Congratulations to UMD senior Yuangdong Qi, who was chosen to participate in USDA's Outlook Forum, a two-day conference where he will learn more about agribusiness, trends, and research.
Yaungdong is from China and is one of AGNR's "2+2 students," who came here from China Agricultural University and is completing his education at UMD.
Yuandong is from a rural farming community and from a long line of farmers and factory workers. He is majoring in Agricultural and Resource Economics. He plans to return to China to help his community.
Passport ready? We are searching for an Assistant Director for International Programs in Agriculture and Natural Resources.
(The posting is at www.jobs.umd.edu website, under the STAFF portal)
Qualifications: A Ph.D. or a terminal degree; minimum five years experience working in and developing international programs within a University setting; record of interaction with and knowledge of broad agricultural, natural resource, environmental or food and nutrition; success in raising funds and developing resources in the area of academic international programs; strong interpersonal, written and verbal skills.
Salary and Benefits: Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications. The University of Maryland offers an extensive benefits package. The successful candidates will be offered an appointment for five years with an option to renew.
Applications: Applicants should submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, transcripts (copy acceptable for application process), and three references, including name, mailing address, telephone number, and E-mail address at https://jobs.umd.edu
Closing Date: Applications will be accepted until January 30, 2012, or until a suitable candidate is selected.
“The University of Maryland, College Park, actively subscribes to a policy of equal employment opportunity, and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.”
Prof. James C. Hanson was awarded the University of Maryland's top honor for International work -- the Distinguished International Service Award.
Prof. James Hanson, left, with UMD Pres. Wallace Loh. Jim was awarded the Distinguished International Service Award.
Dr. Hanson started work in international agriculture extension during the early 1990s teaching farmers in Bulgaria, Albania and Russia about sustainable agriculture, choosing the best crops for income, and marketing their products. More recently he has been principal investigator for five international grants and has worked in over twenty countries.
Dr. Hanson is widely recognized as one of a handful of experts willing to travel and work in war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, he is working with USDA in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he heads a UMD team involved in training agricultural professionals. Under a separate project in Afghanistan, with USAID, he was the Team Leader for a 2010 project as part of a $115 million program to rehabilitate fourteen research and agricultural education centers in Afghanistan, develop a national leadership framework for these centers, and provide advanced training for fifty agricultural professionals.
Adventures in the Amazon: Searching for a Cure for Diseases of the Rubber Tree
Wednesday, October 19, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Where : 2120 Francis Scott Key (Merrill Room)
This talk presents Professor Chaverri's groundbreaking efforts to find a natural cure or biocontrol agent for the South American Leaf Blight (SALB), a disease that has decimated rubber tree plantations in the Amazon Basin. Chaverri argues that an attack on rubber trees could have catastrophic repercussions on the world economy and, ultimately, affect all levels of human societies that depend upon this crop for their livelihood. In this talk, Chaverri will describe how her research is helping to save rubber trees, an important resource that could revitalize Latin American economies.
You can read more about the project in the UMD Latin American Studies newsletter, Spring 2011.
For Safer Food Imports, Teach Foreign Lab Workers U.S. Requirements
Amid ongoing concerns about E. coli, Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses, a new facility will take a unique approach to make imports bound for the United States safer: Give foreign technicians who test those foods intensive, hands-on lab training in U.S. government methods, standards and technology, as well as acceptable alternatives.
"The more we can get foreign food facilities to harmonize their procedures and their work with U.S. requirements, the greater the likelihood of safe imported foods reaching American consumers," says the University of Maryland's Janie Dubois, who directs the new International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL). "The FDA can only inspect a tiny fraction of all imports, so food should enter the country safe, well-tested and up to our standards."
Chinese visitors at Mason Dixon farm, Maryland. Photo by Bill Schwartz/Gettysburg Times
AGNR hosted Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin and Ambassador Dato’ Sri Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis, on June 27, where the visitors learned about UMD and AGNR faculty research and discussed possible future collaboration.
