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2010

Analysis of Marcellus Shale natural-gas legislation offered in webinar
January 19, 2011
An online seminar offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension at 1 p.m. on Jan. 20 will provide expert analysis of state legislation enacted and considered related to the exploration and production of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.
Tractor rollover protection program will save farmers' lives
January 19, 2011
A program launched recently by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences aims to put rollover protective structures, or ROPS, on hundreds of tractors and save the lives of Keystone State farmers. Kicked off Jan. 4 at the Keystone Farm Show at the York Fairgrounds, the ROPS Retrofit Program for Pennsylvania Farmers addresses a continuing crisis -- dozens of farmers die in tractor accidents every decade.
Farm food safety program targets fruit, vegetable producers
January 19, 2011
As global agribusiness brings us apples from Chile and cheese from New Zealand, more and more consumers are turning to local farmers for their food needs. Pennsylvania's proximity to the northeastern population centers makes it the ideal supplier to these "locavores." Yet these locavores also increasingly demand assurances that their produce is safe to eat.
Ice Cream Short Course covers 'cow to cone'
January 19, 2011
Making ice cream in January may seem counter-intuitive -- with highs averaging 32 degrees and lows averaging just 18 in Happy Valley -- but it's tradition. In 1892, the Pennsylvania State College offered a dairy manufacturing class during the winter "when farm work is least pressing and the boys can best be spared." The ice cream section of that original dairy manufacturing class became so popular that it was spun off in 1925 -- the original Ice Cream Short Course. Over the 119 years of ice cream programs, more than 4,500 students from 49 states in the union and every continent (except Antarctica) have studied at Penn State.
Students get up close and personal with migrating songbirds
October 19, 2010
Every weekend since the end of August, a group of Penn State wildlife and fisheries science students have been learning to band birds along the edge of a wooded area at the Arboretum at Penn State. The students are working under the direction of Emily Thomas, a 2009 Penn State graduate and a master's candidate in wildlife and fisheries science.
Compliance with copyright laws urged throughout Penn State
October 12, 2010
A notice from Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson recently was issued to students, faculty and staff requesting that all Penn State community members comply with federal copyright laws and University copyright policy. The notice stated that the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material is against federal and state law and therefore requires the University to officially respond to any reported copyright violations.
World Food Day Seminar to be held Oct. 14
October 7, 2010
Clare Hinrichs, associate professor of rural sociology at Penn State, will be the keynote speaker at the World Food Day Seminar, "Challenges toward Food Security," to be held from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 14 in room 110 of the Henderson Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The seminar is designed to be a forum for students, faculty and the Penn State community, and will be held in an open house format. It will begin with the keynote speech, followed by a panel discussion. For more information, contact the Nutrition Graduate Student Association at psungsa@gmail.com. Light refreshments will be provided.
Expert: Drought conditions to dampen foliage display
October 7, 2010
If it seems to you, as you drive around Pennsylvania, that the leaves on many trees began turning colors early this year, it's because they have, according to a forest expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Pennsylvania farmers struggling to deal with drought
October 7, 2010
Pennsylvania farmers dealing with a precipitation deficit approaching 9 inches below average are trying to make the best of a parched situation, according to experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently issued a drought warning for 24 counties, and the remainder of the state is under a drought watch. But despite the very dry conditions, this year's crop yields haven't uniformly dipped as much as in some other dry years.
Animations show extent of Marcellus Shale development
October 7, 2010
The pace and extent of Marcellus Shale development across Pennsylvania can be "seen" in animated maps produced by the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. Based on data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the animations show both the number of drilling permits issued for the Marcellus Shale target and the number of wells drilled by year from 2007 through August 2010.
Researchers developing way to distinguish between salmonella strains
September 21, 2010
As scientists with the federal government search for the source of the salmonella that made thousands of people sick this summer and trace how it spread, researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are developing a new and more accurate method of acquiring the bacteria's identify.
Home canning on the rise again, but do it safely, expert warns
September 10, 2010
Sometimes old ideas are the best ideas, and certainly home canning is one of those. But despite generations of practice, many don't do it properly, warns a food-safety expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Unusual feed supplement could ease greenhouse gassy cows
August 30, 2010
Cow belches, a major source of greenhouse gases, could be decreased by an unusual feed supplement developed by a Penn State dairy scientist. An oregano-based supplement was found to not only decrease methane emissions if dairy cows by 40 percent, but also improve milk production, according to Alexander Hristov, an associate professor of dairy nutrition.
