News & Information

Latest news from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
The team's findings may help scientists and beekeepers to breed honey bees that are more resilient to stress.
March 2, 2017

A core set of genes involved in the responses of honey bees to multiple diseases caused by viruses and parasites has been identified by an international team of researchers. The findings provide a better-defined starting point for future studies of honey-bee health, and may help scientists and beekeepers breed honey bees that are more resilient to stress.

Among other projects highlighted in the report given to lawmakers by the coalition was research conducted in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences that analyzed how the saliva of caterpillars and other insect excretions trigger the defenses of crop plants, providing a new path for plant breeders to explore as they develop more resistant cultivars.
March 2, 2017

The head of Penn State’s Department of Entomology is among a coalition that includes top scientists from 11 research universities in Washington, D.C, today (March 2) calling for stronger federal support of the food and agricultural sciences.

The new and exciting thing coming out of the conference, organizers believe, is that there is universal support for having “champion farmers” lead other farmers to transform the entire community from perceiving conservation as “need to” to “want to.”
March 1, 2017

Because of a new narrative of stewardship, Pennsylvania farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will be persuaded to look at conservation not as something they have to do but rather something they want to do.

Student Farm Club members grow more than 20 types of lettuce in a greenhouse-based, soil-free system on campus. Housing and Food Services serves the produce grown on the Student Farm year-round in many dining halls on campus.
February 28, 2017

The Student Farm Club at Penn State is partnering with Housing and Food Services as part of National Nutrition Month to host a hydroponic lettuce tasting event, “Expand Your Salad Palate,” in Redifer Dining Commons, South Halls, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on March 13. The Student Farm Club invites all students, faculty, staff and community members to join them to taste a delicious variety of hydroponic lettuce grown by club members and learn about the nutritional benefits of eating a diversity of fresh, locally grown greens.

David Eissenstat's research focuses on the unseen part of the plant -- the roots -- and the impact factors such as climate change have on root physiology and root interactions with soil microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi.
February 28, 2017

David Eissenstat, professor of ecosystem management and woody plant physiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and chair of the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Penn State was awarded the Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.

The Forest Landowners Conference will provide the information, resources and connections needed to improve woodland stewardship at all levels.
February 28, 2017

Hundreds of landowners, natural resource professionals and conservationists interested in forests will gather at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona March 24-25 to learn how to better care for their woodlands.

The Home Gardening School, set for March 18 at the Forest Resources Building at University Park, will feature presentations for both beginning and experienced gardeners.
February 28, 2017

Penn State Extension’s Centre County Master Gardeners will host a Home Gardening School from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 18 at the Forest Resources Building on Penn State’s University Park campus. The Home Gardening School will feature a full day of presentations for both beginning and experienced gardeners.

Penn State graduate and Peace Corps volunteer Mark Goldy-Brown at Laguna Parón, in the Peruvian Andes mountains.
February 28, 2017

Penn State has once again been recognized among the nation's top producers of Peace Corps volunteers. With 50 undergraduate alumni serving overseas and working in fields such as agriculture, education, environment, health, community economic development and youth development, the University is No. 8 on the Peace Corps' 2017 rankings of colleges and universities in the large school category.

Expansion and renovations at Penn State's Mushroom Research Center are helping to ensure that the University's legacy in mushroom science and technology will endure into the future.
February 23, 2017

New construction and renovations are giving a boost to Penn State research and extension programming related to mushrooms, one of Pennsylvania's top agricultural crops.

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 22, 2017

"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.

Blannie Bowen, vice provost for academic affairs, is retiring on June 30, 2017, after nearly 30 years in leadership positions at Penn State.
February 21, 2017

Blannie E. Bowen, Penn State’s vice provost for academic affairs, is retiring on June 30, after nearly 30 years in leadership positions with the University.

The residential nature of the Study Away program presents opportunities for students to network with Penn State alumni in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest groups of living Penn State alumni in the world. They will also have the opportunity to explore the city and its local festivals, sporting events, outdoor activities, and various cultural experiences.
February 21, 2017

Starting in fall 2017, Penn State will launch a new program for students who are interested in helping the cities of today support the world of tomorrow. Study Away Pittsburgh is a 15-credit residential program that provides students with an immersive urban experience while taking classes in person and online. Four information sessions will be held Feb. 23 in the HUB-Robeson Center for students interested in learning more.

Michael Jacobson surveyed subsistence farmers in five counties and dozens of villages in Kenya about their willingness to grow croton trees. He asked them such things as how many trees they have, whether they would be willing to plant more, and whether they would gather the nuts and provide them to a company at collection points and, if so, at what price. Essentially, his interviews with hundreds of farmers helped the company assess its supply chain.
February 20, 2017

Africa and agroforestry -- defined as agriculture that incorporates the cultivation and conservation of trees -- are in Penn State professor Michael Jacobson's blood, and the combination has helped shape his career. In turn, the forest economist has played an important role in launching a tree-based biofuel initiative that has major implications for the continent and its millions of subsistence farmers.

Ongoing research at the Penn State Justice Center for Research is attempting to identify and understand opioid distribution networks and ways to disrupt them.
February 20, 2017

Researchers at the Justice Center, located in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, are exploring multiple options to combat the increasing rates of drug use. One current project is looking to identify distribution networks for illegal and prescription painkillers (opioids) using data from both the Pennsylvania State Police and individual communities, while another project will investigate ways to disrupt the flow of opioids through targeted police action, public outreach, and community partnerships.

As deputy director of the Penn State Cancer Institute, Jeffrey Peters will work to promote interdisciplinary cancer research across Penn State's colleges and campuses. 
February 20, 2017

Penn State Cancer Institute has appointed Jeffrey M. Peters, distinguished professor of molecular toxicology and carcinogenesis in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State, as its new deputy director, following a national search. As deputy director, Peters will catalyze collaborations among cancer researchers across Penn State’s colleges and campuses and help lead the Cancer Institute’s application for National Cancer Institute designation in 2018.

February 20, 2017

Panelists will share their research in three panel discussions for the Black History Month PSU Scholar’s Program, highlighting scholarship by Penn State faculty members of African descent, this week on Feb. 21 and 22 in Foster Auditorium of Pattee Library on the University Park campus.

The larval stage of the Colorado potato beetle
February 18, 2017

What looks like a caterpillar chewing on a leaf or a beetle consuming fruit is likely a three-way battle that benefits most, if not all of the players involved, according to a Penn State entomologist.

Penn State food scientist Catherine Cutter conducts a demonstration during a food safety training session for students in Armenia.
February 17, 2017

A program developed by Penn State food scientists is training students in Armenia on food safety practices and procedures, with an eye toward improving the safety of the country's food supply chain — from crop production and processing to packaging, handling, marketing and consumption.

Penn State Extension is seeking feedback from produce growers, food processors and feed manufacturers to help guide future education programs related to new federal food-safety and record-keeping requirements.
February 16, 2017

Pennsylvania produce growers, food processors and animal feed producers preparing to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) can provide Penn State Extension with input -- via an anonymous survey -- that will help guide the development of relevant educational resources. FSMA establishes regulatory practices that produce farmers, food processors and feed manufacturers must adopt to prevent contamination of fresh produce, processed and manufactured human foods, and animal feeds.

Sara Getson, shown here working in a greenhouse, chose to abandon her math major and explore her passions for mycology and plant pathology. The fifth-year senior is now double-majoring in plant sciences and French and francophone studies, and triple-minoring in plant pathology, entomology and mushroom science and technology.      
February 16, 2017

Sara Getson came to Penn State and developed an unexpected academic passion — fungi.