Presentations were made by UMD's Dr. Siba Samal on his work with Malaysian scientists to produce vaccines to prevent Newcastle Disease and avian influenza in poultry (Dr. Samal also serves on the examining committee for a doctoral student at the University of Putra Malaysia); Dr. Xiaoping Zhu on novel approaches to produce vaccines through use of biotechnology; Dr. Chinta Lamichhane, Chief Scientific Officer for Pfizer Animal Health, spoke about Pfizer's global biotechnology initiatives and opportunities for cooperation in Malaysia; Dr. Patrick Kangas on the producing biofuel and biomass from algae growth and on cooperating with the private sector to develop the concept; Dr. Rick Kohn on strategic use of fermentation of biomass to produce biofuels; Dr. James Culver on using self-assembly of nanoparticles grown in plants to produce useful and novel products; and Dr. Liangli Yu on the biotechnologically produced food ingredients to improve the nutritive quality of food products.
Other members of the 40 person Malaysian delegation included the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Haji Fadillah Bin Yusof, representatives of universities and colleges in Malaysia, and several government and biotech company officials.
UMD and Malaysia's government signed an agreement last month on cooperating on food safety projects, among other areas of mutual interest.
The 2011 AGNR Convocation featured international projects and research in the college. You can check out videos of the presentations, such as Dr. Jose Costa's research on wheat scab, some of which is conducted in Argentina. Dr. Stephanie Lansing gave a presentation on the bio-digester she and her students installed at a Haiti hospital, after the massive earthquake there in 2010. Click here for videos.
Farmer to Farmer: Many people at the AGNR convocation expressed an interest in learning more about international volunteer experiences, such as Farmer to Farmer. I have added a section on Farmer to Farmer on the IPAN website, which gives a brief summary of the USAID program, with links to organizations that recruit volunteers, and links to a few articles. Normally, all expenses are paid although they do not pay salary. Consult your business office on whether 'consultation time' can be used. http://ipan.umd.edu/FacultyExchanges.cfm
April has been a busy month! A group of 20 administrators and faculty from Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University, China, were here for Extension training. They learned about teaching by video-conference, management, the U.S. Land Grant System, and how extension offices operate.
A delegation from Xinjiang Agricultural University, China, visited AGNR to learn about Trends in Higher Education at UM. They are visiting Ohio State, West Virginia University, and Marietta College as well.
Members of the delegation are Mr. Wang Changxin, Vice President, Professor; Mr. Liu Weizhong, Director, Prof., Dept of Academic Affairs; Mr. Ti Xiaonan, Dean & Prof., College of Chemical Engineering; Mr. Zhang Jusong, Vice Dean, Prof., College of Agronomy; Ms. Pu Chunling, Dean & Prof. College of Economics and Management; Mr. Tayier Rouzi, Vice Dean, Assoc. Prof., College of Water Conservancy and Civil Engineering; Ms. Li Lihui, Staff member, Interpreter, Foreign Affairs Office. Appearing in the photo are IPAN Director Ray Miller and Assoc. Director Mark Varner.
Students Travel to New Zealand During Winter Term
Fourteen students participated in the first New Zealand study abroad program. Their majors ranged from engineering to landscape management. The program was designed and led by Dr. Steven Cohan.
Educational highlights of the program included studies on alternative energy sources: wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal; storm water management; biodiversity conservation; and Maori culture. Lectures were provided by Maori descendents, marine biologists, conservationists, green roof researchers, alternative energy engineers, environmental consultants, and volcanologists. The group managed to fit in some extra-curricular adventures while in New Zealand. Highlights included bungy jumping, sky diving, and white water rafting (down a 21 ft. waterfall).
The spectacular scenery, unique learning experiences, and adventures have left the students with memories that they will cherish the rest of their lives. Clark DeLong encapsulated it all by stating, “That was the best three weeks of my life. If you are interested in joining this study abroad program next year, please contact Dr. Steven Cohan, firstname.lastname@example.org or the Study Abroad Office.
