Innovations in Agriculture & Rural Development

A free webinar series designed for business owners and entrepreneurs to learn more about university developed technology that may be relevant to your current or future business operations. If you have questions about the presentations listed below, contact John Mann via email or phone (517) 353-2129. 

To participate in any of the webinars go to - Guest is selected by default, type your name in the text box provided and select Enter Room.

Upcoming Webinars: TBD


Archived Webinars

NSF IUCRC: Center for Solid-State Green Electric Power Generation and Storage (8/14/19)
Presented by: Dr. Qiquan Qiao, South Dakota State University

Summary: The NSF IUCRC Center for Solid-State Green Electric Power Generation and Storage (CEPS) is based on long-term partnerships between universities, industry, national laboratories, and state and federal institutions. The prospective Center focuses on advancing understanding of fundamental mechanisms that take place in novel super-fast solid-state glass-ceramic conductors under electric transient conditions and correlation of these mechanisms. New knowledge and scientific contributions to the field of solid-state ionics will be generated through the following: 1) Mechanisms of micro- and nanostructural evolution of novel nano-architectures at atomic scale; 2) Understanding mass and charge transfer mechanisms by in-situ operando studies; 3) Self-charging mechanisms within intrinsically integrated solid-state energy storage multilayer structures involving perovskite solar cells; 4) New miniaturization technology leading to safe, human-friendly, and long-lasting solid-state energy storage systems for medical applications; and 5) Solid-state energy storage integration into green power generation systems.
PowerPoint     Recording

Precision Agriculture Sensing Systems (7/30/19)
Presenter: Dr. Qiquan Qiao, South Dakota State University

Summary: The objective of this work will create real-time precision agriculture sensor systems that can be used to detect changes in temperature, CO2, NO3-N, oxygen, phosphate, nitrate, moisture, and electrical conductivity (EC). This information can be used to calculate improvements in porosity, water flow, potential nutrient stresses, and yield potential.  Ground-based sensors linked to aerial remote sensing can be used to provide comprehensive information on the fate of the seed from planting to harvest.  To achieve this objective, novel sensors, sensor networks, and their integration into drones and/or swarms with real time mapping and monitoring capability will be developed. Non-contact sensing systems using high resolution camera, infrared, thermal, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and multispectral sensors will be developed.  This allows direct visibility over the health of soil and crops by viewing parameters such as sunlight absorption rates, transpiration rates, crop health, CO2 content, temperature, moisture, soil variation and health status.
PowerPoint     Recording

Removing Emerging Contaminants in the Drinking Water by a Novel Carbon-based Enzymatic Reactor
Dr. Chung-Ho Lin, University of Missouri
The contamination of drinking water and its sources with emerging contaminants has been a major concern for the ecosystem and public health, especially in the rural America. For example, as many as 1 in 6 Americans were drinking atrazine-contaminated water. Our team has successfully demonstrated a novel technology for removing emerging contaminants from water and drinking water sources (wells, groundwater aquifers and surface water) to protect the integrity of the ecosystems and public health. The system can be readily scalable to a continuous flow bioreactor to remove atrazine.  Ultimately, the technology can be applicable to watershed restoration, environmental remediation and municipal water treatment plants. This technology also identified the novel uses of bio-based carbon materials such as biochar derived from agricultural and forest origins for environmental and industrial applications.  Converting low-value materials to high value-added carbon products will help foster rural economic development.
PowerPoint     Recording

Photoelectrocatalytic Oxidation (PECO): A new and advanced water treatment technology (9/20/18)
Presenter: Dr. Terence Barry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary: University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists developed a novel advanced oxidation technology called photoelectrocatalytic oxidation (PECO). PECO uses germicidal ultraviolet (UV) light to activate a proprietary catalyst that produces hydroxyl radicals and other powerful oxidants that destroy numerous microbial and chemical contaminants in water. A new start-up company called Exciton Clean, LLC has been form to commercialize this technology with an initial focus on applications in aquaculture and the recreational water space (e.g., swimming pools, spas).
PowerPoint     Recording

