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Fall 2013Vol. 4, No. 4
In This Issue
From the Director's Office

Division of Agriculture information booklet now online and in print

Division awards event set for Jan. 10

Construction starts on expansion, renovation of Soil Testing and Research Laboratory

Soils of Arkansas book explores characteristics of key resource

NSF awards $778,000 early career grant to Bluhm for plant fungi research, outreach project

Plant pathologist named society Fellow

Turfgrass scientist honored as crop science Fellow

Agronomy society recognizes Chen as Fellow

Ricke discusses food safety issues in Colombia and China

Rosenkrans joins Technology Commercialization Office as intern


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Fayetteville, Ark. 72701

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From the Director's Office

 

By Elizabeth Dombek
 Associate Director for Finance and Administration
The Agricultural Experiment Station Business Office is undergoing a number of changes that will provide better oversight of resources and will improve the efficiency of our business operations.  The changes involve personnel, grants and fiscal management.

In the area of personnel, Priscilla Griffin has assumed the responsibility of screening applications for classified positions and reviewing/processing personnel documents for all new hires.  Having a second person with these skills in the Business Office in addition to human resources manager Jamie Bentley has allowed for quicker turnaround time in all areas of the AES Personnel Office.   

The AES Grants Office is undergoing a structural change.  Mike Sisco, AES grants officer, announced in September the plan to implement a "cradle-to-grave" concept, meaning that he and Bo Chang, assistant grants officer, will have both pre-award and post-award responsibility for the departments and principal investigators they serve.  Previously, Mike had handled most of the pre-award responsibilities with Bo handling much of the post-award responsibilities.  This change will allow for complete knowledge of a particular grant, starting with the grant proposal, through transactional financial oversight and the final accounting close-out.  This will also mean better cross-training in all areas of grant processing with the aim of improved faculty assistance.      

In the area of fiscal management, there has been a recent change in the Bumpers College that is affecting how our academic departments interact with the AES Business Office fiscal staff.  Larry Esch has been hired as the financial officer of the Bumpers College. One of his many responsibilities is managing financial transactions submitted on College funds, so he is the new point of contact for our academic departmental fiscal staff in that regard. Mr. Esch is already working closely with the AES Business Office staff given the financial partnership between the Experiment Station and Bumpers College and we very much welcome his contribution to the overall fiscal management of our academic units.        

We are getting close to full implementation of the new purchasing system, Razorbuy. There will be two implementation groups within the Experiment Station.  The first group will receive training in early December with the objective of having the Razorbuy system available for use before the holiday break.  The second implementation group, mostly for off-campus units, will happen early in the calendar year in Little Rock. Razorbuy has been in the testing phase for the Entomology Department and the AES Director's Office during the last several months.  Shelby Goucher, Jeffie Thomas and Nanci Murray have done an excellent job of testing the system and providing feedback to Purchasing, resulting in changes that will make the full implementation smoother for everyone.  Thanks to them for all their efforts!  In addition, they will be able to serve a valuable role in assisting our departments as they begin using the new system.

I sincerely hope the benefits are evident to those of you that are involved in the areas discussed above.  If there are any questions, concerns or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me.         


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Division of Agriculture information booklet now online and in print

 

The Division of Agriculture has published Investing in Arkansas, a 62-page booklet containing an assortment of facts about the Division and its work. The Division is spread throughout the state's 75 counties and is engaged in a diverse array of activities through its two components, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service. Because it can be challenging to comprehend the wide reach of its work, the Division has produced the booklet to serve as a quick reference resource.

The booklet is available online as a PDF at http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/DivAg-Investing_in_Ark_2013.pdf. Print editions will be made available to faculty and staff.

The booklet contains easily accessible information such as key facts and figures about its work now and through the decades. It illustrates the Division's many programs and presents important statistics. It has one-page profiles of many facilities accompanied by photos and contact information. The booklet also includes directories of administrative offices, centers and institutes and Extension county offices.

"The booklet is titled Investing in Arkansas because the activity highlighted in its pages adds up to a significant investment in the state's economy," said Mark Cochran, UA System Vice president for Agriculture. "We hope you will keep this booklet within reach and refer to its contents often as you share the word about the Division of Agriculture's efforts on behalf of all Arkansans."

