CFAES Monthly : March 2015

  1. CFAES Recognition Program is April 16

    The CFAES Recognition Program is coming soon! Join your fellow faculty and staff members for this celebration of excellence on April 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom in the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. in Columbus.

    Each year the student planning committee creates a theme to set the tone for the evening and a fun, meaningful atmosphere. This year’s theme, “Should Have Seen It in Color,” illustrates the vibrancy of the accomplishments our students have made this academic year and the many contributions made by faculty, staff and friends to improve the student experience. Come share in the celebration and be a part of the memories students will take with them and treasure for years. You are sure to enjoy a delicious meal, an entertaining program and a chance to relax with students and colleagues.

    Tickets may be purchased from any Recognition Program committee member: Look for the students wearing the signature gray T-shirts announcing the banquet. Or buy them in 100 Agricultural Administration Building or 210 Kottman Hall in Columbus.

    The early bird price through April 8 is $10. The regular price after April 8 is $12.

    You also can reserve a table for 10 for $125, which includes the price of the tickets and a reserved sign with your department or school name. Contact Marilyn Trefz,, for details.—Recognition Program student planning committee

  2. Update on the Vice President’s Conversation on the Future of Extension

    Extension colleagues: It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than two months since we gathered at the VP Summit during Annual Conference to begin imagining and talking about the future. We want to take a moment to thank you again for engaging in and providing such rich feedback from the visioning session at the summit. As many folks have told us, talking about the possibilities during that visioning session was a valued part of the activities that day. If you want to take a look at a summary of the ideas generated during the summit, visit

    We have updated the materials available on the VP Conversation website. The trend research papers, a summary of the interim project report, an updated list of committee members and other materials that will help inform this second phase of the project have been added to the webpages. Be sure to check out the updated website at

    The VP Conversation committee is working on putting together a variety of ways you can continue to be involved and provide more visioning input. We’ll be sharing these opportunities soon, so keep an eye on your inbox to be sure to select one (or more) that will fit into your schedule. 

    In his February webinar, Dean McPheron talked about the next few months for the VP Conversation, saying our organization’s challenge for this project is to prime ourselves to be adventurous and to be ready to adapt to the challenges that the future may bring. He has encouraged us to create, through our visioning sessions, opportunities that are enabling, rather than constraining, for our future organization and leaders. Watch it here if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to view it: (scroll down to “Webinars to the College”).

    We look forward to exploring these ideas with you in the coming months.Graham Cochran and Becky Nesbitt

  3. CFAES Facilities Master Plan is now online

    The CFAES Facilities Master Plan website is now linked to our college’s Facilities and Planning page (scroll down). Or find it directly at You’re encouraged to review the site and direct any questions or observations to Ron Hendrick,

    In the coming weeks, the college will be providing additional printed materials related to the overall plan.

  4. ‘Elephants in the Room’: CFAES Diversity Leadership Symposium is April 1

    Registration is open for CFAES’s 2015 Diversity Leadership Symposium. This year’s theme is privilege and is explored in a program called “Elephants in the Room: The Power of Privilege.” It’s from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1 in the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. in Columbus.

    Registration is $55 for Ohio State and non-Ohio State faculty and staff and $10 for Ohio State and non-Ohio State students.

    For more information and to register online, go to—Kathy Lechman, Diversity Development

  5. Communications unit launches new website

    CFAES’s Communications unit, previously known as Communications and Technology, launched its new, branded website in February. It has a new URL, too, with the old URL set to forward there.

    Check it out at

  6. New or renewed CFAES appointments for Bebo, Davis, Worley

    Please join us as we congratulate three members of the CFAES team who have received new or renewed appointments.

    Patricia Bebo, Interim Assistant Director, Family and Consumer Sciences

    Patricia Bebo has graciously accepted the appointment of interim assistant director of Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension. Pat will assume the responsibility effective April 1 and will continue until a new assistant director is hired. Please congratulate her on her willingness to serve in this capacity.

    Greg Davis, Assistant Director, Community Development

    Please join us in congratulating Greg Davis on his reappointment for another four-year term as OSU Extension’s assistant director, Community Development. Greg is an excellent leader, team member and mentor with a collaborative spirit. We are excited about his continued commitment to engage people to strengthen communities through research-based educational programming.

    Tom Worley, Director, OSU South Centers

    Please congratulate Tom Worley on his reappointment to another four-year term as director of the Ohio State University South Centers. Tom continues to be a valuable asset to CFAES and especially to the employees at the South Centers in leading them in a positive trajectory. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.

