Ohio State has started a study to make its iconic Mirror Lake, shown here, more sustainable. Aims include cutting the lake’s current 50,000 gallons per day water use. The university’s onCampus newspaper has the story. (Photo: University Communications.)
The Ohio Phosphorus Task Force II has issued its final report on ways to cut phosphorus loading and associated harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and surrounding watersheds. Read the story …
CFAES’s Forestry Forum will hold its annual Christmas tree sale from Dec. 5-8 behind the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. The forum is a group for students working toward careers in forestry. Learn more in a press release on the sale and in a downloadable, mobile-device-displayable, paper-saving flier (pdf). The School of Environment and Natural Resources offers our college’s forestry-related majors. (Photo by Elmer Verhasselt, Bugwood.org.)
It’s hard to farm sustainably if wild hogs wipe out your crops. A new fact sheet (pdf) by CFAES’s statewide outreach arm, OSU Extension, tells you how to prevent it. (Photo: USDAgov.)
More on the Cleveland Browns’ food waste recycling project: Cleveland-based quasar energy group operates a similar anaerobic digester on the Wooster campus of CFAES’s research arm, OARDC, and has a research lab in OARDC’s BioHio Research Park. OARDC scientists such as Yebo Li (pictured, left, with quasar’s Clemens Halene) have helped develop and refine the technology at work in quasar’s digesters. “So many times people wonder if universities can partner successfully with the private sector,” CFAES Dean Bruce McPheron said last week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “This is a great match and a great relationship.” (Photo: K.D. Chamberlain.)
OK, so the Cleveland Browns lost their game yesterday. But they also kicked off a project that should be a long-term winner. The team is partnering with CFAES, quasar energy group and others to recycle 3.5 tons of food waste per game at the Browns’ home field, FirstEnergy Stadium. The material will be processed in a quasar anaerobic digester and turned into biogas for producing electricity. Read more in the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer. (Photo by Ron Almog via Wikimedia Commons.)
Eleven faculty members and administrators from Ethiopia’s University of Gondar (UOG) visited CFAES Nov. 14 as part of Ohio State’s participation in the One Health Initiative. One Health supports collaborative research recognizing the intertwined relationships between animal health, human health and the environment. Discussions with CFAES faculty and tours of the facilities were coordinated by the college’s Office of International Programs in Agriculture (IPA), whose mission is to support the globalization efforts of the college through international research, Extension and learning.
Dr. Mark Erbaugh, director of IPA (pictured, center, exchanging gifts with UOG President Dr. Mengesha Admassu), received the delegation and delivered a presentation on agriculture in Ohio and how The Ohio State University, as a land-grant institution, plays a pivotal role in supporting the agricultural and natural resources sector through academic instruction, research and outreach.
Strategic partnerships, new perspectives
Dr. Erbaugh’s comments were reiterated by Dr. Bruce McPheron (pictured, right), Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES, who also was interested in the ambitions that the UOG visitors had for their own departments and how working collaboratively with Ohio State may help them achieve their goals.
“I think you actually can learn a lot through strategic partnerships where you’re looking at the same problems from different perspectives,” said Dr. McPheron, who added that he was delighted to have stepped into a situation in which the two universities had already built a strong partnership.
UOG has had a formal memorandum of understanding with Ohio State since 2010, and with this visit, is seeking to strengthen the ties between faculty members of both institutions, including those in CFAES.
Greater research capacity, collaboration
One topic of discussion was UOG’s desire to build its agricultural research capacity. Dr. Fassil Kebede, dean of UOG’s Faculty of Agriculture and a professor of soil science, identified some specific challenges that underlie his university’s research interests, most notably the need to develop climate-smart agricultural practices. Given the range of disciplines represented in the UOG delegation and the premise of the One Health Initiative, it’s no surprise that there was collective agreement that an integrated approach is necessary in addressing today’s problems of food security and climate change.
“It’s all very interesting,” said Dr. Dawit Lebenie, assistant professor of geology at UOG. “You come to realize how problem-solving is becoming dependent on interdisciplinary research.”
Foundation built on soils, food
Later, a smaller group of UOG visitors was given a tour through the lab of Dr. Richard Dick, professor of soil microbial ecology in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. Research conducted by Dr. Dick’s team attempts to improve agroecosystems in Senegal through a better understanding of microbial composition, soil moisture and biomass production.
Given that agriculture is the foundation of the Ethiopian economy, a tour of the CFAES Food Industries Center’s (FIC) pilot food and dairy production labs led by Dr. Joe Kleinhenz, program specialist, was especially valuable in emphasizing the importance of linking with the private sector and exploring ways to enhance the value-addition marketability of food products.
‘Headed in the right direction’
“Considering that more than 80 percent of the labor force in Ethiopia is involved in small-holder farming, you can’t talk about the future of Ethiopia without talking about agriculture,” Dr. Erbaugh said. He added that the country’s economic growth is “headed in the right direction” and that hopefully this progress will continue as a collaborative relationship solidifies between CFAES and UOG.
Not too many people drive around with a solar panel on top of their cars. For CFAES scientist Fred Michel, it’s just another way he’s trying to make sustainability an important part of everything he does — at work, in his community and at home. Read the story. (Photo: K.D. Chamberlain.)