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Division awards event set for Jan. 10

 

The annual Division of Agriculture awards luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at the Clarion Hotel (formerly the Hilton) at 925 S. University Ave. in Little Rock. Outstanding performance by faculty and staff will be recognized at the event. Information about reservations is being made available.

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Construction starts on expansion, renovation of Soil Testing and Research Laboratory

 

Rendering of Soil Testing and Research Laboratory expansion and renovation project due to be completed in August 2014.
A nearly year-long project to renovate and expand the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Soil Testing and Research Laboratory in Marianna got under way Sept. 19 with ground being broken for the new facility. The facility's receiving and laboratory buildings will be replaced with new and larger ones and the existing office wing will be improved.


Mark Cochran, UA System Vice President for Agriculture, emphasized that the laboratory will not shut down during construction but will continue to provide its usual services during the construction. Cochran addressed a crowd of the laboratory's supporters who gathered for a ceremony in Marianna.


"Our soil test analysis has been one of the fundamental services we provide to the state," Cochran said. "It's so essential in terms of proper fertility management making sure that our crops and plants have the necessary nutrients they need to grow. We want to make sure that we've got the appropriate balance of environmental stewardship.


"This building that we are replacing and remodeling was constructed in the early 1950s with an annual capacity of 27,000 samples a year, which increased to 40,000 samples following a remodeling in the 1980s." he added. "This construction project will enable us to expand our capacity to where we can handle up to 54,000 samples a month on a 14-hour workday shift. It also will enable us to get a more efficient flow to help us with the turnaround time so that the results can be returned to the clients within three weeks after the samples arrive in the laboratory."


(See full article at
 http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/7882.htm.)

 
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Soils of Arkansas book explores characteristics of key resource

 

  

The Division of Agriculture has released Soils of Arkansas, a 136-page book with maps, photos and commentary based on 50 years of soil surveys across the state. The Division published the book through a cooperative agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"This publication is meant to fill some of the knowledge gaps regarding soil by highlighting the soil and other resources of Arkansas," said Kristofor Brye, one of the book's four editors. Brye is professor of applied soil physics and pedology in the Division's Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences.

The book's other editors are Edgar Mersiovsky, a senior regional soil scientist with the NRCS in Little Rock; Luis Hernandez, NRCS soil survey regional director for several northeastern states, and Larry B. Ward, a retired soil correlation specialist with NRCS and a registered professional soil classifier in Arkansas.

Information in the book originated with federal agencies' efforts mapping land areas over several decades, followed by collaboration with university faculty, researchers and other agencies that analyzed the soil's characteristics.

Copies of the book can be obtained by contacting Brye at kbrye@uark.edu or 479-575-5742 or Mersiovsky at edgar.mersiovsky@ar.usda.gov or 501-301-3163.

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NSF awards $778,000 early career grant to Bluhm for plant fungi research, outreach project

  
burt bluhm
Burt Bluhm
For the next five years, Burt Bluhm will be looking into fungi that cause disease on the leaves of crops such as corn, sorghum and soybean and the strategies they use to infect the plant. He'll be involving plenty of people on Arkansas farms and overseas as he does so.

Bluhm, an assistant professor of plant pathology in the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, will pursue his work as the recipient of a $778,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's early career development program for faculty (NSF-CAREER). Bluhm joined the university faculty in 2008.

The awards program supports "junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research," NSF said. "Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research."

Bluhm will examine Cercospora pathogens of crop plants, specifically how they utilize stomata, naturally occurring openings in leaves and stems, to initiate disease. Evidence suggests that many species of Cercospora utilize sophisticated methods to time their attack on host plants, in part through their ability to sense light and use it to set a molecular clock similar to the circadian clocks of humans. It's a process that has received little study.

(See full article at http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/7889.htm.)
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Plant pathologist named society Fellow

 

Jim Correll 

Jim Correll, professor of plant pathology for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has been named a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society.

Society Fellow recognition is granted to current APS members in recognition of distinguished contributions to plant pathology or to the American Phytopathological Society. Selection is based on significant contributions in one or more of the following areas: original research, teaching, administration, professional and public service, and/or extension and outreach.

Correll is considered a leading authority on spinach diseases worldwide and has been instrumental in documenting the evolution of races of the spinach downy mildew pathogen, the most important disease of spinach worldwide. He was the first to develop molecular markers linked to major genes for resistance. These efforts lead to his appointment on the International Working Group on Peronospora, based in the Netherlands, where the majority of spinach breeding is conducted. His molecular markers have been widely adopted by the spinach industry and most spinach-breeding programs are using these in their marker-assisted breeding programs.