Dr. Richard Weismiller, IPAN's associate director, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from Kursk State Agricultural Academy, for his contribution to "our cooperation in the area of higher education and significant support in all our joint ventures."
Kursk's rector, Vladimir Semykin, and Tatiana Boldyreva, Kursk's vice rector for international programs, presented the certificate to Dr. Weismiller during their visit here.
Global Studies Minor: UMD announced a Global Studies minor, which is interdisciplinary in nature and provides opportunities for students from any discipline or major. The program is comprised of a number of specialization tracks, which address issues from the perspective of different disciplines. Requirements in each track allow students to choose from among a set of approved courses from many disciplines. All students must choose one course from a set of “signature” courses outside of their chosen track, providing all students with exposure to major global issues addressed by another track. All tracks provide an opportunity for an experiential learning component within a student’s elective courses, including a study abroad experience. The Global Studies Minor Program will include special activities that involve students across different tracks, such as special speaker forums or participation in major events and experiences in Washington, D.C.
AGNR will have offer Global Studies Minor: Global Poverty through the Agricultural Resource & Economics department.
China, Taiwan: AGNR Dean Cheng-i Wei and IPAN Director Ray Miller are visiting sevral of our partners in China and Taiwan to develop new programs and relationships. They visited China Agricultural University, Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University, South China Agricultural University, Jiangnan University, National Taiwan University, and National Taiwan Normal University.
ENST Students designing waste digester for Haiti community. With natural disasters and diseases continuing to ravage the country of Haiti, hospitals have become overwhelmed with patients and are unable to cook food sustainably. In order to resolve this problem, Environmental Science and Technology capstone students are working to develop an anaerobic digestion system that will serve the cooking needs of patients and employees of a Haitian hospital.
Six undergraduate students are designing the anaerobic digester for Partners in Health, a hospital in Canges, Haiti. The capstone project, Developing Criteria for Designing an Anaerobic Digestion System in Haiti, is the only project this semester that is conducting research directly with a developing country. Read more
October has been a busy month in AGNR's international programs. Our international visitors included a group of Russian researchers involved in the project "Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA)," which is aimed at strengthening Russian National Research Universities’ (NRUs) capacity to commercialize the results of their research, and foster entrepreneurial activity on their campuses. Our office participated in a video-conference session with the EURECA reps. The difference was that the Russian EURECA reps were in College Park, and AGNR colleagues were in Russia on other business.
AGNR also hosted a delegation of government officials from Suzhou province, China. The delegation was interested in learning about UMD's agricultural programs.
Our colleagues in JIFSAN (Joint Institute for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition) were the lead presenter at the Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership seminar “A Holistic Approach to Global Food Safety." JIFSAN's director, Jianghong Meng, will discuss how JIFSAN is helping countries in Asia increase food safety in advance of exports reaching the shores of the United States.
Closing out the month is a visit from several government officials and researchers from Korea interested in Nonpoint Source pollution. Our colleague Dr. Adel Shirmohammadi will give a presentation about TMDL, and take them on a tour of the Choptank watershed and discuss nutrient management.
Dr. Priscila Chaverri Awarded $650,000 Grant from National Science Foundation
The Dept. of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture is proud to announce a National Science Foundation grant award for $650,000. The project titled “Systematics of fungi associated with wild rubber (Hevea spp.) trees in the Amazon basin: Searching for specialized biocontrol agents against economically important plant pathogens” is funded through the Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Inventories Program (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12825) of the National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov).
This is a 3-year project which involves a collaborative research team headed by Dr. Priscila Chaverri , PI, Dept. of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland; Dr. Kenneth Wurdack, Co-PI, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History; and Dr. Valerie Pujade-Renaud, Co-PI, and Dr. Jean Guyot, Co-PI, from the
French organization, CIRAD, a research center working to address agricultural and development issues in developing countries.
