November 28, 2018

In the culmination of more than a decade of research on root traits conducted by Penn State plant scientists, about three tons of seed for common bean plants specifically bred to thrive in the barren soils of Mozambique will be distributed there Dec. 11.

Penn State creates model nutrient management plan for Bay drainage golf courses

November 19, 2018

Lost Creek Golf Club in Juniata County is unusual because a high quality, extremely productive wild trout stream runs through it, and Penn State turfgrass scientists recently developed a nutrient management plan for the course to protect the creek.

'Scaring' soybeans into defensive mode yields better plants a generation later

November 13, 2018

By temporarily silencing the expression of a critical gene, researchers fooled soybean plants into sensing they were under siege, encountering a wide range of stresses. Then, after selectively cross breeding those plants with the original stock, the progeny "remember" the stress-induced responses to become more vigorous, resilient and productive plants, according to a team of researchers.