---- — WEST LAFAYETTE — The Purdue University College of Agriculture has awarded $1million in state-funded grants for a wide variety of projects designed to advance Indiana’s leadership in plant and animal agriculture and rural development.
The grants were awarded in the initiative called AgSEED, short for Agricultural Science and Extension for Economic Development. The state Legislature funded AgSEED in 2013 through the state’s Crossroads program as part of Indiana’s commitment to agriculture and rural development.
“The research and education being supported by these funds will help Indiana better position itself not only for economic growth and jobs in our food and agricultural industries, but for a world that will demand adequate nutrition and energy for 9 billion people by 2050,” Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, said. “We are very excited about the state’s investment in these innovative and high-impact projects.”
Nineteen projects received grants. They were among 95 proposals submitted by faculty and staff in the colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine. Funding was capped at $50,000 for one-year projects and $75,000 for two-year projects.
Among the approved projects are those for:
* Developing a sanitizing treatment to improve the safety and quality of Indiana cantaloupe.
* Quantifying the impacts, both positive and negative, of neonicotinoids - toxic to honeybees and other insects - in and around no-till, cover-cropped agricultural fields.
* Research into developing antimicrobials to eradicate Staphylococcus aureus, which causes bovine mastitis.
* Surveying forestry owners to help them better protect their woodlands from invasive plants.
The research supported through AgSEED will foster Indiana’s leadership in these and other areas involving plant and animal agriculture and rural development, Karen Plaut said, senior associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture.
“This seed money will help push forward new innovations and, in some cases, lay the groundwork to leverage future grant opportunities to make a direct impact on Indiana agriculture,” she said.
The projects also will help people make informed decisions about their health and economic well-being and that of their families and communities, one of the strategic themes of the AgSEED program, noted Jason Henderson, associate dean and director of Purdue Extension.
“Purdue is in a unique position to lead such efforts to help the people of Indiana through sharing its research with the public and providing programs throughout the state Extension system,” Henderson said. “The dissemination of research helps improve the quality of life for Indiana’s residents, and AgSEED is a vital component of this outreach.”
Other strategic themes involve building a sustainable and secure food production system; using molecular approaches to expand the frontiers of agriculture and life sciences, targeted to plant and animal sciences; developing a robust bioeconomy to feed and power the world; enhancing food and health; and strengthening ecological and environmental integrity in agricultural landscapes.