The business of bees

February 19, 2021

The economic value of insect pollinators was $34 billion in the U.S. in 2012, much higher than previously thought, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State. The team also found that areas that are economically most reliant on insect pollinators are the same areas where pollinator habitat and forage quality are poor.

Summer weather conditions influence winter survival of honey bees

February 19, 2021

Winter survival of honey bee colonies is strongly influenced by summer temperatures and precipitation in the prior year, according to Penn State researchers, who said their findings suggest that honey bees have a "goldilocks" preferred range of summer conditions outside of which their probability of surviving the winter falls.

Changing cropping systems in impaired watersheds can produce water quality gains

February 19, 2021

Growing the right crop in the right place within an impaired watershed can achieve significant water quality improvements, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a novel study in the drainage of a Susquehanna River tributary in an agricultural area in southeastern Pennsylvania.

SAFES Announces Spring Workshop Series: Catalyzing Your Research

February 4, 2021

SAFES' Spring 2021 workshop series will take place on Thursdays at 3 p.m. The series supports faculty researchers and administrators in expanding their knowledge of external funding opportunities and internal Penn State programs that can support new interdisciplinary research collaborations.

Grozinger receives National Academy's Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

January 22, 2021

Christina Grozinger, Publius Vergilius Maro Professor of Entomology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will be honored by the National Academy of Sciences for helping the world understand how to address the crisis of global declines in pollinator populations.

Researchers encouraged to apply for 2021-22 Seed Grant Program

December 17, 2020

The Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS) is accepting applications for its 2021-22 seed grant program aimed at funding projects that can leverage artificial intelligence — AI — to advance transformative research, as well as use the technology to enhance the process of scientific discovery itself.

'Windows of opportunity' crucial for cutting Chesapeake nutrient, sediment loads

December 17, 2020

The vast majority of nutrients and sediment washed into streams flowing into the Chesapeake Bay are picked up by deluges from severe storms that occur on relatively few days of the year. That is the conclusion of a new study led by Penn State researchers, who say it offers clues for cleaning up the impaired estuary.

Research to Action: Science and Solutions for a Planet Under Pressure

December 11, 2020

Students: Consider this great conference opportunity during break. Student admission fees are complimentary. The NCSE Drawdown 2021 Conference will feature everything our community values from past NCSE Annual Conferences with the addition of an exciting new collaboration with Project Drawdown. Given the staggering pace of change in the world today, combining the NCSE 2021 Annual Conference and the 2nd Global Drawdown—Research to Action Conference will exponentially amplify opportunities for collaboration and progress.

Researchers aim to 'upcycle' nutrient waste on farms

December 7, 2020

With a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Penn State researchers will investigate how duckweed could be grown on Pennsylvania farms to limit nutrient pollution into the Chesapeake Bay.

Sophomore puts her education into action

November 30, 2020

Isabella Briseño, an environmental resource management major, already has built an impressive resume for a future career in environmental policy.

Spring symposium, seed grants to promote transdisciplinary biodiversity research

November 17, 2020

The Sustainability Institute at Penn State is hosting transdisciplinary symposia on biodiversity throughout the spring 2021 semester. The virtual series, "Mainstreaming Biodiversity in the Decade of Action," aims to expand collaborative networks and to inspire creative strategies to promote biodiversity in urban, agricultural and natural areas in order to improve human and ecological health and well-being.

More precise nitrogen recommendations for corn to help farmers, cut pollution

October 15, 2020

Researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed an important component of a new system that corn growers can use to adjust nitrogen fertilizer applications based on site-specific measurements of cover crops and soil organic matter.

Harvesting vegetation on riparian buffers barely reduces water-quality benefits

October 2, 2020

Allowing farmers to harvest vegetation from their riparian buffers will not significantly impede the ability of those streamside tracts to protect water quality by capturing nutrients and sediment — and it will boost farmers’ willingness to establish buffers. That is the conclusion of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers, who compared the impacts of six riparian buffer design scenarios over two, four-year crop rotations in two small central and southeastern Pennsylvania watersheds.

SAFES is Hiring!

September 9, 2020

SAFES is currently hiring three new positions: Research Initiatives Associate, Administrative Support Coordinator, and Program Financial Assistant. Read more about these exciting new roles in the institute and follow links to apply.

Announcing the Fall 2020 Water Insights Seminar Series

September 8, 2020

Water Insights is an interdisciplinary seminar series on water science, water management, and water policy sponsored by the Environment and Natural Resources Institute. Speakers include researchers, water managers, and water policy makers from Penn State, other universities, government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Join the seminars via Zoom every Tuesday from 12-1 pm.