A major goal of the project is to demonstrate that systematics is an essential tool to identify specialized (coevolved) fungi from wild rubber trees (Hevea) that can be used in biological
control of devastating Hevea diseases, including the South American Leaf Blight (SALB).
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) has labeled SALB “a potential biological weapon of mass destruction citing,” If this disease infects Asian and African plantations, the economic and social stability in these regions could degrade, and affect regional security.” Even though potential impacts of SALB are large, few control methods have been published. Fungal biocontrol against Hevea diseases could be part of this solution.
UMD signed an agreement with Argentina's Instituto Nacional de Tecnologica Agroecuaria to develop faculty and student exchanges and conduct joint research. Initial research projects will focus on soybeans and wheat.
* Three AGNR students won an all-expenses paid trip to Taiwan to attend a symposium at National Chung Hsing University, and they will tour the island to learn about its agriculture. The winners are:Mallon Willis (Animal Sci.), Nick Kaplan (Nutrition and Food Sci.), Helen Lee (Hye Seung) (Environmental Sci. & Tech.). The competition was sponsored by NCHU and the Foreign Ministry of Taiwan. The trip will be in August, giving the students time to come back for classes! Congratulations!
*Delegations from Xinjiang Agricultural University and Zhejiang University in China visited to tell us about their programs and to get to know AGNR.
* Momentum magazine article about AGNR Prof. Ray Weil, known as the Dirt Doctor. Ray has been working In Africa with Millenium Villages on agriculture issues, and will begin working with the Gates Foundation on public health and nutrition. Article found here.
* New article out on AGNR's course with National Taiwan University. The course in Molecular Nutrigenomics is 'co-taught' by AGNR prof. Wen-Hsing Cheng, and NTU professors Ning-sing Shaw and Yi-Chen Lo. Article found here.
China Agricultural University professor Xu Ji, center, is shown here with the next cohort of CAU students who will come to UMD as 2+2 transfer students. They arrive in August and will begin classes as third-year students.
IPAN gets New Acting Associate Director
Dr. Mark Varner has been appointed Acting Associate Director of International Programs in Agriculture & Natural Resources (IPAN), effective July 1, 2010.
This is a two year appointment. Dr. Varner will, among other things, work closely with IPAN Director Ray Miller to broaden our activities into additional parts of the world such as Africa and South America and to work with faculty in developing program proposals.
Dr. Varner has been serving as Assistant Director of IPAN the last 16 months while continuing his teaching and extension responsibilities with the Department of Animal & Avian Sciences (ANSC) and conducting research in dairy cattle reproductive management and lameness of dairy cattle.
New Initiative Aims at Safer Food Imports - at the Source, Not Our Border
(May 21, 2010) UMD and the Waters Corporation will build and operate the first U.S.-based laboratory for training foreign food producers - an important step to increase the foreign scientific capacity needed to uncover contamination before commodities ship.
At the new facility, they'll be taught U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved microbiological and chemical analytical procedures.
"Inspection at the border is not an option," says Jianghong Meng, who directs the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), the University of Maryland-FDA center that will operate the lab and conduct the training. Keep reading
May has been a busy month in IPAN:
Five Cochran Fellows from the Rep. of Georgia were here two weeks for training in agribusiness management. UMD's Dale Johnson taught the course.
The director and other members of the Phillipines' Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) visited UMD-IPAN to learn more about e-extension. The trip is sponsored by the U.S. State Dept. ATI is a division of the Phillipines Dept. of Agriculture and is the lead implementer of e-extension in the Phillipines
IPAN Director is in Vietnam (Hanoi and HCMC) to speak at the Vietnam Environmental Forum
IPAN Assoc. Dir. Dick Weismiller is in Baku, Azerbaijan, co-teaching a study abroad class on environmental impacts of the oil and gas industries. Khazar University is teaching as well.
A delegation from Shanxi province, China, visited to learn about organic farming
A delegation from India visited to learn about food safety and food security
The IPAN office of AGNR participated in Maryland Day on Saturday, April 24, when the colleges put on games and displays to demonstrate their mission.
