2017 Academic Infrastructure Reports

2017 Academic Infrastructure Reports

September 22, 2017

Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics

Project GREEEN funds assisted the department on data collection for two topics related to international trade policy: U.S. trade and tariffs with the 10 countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and U.S. trade and economic data with Cuba. Data was collected on trade flows, both to and from the U.S. The data will be used to analyze the potential impact of the TPP agreement on U.S. agricultural exports and imports with the TPP nations. Particular focus will be placed on those agricultural products produced in Michigan. In Cuba, data was collected on the economic conditions of the country and will be used to analyze the potential impact of the reopening of trade between the U.S. and Cuba, particularly with regard to agricultural goods.

In addition, the MSU Product Center, with help from Project GREEEN funding:

  • Provided help to businesses through 4,168 counseling sessions.
  • Helped Michigan businesses launch 62 new ventures, create 216 jobs and retain 108 jobs.

MSU Extension: Agriculture and Agribusiness

Agriculture and Agribusiness (AABI) conducts a small grants program called AABI GREEEN with Project GREEEN funds. Extension educators submit proposals quarterly for review by two AABI Work Team Leaders and the AABI director. If funded, the educator initiates a one-year project and must complete a final report.

  • Nitrogen and moisture retention in conservation tillage squash systems.
  • Exploring multispectral aerial imagery as a crop scouting tool for precision agriculture.
  • Multispectral aerial imagery as a tool to augment crop scouting.
  • Preparing underserved and minority berry growers for third-party GAP audits under the new FSMA.
  • Pest ID and scouting guidelines for the hop greenhouse and nursery industry.
  • Oat and pea forage combinations compared in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Project GREEEN funding helped with implementation of a temperature inversion monitoring system in apple and cherry orchards at two sites in Michigan. Funding also assisted with maintenance and data collection for systems that detect white mold in soybean crops.

In addition, Project GREEEN dollars were invested in:                                                             

  • Data collection and analysis of instrumented system for quantifying water use in center pivot irrigation systems.
  • Design and fabrication of applied system to monitor wastewater on treated croplands.
  • Instrumentation and analysis of temperature variations in post-harvest sugar beets and carrots.

The Department of Entomology   

For several years, the department has created and carried out effective pollinator and pollination programs. In 2015, these programs were integrated into one: the Michigan Pollinator Initiative. This enterprise works to support pollinators and the Michigan producers who rely on them through the coordination of MSU research, education and policy-driven efforts to protect pollinators and address current and anticipated issues related to protecting these important insect groups.

Other accomplishments made with the help of Project GREEEN include:

  • The Bug House serves as a significant outreach mechanism, providing 123 school tours, 22 open house events and 11 outside events, reaching nearly 10,000 community members last year.
  • Developing and implementing mindful, cost-effective integrated pest management (IPM) programs for Michigan vegetable growers.
  • Rapidly responding to the demands invasive insects, such as spotted wing drosophila, brown marmorated stinkbug and emerald ash borer, place on farming and IPM systems.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Project GREEEN support was used to maintain and service all essential equipment in the Flour Milling and Baking Labs by the Biosystems Agricultural Engineering R&D Shop at MSU. The maintenance is critical for conducting sound researcher in the Michigan wheat quality research effort.

Through the MSU Product Center, with Project GREEEN funding, the program assisted Michigan food industry professionals and entrepreneurs by providing information, testing services, referrals for food product development and sensory evaluation. The program worked to establish new value-added products and quality evaluation of food safety treatments for the food industry.

The Department of Forestry  

Project GREEEN funds were used to support the operation of the Tree Research Center on Jolly Road near the East Lansing campus. The facility is managed by department faculty and personnel, and is shared by researchers performing a variety of projects. Topics studied at the center include disease and pest work, particularly with the emerald ash borer, drought resistance, and using recoverable lumber from fallen trees on campus instead of grinding into wood chips.

The Department of Geography 

The primary use of Project GREEEN funds is for the Enviro-weather website (enviroweather.msu.edu). Enviro-weather provides detailed, high-quality weather information to the public for assistance in making weather-related decisions. Demand for the data and other products the system provides has grown significantly over time, from an average of 96 individual product accesses per day in 2006 to 606 per day in 2015. Peak usage rates can reach as high as 2,000 accesses per day during growing seasons.

Additionally, Enviro-weather:

  • Serves the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Grand Rapids, which collects Enviro-weather’s data for short-term weather monitoring and forecasting.
  • Has upgraded 16 Enviro-weather stations with new loggers and sensors in recent years and continues to update equipment.

The Department of Horticulture     

The MSU AgBioResearch Horticulture Teaching and Research Center (HTRC) conducted 62 research projects with funding from Project GREEEN. These projects included emerald ash borer mitigation, transplant success of container-grown trees, weed management, high-tunnel fruit production, pest management and more.

The HTRC relies heavily on Project GREEEN funding for maintenance operations. Much of the funding is used to support on-call and temporary workers who cultivate, spray and fertilize field plots, set up irrigation and provide general project assistance.

The HTRC provided appropriate facilities and support for over 60 projects overseen by 22 MSU faculty members with appointments in five academic units and one federal lab.

The Department of Plant Biology 

Project GREEEN funds were used to provide information technology (IT) support for several large genomics, bioinformatics and quantitative projects. Many faculty members in the department use bioinformatics, genomics and quantitative biology in their research and rely heavily on the use of servers for computation. Because of the specialized programs used in this research, they cannot use the university computing facility and must maintain their own. More than half of the IT professional’s time is spent working with faculty members and maintaining the infrastructure that allows them to conduct their research.

With the help of Project GREEEN infrastructure funding, the Department of Plant Biology allocated funds to IT support that has allowed faculty members to generate more than $11 million in external research grants that meet Project GREEEN objectives and priorities.

The Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences     

Funds from Project GREEEN that flow through this department are primarily used to support infrastructure needs at several MSU research sites and facilities. Project GREEEN funds keep the Agronomy and Plant Pathology farms operational, as well as supporting research and extension needs for faculty and staff. A project was completed to improve both surface and subsurface drainage on research sites, greatly improving the value of this land for field research.

Many other project areas benefited from Project GREEEN funding, including:

  • Potato breeding
  • Spruce decline
  • Fire blight management
  • Sugarbeet breeding
  • Soil health
  • Soil fertility
  • Soybean breeding
  • Weed science
  • Agricultural modeling
  • Bioenergy and cropping systems
  • Disease management
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