Robin Morgan to step down as dean

September 19, 2011 under CANR News

Robin Morgan has announced that she will step down from her position as dean of the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the end of the 2011-12 academic year, when she completes her second five-year term as dean.  Morgan will return to the CANR faculty.

UD Provost Tom Apple will soon convene a search committee so that a new dean can be recruited during the current academic year.

“Robin Morgan’s excellent leadership has had a lasting effect on the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources, on the University and on the state of Delaware. Her work has truly shaped the college, and I’m happy that we will continue to benefit from her insights and dedication as she returns to our faculty,” Apple said.

During this time of transition, Morgan notes that CANR will continue to move forward on exciting and challenging tasks.

Morgan said, “New things are on the horizon for us during this next academic year. We must balance a challenging budget, assure the success of our new hires to the best of our ability, continue to win contracts and grants, recruit promising students into our programs, and do everything we can to reach out to the citizens of Delaware and beyond for the benefit of agriculture and our environment.”

“And, we must encourage everyone to visit the UDairy Creamery and eat ice cream,” she added with a smile.

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article was originally posted on UDaily.

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Awokuse named chair of the Department of Food and Resource Economics

September 1, 2011 under CANR News

Titus Awokuse, professor of food and resource economics and professor of economics, has been named chair of the Department of Food and Resource Economics (FREC) in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources effective Sept. 1. As chair, Awokuse will have administrative oversight for research and teaching activities of the faculty, staff, and students and have responsibility for leading department-wide initiatives and day-to-day management of the department’s academic programs and personnel affairs.

Awokuse will succeed Thomas Ilvento, professor of food and resource economics, and he noted that Ilvento has been a great help to him as he prepares for his new role.

“The outgoing chair, Thomas Ilvento, has been extremely helpful in showing me the ropes and helping to achieve a smooth transition. He has been incredible,” Awokuse said. He also mentioned Blake Meyers, Edward and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor and chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, as being a great help in getting him prepared to chair the department.

Robin Morgan, dean of CANR, said of the appointment, “Titus Awokuse is an exceptionally talented scholar and teacher, and UD is very fortunate that he will lead the Food and Resource Economics Department going forward. Under Awokuse’s leadership, I look forward to seeing the department’s bold plans and bright future unfold.”

After earning a bachelor of science degree in economics from Berea College, Awokuse went on to get his master’s in economics from Murray State University and his doctorate in agricultural and applied economics from Texas A & M University.

Awokuse joined the department in August 2000, and he said that he looks forward to the challenge of being chair of FREC and stressed that he hopes the position will allow him to collaborate with his fellow departmental colleagues and staff as FREC continues to move in a positive direction.

“My philosophy is that being the chair of a department is not like being the leader of a business venture. This is more of a group effort. The chair should be a visionary and facilitator who works collaboratively with others to achieve set goals and objectives of the unit. So it should not be just the chair doing all the work. An effective leader must respect and genuinely care for people’s needs, be an active listener, set clear goals and priorities, and share the load by delegating responsibilities to others. It’s basically trying to get the group to work more cohesively so everybody has a role to play.”

Awokuse said that one of his goals as department chair is to make FREC more competitive in terms of research, teaching and outreach on both a national and international level. “I want us to have stronger visibility nationally and internationally. We have some excellent faculty doing great work and we need to showcase that more, we want to continue to attract strong students for both our undergraduate and graduate programs.”

He also wants to increase FREC’s interactions and partnerships with other departments and colleges within the University. “We have worked really well with other departments on campus, and we want to strengthen those linkages and continue to do that.”

Another subject that Awokuse feels passionate about is leading by example. He hopes to remain active in research even with his new responsibilities as department chair.

“Although the administrative demands of being chair will be time consuming, I still intend to carve out quality time to engage in my research work and mentoring graduate students.”

Awokuse conducts empirical research on policy issues related to the economics of international trade and investment, economic growth and international development, agricultural markets and food security. He recently served as the editor, with Joshua M. Duke, for a national peer-reviewed journal, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review. He also co-authored a project report titled “The Impact of Agriculture on Delaware’s Economy,” with Thomas Ilvento and Zachary Johnston, which cited Delaware’s agricultural economic impact to be roughly $8 billion, much higher than the previously reported figure of $1 billion.

