Greg Inzinna, greenhouse grower with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, is tending cassava plants in the new greenhouses. This breeding project aims to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa.
Cornell researchers now have a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse facility available to house tall crops important to New York State growers, such as corn, trellised peas, alfalfa and biofuel grasses.
Part of the Guterman Greenhouse Range east of the School of Veterinary Medicine, the 8,000-square-foot facility is also home to research projects with international impact, such as the cassava breeding project.
Precision environmental controls, 16-foot double-pane glass side walls, and shade- and insulation-curtains in all eight compartments create a highly energy-efficient research environment.
CUAES manages 179,000 square feet of greenhouse space on and around the Cornell Campus, making it the largest non-commercial greenhouse facility in New York. They house 200 to 300 research projects at any given time. The facilities are supported by a dedicated greenhouse team that is committed to sustainable practices and continues to implement new ways to reduce energy use and waste.
Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released today by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.
“There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.”
The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.
Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.
Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.
From Margery Daughtrey, Senior Extension Associate, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University. She is based at the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, Riverhead, N.Y. Click on images for larger view.
Everyone is asking about impatiens: Is it safe to plant them again?
Beginning in 2008, a new disease, impatiens downy mildew, started showing up in the landscape in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. By 2012, it was wreaking widespread havoc all season long for gardeners in New York and many other states.
With a few exceptions, the disease only plagues the impatiens commonly used as a bedding plant in shady locations (Impatiens walleriana) and a close relative, balsam impatiens (Impatiens balsamina). But the disease can also infect native jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).
The disease is most devastating on the bedding impatiens. They stop flowering, drop all their leaves, and keel over. Balsams just show spots on their leaves with the characteristic white “downy” spore structures coating the undersides of the leaves.
Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.
The dramatic outbreaks of this disease have not been as widespread in recent years. But that is because greenhouse growers and landscapers and have shied away from producing a plant that they knew wasn’t going to perform reliably. Fewer plants grown means fewer instances of the disease.
But impatiens downy mildew hasn’t gone away. In 2014, my helpful network of impatiens-watchers reported the disease in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the Hudson Valley in June, in balsam impatiens flower beds in Lockport, N.Y., and Buffalo in July, on bedding impatiens in central New York and on Long Island in August, and in Rochester in September. The disease also turned up in 20 other states last year.
Balsam impatiens are also susceptible to the disease, but aren’t affected as dramatically. There are many other shade-loving annual and perennial alternatives to impatiens.
So, no. The disease is not gone. But we are using less of its host plant so we don’t hear as much about it.
Here’s the problem: Impatiens downy mildew can persist in frost-free parts of the country, and also the mildew can form special spores called oospores that we expect may help it to survive New York winters and re-infect plants the following season. Cornell researchers are focusing on the oospores to learn more about the overwinter survival of the downy mildew, and on breeding new hybrid impatiens that are less susceptible to the disease.
Ultimately, the solution to this problem will be found by breeding downy-mildew-resistant impatiens. In the meantime, gardeners can grow New Guinea impatiens and the new hybrid Bounce™ impatiens with full confidence, knowing that they will resist the downy mildew and flower colorfully all season.
And it’s perfectly OK for gardeners to add in a few bedding impatiens in shady areas, along with begonias, coleus, torenia and other great bedding plants that flourish under similar shady conditions. (Nora Catlin, Floriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, created a great factsheet on Alternatives to Garden Impatiens.)
The luckiest of the impatiens will escape downy mildew. We just need to realize that they are still susceptible to the disease, and that the disease is still a possibility, subject to the variation in weather from year to year.
From the managers at Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm:
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a business system that allows farmers and eaters to build a local food system based on trust, shared goals, and common values.
Our CSA members receive a share of the harvest. We provide organic produce, grown right on campus, and together with our members we share a commitment to the land, local economies, and environmental and agricultural education.
Our Summer CSA runs for 10 weeks, from June 21-August 30th.
Wednesday, workers began filling the Palm House section of the newly constructed Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory on Tower Road with 180 yards of soil. The growing medium is a mix of coconut coir, biochar and Turface (a clay-based soil conditioner). It is designed to resist compaction over the long term, says Andy Leed, greenhouse manager for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.
Workers blow growing medium into the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.
Andy Leed, greenhouse manager for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, inspects the growing medium.
Paul Cooper, head greenhouse grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, poses with 11 young titan arum plants, all offspring of the university’s world famous ‘Wee Stinky’ plant’s first bloom in 2012 (the first of two).
Researchers working with Cornell’s collection of rare titan arum plants are hoping three blooms will point them toward answers.
