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CFAES Monthly : September 2020
All together now: How can the Buckeyes beat COVID-19?
From mask-wearing selfies to physically distanced teamwork during Move-In week, a new campaign is underway to remind Buckeyes how to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The focus: people’s personal motivations for adopting healthy behaviors.
The campaign is using video, photos, and social media to help inspire the Ohio State community to adopt safety practices that focus on physical health, while also promoting mental health and well-being. Images and photos of students, faculty, and staff showing off their masks or physical distancing are circulating under the #TogetherAsBuckeyes hashtag.
“It is not simply a slogan to say we are in this Together As Buckeyes. It is a reality. And a critically important one,” Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers said in an Aug. 21 message to students. “I know we can do this. We have to do this. But we can only do it together.”
Farm Science Review will be virtual for the first time, and free
CFAES’ Farm Science Review trade show is being held entirely online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, reaching people not in person but on their laptops and smartphones. From Sept. 22–24, virtual visitors from across Ohio, the Midwest, and the world will learn tips for increasing farm profits and for growing crops from soybeans to hemp. Sign-up is free starting Sept. 8 at fsr.osu.edu. Watching all the sessions is free. Video recordings of the sessions will be available on the Review’s website after the event.
“It will be even easier this year to benefit from the show’s valuable advice that can help farmers improve their businesses,” said Review manager Nick Zachrich.
“Whether farm operators have questions on finances, insurance protection, or which new tool fits their needs, resources will be available through Farm Science Review online.”
CFAES alum Elizabeth Harsh named an Ohio State trustee
Congratulations to CFAES alumna Elizabeth A. Harsh (’83 BS Animal Sciences), who has been appointed to The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.
“I look forward to this exciting and challenging opportunity to help contribute to the continued success of The Ohio State University,” Harsh said. “Ohio State has always held such a special place in my life, with my family and my career, and I welcome this new role with great anticipation.”
The board of trustees has full fiduciary authority for both the university’s academic and health sciences organizations, and oversees academic programs, budgets, general administration, and employment of faculty and staff.
Eat fresh? Yes, you can garden in fall in Ohio
Pam Bennett, director of CFAES’ statewide Master Gardener Volunteers program, is helping lead the new Ohio Victory Gardens program, a joint effort by CFAES and the Ohio Department of Agriculture aimed at boosting interest in gardening, helping Ohioans grow their own fresh food, and lifting spirits in a trying time—even once summer is over. The program’s website offers how-to advice and science-based resources on a wide range of gardening topics. A fall seed giveaway ended recently, but another one is planned for spring.
Come autumn in Ohio, “there’s still plenty of time left in the growing season,” said Bennett, who noted that if there’s a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the growing interest in gardening. The Victory Gardens program is a great opportunity for Ohioans to green their thumbs, she said, adding, “We hope to inspire them to continue.”
Can farm animals catch COVID-19?
With the rapid spread of the new coronavirus believed to have started in bats, some people might be genuinely concerned about their farm animals. Could the animals catch COVID-19? The answer is murky.
While there have been no reported cases of pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, or cows getting COVID-19, their susceptibility to the respiratory disease has yet to be studied. And though some pig cells have been able to get the virus that causes COVID-19 in lab studies, it doesn’t appear pigs can catch or spread the virus very easily, said Scott Kenney, an assistant professor with the Food Animal Health Research Program. “There are a lot of unknowns,” he said.
Kenney, whose research focuses on viruses that spread from animals to people, is pursuing grants with colleagues to study whether various farm animals are susceptible to COVID-19. He will address the risk of animals catching or spreading COVID-19 in “Ask the Expert” sessions during this year’s virtual Farm Science Review, Sept. 22–24.
Awards and recognitions
NAAE student teacher scholarship
Paige Schaffter, a senior agriscience education major in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, has been selected for a 2020 Upper Division Agricultural Education Scholarship from the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). NAAE awards the $1,500 scholarships to 20 students across the United States. The purpose is to offset expenses during the recipients’ student teaching experience. Selection is based on academic performance, leadership, and service activities.
Schaffter will be student teaching at Pettisville High School in Pettisville, Ohio, during the 2021 spring semester.
FFAR New Innovator award
Jessica Cooperstone, associate professor in the departments of Horticulture and Crop Science and Food Science and Technology, has been announced as a recipient of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s 2019 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research award. The award is granted to early career scientists supporting research in one of the foundation’s six Challenge Areas. Cooperstone’s research combines plant breeding/genetics, analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, and nutrition to develop tomatoes that are more beneficial for human health.
“Preparing for the next frontier of agricultural innovation starts with investing in today’s scientific workforce,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “We are thrilled to support emerging superstars in food and agriculture research as they develop cutting-edge strategies to revolutionize food production, processing, and distribution.”
Outreach and Engagement grants
Lingying Zhao and Qian Chen, both of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, have received a 2020–2021 Impact Research Grant from Ohio State’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. The grant will be used to assess and extend the impacts of Ohio State’s Green Home Technology Center (GHTC). Specifically, Zhao and Chen will develop impact assessment tools for the GHTC program; will reach out to green home designers, builders, and manufacturers to create a cohort program to support homeowners’ needs in planning and building green homes; and will collaborate with community partners to develop grant proposals to expand outreach efforts into research for developing innovative green home technologies.
Projects funded by this year’s Impact Grants focus on faculty or faculty-led teams that turn their attention outward, with the community, to address a pressing public issue or shared problem. From 56 applications, 12 faculty were awarded $10,000 grants to continue their work focusing on education, health, food security, learning outcomes, and/or models for university-community partnerships.
Also in the Outreach and Engagement funding program, Joe Campbell, School of Environment and Natural Resources, received a Professional Development grant to co-organize a major weeklong program with prominent climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe involving Ohio State, the Columbus metropolitan region, and surrounding areas including Athens, Ohio. The program will now be held virtually.
The Office of Outreach and Engagement received 39 applications for Professional Development Grants, from which five programs were selected to receive funding to support college, department, unit, center, program, or institute conferences, workshops, or seminars.