Faculty in College of Ag Sciences recognized for research achievements

November 8, 2022

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences lauded outstanding accomplishments in research during the college’s inaugural Research Awards Ceremony, held Oct. 25 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus.

Grapevines may only need help to survive heavy spotted lanternfly infestations

October 20, 2022

While heavy infestations of spotted lanternfly on grapevines — especially in successive years — can result in their demise, most vines may be able to survive lighter infestations with few ill effects, according to a study by Penn State researchers.

Bull steps down at Microbiome Center, looks forward to future innovation

October 3, 2022

After more than five years at the helm of Penn State’s Microbiome Center, founding director Carolee Bull has stepped down. Though she will continue serving as department head of plant pathology and environmental microbiology and as a professor of plant pathology and systematic bacteriology at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Bull has handed off leadership of the Microbiome Center to recent Penn State hire Seth Bordentstein.

Researchers get USDA-NIFA grant to study corn-soil fungi interactions, symbiosis

September 23, 2022

A team of Penn State plant scientists has received a grant of nearly $1.25 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the interactions between corn and soil fungi, with the aim of boosting crop resilience and production.

Penn State awarded grant to help dairy farmers develop climate-smart commodities

September 19, 2022

Funding of up to $25 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support a new Penn State-led collaboration with dairy industry associations and producers to develop and implement climate-smart practices on Pennsylvania dairy farms. The project is aimed at generating climate commodities that add value to dairy products along the supply chain and leveraging agriculture’s potential to provide solutions to climate change.

Plant scientist and former department head Rich Marini retires after long career

August 26, 2022

Professor of Horticulture Richard Marini, who led Penn State’s Horticulture Department as it evolved to become the Department of Plant Science, retired July 1 after a four-decade career that left a huge mark on the fruit tree industry.

Flavonoids from sorghum plants kill fall armyworm pest on corn; may protect crop

August 23, 2022

Flavonoids produced by sorghum leaves have shown promising results in combating fall armyworm larvae. When sprayed on the leaves of corn, sorghum flavonoids stunt the growth of fall armyworm and often kill the pest, Penn State researchers report in a new study.

Researchers get USDA-NIFA grant to study corn plant nutrient-use efficiency

August 18, 2022

A research team led by a Penn State plant scientist has received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the functions of key plant genes responsible for regulating the acquisition and use of nitrogen and phosphorus in corn hybrids.

Inaugural tree climbing school in Harrisburg reduces barriers to career entry

August 18, 2022

To help bolster the workforce for an industry in need of employees and provide a career path for residents of the state’s capital city, Penn State Extension recently offered a course, titled “Tree Climbing School,” in Harrisburg for the first time.

Alumnus-founded startup Phospholutions announces $5.3M investment

August 18, 2022

Penn State alumnus-founded startup Phospholutions, a leader in sustainable fertilizer technology, recently announced additional investment from leading global agricultural companies totaling $5.3M. This funding will support the commercialization of their RhizoSorb technology in the U.S. row crop market.

Plant molecular geneticists discover, and begin to crack, the epigenetic code

August 16, 2022

When plants sense environmental challenges such as drought or extended periods of extreme temperatures, they instinctively reprogram their genetic material to survive and even thrive. The chemical code that triggers those changes can be deciphered and then duplicated to breed more vigorous, productive and resilient crops. That’s the conclusion of a team of Penn State molecular plant geneticists that conducted the first-ever study of those reprogramming effects and discovered that “epigenetic reprogramming” code, which results in the expressing and over expressing of some genes and the silencing of others.

Harbaugh Faculty Scholars named in College of Agricultural Sciences

July 7, 2022

Two faculty members in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have received funding to support the development of innovative curricula under the college’s Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program. Justine Lindemann, assistant professor of community development and resilience, and Ricky Bates, professor of horticulture, received awards under the program, which was created by a gift from Penn State alumnus Earl Harbaugh and his wife, Kay.  

Internet-based precision irrigation system shows promise for fresh-market tomato

May 17, 2022

An “internet of things” — or IoT — system monitoring real-time data from soil-based sensors to activate an automated precision irrigation setup can conserve water and boost crop production, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

New plant science team gets grants from USDA-NIFA for research on soil microbes

April 28, 2022

An assistant professor in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has received $950,000 in two competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lead a team studying interactions between plants and rhizobial soil bacteria, with the long-term goal of boosting forage and crop production while reducing environmental impacts of fertilizer use.