Solving key biological problems limiting the expansion of the yellow perch aquaculture industry (5/22/18)
Presented by:
Dr. Terry Barry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The yellow perch is one of the most highly valued food fish in the Great Lakes region, and has the potential to be the basis of a multimillion dollar regional aquaculture industry. The species has many biological characteristics that make it an excellent fish for commercial production, including ready acceptance of commercial feeds, and excellent tolerance of crowding, handling and poor water quality. Two key problems currently limit the expansion of the industry: (1) the slow growth rate of yellow perch, and (2) difficulties producing larval fish. UW-Madison investigators are investigating two novel methods to increase the growth rate of yellow perch. The first is a novel growth-promoting pheromone, and the second is using CRISPR technology to unlock the growth potential of this species. Two technologies are also being evaluated to address problems associated with intensive larval rearing. The first is polyculture with marine rotifers at first feeding, and the second is using laser lights to increase larval acceptance of formulated feeds.
PowerPoint     Recording

A new weapon for farmers: Inter-row mowing for problem weeds in row crops (5/15/18)
Presented by:
Dr. Kerry Clark, University of Missouri
Summary: Conventional farmers are facing a new level of threat from weeds due to the development of multiple sources of herbicide resistance over the past decade. They are starting to feel the pain of organic growers, who have faced a long battle against weeds that is now usually fought with frequent tillage, which has been implicated in soil degradation. A tool that does not rely on chemical control or soil disturbance has emerged from a research program at the University of Missouri.
PowerPoint     Recording

NVision Ag: Increasing corn yield and saving nitrogen fertilizer (5/8/18)
Peter Scharf, University of Missouri
Summary: Nitrogen fertilizer often doubles crop yields; without it we could not feed the current world population. But nitrogen fertilizer is lost from crop fields in wet weather, especially corn fields. The plants become nitrogen-deficient, with light green leaves, and grain yields can be cut sharply. I estimate that more than 3 billion bushels of corn grain worth over $12 billion were lost to nitrogen deficiency over the past 10 years in the U.S. Plants that are nitrogen-deficient can easily be seen from the air, and we have patented a process for predicting yield loss and fertilizer need from aerial images. We translate aerial images into rate control files that go into the fertilizer applicator’s computer and put the right rate at each place in the field.
PowerPoint     Recording

Dietary preen oil as an anti-stress feed additive for aquaculture species (5/1/18)
Presented by: Dr. Jake Olson and Dr. Terry Barry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary: University of Wisconsin researchers are using dietary preen oil to reduce mortality in fish species used in aquaculture production. The research team provides an update on their progress, and discusses new commercial applications and their next steps.
PowerPoint     Recording

Cosajaba Oil: A Promoter of Growth and Stress-Tolerance for Aquaculture Species (5/10/17)
Presented by: Dr. Jake Olson and Dr. Terry Barry (University of Wisconsin)
Summary: The avian uropygial gland, often referred to as the preen gland, is located dorsally at the base of the tail and contains a variety of bioactive lipophilic compounds. In a rodent model of autoimmune arthritis, a crude extract of the preen gland (Cosajaba oil) mitigated the progression of chronic joint inflammation when compared to plant-based control oils in a diet composition. As a variety of aquaculture fish species forgo health due to antigen- and stress-induced inflammation, we tested whether dietary Cosajaba oil could translate improved health into increased growth in several aquaculture species. Results of our preliminary trials prompted us to further investigate the effects of dietary Cosajaba oil on the stress-tolerance (i.e. temperature stress, hypoxia, handling stress) of additional aquaculture species including walleye, perch, and rainbow trout. Results of these trials suggested a novel application in promoting the growth and survival of Atlantic salmon; therefore, we are currently investigating the effects of cosajaba oil on the growth of larval, juvenile, and adult Atlantic salmon, as well as tolerance to stress associated with the salmon smoltification process.
PowerPoint     Recording

