Cyber-physical heating system may protect apple blossoms in orchards

February 29, 2024

Spring frosts can have devastating effects on apple production, and a warming climate may be causing trees to blossom early, making them more susceptible to the damaging effects of extreme cold events. Growers’ attempts to prevent the flowers from freezing by attempting to heat the canopies of their orchards largely have been inefficient.

Penn State Biorenewables Symposium to unveil new opportunities, April 18-19

February 27, 2024

Professionals and researchers spanning biorenewables-related industries and research programs are invited to join Penn State’s 2024 Biorenewables Symposium, which is designed to help them gain insights into cutting-edge research, cultivate partnerships and explore pathways within the field of biobased energy, products and materials.

Common plant could help reduce food insecurity, researchers find

February 19, 2024

An often-overlooked water plant that can double its biomass in two days, capture nitrogen from the air — making it a valuable green fertilizer — and be fed to poultry and livestock could serve as life-saving food for humans in the event of a catastrophe or disaster, a new study led by Penn State researchers suggests.

Dairy cows fed botanicals-supplemented diets use energy more efficiently

February 12, 2024

Supplementing the feed of high-producing dairy cows with the botanical extract capsicum oleoresin, obtained from chili peppers, or a combination of that extract and clove oil resulted in the animals using feed energy more efficiently and emitting less methane from their largest stomach, according to a new study conducted by Penn State researchers.

No place like Antarctica: Students take study abroad trip of a lifetime

February 8, 2024

For the first time, Penn State students could experience Antarctica’s wonders through an embedded course, “Antarctica: Human Impacts on a Fragile Environment,” offered this past fall.

Supplementing financial aid with education may benefit SNAP recipients

February 2, 2024

Federal programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have been boosting food security for Americans in need for decades. New research suggests that pairing education with this financial assistance could help to improve diet quality, as well.

Center for Ag Conservation Assistance Training enlists engineering firm

January 30, 2024

The Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training, administered by Penn State Extension, has contracted with Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc., an infrastructure consulting firm operating in Pennsylvania and surrounding states with more than 60 years of experience in civil engineering and a reputation for innovative water quality solutions.

Research to help private forest owners manage woodlands for ecosystem services

January 17, 2024

With a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a team of forest ecologists and social scientists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will conduct research aimed at helping owners of small- to medium-sized forest tracts manage their woodlands for ecosystem services they deem desirable.

New potato-threatening pathogens reported for first time in Pennsylvania, US

January 17, 2024

As the home of beloved snack companies like Martin’s Potato Chips, Utz and Snyder’s of Hanover, Pennsylvania values its potatoes. Tasty tubers across the state may face the threat of newly identified pathogen strains, though, according to Penn State researchers who made the finding and aim to develop management strategies.

Women farmers quantitatively linked to better community well-being

January 17, 2024

Having more women in agriculture is associated with greater community well-being, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their work is the first to quantitatively assess this link, and their findings suggest that women farmers approach their operations in ways that positively impact their communities.

Economics propelling population shifts in spite of climate-driven risks

January 12, 2024

People are willing to live in locations where there is a greater risk of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters if there is an increase to their overall economic well-being, according to a study by Douglas Wrenn. An associate professor of environmental and resource economics in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Wrenn said the work contributes to a broader dialogue on how communities contend with climate-related vulnerabilities and adapt to risks, offering insights for future policy considerations and community planning.

Why are bees making less honey? Study reveals clues in five decades of data

January 3, 2024

Honey yields in the U.S. have been declining since the 1990s, with honey producers and scientists unsure why, but a new study by Penn State researchers has uncovered clues in the mystery of the missing honey.

State DCNR, community explore Penn State Sustainability efforts

December 20, 2023

Penn State students working with Penn State Sustainability are making an impact in communities across the state and gaining hands-on experience in the field with Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) projects.

Penn State Honey and Pollen Diagnostic Lab offers pollen identification service

December 8, 2023

The Penn State Honey and Pollen Diagnostic Lab now is accepting honey and pollen samples from researchers and beekeepers who would like to identify the plants at the genus level from which honeybees are collecting nectar and pollen.

Novel tool informs land use and nutrient control in troubled waters

December 7, 2023

In watersheds degraded by runoff of nutrients from farmland, land managers struggle to pinpoint the best locations to install riparian buffer strips along streams or other pollution-reduction practices, but a new technology devised by Penn State scientists promises to make the search for those sites easier and less expensive.

