Fresh from the Field, Aug. 2, 2018

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Fresh from the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by partners supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                        Aug. 2, 2018

Success Stories 

 Photo credit Ms. Latasha Ford Research Communication Specialist FVSU Fresh From the FIeld NIFA Impacts

Thinking Nanoscale: Fort Valley State University Researcher Uses Technology and Training to Help Students and Farmers

Nanotechnology involves seeing and controlling the smallest particles that make up products used in everyday life. As the global population continues to expand, Dr. Hari Singh’s research in this progressive science could help improve crop productivity and the environment.

“A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. When looking at materials at the nano size, the properties tend to change. It is easy to modify those properties for different purposes. There are millions of possibilities when applying nanotechnology to food, animals, drug delivery, diagnostics, therapeutics, and various consumer product developments,” Singh said.

The research expert said one viable solution to make biofuel more cost competitive is to produce high value co-products from lignocellulosic biomass using the biorefinery concept. A biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, heat, and value-added chemicals from biomass. Singh said value-added co-products could bring some additional income to rural farmers involved in biomass production.

In addition to helping rural farmers, Singh is training students on FVSU’s campus. He said, according to Data USA, only 4.3 percent of underrepresented students are in the nanotechnology workforce. “There is a national need. I want to develop a capacity in nanotechnology at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) so that we can move forward with research and produce qualified students who can seek more opportunities in the nanotechnology field,” he said. 

NIFA supports this research through the 1890 Capacity Building Grants Program.

Read the full article at FVSU News. Photo credit: Ms. Latasha Ford, Research Communication Specialist, FVSU.

News Coverage

Fresh From the Field NIFA Impacts Photo credit Cathleen Love Chris Collins presents the UPSTANDER Awards

Chris Collins: Making A Difference in Connecticut Community

Chris Collins moved to Meriden, Connecticut, four years ago with his girlfriend and her two children. In his professional capacity he serves as a substance abuse counselor at Rushford at Meriden, an organization that offers a variety of outpatient programs and services, including counseling young adults about substance use disorders. A longtime friend of Chris’ invited him to participate in the University of Connecticut Extension’s People Empowering People (UConn PEP) program. Because Chris wanted to learn ways to engage with the Meriden community, understand the school system, and make a positive difference, he agreed to attend. UConn Extension provides training and support for community agencies, school districts, hospitals, family resource centers, and correctional institutions across the state offering the UConn PEP curriculum and course.

Participants such as Chris come together for two hours a week for 10 weeks to discuss topics including communication, problem-solving, values, parenting, and other life skills that enhance parent leadership skills and community engagement.

For Chris, the content and format of UConn PEP fit his lifestyle and addressed his interests. Because dinner and day care were provided, participation did not require additional juggling of work and family time. Chris was seeking an opportunity to be more involved with his family, the schools, and the community. UConn PEP was a vehicle to make that happen.

NIFA supports UConn Pep with Extension Funding.

Read the full story at the University of Connecticut’s Extension BlogPhoto credit: Cathleen Love. Chris Collins presents the UPSTANDER Awards.     


Fresh from the Field NIFA Impacts Photo credit Sally Ewan Grow Next Gen

Teachers Exploring Technology in Agriculture

Due to the advance of technology, precision agriculture has given farmers new tools in their toolboxes to advance crop health and increase yield. Participants in the Exploring Tech in Ag workshop in Columbus, Ohio, learned about the way technology informs farming decisions and helps farmers produce more abundant crops. The Ohio State University (OSU) and a NIFA grant sponsored the event.

Teachers from around the state and from Pennsylvania gathered at OSU’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory Complex in Columbus. The two-day workshop included field work, demonstrations, and data analysis.

Next, it was out to the field to collect soil samples and measure nutrient content. Activities included testing with the Lamotte soil testing kit and a soil charge demonstration. Using the GreenSeeker handheld device to measure canopy color and cover is a way to predict the nitrogen requirement of corn crops. The remote sensing device determines how much red light is reflected—healthy plants absorb more red light and may need less nitrogen application. This lesson introduces students to the technologies involved in precision agriculture and the connection between light and crop health.

NIFA supports this project with the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Learn more about the technology used at Grow Next Gen. Photo credit: Sally Ewan/Grow Next Gen.

Tweet of the Week


Fresh from the field NIFA Impacts tweet Aug 2