Soil diagnostics, Helping growers protect their most valuable asset: Soil  (10/25/16)
Kaustabh D Bhalerao, Founder and CEO, Soil Diagnostics
Summary: Soil Diagnostics, Inc’s FertiSaver-N is a high through put laboratory-based soil test that estimates the nitrogen supplying power of soil. Fertile soils are rich in nitrogen-containing organic matter and require less additional fertilizer. In the Midwest, corn farmers can apply as much as 50% less nitrogen without losing yields.
PowerPoint     Recording

Intermediary Perceptions of Rural Firm Tech Adoption (9/21/16)
Rachel Poole, Michigan State University
Summary: Results from interviews of different Michigan organizations that provide support to rural firms. Research goals, identify (1) barriers that restrict rural firms’ success in regards to technology adoption; and (2) strategies that can be used to avoid or overcome these barriers. 
PowerPoint     Recording

Wastewater Treatment System for Rural Meat Processing Plants (5/5/16)
Karen Manci, The Ohio State University
PowerPoint     Recording

The State of New-Marketing in the Green Industry and Implications for Small, Rural Businesses (4/21/16)
Lauri Baker and Cheryl Boyer (Kansas State University) and Hikaru Peterson (University of Minnesota)
Summary: Small, agricultural businesses often struggle with the challenges of marketing successfully. Our research indicates that green industry businesses (garden centers, nurseries, landscape, etc.) tend to focus on traditional methods of marketing and lack a comprehensive understanding of how to go about using new online marketing venues effectively. This webinar will share the results of a nationwide survey conducted in Fall 2015 to understand the current state of green-industry marketing, particularly as it relates to new-media marketing efforts.
PowerPoint     Recording

UW-Madison's Animal Sciences Byproducts initiative: Discovering value in animal slaughter by-products (3/23/16)
Dr. Mark Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary: Approximately 25-40% of the animal is considered a non-meat by-product. While some of these by-products are edible, in general they are considered a low value product. By-products that are not edible are heat rendered and the resulting products are animal fat and meat and bone meal, both commonly used in animal feeds. An initiative at UW-Madison searches for valuable molecules that could be harvested from these by-products.
PowerPoint     Recording

Cosabody-10 Technology Update for Antibiotic Free Animal Agriculture (12/2/15)
Dr. Jordan Sand, Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary: Cosabody-10 is a new technology developed at the University of Wisconsin to help meet consumer’s desire for antibiotic free animal products. More significantly, this technology may help address the antibiotic resistance challenge in animal agriculture. In layman’s terms, their solution includes vaccinate laying hens, that in turn create antibodies in their eggs. These eggs are then sprayed on the feed of animals that producers want to protect. In essence, the antibodies allow the immune systems of animals that consumed the egg product to better fight disease. Dr. Jordan Sand will discuss the problem, their solution ncluding some of the science and their efforts to commercialize this technology.   
PowerPoint     Recording

Supporting Rural Business Success Through New Media Marketing Research (5/12/15)
Laura Baker and Hikaru Peterson (Kansas State University) and Cheryl Boyer (Oklahoma State University)
Summary: Introduce learners to the founders of the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement, some of their online marketing research results/implications and plans for the future. The purpose of the center is to assist small, rural businesses with the information and resources to maximize their online marketing efforts. Limited resources (and sometimes interest) can inhibit business operators from expanding their circle of influence via social media. We feel that effective online marketing can help rural businesses maintain viability in times of uncertainty. The Center’s mission: “As a generator and source of knowledge about new media technologies, the Center will enable rural businesses to flourish in ever-changing environments. We make research-based knowledge discoverable and accessible to individuals,businesses, and communities. Our endeavor will foster positive changes to rural livelihood.” PowerPoint     Recording

