Field Day, Manure and Drones!

Via the AgSci Interns blog: 

Last week we visited the Musgrave Research Farm’s field day in Aurora, and our experiments were on the day’s agenda. The field day focused on new management methods, breeding improvements, and environmentally sound farming practices. There were eight different stations located around the farm, and you learned a lot about each subject as you worked your way through them.

imageAssistant Professor Matt Ryan showing the effectiveness of a new mulching tool 
imageImplement used to crimp and roll down cereal crops for mulch 

This week was a nice break from the emissions testing routine because I got to work on a new project just past Aurora in Auburn.  We are testing a new type of manure applicator that allows farmers to manure fields during the early summer, freeing up a lot of their valuable and limited time during spring planting. Manure applications can’t normally be done this time of year because the corn is too tall and the applicators we use today would crush a lot of the crop. This applicator has been called the nutrient boom because it’s a 120-foot wide (48 corn rows) boom that stands high above the corn at around nine feet.  In the front of the field, the boom is attached to a tractor and pulled to the back of the field. This causes the massive reel of drag line that is attached to the boom to unravel and follow the boom.  At the back of the field, the tractor unhooks the boom, and the reel begins pulling the boom back across the field, all while pumping manure through the drag line and spreading it over the 120-foot path.  This is a new implement that has a lot of potential for growth and development in the future of agriculture.imageNutrient boom being transported to the end of the field

imageThe massive reel that retracts the nutrient boom once it’s detached from the tractor

Apparently we weren’t the only ones excited by it, either. While we were using the equipment in the field, we noticed a man pull his car along the road and launch a surveillance drone. He flew this little four-rotor helicopter right over us and used its video camera to see what we were doing. I still don’t know what to think about that, but it makes for a unique story. I can’t believe that the summer is winding down already, but I’m sure that there will be some more interesting events in these last few weeks.

Tyler Pardoe ‘15 is senior in the Agricultural Sciences major interning with the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program. Read more about Tyler’s summer internship experiences, and those of his fellow students, on the Agricultural Sciences Interns blog

Field day offers insight into hops industry



Via Cornell Chronicle:

Brewery owners, farmers and home brewers hoping to hop into New York’s burgeoning hops industry gathered at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, N.Y., July 12 to see its new hop yard and hear advice from experts and peers alike.

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Loofahs are hygienic to start out with. It’s how they are maintained that will affect their longevity.

Esther Angert, associate professor of microbiology, explains how loofahs can become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. 


"Water brings joy to the gardens and to a gardener’s soul."

What’s your moment at Cornell Plantations ?

 Come join us among the flowers!

”A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.” Liberty Hyde Bailey

Photos by Justin D. Kondrat   

Services for Kathy Berggren


Funeral services will be held for Kathy Berggren on Wednesday, July 30 at 12:00 p.m. at the Congregation Tikkun v’Or, located at 2550 North Triphammer Rd., at the corner of Burdick Hill Rd.

Burial following the funeral will be at East Lawn Cemetery, 934 Mitchell Street, Ithaca.

From 3-5 p.m. there will be an open gathering at Tikkun v’Or with food and time for sharing memories of Kathy. This gathering is open to everyone in the local community and anyone will be able to share a short reflection or memory. 

Rabbi Brian Walt will be officiating at the ceremony along with Cantor Abbe Lyons.

Parking at Tikkun v’Or is limited. Parking instructions and additional details will be posted on Congregation Tikkun v’Or’s website, early this week. 

The Dyson School is also planning to host a campus memorial service in the fall.

The entire CALS community continues to grieve this unexpected loss. Several of Kathy’s students and colleagues paid loving tribute to her over the weekend. CALS Students Services will continue to offer assistance to Kathy’s students and advisees. In addition, members of the CALS community seeking support can reach out to Gannett Health Services’ Counseling and Psychological Services (607-255-5155), EARS’ peer counselors (607-255-3277), the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (607-255-2673) or find additional resources at Cornell Caring Community.​

Todd Ugine’s Collection Trip in Idaho

Check out these great images taken by Todd Ugine, research associate in the Losey Lab, during a recent trip to Idaho!