Awokuse said that he is humbled by the opportunity to chair the department.

“I thank Dean Robin Morgan for providing me with the opportunity to serve and I’m looking forward to working with the faculty and students and taking the Department of Food and Resource Economics to the next stage of its growth and development.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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Chaloupka receives DPI’s Distinguished Citizen Award

May 4, 2011 under CANR News

George Chaloupka receives award from Jim Smith, President of DPI

George Chaloupka, a retired University of Delaware poultry specialist, received the J. Frank Gordy, Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award, the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s (DPI) highest honor, at DPI’s 55th annual Booster Banquet, held Wednesday, April 13 in Salisbury, Maryland.

Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, called Chaloupka, “a truly outstanding Delawarean.” She added, “We are very proud that he worked at the University of Delaware for many years, including serving as Director of the Georgetown Substation, now known as the Research and Education Center. In addition to his service to UD, however, George Chaloupka has an amazing record of community service. He is certainly a distinguished citizen of Delmarva, and it is wonderful to see him recognized by this prestigious award.”

In a DPI press release announcing the award, Chaloupka was cited for his work collecting information about the chicken industry and in the area of recent Delmarva Chicken Festivals, as well as his work on the DPI-produced 1998 history book about Delmarva’s chicken industry. Chaloupka was also credited with conducting research and education beneficial to the chicken industry during his tenure at the University of Delaware, until retiring 20 years ago.

The release also notes that Chaloupka remains active in community affairs, including the Delaware Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, the Bridgeville Public Library, Little League baseball, the band boosters, and decades of service through the Kiwanis Club of Bridgeville.

Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, noted, “George has made many important contributions to our industry through his University of Delaware research and educational programs, working for a chicken company, and in other ways.”

Satterfield also said, “Thanks to George’s work as the ‘unofficial Delmarva chicken industry historian,’ a lot of information about the history of our industry has been retained and is available to future use. His efforts have allowed thousands of people not familiar with the industry to better understand how we have evolved to an industry that is helping feed the world.”

Mark Isaacs, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences and director of the Carvel Research and Education Center, commented on the award, saying “George was our extension poultry specialist prior to serving as our facility Director his last five years. His leadership and commitment to our poultry industry and to the University of Delaware was outstanding. Winning the Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award is truly deserving for George’s exceptional commitment to sustaining and promoting our Delmarva poultry industry.”

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UDairy Creamery opens doors at special Ag Day ceremony

May 2, 2011 under CANR News

Despite the morning chill, those in attendance at Ag Day 2011 on Saturday, April 30, lined up for a taste of UDairy ice cream and to watch the ceremonial ribbon cutting that officially marked the opening of the UDairy Creamery.

When the sun finally poked through at the end of the day, the UDairy Creamery, housed in a new building adjacent to Townsend Hall, had served approximately 2,500 people.

Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), spoke first at the ribbon cutting ceremony, pointing out the many benefits of the creamery. “This is much more than a shop front,” she said. “This creamery represents how to teach and how to do business development and management. It’s about sustainable and environmentally sound agriculture, it’s about food safety and food science and it’s about communications and marketing.”

Morgan introduced Monica Taylor, UD vice president for development and alumni relations, who noted that the creamery is focused on students and on giving them an opportunity to have learning experiences that stretch beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

“It is student managed from the science to the sales, the milk to the marketing,” Taylor said. “For our students who are here, you may not remember all the notes you have taken in class, but I can guarantee for those involved with this ice cream, you’ll leave UD with a deeper knowledge and understanding of both agriculture and business than you could have ever dreamed.”

Read more at UDaily > >

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Viewable on YouTube >>

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Delaware agriculture is an $8 billion industry, according to new UD study

March 24, 2011 under CANR News

Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in Delaware, according to a recent study published by the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The study — conducted by UD faculty members Titus Awokuse and Tom Ilvento, with help from graduate student Zachary Johnston — used input-output analysis, taking into account the market value of products sold from on-farm production, revenue from processing and manufacturing of agricultural products, and inter-industry linkages to determine the value added to the economy.