Subsurface Water Retention Technology (SWRT) for Crop Improvement on Coarse Textured Soils (4/8/15)
Alvin Smucker, Michigan State University
Summary: Meeting demand for sustainable food and cellulosic fiber supplies on small and large farms will be a major challenge for 21st Century agriculture. Soil water deficits rank among the highest stress limitations to plant growth and productivity. Although supplemental irrigation, increasing fertilization and manure applications to highly permeable soils may increase seed and biomass production, in the short term, these management practices may not be sustainable due to elevated leaching losses including nutrients, pesticides, pathogens and farm animal endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) to groundwater supplies. Solution: One solution presented in this webinar is Subsurface Water Retention Technology (SWRT) which is drought resilient water and nutrient conservation technology that produces greater quantities of grain, cellulosic biomass and vegetables with less water and fewer nutrients. SWRT has been demonstrated to double soil water holding in corn root zone in sand and significantly increase production. Additionally, SWRT has potential applications for other crop production.
PowerPoint     Recording

Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory: From Benchtop to Proof of Concept (4/2/15)
Hans Blaschek & Vijay Singh, University of Illinois
Summary: Overview of the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) which has been designed as a flexible, state-of-the-art plug-and-play pilot scale facility. Its focus is to advance research and education regarding renewable fuel, food and fiber-based processing platforms and to stimulate bio-economic development in the State of Illinois through translational scale-up of developed technologies leading to commercialization.
PowerPoint     Recording

Soil functional maps for crop management and planning (12/9/2014)
Phillip Owens, Purdue University
Summary: Research at Purdue University has created a soil mapping process that delivers soil properties on a continuous basis that predicts multiple soil properties across the field. The method creates maps of chemical properties which affect nutrition of crops, but also predicts physical properties which affect water availability. Both soil fertility and water availability are important for predicting crop performance. The resulting maps are flexible and can be combined to create different indices for specific outcomes. This method has been developed and streamlined to map large or small areas across the USA. Also, additional soil information can be added to the model to continuously improve the maps.
PowerPoint     Recording

C3d: Moving Laboratory Research on Pathogen Detection into Commercial Practice (11/4/14)
Michael Ladisch and Eduardo Ximenes, Purdue University
Summary: An essential component of pathogen and other microorganism detection in food and water is sample preparation so that the pathogen is at a sufficient concentration and can be readily detected. The approach discussed here uses the C3D instrument. It involves rapid microfiltration of liquid samples derived from either food or water, where the system removes water through microfiltration thereby concentrating the microorganisms. This results in a 1000-fold concentration of microorganisms. When followed by micro-centrifugation, a pellet of viable microorganisms results that may be probed for the presence of pathogens used in either antibody or PCR-based methods.
PowerPoint     Recording

The Diverse Roles of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems: Case Studies from University of California Campus (10/28/14)
Martin Kenney, University of California
Summary: Broadly speaking, universities and university technology transfer play an important role in encouraging economic development. This webinar will feature research from Dr. Martin Kenney’s and co-Author Dr. David Mowery’s most recent book titled Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California. In his presentation, Dr. Kenney will discuss the California knowledge economy, university-industry relations, the linear and other tech transfer models, the reality in other domains, who starts firms, and commercialization vs. engagement.
PowerPoint     Recording

Prairie AquaTech: Improving animal health, nutrition, and production efficiency (10/21/14)
Bill Gibbons and Mike Brown, South Dakota State University
Summary: Roughly 2/3 of the world’s major fish stocks are currently fished at or above capacity. To keep pace with global demand, about half of all seafood consumed is now farmed. Without aquaculture, the UN FAO reports the world will face a significant seafood shortage by 2030. This has led to a significant demand for sustainable aquaculture feedstuffs and health supplements, which is the largest operating cost for aquaculture production. Prairie AquaTech specializes in new microbial approaches to aquaculture and other animal feeds and health supplements, and has developed a process that will replace more expensive natural resources currently being used in animal feeds, such as fishmeal.
PowerPoint     Recording

