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Campus Chatter - February 6, 2019

Eastern Kentucky University unveils robotic milking system

RICHMOND, Ky. — Eastern Kentucky University staff, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) staff, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, state and local officials and members of the community attended a ribbon-cutting and tour of the EKU’s new state-of-the-art robotic milking system in November.

EKU received $179,373 in Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds to purchase and install an Automated Milking System (AMS) for demonstration, education and research at its Meadowbrook Farm.

“Technology is constantly upgrading agriculture. Who would have ever thought that cows could be milked without the dairyman going to the barn? Cows are milking themselves,” said Warren Beeler, executive director of GOAP.

In partnership with the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, EKU’s Meadowbrook Farm hopes to improve economic prospects for dairy farmers by increasing exposure of this technology to Kentucky producers. The robotic milking system will benefit both existing dairy farmers across the state as well as agriculture students studying dairy production.

For more information, contact Justin McKinney at 859-622-2061 or

Public Lands Council opens applications for Theos Scholarship

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Public Lands Council (PLC) opened the application period for 2019 Nick Theos Scholarships. The scholarships provide students with a passion for the western livestock industry an opportunity to attend the 2019 PLC Spring Legislative Conference, April 1-2 in Washington.

Two Theos scholarships are available for 2019. The scholarships provide a $250 stipend, complimentary hotel accommodations on Capitol Hill and complimentary conference registration. While PLC is unable to pay for travel in full, additional sponsorships to help cover travel costs are encouraged.

Nick Theos, a founding member of PLC and lifetime supporter of the livestock industry, died on April 11, 2013, at the age of 92. The scholarship was created by the Theos family to encourage the next generation to engage in the policy issues facing public lands ranching.

This scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in public lands ranching and should complete the online application by Feb. 11 at

Questions may be directed to Allie Nelson at 406-231-3328 or

Second Ph.D. and Vet Student Career Fair at 2019 IPPE

TUCKER, Ga. — The U.S. Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation (USPOULTRY Foundation) and the Poultry Science Assoc. (PSA) Foundation are pleased to announce the second annual jointly sponsored Ph.D. and Vet Student Career Fair, which will be held during the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) Feb. 12-14 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

The Career Fair will be 8-11:30 a.m., in conjunction with the International Poultry Scientific Forum (IPSF). This unique program is designed to serve U.S. Poultry & Egg Assoc. member companies and allied suppliers, particularly involving, but not limited to, technology-driven companies such as those in genetics, health, pharmaceutical and nutrition.

The target participants are postdoctoral, early Ph.D. and veterinary students. Learn more online at

USPOULTRY also hosts a well-established and highly successful College Student Career Program during IPPE. The integral component of this outstanding program is the interview opportunities with member companies and exhibitors for summer internship employment and entry-level career positions for B.S. and M.S. students seeking employment in the poultry production, processing and allied supplier industries.

New Tennessee dean for AgResearch to take helm in May

(mug in 6446)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has named Hongwei Xin, currently assistant dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, as UT’s new dean for AgResearch. Xin will begin his new role in May, after the conclusion of the current academic year.

Hongwei comes to UT with an international reputation for research and academic leadership. His work has had major impacts on U.S. and global animal agriculture and has produced significant contributions to scientific literature and engineering practices related to animal production systems. He has served as the principal or co-principal investigator of more than $23.7 million in competitive grants and contracts for research, extension and education programs.

In addition to serving as assistant dean at ISU, Xin is the director of the Egg Industry Center (EIC), interim director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in the departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) and Animal Science.

Before joining ISU in 1993, he spent more than three years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arkansas conducting broiler housing research.

Fred Tompkins, former head of the Department of Biosystems Engineering, former president and CEO of the UT Research Foundation and former director of the Office of Oak Ridge Operations for the UT System, has been serving as interim dean since April 9, 2018.

USPOULTRY awards $6,918 grant to Middle Tennessee State

TUCKER, Ga. — The USPOULTRY Foundation awarded a $6,918 student recruiting grant to Middle Tennessee State University. The grant was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from the Hubbard Farms Charitable Foundation.