Expert says frying pan may be best weapon against Salmonella in eggs
August 30, 2010
As investigators track a Salmonella outbreak that has forced the recall of more than a half-billion eggs, a specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences says consumers have a simple means of protecting themselves from foodborne illness.
Penn State helped create program that has reduced Salmonella in eggs
August 30, 2010
Although a Salmonella scare and egg recall is taking place across much of the country, Pennsylvania-produced eggs are safer to eat, according to poultry experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. That's thanks to a program Penn State researchers helped Keystone State egg producers start almost two decades ago, which was the model for the national program to guard against egg contamination implemented just this July.
Huge Challenges in Scaling Up Biofuels Infrastructure
August 26, 2010
Ramping up biofuels production to replace fossil fuels and provide a significant portion of the nation's energy will require nothing short of a transformation of the U.S. agricultural, transportation and energy sectors in the next few decades, according to a bioenergy expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Safeguarding U.S. Agriculture is Aim of Penn State Program
August 26, 2010
At a time when two of the nation's largest egg producers have issued a 550 million egg recall because of reports of potential salmonella contamination, it is clear that the issue of vulnerability in America's agricultural and food production systems remains a vital concern. Salmonella bacteria, like other human disease-causing organisms, can cause physical harm and death, as well as economic devastation. Safeguarding the nation's agriculture and environment from natural and intentional threats is the goal of Penn State's new online agricultural biosecurity education program.
Aquatic Invaders can Topple Plant and Fish Populations in Northeast
August 26, 2010
The introduction of species like "Frankenfish" or "Rock Snot" into Pennsylvania waters doesn't sound pretty, and it's not. These are just two of the more colorful nicknames for aquatic invaders, but the innocent-sounding ones -- such as parrot feather or water chestnut -- also have the capacity to spell doom for some local ponds and streams.
Snacking revisited: Done properly, it's not a bad thing
August 19, 2010
Turns out, for most people, eating between meals may not be such a bad thing after all. Healthy snacking is a great way for kids and adults to keep up energy levels, avoid overeating at main meals and ensure that they are consuming enough essential nutrients, according to a registered dietician in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "Nearly all children need at least one healthy snack a day," said Katherine French, a nutrition, diet and health educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension in Mercer County. Younger children may require two to three snacks per day, while other children may never need one.
Penn State launches new education, research center on Marcellus Shale
August 18, 2010
Penn State is creating an education and research center focused on the Marcellus Shale to help state agencies, elected officials, communities, landowners, industry and environmental groups protect the Commonwealth's water resources, forests and transportation infrastructure while advocating for a science-based and responsible approach to handling the state's natural gas deposits.
Potato plots, variety trials return to Ag Progress Days
August 13, 2010
Pennsylvania harvested $34.5 million worth of potatoes in 2009. It's no surprise, then, that with the state's proximity to population centers in the Northeast, potato farming is a big deal -- big enough to warrant research through the Penn State Potato Variety Trials, which will be showcased with displays and demonstration plots during Ag Progress Days, Aug. 17-19.
Video: Pollinator research ramps up as bee colony numbers decline
August 13, 2010
In the last several years, beekeepers across the country have seen the overall number of pollinator bee colonies drop dramatically. By each winter's end, about three out of every 10 colonies die out. Penn State experts gathered colleagues from around the world to try to figure out what is causing the death and disappearance of honeybees and other pollinators and ultimately threatens the vitality of much of our nation's food supply. Watch the video to hear more about the first International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy and Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research.
College of Ag Sciences faculty, staff honored for plum pox eradication
August 12, 2010
Seven members of the faculty and staff in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences received an Honor Award from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Aug. 3 for their efforts in helping to wipe out plum pox virus in Pennsylvania. USDA Honor Awards recognize accomplishments that help ensure access to safe, nutritious and balanced meals for America's children.
College of Ag Sciences Exhibits Building at heart of Ag Progress Days
August 9, 2010
The diversity of teaching, research and Cooperative Extension programs offered by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will be on display at Ag Progress Days, Aug. 17-19. The College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building and Theater at the Ag Progress Days site will allow visitors to explore energy; entrepreneurship; food, diet and health; pest prediction and response; and water quality and quantity.
