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Ag Report


Department Updates

Agricultural Economics

Weldensie Embaye, doctoral student from Eritrea, East Africa, earned a 2017 University Distinguished Professors Graduate Student Award.

Andrew Barkley, university distinguished teaching scholar, was named the college fall faculty of the semester and advisor of the year.


Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor and director of the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, received K-State’s Sigma Xi Outstanding Scientist Award.

Results from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) conference: Kevin Donnelly, professor, received the Murray Brown Leadership Award; and Garrison Gundy, graduate student, earned a Graduate Student Teaching Award. Professor Anita Dille advises Gundy.

Gary Pierzynski, department head and university distinguished professor, is president-elect of the American Society of Agronomy. He is the sixth K-State agronomist to serve the society as president.

Mithila Jugulam, associate professor, earned the College of Agriculture Graduate Teaching Award.

Animal Sciences and Industry

Professor Randall Phebus has been named interim director of the K-State Food Science Institute.

Recognition at the American Dairy Science Association convention: Karen Schmidt, professor of food science, elected association president; Jayendra Amamcharla, associate professor, received the ADSA Foundation Scholar Award in Dairy Foods; the food science product development team earned second place in the 2017 National Dairy Council New Product Competition for their dairy-based drink, Mate Au Lait Protein Plus. Team members are Karthik Sajith Babu, Mayla Kritski Baez, and Conrad Kabus. Their advisor is Jayendra Amamcharla.

Sara Gragg, assistant professor at K-State Olathe, received a $4,552 faculty development award from the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Dave Nichols, professor and teaching coordinator, and David Grieger, professor, were named college faculty of the spring semester.

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Gary Clark, professor and senior associate dean for the College of Engineering, has been named the 2017 Engineer of the Year by the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers. Clark; Joe Harner, professor and department head; and Xiuzhi Susan Sun, university distinguished professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry, were named fellows of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Communications and Agricultural Education

Awards to agricultural communications and journalism students at the Ag Media Summit: The fall 2016 Agriculturist magazine won first place in the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow national competition. Topanga McBride won the 2017 Forrest Bassford Student Award from the Livestock Publications Council.

Jill Seiler and Taylor Matheny were among the four Bassford finalists and received travel scholarships.

Jackie Newland won the Dr. Jim Evans Presidential Scholarship from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association. Audrey Schmitz also was a finalist.

Lauri Baker, associate professor, was elected to the Association for Communication Excellence board of directors.


Entomology, Animal Sciences and Industry Earn Worldwide Recognition 

Alumni Fellow

Entomologist Awarded

Grain Science and Industry

Gordon Smith, department head, was elected a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) for outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the field of food science and technology.

The K-State Milling Science Club hosted the Families in Transition Closet Charity Golf Tournament at Colbert Hills Golf Course on April 23. They raised $3,800 to help a local organization provide clothing and other basic needs for homeless children.

IGP Institute Year in Review 2016 won first place in the Annual Reports/Strategic Plans Category of the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association competition.

Horticulture and Natural Resources

Results from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, conference: Chad Miller, associate professor, earned the NACTA Educator Award, and Braden Hoch, master’s degree student, received a NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award. Hoch works with Miller and Jason Griffin, professor at the John C. Pair Horticultural Center–Wichita.

Jeffrey Skibins, assistant professor of park management and conservation, has been appointed to a three-year term on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Commission on Education and Communication.

Plant Pathology

Kevin McCluskey, research professor and curator of the Fungal Genetics Stock Center, has been appointed to a three-year term on the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council. Recently, the council was charged with advising USDA on ways to ensure that the National Genetic Resources Program serves the needs of all farmers.

K-State Professor Jim Stack and Ray Hammerschmidt of Michigan State University received the Distinguished Service Award from the North Central Division of the American Phytopathological Society. They have led the National Plant Diagnostic Network since its inception in 2001.

College of Agriculture

Zelia Wiley, interim associate provost for diversity, has received the national 2017 Legend Award of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS.

Students of the Month

September: Celine Beggs, agricultural communications and journalism, Bedford, Iowa

October: Audrey Schmitz, agricultural communications and journalism, Axtell

November and Student of the Year: Jill Seiler, agricultural communications and journalism and animal sciences and industry, Valley Center

December: Tara Cook, food science and industry, Atwood, Colorado

January: Cooper Clawson, agricultural economics and finance, Meade

February: Shaylee Arpin, agricultural communications and journalism, Salina

March: Anna Setter, agricultural economics, Humboldt

April: Cassie Campbell, agricultural education, Little York, Illinois

In Memoriam

William Lawrence Blair, 86, died April 8, 2017, in Pratt, Kansas. He served as an extension agent from 1960 to 1992 in Butler, Lyon, and Linn counties.

Alice “Lois” Redman, 85, Manhattan, died May 2, 2017. She had worked in Missouri and Oregon before coming to Kansas as an extension specialist in 4-H Youth Development. She was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi for her work in international programs and was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2009.

Honor Society Presents Awards

Gamma Sigma Delta, international honorary society of agriculture, recognized faculty and students on April 21 with these awards. Distinguished Alumni — Daryl Buchholz (Ph.D. '81 agronomy), associate director of extension and applied research; Distinguished Faculty — Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor of agronomy and director of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab; Outstanding Teaching — Adam Ahlers, assistant professor, horticulture and natural resources; Excellence in Extension — Cheryl Boyer, associate professor, horticulture and natural resources; Early Career Award — Eduardo Alvarez Santos, assistant professor, agronomy; Undergraduate Research Awards — Allison Aubert, agronomy, and MaRyka Smith, animal sciences and industry; M.S. Teaching Award — Marshall Hay, agronomy; Ph.D. Teaching Award — Ananda Bandara, plant pathology; M.S. Research Award — Giovani Fontes, agronomy; Ph.D. Research Award — Ross Braun, horticulture and natural resources.

Retirees Recognized for Service

Even with five people working 8 years or less, the tenure for the 27 retirees totaled 715 years, an average of 26.5 years. They were recognized April 18 at the K-State Alumni Center.

The retirees with their units and years of service: Joseph Agnew, communications and agricultural education, 16; Dana Belshe, Sunflower District, 34; William Bockus, plant pathology, 38; Daryl Buchholz, K-State Research and Extension, 27; Valeria Edwards, Johnson County, 8; Dale Fjell, Northeast Area, 41; Steven Graham, College of Agriculture dean’s office, 22; Joe Hancock, animal sciences and industry, 29; Steve Harbstreit, communications and agricultural education, 29; Curtis Kastner, Food Science Institute, 41; David Kehler, Butler County, 41; David Margolies, entomology, 32; Daryl McVicker, horticulture and natural resources, 5; David Mengel, agronomy, 18; Donald Moler, Douglas County, 2; Joe Moyer, Southeast Agricultural Research Center, 38; Evelyn Neier, 4-H Youth Development, 15; David Rempe, Kansas Farm Management Association, 18; Roberta Riportella, family studies and human services, 3; Nancy Schuster, Frontier District, 44; Lori Shoemaker, Rice County, 33; Bryan Schurle, agricultural economics, 39; Phillip Stahlman, Agricultural Research Center–Hays, 42; Barbara Stone, 4-H Youth Development, 5; Timothy Stucky, Kansas Farm Management Association, 35; Denise Sullivan, Leavenworth County, 28; Charles Wilken, Kansas Farm Management Association, 32.

Thank you for your service and commitment.