Feb 9-10: Women in Ag

January 4, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension in collaboration with the Cooperative Extension Services of Delaware State University University of Maryland and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey Present the 11th Annual Women in Agriculture Conference, February 9-10, 2012 at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware.

For conference information and the registration form, please visit the Women in Agriculture website.

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Cooperative Extension Annual Conference

October 19, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Cooperative Extension professionals from University of Delaware and Delaware State University met on Tues. Oct. 18, for their annual conference in Dover, to celebrate their unique partnership and excellence in Extension outreach programing that serves Delaware’s families and agricultural constituents.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Linda Kay Benning, executive director of Northeast Cooperative Extension Director and associate director for Extension and Outreach at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, located in Washington, D.C. Benning remarked on Extension’s rich history, the value of its current programming and the future of Extension funding at regional and national levels in the 21st century. Benning addressed the importance in raising awareness of the diverse programming that Cooperative Extension delivers to families, farmers, businesses and industry.

In recognition of Delaware’s Extension contribution the past year, the 2011 Cooperative Extension Awards of Excellence were announced:

Integration of Extension and Research Award:

  • Gordon Johnson, Maggie Moor-Orth, Richard Taylor, Phillip Sylvester, Rose Ogutu, Brigid McCrea, Megan, John Clendaniel, Dahlia O’Brien, Mike Wasylkowski, Lakhe Paudel, and Joann Walston.

Positively Outrageous Service Award for Innovative Marketing of Extension – Individual:

  • Carol Scott – 4-H Educator Afterschool program “Moving Youth Ahead.”
  • Mary Argo – 4-H Educator in Sussex County.

Positively Outrageous Service Award for Innovative Marketing of Extension – Team:

  • Tracy Wootten, Maggi Moor-Orth, and Sussex County Master Gardeners:  Brent Marsh, Jessica Clark, Jane Casazza, Susan Trone, Tracy Mulvaney, Mary Perkins, Mary Noel, Mary Hall, Marge Lewis and Linda Peters for:  “Peter Rabbit’s Adventure in Farmer McGregor’s Vegetable Garden,” a mobile theatrical presentation for children.

Outstanding Programming Award:

  • Tracy Wootten, Laurie Wolinski, and Maria Pippidis – for “Annie’s Project” which supports and empowers women in agriculture.
  • Maggie Moor-Orth, Tracy Wootten, and Brian Kunkel – “How Do You Like Me Now – Insects and Their Damage” and;
  • Gordon Johnson, Maria Pippidis, Kathleen Splane, Phillip Sylvester, Anne Camasso, Tracy Wootten, and Cory Whaley – “Food Safety on the Farm”
  • Karen Johnston, Michelle Ernst, and Amelia Uffelman – “4-H Health Rocks Program – Youth tobacco prevention program.”
  • Bill McGowan, “The Resourceful Leader”-Community development and economic gardening initiative.

Recipients of the Director’s Spirit of Extension Awards: Ernesto López, Rhonda Martell, Kathleen Splane and Albert Essel.

Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) the association of Extension professionals presented the following awards:

  • Adult Outstanding Volunteer Award- Hetty Francke.
  • Youth Outstanding Volunteer Award- Terra Tatman.
  • Group Outstanding Volunteer Award- Emerson Farms.
  • Friend of Extension- Agilent Technologies.
  • Meritorious Support Service Award- Sharon Webb.

Delaware State University recognized two Extension professionals:

  • Bridget McCrea – “1890 Administrator’s Award” for Extension Agriculture and Youth. Development.
  • Andy Wetherhill – “1890 Administrator’s Award for Diversity” in Agricultural Extension programs.

Earlier in the morning, the conference’s 100 attendees separated into agriculture, family and consumer science and 4-H youth development groups and discussed initiatives and exchanged new ideas on how to effectively reach their constituents’ future needs.

The ag group focused on how to enhance an $8 billion agriculture industry given current economic challenges.  Items of note included the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of the ag community, the capacity to engage those needs in a timely fashion and development and implementation of a strategy that creates an understanding and support for the value of Cooperative Extension.

