College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Shelby Atkins

IAA - Fri, 2017-11-17 15:17
Nov 17, 2017Author: Edwin Sanchez

Shelby Atkins grew up on a farm in Calvert County, Maryland, and came to the Institute of Applied Agriculture to major in Agricultural Business Management. After completing her freshman year, Atkins sought a summer internship to gain experience and to find out if agriculture is the career that will fulfill her dreams. 

In searching for an internship site, Atkins hoped to find an equine farm near her home. With no luck and very disappointed, she decided to give vegetable farming a try. The vegetable farm Atkins chose was Dicot Farm, located in Waldorf, Md. Dicot Farm is a for-profit organic vegetable farm run by co-owners Erik and Meghan. 

During her internship, Atkins harvested different kinds of fruits and vegetables; including tomatoes, melons, and kale. Furthermore, she was in charge of watering, making potting mix, and farmers market sales. In addition to that, Atkins wrote a marketing plan for the organic farm. She learned a lot about running a business, marketing, and working with people with different interests.

One of Atkins’s favorites parts of the job was getting free, organically-grown vegetables to take home. Atkins had the chance to sample fresh okra, bok choy, and duck eggs. And, she had to opportunity to travel with Dicot Farms to a large farmers market in Washington, D.C.

During her internship, Atkins discovered that vegetable farming is not what she wants to do for a living. She says, “Getting the opportunity to learn about organic growing practices and vegetable production was a great experience, but I think I will stick to horses.” Although she values the lessons she learned about organic practices, running a business, marketing, and working with people, Atkins has been around horses her entire life and is dedicated to what she loves.


Shelby AtkinsEdwin SanchezDicot Farmagricultural business managementCertificate in Applied Agriculture60-credit certificateUniversity of Maryland
Categories: Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Tyler Barnhart

IAA - Fri, 2017-11-17 14:19
Nov 17, 2017Author: Eric Spalt

The Green Spring Valley Hunt Club of Owings Mills, Md., became a home for Turfgrass Management student Tyler Barnhart as he spent 3 months interning there this summer. “[Turf is] what I want to do for a career, and I really have a passion for it,” said Barnhart, who performed regular golf course maintenance tasks as well as some unusual chores.

One of his more unusual tasks included pulling weeds out of a brick wall while wearing waders and floating in water. However, Barnhart, a second-year student at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), has spent most of his days at the golf club mowing greens, changing cups, mowing collars and approaches, mowing tees, fixing irrigation leaks and problems, and raking bunkers. Even after all the early mornings starting at 6 a.m., Barnhart admits he still loves the field and loves being in that kind of atmosphere.

Barnhart’s decision to work at Green Spring this summer came from his previous experience on the course and the relationships he had established there. He believed he would gain the most knowledge by advancing at the same golf course where he previously worked. Barnhart gained additional experience with irrigation breaks that were not expected, but that happened often during his internship. In addition, he learned the course’s complex maintenance schedule, which he said, “is easy to get lost in if you’re not careful.”

Experience guided Barnhart in the right direction and he is now completing his last year in the IAA. He hopes that with this experience, he can become a golf course superintendent in the future.

“It was really nice getting to see Tyler grow up in the turf industry, and I think he will do very well someday,” added Gordon Caldwell, golf course superintendent of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

Being able to work closely with management was beneficial to Barnhart’s experience during his internship. Some things he learned included identifying weeds and preparing a budget. Classes from the IAA really helped Barnhart develop the groundwork for success on the maintenance side of a golf course, and he is looking forward to starting his career. 

Tyler BarnhartEric Spaltturfgrass managementGordon CaldwellCertificate in Applied AgricultureGreen Spring Valley Hunt ClubOwings MillsMaryland agricultureUniversity of MarylandTyler Barnhart on a Toro 3500 mowing an intermediate cut around a fairway at the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.
Categories: Departments News

UMD, AREC hosts Firms in Development Workshop

AREC - Fri, 2017-11-17 11:54
Nov 17, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

Assistant Professor Jing Cai of the AREC department helped organize the “Firms in Development Workshop,” which aims to stimulate discussion between economists of various fields who are interested in firm behavior. The event was co-sponsored by the Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) and the University of Maryland.

The workshop will be held from Friday, November 17 and on Saturday, November 18 at the College Park Marriott Hotel and conference center.