The funds will be used to develop three additional poultry courses, host the first annual Middle Tennessee Junior Market Broiler program, create a new MTSU Poultry Science Club and develop a MTSU collegiate poultry judging team.

The USPOULTRY Foundation awarded recruiting grants totaling $328,300 for the 2018-19 school year to 34 colleges and universities across the United States with either a poultry science department or a poultry studies program.

College ag advocates take home scholarships for holidays

ARLINGTON, Va. — Six college students and three collegiate clubs took home scholarships for the holidays, for being exceptional advocates for agriculture. The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition awarded more than $25,000 to students and clubs this year.

The collegiate club winners include, in first place for a $2,500 scholarship, the WIU Ag Club at Western Illinois University. They will receive an all expenses-paid trip to the Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit May 8-9 in Kansas City.

ISU student wins ASTA ‘Better Seed, Better Life’ video contest

CHICAGO, Ill. — Kevin Falk of Iowa State University is the grand prize winner of the American Seed Trade Assoc.’s (ASTA) second annual “Better Seed, Better Life” student video contest, held in conjunction with the National Assoc. of Plant Breeders (NAPB) and the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of American and Soil Science Society of America (Tri-Societies).

He was honored last month during ASTA’s CSS 2018 & Seed Expo in Chicago. The 2018 contest theme was: “Rumor Has It.” University students, including both graduate and undergraduate, were asked to create videos to help set the record straight on a common misconception or myth associated with the seed industry and/or plant science.

Falk is a Ph.D. candidate focusing on soybean breeding. He holds a master’s in plant breeding from the University of Manitoba and worked in canola breeding programs at Monsanto and Bayer for five years prior to returning to pursue his Ph.D. at ISU. He is set to graduate in the coming months and is interested in science, agriculture and using media to connect and communicate with the public.

Second- and third-place winners were Kshitij Khatri, University of Florida, and Nathalia Penna Cruzato, Texas A&M University. Videos were judged by an expert panel of volunteers from ASTA, NAPB and Tri-Societies, and winning students received cash prizes. Falk’s video may be viewed at

NCBA and PLC now accepting fall internship applications

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc. (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council’s government affairs office is accepting internship applications for the fall semester, which runs Sept. 3-Dec. 13. Positions include a public policy intern and law clerk.

The internships give college students the opportunity to work alongside staff on a range of issues that impact U.S. cattle producers. The interns will work closely with the lobbying team on Capitol Hill and assist with NCBA and PLC’s regulatory efforts, providing college students a one-of-a-kind view into the policymaking process.

Applications for the full-time internship and law clerk positions will remain open until March 15. To apply for the public policy internship or law clerk position, visit

Holcomb now accepting applications for Indiana fellowship

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that applications will be accepted through March 31 for the 2019-20 Governor’s Fellowship. The Fellowship is highly selective and provides a unique experience in Indiana state government by placing fellows in various state agencies on a rotating basis throughout the year.

The program is open to college graduates who receive their bachelor’s degrees in either fall 2018 or spring 2019. Fellows are paid, full-time employees who participate in the day-to-day activities of state government. Many Governor’s Fellow participants have gone on to successful careers in both the public and private sector, with some serving at the highest levels of local, state and federal governments.

To be eligible for consideration, the application and all supporting materials must be postmarked or submitted via email by March 31. The application and submission guidelines can be found online at

If you have questions about the fellowship, contact Katie Gilson at the Governor’s Office at 317-232-4567.

U of I gets $6K student recruitment grant from USPOULTRY

TUCKER, Ga. — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently received a $6,000 student recruitment grant from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assoc. (USPOULTRY) Foundation. The grant was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Koch Foods.

The check was presented by Barbara Jenkins, executive director of the USPOULTRY Foundation, to Dr. Jason Emmert, Dr. Ken Koelkebeck and Dr. Carl Parsons. The funds will be used for outreach to youth interested in poultry, primarily through poultry judging. The funds will also be used in the development of five video poultry judging modules.

The USPOULTRY Foundation awarded recruiting grants totaling $328,300 for the 2018-19 school year to 34 colleges and universities across the United States with either a poultry science department or a poultry studies program.