For those who may have missed it, one of Cornell’s titan arums – a tropical plant native only to Sumatra and famed for its giant corpse-scented flower –famously bloomedfor the first time in the spring 2012. The event drew international media attention and thousands of visitors to theKenneth Post Laboratory Greenhouses.
It also offered researchers throughout the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences a rare chance to study the complex biology of this unique reproductive spectacle. The massive bloom stayed open for days, lines of visitors snaked along hallways and sidewalks, and nascent insights into the subtle biochemistry of the bloom were born.
March 2, Cornell University joined a number of its peers nationwide in announcing the official launch of the National Land-grant Impacts website, a centralized online resource that highlights the teaching, research and extension efforts by Land-grant universities.
The website provides access to university or regional-specific impact stories, which document the research and extension programming planned, performed,and implemented by Cornell and other land-grant universities. The website, as a cooperative effort of these institutions, represents a collective voice for the agricultural experiment station and cooperative extension arms of the land-grant universities.
“The Land-Grant Impacts website is a new tool that will better inform the American people and the international community of the significant agricultural research, education and extension impacts taking place at land grant universities across our nation, which offer practical solutions to today’s critical societal challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This website will help policy makers and the public learn more about this work that is partially supported with NIFA funding.”
Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm, is currently looking for students who would like to conduct research at the farm. This is a great opportunity for students interested in agroecology, soil science, horticulture, agronomy or other related fields.
On Nov. 10, Dean Kathryn Boor, Cornell Cooperative Extension Director and Associate Dean Chris Watkins, and more than 100 guests celebrated the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s best and brightest at the 11th annual Research, Extension and Staff Awards.
Part of the program was dedicated to the Core Value Staff Awards, created in 2010 and designed to recognize individuals or teams who have gone far beyond the standards defined by Cornell’s Skills for Success.
“These awards go to staff who consistently go above and beyond the call in their day-to-day activities,” Boor said, “and we are happy to highlight their dedication and accomplishments.”
This year the dean presented two awards for Unsung Hero. The award recognizes a team player whose accomplishments extend beyond the guidelines of a specific category.
Dean Kathryn Boor presents ‘Unsung Hero’ award to Craig Cramer November 10.
Cramer is a key point person for the communications needs of the new school. He works closely with CALS Communications to help cover events and accomplishments by faculty, students and staff. He keeps websites updated and evolving, writes blog posts and articles, partners with CALS Communications for press releases, and is an excellent photographer and videographer. He is often found visiting classes or attending field days, conferences, and other events to capture Horticulture’s exciting work in action.
In short, he does whatever it takes to get the word out about Plant Science’s exciting research, teaching and extension.
Dean Boor also noted that each year, Cramer learns new skills and takes on more responsibilities, even regularly offering seminars to students and extension educators on topics like “writing for the Internet” and “creating digital art.” Masterful at presenting information in an engaging way, he enthusiastically accepts new communications challenges, such as helping a class produce posters that advertise the quantifiable value of trees to our community or editing the “Cornell Guide for Growing Fruit at Home,” which won an award for best new publication.
Dean Kathryn Boor presents ‘Unsung Hero’ award to Steven McKay November 10.
McKay’s technical role is to support the activities of 20-25 faculty researchers from more than a half a dozen departments who are investigating diverse questions associated with vegetables in New York. He oversees 260 acres of farmland, managing all aspects of land preparation, pest management, staff assignments and equipment purchases.
However, Boor said, his impact and reputation have expanded well beyond a support role.
He works long hours and is available 24/7, sharing his expertise with faculty and graduate students to help maximize the impact of their results. Field experiments are, by their nature, at the mercy of the elements, but Steve cares so deeply about on-farm experiments that he routinely goes beyond expectations to ensure their success.
For example, during Tropical Storm Lee, severe flooding jeopardized field trials at the farm. Due to the mud, it was impossible to use a tractor to apply fungicide treatments to one of the experiments, so Steve trudged through the mucky fields with a backpack sprayer to save the day.
During a time when sustainability and efficiency are key, he is a true forward-thinking leader. He has transitioned much of the farm to drip irrigation to reduce water usage by 80 percent, and he shuttered the Thompson lab building to save thousands of dollars annually on heating and utility costs.
The dean said his curiosity, creativity and ingenuity benefit everyone who depends on the farm – he is a lifelong learner who is always seeking new and improved practices. She noted that McKay even challenged an engineering class with a contest to design improved drainage and irrigation systems, and then implemented the winning design at the farm.