With 'International' being our focus, we decided to have games that included matching our foods to the countries and states they are known for, such as lentils from India. The poster above was one of the displays. Can you match the foods to the country correctly; If you can, the answers spell out 2 words.
Save the Date: USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and eXtension are collaborating to host a national webinar on “Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for International Development. Please hold from 1:00 to 3:00 pm (Eastern time) on Thursday, May 13, 2010, for this discussion on how ICT are revolutionizing extension programming around the world. Call in numbers to be announced later.
The purpose of this national discussion is to share information on how ICT, such as mobile phones and web-based tools, are being used to enhance the effectiveness of extension as it delivers knowledge to even the remotest of smallholder farmers in developing countries. We will feature examples of how our U.S. university partners are using ICT overseas, learn more about the potential for eXtension as it expands its global outreach, and provide an update on the ICT implications for the U.S. Government's global food security initiative; Feed the Future.
All are welcome to participate in this session, but we’re especially targeting university professionals who have an interest and/or experience using ICT to deliver knowledge through extension at home or abroad. Please plan to join us on the afternoon of May 13th as we explore the rapidly-growing impact that new information technologies are having on the lives of millions.
AGNR work in Haiti: AGNR's Asst. Prof. Sherry Lansing will travel to Haiti this month, with 5 grad students, to work on a wastewater treatment and methane gas generation project. Energy from the project will be used to power a rural hospital in Cange, where many earthquake refugees will be placed.
The current wastewater treatment system in the hospital complex consists of seventeen overloaded septic pits that are endangering the purity of Cange’s water supply. In the current system, the waste passes with minimal treatment via limestone caves to the ground water. The expected increase in population is expected to overwhelm their existing system, threatening to contaminate the spring water that is their sole source of drinking water, says Dr. Lansing. A crisis of clean water already existed in Haiti which, one year before the quake was declared the most water-insecure nation in this hemisphere.
Maryland-Russia: IPAN's Assoc. Director Dick Weismiller and AGNR's Trish Steinhilber teach a class on environmental issues in the U.S. and Russia, ENST250. The Russian partner is Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering. The professors in Moscow are Andrei Sorokin and Anastasia Kabanov.
The class is taught through video-conferencing. The Marylanders attend class in the mornings, and their Moscow classmates attend at the same time, only it is evening in Russia. Two years ago the Russian classmates came to Maryland for an 18 day visit which included going to wastewater treatment plants in addition to the DC monuments.
Good thing the Russian classmates did not travel here this year -- we had 30 inches of snow. Two years ago, at the same time, we had 70 degree weather.
The webpage for the class can be found at:
Mark Varner met with Nigeria's former Ag Minister, Chief Bamidele F. Dada, who is now Chair of Pacesetter Farms in Nigeria. They discussed sustainable agriculture.
Adel Shirmohammadi, Bob Hill and Ray Miller met with Moldova's Minister of Agriculture, Valeriu Cosarciuc. Both Adel and Bob worked in Moldova previsouly.
The 2010 Biodiversity, Agriculture and Culture of Taiwan (BACT) course explores the natural resources of Taiwan, the ocean and mountains, and the biodiversity of Taiwan. Cultural tours include field work in bamboo and the tea culture, and enjoying the night market folk culture. Taiwan
Date: June 28-July 24, 2010
Living Expenses: approx. $2,000 US
Application Due: March 8, 2010 (send application to AGNR's IPAN office)
Contact: Dick Weismiller in AGNR, International Programs in Agriculture and Natural Resources (IPAN)
Tel. 301-314-2563 Office: UMD, 1114 Symons Hall, College Park, MD, 20742
Upon completion of the course, students will be awarded 3 academic credits from NTU, which can be transferred to UMD.
An Application can be found on the website above, or by contacting Dr. Weismiller.
For more information, contact Ann Leger
Last updated: 01/20/2012