Via CornellEntomology:


Says Ugine: "Here are some photos I took on a recent collecting trip to the high steepe of southern Idaho (in and around Twin Falls). I went in search of the rare native lady beetles species Coccinella novemnotata and Coccinella prolongata as part of the NSF-funded Lost Ladybug Project. I managed to find both species, which we will incorporate into our research program." image






CALS community in mourning for popular lecturer


Tributes have been pouring in across the CALS community for Kathy Berggren ’90 MAT ’93, a senior lecturer in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, who died unexpectedly on July 24 while attending a conference in Portland, Oregon. She was 46.

Berggren came to Cornell as an undergraduate to study animal science, and pursued an MAT in science education before joining the faculty in 1993. She recently became a member of the Dyson School faculty, where she was leading the development of a new management communication program. She previously had a 20-year tenure as a lecturer in Cornell’s Department of Communication, where she taught courses in oral communication and served as advising and internship coordinator.

“The CALS community is shocked and saddened by the abrupt loss of this effervescent woman,” said Dean Kathryn Boor. “While Kathy may have been tiny in physical stature, she lit up any room with her warmth and sparkling personality. She touched so many lives, on our campus, in our community and well beyond. She truly cared about her fellow citizens, and it showed in her words and deeds. Along with our entire university community, I will miss her.”

Berggren was a faculty adviser to many student groups, including the Association for Women in Communication, FACES (Facts, Advocacy and Control of Epileptic Seizures), Help a Life Organization (HALO), and the Touchtones a cappella group. In addition, she served on many department, college and university committees, including as co-chair of the CALS Diversity Committee. She was a past board member for WVBR radio station and for the national Association for Women in Communication.

Berggren was a fellow for the Center for Outreach and Engagement, where she led a project to design a disability awareness program for middle school students. Disability awareness was a personal passion, and she was involved in many advocacy efforts within the Ithaca community, including as a parent advocate for the Ithaca School District.

Developing engaging curriculum and empowering students were two of her professional passions, and garnered her international recognition – she received a Clarion award for curriculum design in 2011. Her teaching and advising efforts have been recognized with the President’s Carpenter Award, the CALS Circle Award, and several Greek System Excellence in Teaching and Service awards

“Far more important than any award, witnessing the growth and development of my students provide infinite satisfaction and motivation,” Berggren wrote. “I define myself as an empowering collaborator and connector. A successful course is one where the instructor can disappear at the end, empowering the students to continue thriving in their knowledge and confident leadership.”

Hillary Pond ’13, one of seven students who collaborated with Berggren to create a new management communication course at the Dyson School, praised her former instructor’s infectious enthusiasm and dedication both in and out of the classroom.

“Kathy wasn’t just a professor, she was a trusted mentor and beloved friend,” Pond said. “She left a remarkable impact on myself, Dyson and the Cornell community as a whole, always bringing joy and love to all who knew her.”

“Some people walk into your life and they don’t just touch your life, they change it. Kathy is the reason that I am in the communications profession and chasing my dreams in Washington, D.C.,” said another former student, Molly Pfaffenroth ’12, a communication intern at the International Dairy Foods Association. “Not many professors will have you over for dinner with their family, take you along to their yoga class, or invite your parents to their home on graduation day. But Kathy did. She was my college professor, my advisor, my life mentor, my Ithaca mother and my friend.”

“Kathy had a special way of creating an environment that was challenging, collaborative, vibrant, and most importantly, safe. In her classroom, it was safe to be yourself, to speak your mind, to make mistakes, and to grow,” said Reyna Venkat, Berggren’s lead undergraduate teaching assistant. “Kathy’s ability and willingness to challenge the status quo as shown with her new Management Communication class is admirable, and the legacy she left behind is inspirational.”

“Kathy was a deeply committed and passionate teacher whose enthusiasm and compassion for her students helped thousands of undergrads overcome their fears of public speaking in COMM 2010,” said Katherine McComas, professor and chair of the Department of Communication. “She touched more lives than many of us will ever know, both at Cornell and outside in her many pursuits to advocate for students with disabilities.”

“The Dyson School community has lost a much-beloved member,” added Christopher Barrett, the David J. Nolan Director and Stephen B. & Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management at the Dyson School. “She was only on our faculty since January, but Kathy made an immediate, positive contribution with her boundless energy, can-do spirit, creativity and collegiality.”

