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Ag Report


Department Updates

Agricultural Economics

Professor Andy Barkley received the David J. Mugler Outstanding Teaching Award; Charles Munson ’65 was named the college distinguished alumnus; and Chuck Warta ’91 was the college Alumni Fellow.

Graduate students – Florence Lwiza, Eva Kyereboah, and Sidonia McKenzie – presented a poster at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association conference on biogas technologies being adopted in rural Uganda. They placed third in the outstanding poster category.


Colby Moorberg, assistant professor, received a $141,885 grant from the National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. He is developing a camera system to automate image capture and analysis to examine the effects of intense drought followed by intense rainfall.

Michel “Mickey” Ransom, professor, assistant head for teaching, and soil judging team coach, was named interim department head, effective July 1. Gary Pierzynski, department head and university distinguished professor, assumed a new administrative position at The Ohio State University. Ransom also received the Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Nathan Nelson ’98, professor of soil fertility and nutrient management, will receive the Soil Science Education and Extension Award from the Soil Science Society of America at the organization’s annual meeting in January.

Animal Sciences and Industry

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appointed Valentina Trinetta, assistant professor, to a two-year term on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, and Randall Phebus, professor/interim Food Science Institute director, to a second term on the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.

The department hosted more than 130 youth from nearly 20 states and Canada in its annual livestock judging camps. A trio of three-day camps help students advance their evaluation skills in cattle, swine, sheep, and meat goats and developing oral reasons.

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Ronaldo Maghirang, professor and associate dean for research and graduate programs, was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Communications and Agricultural Education

Gloria Holcombe, Phylicia Mau, Megan Macy, Jason Hackett, Brad Beckman, Dan Donnert, Amy Hartman, Mark Stadtlander, Mary Lou Peter, Jeff Wichman, Eric Atkinson, and Randall Kowalik, received a silver award from the Association for Communication Excellence for a marketing campaign.


Results at the 2018 Entomology Society of America North Central Branch meeting: Matt Hamblin received second place in the undergraduate poster competition and third place in the Triplehorn Pinning Challenge. Jackie Maille earned third place in the master’s student paper competition. Ryan Schmid received a student travel grant and brought home first place in the Ph.D. paper competition.

Feed the Future Innovation Labs

Nathanael Bascom ’87, ’91, assistant director of the Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab, received the President’s Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals in the Belonging category. He plays a crucial role in helping people with diverse personal and academic backgrounds come together as a cohesive team. The labs successful research team, from five institutions on two continents, is a testament to his ability to make everyone feel as though they belong.

Grain Science and Industry

Researchers received a three-year, $450,486 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the relationships between the digestion of starch and its effect on human health, particularly diet-related disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Professor Yong-Cheng Shi ’89, ’93, leads the team that includes Mark Haub and Sara Rosenkranz, Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health.

The Bakery Science Club is hosting the Grain Science Friends and Alumni Golf Tournament September 28 at the Stagg Hill Golf Club to raise funds for bakery lab improvement. Contact Jason Watt ’08 at jwatt1@ksu.edu.

Horticulture and Natural Resources

Jason Griffin, professor and director of the John C. Pair Horticultural Center, and Tim McDonnell ’81, district forester, Kansas Forest Service, received an Extension Materials Award from the American Society of Horticulture Science.

Jeremy Cowan, assistant professor of sustainable food production systems, joined the faculty in May. He previously worked at Washington State University as a county extension director and regional horticulture specialist.

Kansas Forest Service

On March 23, the Kansas Senate passed Senate Resolution 1779, recognizing the Kansas Forest Service’s Fire Management Program “for the incredible steps they take to ensure that Kansas is adequately prepared to combat wildfires and protect its citizens.”

K-State Research and Extension

National Association of County Agricultural Agents results: Richard Fechter ’93, ’00, Rolling Prairie District agriculture and natural resources agent, was installed as the 2018-19 president; Dennis Patton ’82, ’89, Johnson County horticulture agent, earned the National Communication Award in the personal column category; Andrea Burns ’99, Ford County agriculture and natural resources agent, received a Distinguished Service Award.

Erin Yelland, assistant professor and extension specialist, received the Jeanne M. Priester Award for Outstanding Individual and/or Family Programming at the National Health Outreach Conference for her program, Keys to Embracing Aging 30-Day Challenge.

Plant Pathology

James Stack, professor and director of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network, discussed wheat blast and improving global food security at an April 25 Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense in Washington, D.C., focused on transnational biological threats and global security.

Barbara Valent, university distinguished professor, earned the 2018 Noel T. Keen Award for Research Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology from the American Phytopathological Society for her work on the blast diseases of rice and wheat.

Christian Webb completed his master’s degree and is continuing his research with the Great Plains Diagnostic Network on campus.

In Memorium

Fred D. Atchison Sr., 93, Manhattan, died April 4, 2018. He served as an area extension forester in Hays from 1964 to 1978 then in Manhattan until retirement in 1987. Fred was the father of Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator, Kansas Forest Service.