A study of this magnitude had not been conducted since the early 1980s. According to the authors, this new report is much more accurate in its calculations for the true impact of agriculture in Delaware.

Historically, $1.1 billion has been the most commonly cited number for the impact of agriculture in Delaware. “But this is the total market value of agricultural products sold at the farm level, just a small piece of the picture,” according to Awokuse, associate professor and director of graduate studies for food and resource economics.

The new report shows that the processing of farm products adds a previously unaccounted for $3.8 billion. Forestry production and processing add an additional $831 million, with ag-related services (i.e. crop dusting, ditch digging) adding $28 million.

The research project was commissioned by Robin Morgan, dean of the college. “This study was needed because the impact of agriculture in Delaware is much larger than farm receipts and (the impact) should account for processing of agricultural products. Agriculture is a large and vital part of Delaware’s economy, and our understanding of its impact needs to be as accurate as possible,” says Morgan.

In addition to the total industry impact, the report provides separate results by county and for several key agricultural commodities: poultry, dairy, fruits and vegetables, corn, soybeans, wheat, greenhouse, nursery and horticultural products.

With Delaware’s long history of poultry production, it was no surprise to the authors that the majority of the economic value of agriculture comes from the production and processing of poultry products, with an industry output of $3.2 billion and over 13,000 jobs.

The report also provides a summary of statistics relative to the changing face of agriculture in Delaware, noting there are fewer farms in Delaware, but the size and productivity of farming operations has increased over time.

Awokuse notes that this trend is in large part because “both technological and biological innovations within agriculture now allow a single operator to be more productive and maintain a larger operation, hence the consolidation of farms across the state.”

And, according to the authors, the state of Delaware agriculture will continue to change.

“Farmers are being asked to produce more on less and less acreage and they turn to science and technology to make that happen. Agriculture is a modern, efficient, technologically advanced industry, even if the image is still rooted in a 19th century image of farming,” says Ilvento, professor and chair of the Department of Food and Resource Economics. “Changing that image, assisting farmers to find modern solutions, and promoting the importance of agriculture — that’s what our college is all about.”

A full version of the report can be viewed online.

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily by clicking here.

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Deans Award for Service to the College Awarded to Peter Lindtner

June 9, 2010 under CANR News

Peter Lindtner received the first Dean’s Alumni Award for Service to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware’s Forum & Reunion weekend on June 4.

The award recognizes an alumnus of the CANR who has an outstanding record of service to the college through mentoring, guest lectures, or other activities.

Lindtner received his master’s degree in plant science from the University in 1981. He was nominated for the award by Chuck Mason, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, one of his thesis advisers at UD.

“It is truly an honor to present the first ever dean’s award for service to Peter. His enthusiasm has been instrumental in keeping our apiology program alive,” said Robin Morgan, dean of the college.

Lindtner has been involved with the UD’s apiculture program for nearly 30 years. Last year, while the University was awaiting the arrival of a new beekeeper, Lindtner volunteered to help the five bee colonies survive the winter.

“Peter was visibly upset that bees might disappear from our Newark farm operation, even temporarily, and immediately volunteered his time and resources to keep our colonies happy and healthy,” said Doug Tallamy, chairperson of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology. “His energy and enthusiasm for beekeeping and his feelings for the history and importance of our bee colonies was infective.”

Lindtner recently retired from a 31-year career as a horticulturist at the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, where he lives. He continues to work alongside Deborah Delaney, assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, to care for and expand the bee colonies at UD.

Lindtner has frequently served as a consultant on student research projects at UD. He recently donated eight photos that are currently on display in the CANR as part of a pollinator awareness exhibit.

He is working on a book about identifying honey plants, which will receive joint sponsorship from UD and Hagley Museum.

Article by Chelsea Caltuna
Photo by Danielle Quigley

To read the article online on UDaily, click here.

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