(See full article at http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/7862.htm.)

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Turfgrass scientist honored as crop science Fellow

 

Mike Richardson 

Mike Richardson, professor of horticulture at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has been named a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America.


Richardson's teaching and research programs are in turfgrass management for the Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas. Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the CSSA and only 0.3 percent of the society's 3,600 active and emeritus members may be elected for the honor.


"This is really a great honor for me," Richardson said, "but more importantly, it is a great recognition of the commitment to turfgrass science at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. There is no question I would not have reached this milestone without the tremendous support I have received throughout my career from countless faculty, administration, staff, and students."


(See full article at
http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/7856.htm.)


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Agronomy society recognizes Chen as Fellow

 

Pengyin Chen
Pengyin Chen, professor of crop, soil and environmental sciences and soybean breeder for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.

The award was formally presented at the ASA Awards Ceremony Nov. 5 during the scientific society's Annual Meeting in Tampa, Fla.

Chen has implemented one of the nation's top soybean breeding programs as part of a comprehensive research program encompassing soybean cultivar breeding, germplasm enhancement and molecular marker development. During the past decade he has released 12 new soybean cultivars and eight germplasm lines.

He has also developed and identified edamame types and provided the basis for a new industry for the state. This program included the 2012 release of "UA Kirksey," the first edamame vegetable soybean variety developed in the United States and licensed for commercial production.

Chen has remained a prolific writer amid his research, publishing seven book chapters and 135 refereed journal articles while receiving grants totaling $6.2 million in research funding.

(See full article at http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/7895.htm.)



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Ricke discusses food safety issues in Colombia and China

 

steven ricke
Steven Ricke
Steven C. Ricke, director of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Center for Food Safety, delivered invited presentations this fall in Colombia and China.

On Sept. 4 at the second International Seminar on Avian Salmonellosis in Medellin, Colombia. Ricke's presentation was titled "Emerging and Re-Emerging Strains: Ecology and Impact of Appearances." The conference was sponsored by the Latin American Poultry Association and the National Federation of Poultry Farmers of Colombia.

"Foodborne salmonellosis continues to be problem not just in our country but globally," Ricke said. "As international trade in food commodities continues to grow it is important to be aware of food production practices in other countries and look for potential control measures that would be effective in these locations."

In November, Ricke delivered lectures in Beijing at the invitation of China's Academy of State Administration of Grain, a national research institute. During the visit, Ricke also met with the academy's officials to discuss the research programs at their respective institutions. On Nov. 14, he spoke on current research perspectives concerning foodborne Salmonella in food production systems. He also discussed research on rice bran. On Nov. 15, he delivered a lecture on development of rapid methods for assessing the bioavailability of amino acids in cereal grains. He also spoke on the gastrointestinal response to prebiotics and grain byproducts.

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Rosenkrans joins Technology Commercialization Office as intern

             

Charles Rosenkrans 

Charles Rosenkrans, professor of animal science, has been appointed to serve as an intern in the Technology Commercialization Office of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. His duties include working with Division of Agriculture researchers to identify potential inventions.

 

The Technology Commercialization Office helps faculty and research scientists to identify, protect and commercialize intellectual property developed from their research or other university- supported activities.

 

 "I am delighted that Dr. Rosenkrans is interning with us," said Lisa Childs, Assistant Vice President for Technology Commercialization. "He brings a range of experience and knowledge that is very complementary to our team. I appreciate his enthusiasm for learning about new technologies and his ability to hit the ground running."

 
Rosenkrans has served as a member of the Joint Patent and Copyright Committee for the Division and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Because of his internship, Rosenkrans will leave his committee position that would have expired in 2015.

           
Rosenkrans joined the faculty in 1991. He has served as undergraduate studies coordinator in the Department of Animal Science and as co-director of the university's Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center. He holds the 2013 Jack G. Justus Award for Teaching Excellence and the 2010 John W. White Outstanding Teaching Award, both from the Division of Agriculture, and the 1998 Bumpers College Alumni Society Outstanding Advising Award. He was inducted into the UA Teaching Academy in 2000. He has also served as UA Campus Faculty vice chair, Bumpers College Faculty Council chair and as a member of several university committees.

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