“I am really excited, it’s a very good workshop with lots of famous people” said second year graduate student Tianqi Gan, the research assistant for Cai. “She did a lot of work. It’s really amazing for us to have these famous people here and hear about their latest research.”

Nine speakers are confirmed to be attending the event.

The first speaker is Professor Nicholas Bloom, of Stanford University. His research focuses on the persistence of management practices after a firm has received a consulting-support intervention.

Another speaker is David McKenzie, a lead economist in the Development Research Group of the Finance and Private Sector Development Unit. His presentation will focus on why small firms in developing countries may not succeed and the reasons behind their failure.

Economics Professor John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland also is a part of the workshop. He will be speaking about the life-cycle growth of plants in Colombia and his research on fundamentals versus distortions.

From Duke University, Economics Professor Daniel Xi Yu will be giving a presentation on notching research and development investments with corporate income tax cuts made in China. Notching refers to jumps of firm values when sharp incentives are offered within a program, according to his paper “Notching R&D Investment with Corporate Income Tax Cuts in China.”

Another presenter is economics Assistant Professor Supreet Kaur, from University of California Berkeley. She will be speaking on informal contracting that occurs in developing countries and potential barriers.

On Saturday, the first speaker is economics Professor Samuel Kortum of Yale University. He will be presenting on trading between firms, and the intermediate inputs in production and international transactions. He will also discuss imports, exports and the labor market.

Economics Professor David Donaldson will also be a part of the event, discussing his research on external economies of scale and industry policy from the perspective of trade.

The final speaker will be Meredith Startz, an International Economics Section(IES) fellow at Princeton University. She will be speaking about her research on the value of face to face contracting for buyers and sellers, specifically with her research from Nigeria.

The event was sponsored with PEDL, which is a joint research initiative of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Department For International Development (DFID). The organization offers competitive grants for research focusing on the behaviour of firms in low income countries that aim to understand what determines the strengths of market forces driving efficiency in these areas.

The AREC department is pleased to have this opportunity to interact with such a variety of institutions and looks forward to future collaborative research.

Categories: Departments News

University of Maryland Extension Specialist Receives National Award for Research Excellence in Water Use Management

PSLA - Thu, 2017-11-16 10:58
Dr. John Lea-Cox’s project promotes direct engagement with farmers to reduce environmental impacts in nursery and greenhouse industry John Lea-Cox w/ a Research Sensor Network

Washington, D.C. -- This past Sunday, Dr. John Lea-Cox and a select group of colleagues accepted the 2017 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research award for their work in managing irrigation for ornamental crops. The project, titled NC-1186: Water Management and Quality for Ornamental Crop Production and Health, is a national working group helping ornamental nursery and greenhouse operations better manage water use, as availability and quality of water for irrigation decreases. As part of this effort, Lea-Cox is helping commercial growers manage daily irrigation practices through sensor-based networks. Due to the efforts of his University of Maryland team and others in this national group, growers are reporting a reduction in pathogenic disease and herbicide and pesticide runoff, better crop quality, increased water savings, and shorter production cycles – all of which are increasing economic returns to farmers.

Representing the University of Maryland, Lea-Cox is a professor within UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and is part of a multistate program group comprised of researchers from 21 land-grant universities. This working group -- funded by some modest yearly dollars from the USDA -- has been deliberate in mentoring the next generation of researchers to solve water security and nutrient management challenges. They are particularly concerned with capacity building amongst institutional faculty, and are committed to meeting the five and ten-year benchmark process as part of the USDA grant. There is a dedication to transparency, outcomes and impact with three generations of researchers as part of this group, including post-docs and graduate students.

With a substantial $5.2 million, five-year Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant from the USDA in 2009, Lea-Cox led a national team developing sensor networks and software for use by ornamental growers. This initial effort led to a further SCRI planning grant which was instrumental in identifying water re-use issues through a national survey of nearly 400 ornamental crop growers. “The top three issues in play were disease/pathogens, herbicide/pesticide and agrichemical runoff, and the economics of water security,” said Lea-Cox. “Great discussions were had with lots of questions we need to answer; for instance, ‘Should I devote five acres of land on my property for storing water?’ This a valid question and an issue we’re now working to resolve for ornamental growers, through the follow-up national grant led by Sarah White at Clemson University.”