Animal Sciences Expertise featured at Ag Progress Days
August 1, 2010
Penn State is well known for its traditional excellence in dairy and animal science education, and some of that expertise will be exhibited at the Animal Sciences Facility at Ag Progress Days, August 17-19, 2010.
Master Gardeners talk pollinators at Penn State's Ag Progress Days
July 29, 2010
The garden demonstration plots at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 17-19 at Rock Springs, will be abuzz this year not just with gardeners championing the importance of pollinators, but with many of the actual pollinators themselves, drawn to the vicinity by the specialized plantings designed to do just that.
Farm health and safety to be featured at Ag Progress Days
July 26, 2010
Visitors to Penn State’s Ag Progress Days Aug. 17-19 can learn about the hazards of confined-space manure storages and how to reduce the risks associated with entering them. Addressing the health and safety of farmers, Ag Progress Days also will feature farm accident rescue simulations involving agricultural equipment, including demonstration of emergency scene stabilization and patient-extrication techniques. And attendees can get information about several types of farm safety programs and agricultural emergency response resources from on-site specialists.
Research shows eggs from pastured chickens may be more nutritious
July 21, 2010
A study conducted by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has shown that eggs produced by chickens allowed to forage in pastures are higher in some beneficial nutrients. In the research, titled "Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens," which was published online this year in the January issue of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, researchers examined how moving pastured hens to forage legumes or mixed grasses influenced hen egg omega-3 fatty acids and concentrations of vitamins A and E.
Synthetic biologist receives DARPA Young Faculty Award
July 21, 2010
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently presented its Young Faculty Award to Howard Salis, an assistant professor in Penn State's colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering.
New grant to support integrated pest management in Pennsylvania
July 17, 2010
The Pennsylvania IPM Program recently received a multi-year grant to continue its mission to reduce pesticide use in agricultural and urban settings.
Small Fish Exploits Forbidding Environment
July 15, 2010
Jellyfish moved into the oceans off the coast of southwest Africa when the sardine population crashed. Now another small fish is living in the oxygen-depleted zone part-time and turning the once ecologically dead-end jellyfish into dinner, according to an international team of scientists.
Local Zoning is Perhaps Best Control Over Marcellus Play, Planner Says
July 13, 2010
With Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale-gas epoch still in its infancy, some experts doubt we have seen one-tenth of what is yet to come and recommend that municipalities brace themselves for rapid change. "People who are not in the Marcellus areas have no clue how big this is going to be," said Kurt Hausammann Jr., planning director for Lycoming County. "This has the possibility to change our whole way of life."
Farmers, Livestock, Crops Suffered through Sizzling Weather
July 13, 2010
Pennsylvania farmers were reeling from the effects of the recent heat wave plaguing the Northeast, according to experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "The cows aren't getting a break -- even the nights are hot," said Michael O'Connor, professor emeritus of dairy science, during the peak of the steamy spell. "The hot weather is causing animals to reduce their appetites, resulting in a significant drop in production, and combined with the direct effect of increased body temperature, there is a substantial reduction in reproductive performance."
Dates announced for Penn State's Ag Progress Days
July 12, 2010
The 2010 edition of Penn State's Ag Progress Days exposition will take place from August 17-19, and organizers are planning a variety of activities of interest to agricultural producers, consumers and families, according to manager Bob Oberheim ....
Penn State to Lead New International Center for Malaria Research
July 12, 2010
A researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will lead a seven-year, $14.5-million project to fight malaria in Southeast Asia. Liwang Cui, professor of entomology, is the principal investigator for the Southeast Asia Malaria Research Center, one of 10 International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research announced July 8 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Mechanism that May Trigger Degenerative Disease Identified
June 28, 2010
A mechanism that regulates stem-cell differentiation in mice testes suggests a similar process that may trigger degenerative disease in humans, according to a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences reproductive physiologist. Research involved manipulating a protein called STAT3, which is active in tissues throughout the body and is essential for life, that signals stem cells to decide whether to differentiate into a specialized type of cell or self-renew and remain stem cells.
Penn State Ag Economist Reviews State of PA Dairy Industry
June 28, 2010
Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding celebrated Dairy Month in Pennsylvania recently with a giant ice cream sundae and praise for the state's dairy industry. An economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences said that along with the praise, dairy farmers are hoping for a little financial help.