Insect Biodiversity Center to promote insect conservation, healthy ecosystems

September 8, 2020

A newly launched center at Penn State will create a focal point for the study and conservation of insects and the ecosystems with which they interact. The Insect Biodiversity Center brings together faculty researchers and educators from eight Penn State colleges, with a goal to celebrate insect diversity in science and practice.

Student completes virtual internship with state Fish and Boat Commission

August 26, 2020

Junior Matthew Bellia, an Environmental Resource Management major in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spent his summer completing a research-based internship with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

SoAR FedByScience Blog: Rapid Response To COVID-19

August 5, 2020

Today, as our nation and the world struggle to fight COVID-19, medical professionals are working tirelessly to understand the virus, heal stricken people, and develop an effective vaccine. At the same time, agricultural professionals are rapidly responding to protect our farmworkers and the food system. Penn State University recently ran an internal grant competition through the newly formed Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science (SAFES), asking faculty to think about the impacts of the pandemic on agriculture and the environment. The response was strong.

Researchers aim to create thriving agricultural systems in urbanizing landscapes

July 29, 2020

Agricultural systems in metropolitan regions and in adjacent, nonmetro counties account for more than two-thirds of U.S. net farm income and 97% of net farm income in Pennsylvania. But can food systems in these urbanized landscapes remain economically and environmentally sustainable in the face of development pressure and perceived disamenities associated with agriculture? A team led by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers is almost a year into a five-year study aimed at providing answers to this question.

Harnessing biomass, manure to fuel farms through multi-institutional project

July 21, 2020

Transdisciplinary research team aims to create new value chains on U.S. farms, with emphasis on the generation of renewable natural gas, improved rural economic outcomes and protection of the environment.

Researchers to create a roadmap for fostering successful agritourism enterprises

July 9, 2020

A team of researchers led by a Penn State agricultural economist will receive $500,000 over three years to study agritourism in the United States and to develop research-based information and guidance for farmers looking to diversify their incomes through agritourism activities.

SAFES Associate Director of Research awarded Publius Vergilius Maro Professorship

July 6, 2020

Thanks to a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor, the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Entomology have established the Publius Vergilius Maro Professorship. Designated for a faculty affiliate of the Center for Pollinator Research, the endowment is the fourth professorship for the Department of Entomology. Christina Grozinger, professor and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, has been appointed to the position, effective July 1.

College of Ag Sciences recognizes Shannon for excellence in academic advising

June 9, 2020

Tammy Shannon, academic advising coordinator for the environmental resource management program, has received the 2020 Excellence in Academic Advising Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

New Penn State institute finds its mission more critical in pandemic

June 1, 2020

From the Harrisburg Patriot-News (PennLive): Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences was establishing its new Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science even before the coronavirus pandemic emerged.

New institute to help address complex food-energy-water-land challenges

May 20, 2020

The seed for Penn State’s Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science was planted well before the COVID-19 outbreak. The concept had been growing in the College of Agricultural Sciences for about two years when the pandemic emerged.

Online network launches to open bottlenecks in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain

May 14, 2020

An online network that connects producers, suppliers, processors and workers along Pennsylvania’s food supply chain was launched today by Penn State to minimize bottlenecks and avoid breakdowns that lead to food shortages.

Warming Midwest conditions may result in corn, soybean production moving north

May 4, 2020

If warming continues unabated in the Midwest, in 50 years we can expect the best conditions for corn and soybean production to have shifted from Iowa and Illinois to Minnesota and the Dakotas, according to Penn State researchers.

Study reveals important flowering plants for city-dwelling honey bees

April 28, 2020

Trees, shrubs and woody vines are among the top food sources for honey bees in urban environments, according to an international team of researchers. By using honey bees housed in rooftop apiaries in Philadelphia, the researchers identified the plant species from which the honey bees collected most of their food, and tracked how these food resources changed from spring to fall. The findings may be useful to homeowners, beekeepers and urban land managers who wish to sustain honey bees and other bee and pollinator species.

Pesticide seed coatings are widespread but underreported

March 17, 2020

Pesticide-coated seeds — such as neonicotinoids, many of which are highly toxic to both pest and beneficial insects — are increasingly used in the major field crops, but are underreported, in part, because farmers often do not know what pesticides are on their seeds, according to an international team of researchers. The lack of data may complicate efforts to evaluate the value of different pest management strategies, while also protecting human health and the environment.

Farmers in four PA counties encouraged to document conservation practices

February 26, 2020

Several agricultural and governmental organizations have partnered to develop a survey that asks producers to document conservation practices they have adopted to promote water quality and soil health in the bay watershed.