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Advanced Agricultural and Food Systems

Transforming thinking and practice in agricultural and food systems through research focused on productivity, sustainability, and adaptability.

Green roof

Food is critical to sustain life, but rather than simply producing more food for a growing world population, it is imperative that we also produce better foods that increase production efficiencies while using fewer resources.

Agricultural systems must also adapt to a changing climate. Consequently, researchers in the college are investigating the ways in which climate change will affect local weather and resulting land use. These scientists are particularly interested in examining the issue of global climate change at scales from large to regional and how information can be shared across these different scales.

Research Expertise

Strategies

  • Adapt agricultural practices in light of an increasingly urban population and intensified pressure on agricultural land conversion.
  • Balance the combined needs for energy and food with uncertain availability of water resources and global climate change.
  • Understand how field-scale changes in conservation practices or waste handling influence water quality.
  • Explore how landscape heterogeneity influences floristic diversity and associated beneficial insects.
  • Identify the microorganisms that are active in various environments and how their actions affect those ecosystems.

News

Climate projections suggest Lancaster County corn yields in jeopardy by 2050
June 25, 2018
Climate projections indicate more warming will occur in the Northeast than other sections of the United States, and that has implications for corn crops and dairy farms in the region by 2050, researchers warn. While rising temperatures are not likely to cause serious reductions in corn crops in the northern and central parts of the Northeast, they threaten corn yields in the southern reaches of the region, according to Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production ecology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Agricultural diversification: Empowering women in Cambodia with 'wild gardens'
June 5, 2018
There is no such thing as utopia when it comes to food security, as millions of people around the world have limited food resources. One of those places is Cambodia in Southeast Asia, one of the world's poorest countries, where the rural poverty rate is 24 percent, and 40 percent of children younger than 5 are chronically malnourished, making them vulnerable to significant health problems.
From farm to dining commons: Penn State a leader in locally sourced food
April 16, 2018
Penn State students go through more than 132,000 gallons of fresh milk from University Park’s much-beloved Berkey Creamery every year, but that’s not the only campus to enjoy fresh milk from a local source.