NSF program takes environmental resource management student to Montana

December 4, 2023

Second-year student Sylvie Alexander, an environmental resource management major in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spent last summer conducting research on the Flathead Indian Reservation located in western Montana.

Researchers predict climate change-driven reduction in beneficial plant microbes

November 20, 2023

Bacteria that benefit plants are thought to be a critical contributor to crops and other ecosystems, but climate change may reduce their numbers, according to a new study by an international team of researchers. They published their findings in Nature Food.

$1.45M NSF grant to fund new research into how grasses thrive in dry climates

November 16, 2023

Microscopic pores on the surface of plants, called stomata, allow the plants to uptake carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and facilitate the transport of water from their roots up to their leaves where it exits through the pores as water vapor. Generally, the pores open during the day, when the plant uses sunlight and CO2 in the process of photosynthesis, and close at night to conserve water. These processes are not only vital for the plant’s health and survival but are also key drivers of global carbon and water cycles, according to Penn State Professor of Biology Charles Anderson, who received a $1.45 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study how to improve these processes.

NASA awards multi-institutional team $1M grant to inform US forest management

November 15, 2023

A research team led by a Penn State ecologist has received a $1 million grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to integrate satellite data into predictive modeling to anticipate change in recruitment — the process by which new trees emerge — within forests across the eastern United States.

College of Ag Sciences hosts first-generation college student networking event

November 13, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recently hosted a networking event for first-generation college students and advocates as part of the inaugural ERM 197: First Year, First-Gen Engagement seminar. The mixer took place at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on Oct. 16.

Collaborative landscape design approach may improve resiliency, human well-being

November 13, 2023

A newly proposed landscape stewardship framework may lead to a more resilient and adaptable environment and improved quality of life for people. Called regenerative landscape design (RLD), the approach was recently developed by a multi-institution collaboration led by Penn State researchers to enhance sustainability and better address complex and interconnected environmental and social challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and social inequality.

Replacing 3D printing plastics with plant-derived materials

October 23, 2023

A sustainable resin material comprising agriculturally derived components could potentially replace plastics used in large-format 3D printing, which can produce furniture, boats and other similarly sized objects, according to a team of Penn State agricultural and biological engineers.

USDA grant awarded for study on soil health, weed control in organic operations

October 18, 2023

A nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will support research on soil health and weed suppression in organic farming.

Honey bees may inherit altruistic behavior from their mothers

October 13, 2023

True altruism is rare behavior in animals, but a new study by Penn State researchers has found that honey bees display this trait. Additionally, they found that an evolutionary battle of genetics may determine the parent they inherit it from.

College of Ag Sciences team receives $1.9 million grant for dairy cattle study

October 10, 2023

Researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and collaborators from the University of Minnesota have received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study parasite issues related to organic dairy cattle.

College of Agricultural Sciences names 2023 Harbaugh Scholars

September 28, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has awarded three faculty members with funding to support the development of innovative course curricula through the college’s Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program.

College of Ag Sciences student interns at the U.S. State Department

September 22, 2023

Ava Klink, a senior majoring in environmental resource management in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, admits that getting a coveted internship with the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., is unusual for someone with her educational background.

Penn State-led team to study climate-threatened Colombian Paramos’ soil microbes

September 15, 2023

Some scientists believe the Paramos, a grassland ecosystem found in the northern Andes Mountains of South America, are “the world’s fastest evolving and coolest biodiversity hotspot,” according to Estelle Couradeau, assistant professor of soils and environmental microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. This ecosystem — which is the prime headwater for lower tropical ecosystems and downstream urban centers in the Andean and the Orinoco-Amazon regions — is in jeopardy, she explained.

USDA grant to fund research on ‘farm tuning’ cover crop mixtures

September 14, 2023

With a new $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Carolyn Lowry, a plant scientist in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, will lead a research team designing cover crop mixtures that are more effective at providing an array of ecosystem services.

Cattle on low-protein rations may need amino acid supplement to boost milk yield

September 7, 2023

When dairy cows are fed diets with reduced protein concentrations — aimed at decreased environmental nitrogen pollution from their manure such as nitrate leaching, nutrient-laden run-off and ammonia volatilization — their milk production can suffer. Supplementing the amino acid histidine may help in maintaining, and even increasing, milk and milk-protein yields.