“I never in my life met a person which such capacity for giving as Kathy Berggren,” said Alicia Orta-Ramirez, senior lecturer of food science who served with Berggren on the CALS Diversity Committee. “I always wondered how such a petite frame could hold such an enormous heart, which she opened - as well as her home and classroom - to anyone, making them feel welcome, heard, cared and supported. She was a very devoted parent and spouse, exceptional loyal friend, tremendously passionate educator, avid contributor to the community, and fearless supporter of all deserving causes but, most especially, diversity and disability awareness.”

Berggren is survived by her husband Martin, a systems administrator for Cornell Computing and Information Science, and two children.

Nominate a worthy staff member for a CALS Core Value Award!


(Dean Boor with Core Value Award winner Michelle Bidwell at the 2013 Awards Ceremony)

Do you know a CALS staff member whose work ethic and commitment to the college exemplify the core values of CALS? Then why not nominate them for a 2014 CALS Core Value Award?

Categories this year have been revised to reflect Cornell’s updated Skills for Success; skills that are essential for individual and organizational achievement. The college is soliciting nominations in eight individual categories:

  • Adaptability
  • Inclusiveness
  • Innovation
  • Job Skills
  • Self-Development
  • Service-Minded
  • Stewardship
  • Teamwork (group nominations only)

The Core Value Award continues to signify CALS appreciation of and commitment to those individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement and contributions to the college. Nominees for these awards would include staff whose performance has gone far beyond the standards defined by Cornell’s Skills for Success, recognizing performance that surpasses expectations and makes a significant and/or unique contribution to the college.

If you know someone worthy of recognition, please click here to find out how to nominate them!

Award recipients are recognized at a special reception in the fall and awarded a monetary gift. Last year’s reception was well attended by Department Chairs, faculty, CALS administration, and awardees’ invited guests.

The world hopes to ride on the coattails of the U.S. consumer, but the U.S. consumer isn’t in a position to take on the burden.

— Eswar Prasad, Tolani Sr. Professor of Trade Policy in the Dyson School, describes why the world may be heading toward another recession. 

More than 100 farmers, crop consultants and other agricultural professionals flocked to the fields at Cornell’s Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora for the annual field day that has drawn large crowds since the 1970s.

Visitors were eager to learn about the research conducted across the 450 acre farm, managed by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. This year’s presentations included: disease resistance in corn, field crop pests, white mold on soybeans, control of perennial broadleaf weeds, cover crops and nitrogen management. Visitors were also treated to a barbecue lunch.   

The event was hosted by the Integrated Field Crop, Soil, and Pest Management Program Work Team, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Text and photos courtesy of Anja Timm

Dr. Boor goes to Washington


Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today the appointment of Dr. Kathryn Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS, as an inaugural member of the board of directors of the new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Dean Boor will serve as one of 15 appointed and 5 ex-officio directors of the Foundation.

Established by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Foundation will foster research, innovation and partnerships important to the nation’s agricultural economy. It will aim to address problems of national and international importance in plant and animal health, production and products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and the environment; agricultural and food security; agriculture systems and technology; and agricultural economics and rural communities. It will also work to foster collaboration among agricultural researchers to meet unmet and emerging research needs through grants, contracts, cooperative agreements and memoranda of understanding. 

The Foundation will operate as a non-profit corporation seeking and accepting private donations in order to fund research activities. Congress also provided $200 million in research dollars to be matched by non-federal funds as the Foundation identifies and approves projects.

The board of directors will have broad responsibilities to establish policies, governance structures and set priorities for the new Foundation.

"I am thrilled that Dr. Kathryn Boor of New York was appointed to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "This new foundation will provide much needed resources to our nation’s farmers and industry leaders in the areas of food safety, nutrition, energy, agriculture systems, technology, economics and rural communities. I supported her nomination and commend her leadership at Cornell University, providing resourceful tools, technology and information to New York farmers.”

From a microbiological standpoint, it’s got an indefinite shelf life once you remove enough of the water.

— Randy Worobo, professor of food science, explains why the world’s oldest ham at 112 years and counting is still technically edible (though it wouldn’t taste very good).