News & Information

Latest news from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
This Ailanthus tree (tree-of-heaven) rests on the south side of Old Main on Penn State's University Park campus. While there have been no complaints about this particular Ailanthus, the plant's quick growth and spread has turned the tree into a major problem for foresters. Ailanthus was first imported to Pennsylvania in the late 1700s as a status symbol for rare plant collectors and botanists.
August 2, 2017

Ailanthus, also called tree-of-heaven, is a voracious invasive plant species that is rapidly affecting more and more forests in the United States, according to plant pathologists. These researchers recently found that Ailanthus not only produces lots of viable seeds, but also that the species produces seeds earlier in its lifespan and keeps producing seeds, in some cases, more than a century later. Recognizing the invasive potential of Ailanthus may help forestry experts control it.

As gardening enthusiasts have come to expect, attendees to the Lawn and Garden Area can get advice and information on flower arranging, growing herbs, square-foot gardening, hydroponics, pollinators and creating habitat for bees and butterflies, high-tunnels, and potato varieties. Experts, including Penn State Master Gardeners, will be on hand to answer questions about gardening and landscaping.
August 1, 2017

Flowers from variety trials at Penn State's Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center and tips on how to use "fertigation" in the garden will be among new features offered this year at the Yard and Garden Area at Ag Progress Days, Aug. 15-17.

Lead researcher Laura Gigliotti pauses with one of 70 snowshoe hares she trapped in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Researchers found that hares in the Keystone State are, on average, significantly larger than those in the Yukon.
August 1, 2017

Snowshoe hares in Pennsylvania — at the southern end of the species' range — show adaptations in fur color and characteristics, behavior and metabolism, to enable them to survive in less wintry conditions than their far northern relatives, according to a team of researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The Plant Disease Clinic in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences provides clinical diagnoses of plant diseases for Pennsylvania's agricultural producers, gardeners and homeowners. Here, Sara May, plant pathologist and clinic coordinator, examines a specimen.
July 28, 2017

The Plant Disease Clinic in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences provides clinical diagnoses of plant diseases for Pennsylvania's agricultural producers, gardeners and homeowners.

July 28, 2017

No matter where Pennsylvanians live, virtually all citizens have a role to play in protecting the state's critical water resources. Visitors to the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building and Theater at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 15-17, can learn how they can contribute to keeping water clean, safe and abundant.

As part of their senior capstone project in biological engineering, students designed a device that assists apple pickers. The device mounts on a vehicle that can travel between the trees in an orchard.
July 25, 2017

For their senior capstone projects, biological engineering students at Penn State designed possible solutions to real problems in agriculture and the environment.

Aimed at both youths and adults, 30-minute hay hole and skid steer blind spot demonstrations will take place at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 15-17.
July 25, 2017

Visitors to the Farm Safety Demonstration Area at Penn State's 2017 Ag Progress Days can learn how to reduce the risk of childhood injuries due to falls from hay holes and runover incidents involving skid steers.

Soybean aphids are a recently introduced pest to the U.S., causing yield losses and increased insecticide sprays.  The aphids feed on the sap of soybean plants.
July 24, 2017

The Student Farm is hosting a free insect identification and biological soil health workshop on Saturday, Aug. 5 from 9 to 11 a.m. The workshop will led by Dr. Mary Barbercheck, professor of entomology, Penn State.

July 20, 2017

A team led by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has received a nearly $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a three-year study of a new flexible strategy to ramp up installation of riparian buffers.

Pigs and humans have similar colonic stem cell populations and microbiomes, according to Jairam K.P. Vanamala, who led a research effort to better understand those similarities. Using a pig model may help other scientists more effectively test treatments for colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
July 20, 2017

Pigs have gut bacterial profiles and immune systems similar to humans. Using a pig model, in addition to mice models, may help minimize the failure rate of drugs for diseases linked to high-calorie diets, such as colon cancer and type 2 diabetes, say researchers.

Lead researcher Kathryn Barlow, a doctoral student in ecology, conducts a plant survey on the edge of a Marcellus shale natural gas well pad.
July 20, 2017

Vast swaths of Pennsylvania forests were clear-cut circa 1900 and regrowth has largely been from local native plant communities, but a team of researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has found that invasive, non-native plants are making significant inroads with unconventional natural gas development.

At A-Maze-N-Corn, kids and adults can spend time wandering a giant corn maze. It's one of the many events that will take place during Ag Progress Days.
July 19, 2017

A hay competition, natural resources displays, wildlife exhibits, and crop management education are just a few of the many activities that will take place during Penn State's Ag Progress Days.

Sample taste studies helped Penn State researchers determine differences in preference and perception as they pertain to fat content in the manufacturing of ice cream.
July 19, 2017

Ice cream with higher fat amounts are typically called "premium" ice creams. However, Penn State researchers found that most people can't tell the difference between ice creams with certain levels of fat. The findings may help ice cream producers and entrepreneurs make recipes that are tasty, but less expensive.

In the Family Room at Ag Progress Days, presenters teach the importance of a healthy diet, first aid, firearm safety and more.
July 18, 2017

Families can play minigames, watch food demonstrations, taste healthy food and drink, participate in a scavenger hunt and learn first-aid and firearm safety tips in the Family Room building at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 15-17.

July 17, 2017

There is considerable uncertainty surrounding emerging contaminants in aquatic ecosystems and groundwater, and a recent Penn State study of compounds from pharmaceuticals and personal care products didn't add much clarity. But it did provide insight into the transport of the chemicals, according to researchers in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Cloud computing
July 17, 2017

Guangqing Chi, associate professor of rural sociology and demography and public health sciences in Penn State's Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education and director of the Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core in the Social Science Research Institute, and his team have collected over 30 terabytes of geo-tagged tweets over the last four years.

July 13, 2017

Exhibits, games, activities and prizes focused on learning about bugs, animals, health and science will be offered for children at Penn State's Ag Progress Days expo, Aug. 15-17.

Machinery demonstrations are always a popular attraction at Ag Progress Days.
July 13, 2017

The latest in agricultural innovations and state-of-the-art farm machinery will be on display at this year's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 15-17.

A team of food science students from Penn State won the National Dairy Council's 2017 New Product Competition for their dairy beverage concept, FüZen. The team was composed of Michelle Tran (team captain), Lisa Caprera, Manpreet Cheema, Mitchell Culler, Jacob Ginn, Devin Koenig, Abigail Peleschak, Taylor Thomas, Gloria Wang and Michael Zaffuto.
July 11, 2017

Three teams of food science students from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences came out on top in national product-development competitions and a trivia bowl in June.

Penn State Berkey Creamery store supervisor Susan Watson is a familiar face at the Central PA Arts Fest tent, where she has been working for almost 30 years.
July 11, 2017

Susan Watson is a staple at the Penn State Berkey Creamery tent at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. She has been running, staffing and supervising the tent's operations for nearly 30 years.