Don't forget food safety when buying food from volunteer organizations
June 16, 2010
For many, summer evokes memories of chowing down on barbeque chicken hot off the grill at the church picnic, needing a handful of napkins to get through a sloppy pork sandwich at the fire hall dinner, or gobbling a juicy cheeseburger at a youth baseball game. While these meals served at outdoor events are a wonderful way for volunteer groups to raise money and socialize, there are a few organizations that may not be using the most sanitary food practices, according to a food-safety expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Straw Residue Helps Keep Nitrogen on the Farm
June 12, 2010
When raising corn, straw left in the field after grain harvesting, along with legume cover crops reduces nitrogen leaching into waterways, but may lower economic return, according to research conducted in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Mice Help Researcher Study How Cow's Diet Affects Milk-fat Content
June 9, 2010
A dairy nutritionist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is conducting genetic research with mice to determine if cows can be influenced by diet to produce milk with a higher fat content. You read that right. "On the surface, it may seem like a strange concept, experimenting with mice to learn things about cows," said Kevin Harvatine, assistant professor of nutritional physiology. "But the lactating dairy cow is not amenable to transgenic approaches. The mouse offers the greatest opportunity for genomic manipulation, and we have successfully developed a lactating mouse model to investigate milk-fat depression in dairy cows."
Entomology graduate fellowship to honor apiarist Lorenzo L. Langstroth
June 7, 2010
Penn State has received a $250,000 gift to endow a graduate fellowship in entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. At the request of the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, the endowment will be named the Lorenzo L. Langstroth Graduate Fellowship in Entomology, in honor of the 19th century apiarist widely considered to be the "father of American beekeeping."
Don't forget food safety when buying food from volunteer organizations
June 4, 2010
For many, summer evokes memories of chowing down on barbeque chicken hot off the grill at the church picnic, needing a handful of napkins to get through a sloppy pork sandwich at the fire hall dinner, or gobbling a juicy cheeseburger at a youth baseball game. While these meals served at outdoor events are a wonderful way for volunteer groups to raise money and socialize, there are a few organizations that may not be using the most sanitary food practices, according to a food-safety expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Penn State meat expert identifies 'hot' barbecue trends for 2010
June 3, 2010
Memorial Day marked the unofficial kick-off of barbecue season, and a meat specialist in Penn State State's College of Agricultural Sciences said the watchword for 2010 is variety. Chris Raines, assistant professor of meat science and technology in the college's dairy and animal science department, said while trends run the gamut from luxury grills to the medical benefits of marinades, three significant developments can be identified.
Penn State receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant
May 21, 2010
Penn State received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Consuelo De Moraes, associate professor of Entomology, titled "Scent of Disease: Diagnostic for Malaria Infection in Humans."
Sexed semen is a good alternative for use in some cattle operations
May 12, 2010
Semen that has been separated into male and female sperm is now available for the beef and dairy industries, a bovine specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences told attendees of a recent Pennsylvania Cattleman's College Purebred Breeders Workshop.
Debate churns over raw milk; food-safety specialist urges caution
May 7, 2010
As the debate about the health attributes and risks of raw milk spills into capitols and courts across the country, a food-safety expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is urging people to think carefully about the risks before consuming unpasteurized dairy products.
Research Explores Edible Film that Kills Pathogens for Meat Packaging
April 14, 2010
A team of food scientists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has shown that an edible film can be used for wrapping ready-to-eat meat products to deliver a slow release of a naturally occurring antimicrobial agent capable of killing a foodborne pathogen.
High Tunnels Increase Growing Season, Exotic Crops and Conservation
April 9, 2010
Some say there's nothing new under the sun, but researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are finding new ways to squeeze more out of it every year by extending Pennsylvania's growing season. They're also squeezing more out of this geographic growing zone by producing exotic fruits and vegetables normally found in more temperate ...
Turkey Gobbler Study Will Help Guide Management Decisions
April 6, 2010
A recently completed, four-year Penn State study of male wild turkey harvest and survival rates in three northeastern states shows that game managers and hunters have a choice to make. Do they want more spring hunting opportunity at the risk of fewer adult gobblers available for harvest?