Family and consumer science and EFNEP agents discussed what they see as emerging issues in nutrition, food safety, financial management and family well-being and how best to effectively communicate revised guidelines and research to local constituencies.

Through their diverse programming, 4-H reaffirmed that effective outreach to Delaware’s youth must rest on eight principles: a positive relationship with a caring adult, a safe emotional and physical environment, an inclusive environment, engagement in learning, opportunity for mastery, opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future, opportunity for self-determination and opportunity to value and practice service to others.

Tuesday’s gathering marked the last Extension Conference under the tenure of UD Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, Janice Seitz, who is retiring in April 2012. The ninth conference however, will not be Seitz’s last. In 2003, Seitz established the Lighthouse Award as a special honor bestowed to an Extension professional who “lights the way for others.” Each year, the holder of the Extension beacon has the responsibility to pass the award onto a deserving colleague. Doug Crouse, 2010 recipient, carefully considered his many options but concluded on one obvious choice, Dr. Jan Seitz, the founder of the award.

The award assures Seitz’s continued involvement in outreach programming and a return to next year’s conference to once again confer the award. But Seitz’s future participation was never in any doubt.  Though stepping out of her leadership role, Seitz plans to lend support and resources whenever needed.   “This is the greatest job I have ever had,” Seitz said. “I love Extension so much.”

Images of the conference are available on the UD Carvel Research and Education Center Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carvel/sets/72157627800614733/

Article submitted by Michele Walfred.

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CANR Hosts 2011 Northeastern Corn Improvement Conference

March 21, 2011 under CANR News, Events

The 65th Northeastern Corn Improvement Conference (NEC-029), co-organized by scientists at the University of Delaware, was held February 17 and 18 at the Embassy Suites in Newark, DE.

NEC-029 is one of three regional scientific groups that focus on corn improvement. The group has met annually since 1945, with participants from public and private sectors engaged in research and extension work on corn breeding and genetics, agronomy, plant pathology, and others in the Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. The annual meetings have provided a forum for sharing and discussing research results related to corn improvement and public policy issues affecting corn research.

The NEC-029 conference has directed the focus of several research initiatives including one initiative to combat gray leaf spot, a disease that threatens Northeastern U.S. corn production. As a result, researchers at University of Delaware, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, and Virginia Polytechnic and State University have collaborated to develop new gray leaf spot resistant corn lines.

Teclemariam Weldekidan, scientist in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, has previously served as secretary and president of the NEC-029 and organized this year’s conference. There were 45 attendees at the conference from northeast and mid-west states and Ottawa, Canada. Twenty-one scientific papers on corn improvement were presented by invited and volunteered speakers, including graduate students. Attendees were thrilled with all aspects of this year’s conference. Several noted the meeting as the best in recent history in terms of the attendance, agenda, and venue.

Blake Meyers, the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, opened the meeting with remarks about UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources structure, mission, and philosophy and its academic, research, and cooperative extension programs. Meyers discussed the value of agriculture in Delaware and contributions from UD’s corn breeding program including a productive UD-Pioneer Hi-Bred (a DuPont company) collaboration that led to the identification of a gene for corn disease resistance. This was followed by sessions on a range of topics including breeding and genetics, corn grain and silage composition management, new product development, crop management/ protection, and disease and insect resistance.

A special report was presented by Erick Erickson, the special assistant for planning and evaluation for the U.S. Grains Council, who discussed “World and U.S. Corn Supply and Demand Outlook.” Erickson reported the USDA’s long term projection for U.S. corn area planted to rise from 86.5 to 92 million acres, yields to climb from 164.7 to 180 bushels per acre, production to rise from 13.1 to 15.3 billion bushels, and ethanol use to rise from 4.57 to 5.53 billion bushels by the year 2020.

The new biotechnology events combined with advanced breeding and crop production techniques may push U.S. corn yields to more than 200 bushels per acre. Since the world must double food production while using less water and land, this requires progress in increasing genetic potential, increasing water use efficiency, and reducing losses due to disease and pests and post-harvest. 

For more information on Weldekidan’s work with corn, visit [http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2007/aug/corn080906.html].

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