Pan Genome Systems: Developing a novel and effective vaccine for Johne’s Disease (9/24/14)
Adel Talaat, University of Wisconsin-Madison & Jon Sandbrook, President of Pan Genome Systems
Summary: Pan Genome Systems is currently developing a novel and effective vaccine which is delivered one-time in the first 30 days of life of the animal and provides a lifetime of protection. The potential global market for such a vaccine in the dairy cattle industry is estimated to be $280-360 million per year, with around $50-70 million of this in the U.S.
PowerPoint     Recording

Responding to an S.O.S. from the Commercial Beekeeping Industry (4/22/14)
Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota
Summary: As bees are directly or indirectly responsible for 35% of our diet through their pollination services, it is critical to increase effort to keep bees healthy and to provide hands-on assistance to the beleaguered beekeeping industry throughout the U.S.
PowerPoint     Recording

High rate renewable energy production with the Static Granular Bed Reactor (SGBR) (4/3/14)
Tim Ellis, Iowa State University
Summary: An exciting new anaerobic treatment technology, the static granular bed reactor (SGBR), has been developed and patented at Iowa State University to treat a variety of wastewaters from municipal, industrial, and agricultural sources.  Due to its unique reactor configuration, the SGBR allows for more efficient and cost-effective treatment in a smaller footprint, without the need for expensive membranes, heat exchangers, mixers, etc.

Expediting the Commercialization of Biobased Products via OBIC’s ® "Cell to Sell" Innovation Model (3/27/14)
Dennis Hall, The Ohio State University
Summary: OBIC is a Bioproduct Innovation Center in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. This presentation will discuss a unique cluster development strategy that brings together stakeholders from across the biobased product supply chain.
PowerPoint     Recording

Integrating perennial grasses for sustainable agricultural systems to maximize farm profitability (3/11/14)
DoKyoung (D.K.) Lee, University of Illinois
Summary: Dr. Lee will discuss sustainable agricultural systems integrated with perennial grasses; how to design and establish market potential, a case study, and an on-farm example.
PowerPoint     Recording

Increasing production efficiency through reproductive management (2/18/14)
Rick Funston, University of Nebraska
Summary: Dr. Funston will discuss the importance of having a high percentage of beef calves born early in “your” calving season, whenever that is. This event coupled with overall reproductive rate is a major economic driver in cow/calf operations and has a profound impact on the profitability of any beef cattle operation.
PowerPoint      Recording

Maximizing Bioenergy Production during Wastewater Treatment (5/22/13)
Lance Schideman, University of Illinois
Summary: Discover new advances in the production of biodiesel from swine waste. This new technology allows for recaptured waste water, which is still rich in production materials, to be further refined and used to increase final biodiesel output.
PowerPoint          Recording

New Poultry Vaccine Tech: Leadership for Advanced Responses to Animal Diseases (5/14/13)
Daral Jackwood, The Ohio State University
Summary: Challenges related to poultry vaccines and Dr. Jackwood will present a solution that his new venture, Leadership for Advanced Responses to Animals Diseases, is employing by using the VLP technology.
PowerPoint           Recording

Thermal Aid: Managing Heat Stress in Cattle (2/12/13)
Don Spiers, University of Missouri
Summary: Thermal Aid is a smart phone app that combines information on both weather and/or respiration rate of livestock that allow producers to make crucial decisions regarding environmental stress and animal welfare.
PowerPoint          Recording

Working with Distilled Spirits (2/26/13)
Kris Berglund, Michigan State University
Summary: Explore new fermentation technology options in the production of distilled spirits from Dr. Kris Berglund, a distinguished professor and entrepreneur.
PowerPoint          Recording

Farm-Based Biocontrol Seed Treatments for Improving Soybean Yields (3/28/13)
Brian McSpadden Gardener, Ohio State University
Summary: Beneficial bacteria exist in all agricultural soils. However, their natural distribution does not allow maximum benefits to be conferred to the crop. Treating seed with beneficial bacteria can help to ensure proper root colonization and expression of beneficial activities.
PowerPoint          Recording