  7. Francis, Sneller each receive $500,000 USDA grants

    Two Department of Horticulture and Crop Science faculty members, David Francis and Clay Sneller, each have received $500,000 grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grants were part of the FY 2014 AFRI Plant Breeding Projects. The projects focus on public breeding efforts to improve crop yield, efficiency, quality and adaptation to diverse agricultural systems and include:

    • Prebreeding and germplasm enhancement, cultivar development, selection theory, applied quantitative genetics, and participatory breeding.
    • Development of tools to predict phenotype from genotype to accelerate breeding of finished varieties.
    • Conference grants to identify regional needs for plant breeding research, education or extension.

    The department’s plant breeding program was very competitive this year, with only 5 percent of all proposals receiving funding. Of the nine proposals funded, two were in the department.

    Details on Francis’s grant, “Prebreeding to Combine Resistances to Pathogens from Three Kingdoms in Processing and Fresh-market Tomato,” here; and on Sneller’s grant, “Implementing Genome Selection: Assessing Trait and Genome Change and Developing Breeding Strategies,” here.


  8. Salute! Scurlock inducted into Ohio Wine Hall of Fame

    At the annual banquet at the Ohio Grape and Wine Conference on Feb. 16, CFAES’s David Scurlock was honored by his peers and inducted into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame. It’s the highest honor the Ohio wine and grape community can bestow. 

    David joined the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster in 1980, and for 35 years, his work has played a seminal role in the growth of and success in the grape and wine-grape industry in the state.

    When David began his career, fully 90 percent of Ohio’s vineyards were devoted to the traditional native grapes, most being used for juice, with just a small percentage made into regionally popular wines. Over the years much of the original acreage has been converted to hybrids and viniferas that are now producing world-class wines. He has visited scores of potential vineyard sites to help those just getting into the business. He has worked closely with long-established growers and guided their progress. David’s efforts have aided every grower, large or small, new to the business or a veteran in the industry, and he has encouraged all to strive for excellence.Ohio Wine Producers Association press release


  9. 93 examples of people working toward a College Goal

    On Sunday, Feb. 8, the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster served as the Wayne County site for College Goal Sunday, a state-based volunteer program that provides free information and assistance to students and families who are applying for financial aid for postsecondary education.

    College Goal Sunday brings together financial aid professionals from colleges and universities along with other volunteers to help college-bound students and their families complete the FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

    Thirteen volunteers from ATI’s staff and student body assisted about 80 students and family members in taking their first step for applying for financial aid.

  10. 11 reasons OARDC’s Chili Cook-off was a booming success — including for people and pets

    The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s 2015 Chili Cook-off, hosted by the OARDC Staff Council, provided some great food and competition, along with a chance for employees to give back to local charities. Eleven OARDC “cooks” competed for top chili honors at the Feb. 17 event in Wooster, which drew a crowd of over 125 faculty, staff and students. With entries like “Chocolate Stick to Your Ribs” chili and “Chili SMACK,” Cook-off attendees found their taste buds challenged to choose a winner. But when the votes were counted, first place went to the “Just Like Mom’s (But Only Better!)” chili made by Paul Starkey of OARDC Facilities Services.

    A popular new element to this year’s Cook-off was a “Pets and People” fundraiser. Staff Council encouraged participants to bring blankets and towels to donate to the Wayne County Humane Society or hats, gloves and scarves to give to People to People Ministries. Some even chose to donate cash. OARDC employees appreciated the opportunity to give back to the community. In all, dozens of items were collected for each charity, including $60 in cash that was split between the two. Leftover food was donated to the Salvation Army in Wooster.

    Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make the 2015 Chili Cook-off a huge success!—Catherine Herms, Horticulture and Crop Science, District 5 Representative, OARDC Staff Council

  11. New tool for sharing land-grant universities’ impacts

    On March 2, the National Impact Database Planning Committee, a joint committee appointed by the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy and the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, announced two new projects that will help us tell our land-grant story: the National Impact Database and its companion project, the Land-Grant Impacts website.

    The database is an internal resource that will allow university researchers and affiliates to upload and search for impact statements regarding experiment station and cooperative extension efforts. Each land‐grant institution can designate the appropriate contact to input data and stories into the system. Contacts are selected by the research and extension directors and are issued passwords to begin contributing the best work from their institutions.

    The Land-Grant Impacts website is a public portal to our three-fold mission of advancing learning, cultivating practical fields and contributing to the economy. We will share impact statements from the database in order to continue to publicize land-grant university work to national media and decisions-makers, among others.