Adding high-flavonoid corn to broiler chickens’ diet may cut intestinal disease

April 21, 2022

The inclusion of a high-flavonoid corn, developed by a Penn State maize geneticist, in the diet of broiler chickens reduced the incidence and severity of a fatal intestinal disorder known as necrotic enteritis.

Getting to the root of corn domestication; knowledge may help plant breeders

April 18, 2022

A unique confluence of archeology, molecular genetics and serendipity guided a collaboration of Mexican and Penn State researchers to a deeper understanding of how modern corn was domesticated from teosinte, a perennial grass native to Mexico and Central America, more than 5,000 years ago.

Plant scientist gets grant to study how climate change will affect forage crops

April 14, 2022

A Penn State plant scientist has received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lead a team studying how changes in temperature associated with climate change affect the establishment, persistence and performance of perennial forage crops and their associated weedy plant communities in the U.S. Northeast.  

Gamma Sigma Delta lauds outstanding College of Ag Sciences faculty, students

April 5, 2022

The Penn State chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the agricultural honor society, recognized Penn State faculty and students during its annual meeting, which was held March 31.

Accomplished professor of horticulture, extension tree-fruit specialist retires

April 1, 2022

For almost 40 years, Rob Crassweller, professor of horticulture and extension tree-fruit specialist in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has made impactful contributions. He is passing the mantle to a new generation of scientists and extension educators as he embarks on the next chapter of his life — retirement.

Penn State's 'Living Filter' to be the focus of wastewater reuse conference

March 28, 2022

More than a half-century of research on the use of treated wastewater for irrigation and groundwater recharge will be the focus of a three-day conference hosted by Penn State April 5-7 at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Boalsburg. The conference will highlight Penn State's "Living Filter," a year-round spray irrigation system that recycles the University's treated effluent.

Penn State Global announces 2021-22 awards for engagement

March 25, 2022

Penn State Global has announced the 2021-22 recipients of its annual awards that recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and academic programs at Penn State who have helped to advance the University’s global engagement goals.

Faculty in College of Agricultural Sciences lauded for excellence in teaching

March 16, 2022

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has recognized five faculty members for outstanding teaching in 2021.

College of Ag Sciences alumna, student recipients of Musser Award of Excellence

March 14, 2022

The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected two recipients of its 2022 Musser Award of Excellence. Devon Carroll, a graduate of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, and Travis Russell, a doctoral candidate in the college, are co-honorees.

Golf Course Turfgrass Management alumnus Frank Dobie honored by USGA

February 4, 2022

The U.S. Golf Association recently bestowed its Green Section Award on Penn State alumnus David Franklin “Frank” Dobie, who graduated from the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Golf Course Turfgrass Management Certificate Program in 1960.

Dairy farmers can adapt to climate change

January 5, 2022

Dairy farmers in the Northeast — facing a warming climate that exacerbates nutrient pollution but lengthens the growing season — can reduce the environmental impact of their operations and maximize revenues by double cropping and injecting manure into the soil, rather than broadcasting it.

Cannabis may contain heavy metals and affect consumer health, study finds

December 14, 2021

A new meta-analysis, led by researchers at Penn State, examines the ability of cannabis plants to absorb heavy metals and discusses the resulting health impacts on consumers.

Cover crops make vineyards more sustainable; strategy can be marketing tool

December 2, 2021

Growing cover crops under grapevines in vineyards can reduce erosion, enhance soil health, reduce herbicide use and improve water quality, according to a team of Penn State researchers, who suggest that growers can promote improved sustainability in production as part of a marketing strategy that may result in consumers being willing to pay more for wine.

Plant science professor remembered for unwavering dedication to student success

November 16, 2021

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, is being remembered as an extraordinary educator and mentor whose care for and commitment to students — and the landscape contracting industry — was unparalleled.

Grant to fund research on biological approach to manage soil pathogens and pests

October 19, 2021

In an effort to boost the profitability and sustainability of organic specialty crop production systems, a team of scientists is improving and optimizing anaerobic soil disinfestation as a management approach to control soilborne pests and pathogens and promote soil health.

Annual Penn State Horticulture Show slated for Oct. 23-24 at University Park

October 11, 2021

The Penn State Horticulture Show, a must-do fall activity for many families, will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 23 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at Penn State’s University Park campus.