    About the website

    The National Land-Grant Impacts website is a centralized online resource that highlights the teaching, research and extension efforts by land-grant universities. Specifically, the website provides access to university- and region-specific impact stories, which document the research and extension programming planned, performed and implemented at land-grant universities, including Ohio State and specifically by CFAES. As a cooperative effort of the land-grant universities, the website represents a single 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “This website will help policy makers and the public learn more about this work that is partially supported with NIFA funding.”

    Impact statements relay the results and impact of research and extension education programming. Information lists include contact information for university research and extension project leads and updates on funding, project implementation or extension education impact. Impact statements are categorized according to six focus areas:

    • Food Security.
    • Nutrition and Health.
    • Youth, Family and Communities.
    • Environmental Stewardship.
    • Agricultural Systems.
    • Energy and Bioproducts.

    “Articulating positive changes as a result of agricultural experiment station and cooperative extension research and education is critical today. The Board on Agriculture Assembly celebrates the launch of this website,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president, University of California, and chair, BAA Policy Board of Directors. “Having a searchable source for outcomes of our work will help to communicate the value of our research and extension programs in our land-grant universities.”—Association of Public and Land-grant Universities press release

  12. 22 new agribusiness leaders who now know more about ATI

    The Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s 2015 Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights (LAUNCH) class spent three days in Wooster Feb. 17-19. Twenty-two LAUNCH participants learned about the Agricultural Technical Institute’s experiential learning emphasis and met with faculty and staff members in the animal production, crop production, agricultural business and agricultural commerce programs.

    The LAUNCH program’s purpose is to develop aspiring leaders in the agribusiness industry to replace the approximately 50 percent of the current agribusiness workforce that will be retiring in the next 15 years.

  13. New foundation to deploy $200 million to spur innovation in food and agriculture

    The new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, will leverage its initial $200 million in funding to solve pressing challenges in food and agriculture, the FFAR Board of Directors resolved at its recent meeting on Capitol Hill. The board met Feb. 5-6 to refine elements of the foundation’s operating model and to begin outlining its priority research agenda.

    “We are excited about the promise of this new foundation to advance innovative research on vital issues affecting the lives of all Americans,” said Board Chair and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. “FFAR will complement and not duplicate the work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other important partners in the public and private sectors.”

    The meeting, the second in-person gathering of the full board, focused on accelerating strategic planning and agreeing on the defining principles that will guide the new organization. The board also refined key elements of FFAR’s organization structure and operating model, including how and where FFAR should focus its efforts to catalyze innovation in food and agriculture, including through:

    • Funding cutting-edge research and development through grants and innovation challenges.
    • Building innovative public-private partnerships.
    • Convening other stakeholders and thought leaders to foster collaboration.
    • Building human capacity to advance innovation.

    By Congressional mandate, the foundation must generate matching funds from the private sector or other partners in order to utilize the $200 million received from Congress. In the coming months, FFAR will solidify its initial research priorities and finalize other fundamental organizational details, with the priority of identifying its inaugural executive director. The board will meet again in June 2015.—FFAR press release

  14. ATI horse named best dam (producer) in the land

    The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association has given Our Lady Countess, a horse that was donated to the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, the 2014 Best Dam (Producer) Award. Our Lady Countess’s 2012 daughter is Bell Flower, an ATI homebred. Bell Flower was sired by Fly Fly Buckeye, also an ATI homebred. Bell Flower won six of seven races, placed second in the Ohio Sires Stakes Championship in a photo finish and earned more than $150,000 as a 2-year old.

    “We wish Bell Flower success in 2015 and look forward to following her racing career,” said Karen Wimbush, coordinator of ATI’s equine degree programs. “Ohio State ATI is proud of Our Lady Countess and the Equine Center faculty, staff and students.”

  15. April 2: Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond to speak on ‘The World Until Yesterday’

    Jared Diamond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel, presents a lecture based on his new book The World Until Yesterday at 6:30 p.m. on April 2 in the Ohio Union’s Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom, 1739 N. High St., in Columbus. His lecture is part of the Provost’s Discovery Themes Lecturer Program. (Diamond earned the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 2013. CFAES’s Linda Saif won the same award just this year.)

    In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond compares life in modern, industrialized societies with traditional ways of life and argues that traditional societies have much to teach us about conflict resolution, care of elders and children, risk management, multilingualism, and nutrition. The World Until Yesterday debuted in the top three of the New York Times bestseller list.

    With a unique blend of anthropology, sociology and evolutionary biology, Diamond depicts a way of life that is startlingly different from the way we live today. Focusing on how we can improve contemporary society by learning lessons from the past, Diamond’s message is both urgent and persuasive: With some thought and effort, we can have the best of both worlds.—Humanities Institute, Ohio State