As part of this new national grant, Lea-Cox and his Maryland team supports two on-farm and one research sensor network in Maryland with additional networks at Michigan State, UC Davis, Virginia Tech and Oregon State. Each location is focused on solving different runoff issues, which gives the larger working group the capability to analyze this large-scale data and devise appropriate solutions. Farmers are heavily embedded into this research with on-site gathering of water samples for nutrient analysis, and sequencing of pathogens from containment ponds. This work is identifying critical control points where they can target specific technologies to reduce issues caused by drought, pollution, competition for water resources and concerns about environmental impacts. Ultimately, this will be distilled into a series of decision support tools, which will help growers adjust irrigation practices to reduce nutrient and agrochemical runoff, as well as increase the efficiency of water resources.

“Quite a bit of this work has never been done before on farms,” said Lea-Cox. “We have already seen some exciting statistics as a result, including numerous instances where sensor systems have reduced irrigation by at least 50%, saving not only millions of gallons of water, but allowing farmers to irrigate more land with the water they have saved. Our hope is that these trends in adoption continue and that we can help improve the economic viability of growers as well as overall plant, human and environmental health.”

The group plans to conduct a follow up survey in 2022 to determine how growers have adopted these new tools and strategies, to address barriers to adoption. This project is supported, in part, through USDA’s NIFA by the Multistate Research Fund established in 1998 by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act to encourage and enhance multi-state, multi-disciplinary research on critical national or regional issues.     

 Photo Credit: Edwin RemsbergNov 16, 2017Author: Graham Binder
Categories: Departments News

Recent Activities from Dr. Rahaman's Lab

NFSC - Thu, 2017-11-16 00:35
Nov 16, 2017

Dr. Rahaman, a Nutrition and Food Science Professor, was a Keynote Speaker, session Chair, and organizer at 2nd International Conference on advances in skin, wound care and tissue science; Nov 9-10, Frankfurt, Germany. The title of his talk was: “TRPV4 channel regulates skin fibrosis and is associated with scleroderma”. Dr. Rahaman also attended the International Conference on chronic diseases as a speaker and organizer; Aug 31-Sep01, Brussels, Belgium. The title of his talk was: Role of TRPV4 calcium-permeable channel in atherosclerosis.

Categories: Departments News

Results of Major Needs Assessment Study Show Regulations and Legislation as the Top Concern for Maryland Farmers

AREC - Mon, 2017-11-13 10:11
Need for University of Maryland’s Agricultural Law Education Program Quantified at Annual Advisory Panel MeetingNov 13, 2017Author: Samantha Watters & Kimberly Johnson

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has served Maryland farmers and producers for years through the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics’">"> Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI), with the ultimate goal of economically sustainable agricultural production. The Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) is a collaboration of the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Maryland (UMCP); and the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  ALEI is an initiative of the University of Maryland: MPowering the State, a strategic alliance between UMB and UMCP created in 2012 to significantly expand research collaboration, business development, and student opportunities at both universities.

Over the last five years, ALEI partnered with University of Maryland Extension (UME) educators to conduct needs assessments of Maryland agricultural producers. Early results were presented at their annual advisory panel meeting last month, and they show a need for substantial legal education for farmers now more than ever.

Farmers across 16 Maryland counties unanimously believe that regulations and legislations are not only critically important to the viability of the agricultural industry, but are in fact their top concerns as farmers. This rose above issues of changing climate and weather, farm management, and even agricultural production and yield. Maryland farmers generally feel they are some of the most stringently monitored and regulated farmers in the country, making this issue even more essential to Maryland farm viability and sustainability. These results quantify the substantial need for ALEI in a way that we haven’t before seen.

A very systematic approach was taken to conduct this study with 26 validated and standardized survey questions across four major areas: industry viability and concerns, research and education needs, education and training preferences, and demographic and farm information. Nine different Eastern Shore counties (297 respondents) and seven different Western-Northern counties (172 respondents) were surveyed via direct mail for a total of 469 participants. An additional 486 participants were recruited from the winter educational meetings that ALEI holds for farmers across all counties. Based on agricultural census data from the United States Department of Agriculture, the sample was representative of the overall population across the region.

The data show a population that is concerned about staying up to date with the most current laws and regulations, and that firmly believes that agricultural regulations have a moderate to high effect on their farm business operations. ALEI was identified by farmers as being very important to farm operations to service this need, with major topics of interest including environmental regulations, land-use/property rights, business liability, and farm succession/estate planning.

ALEI and UME plan to continue delving into their population’s needs with a more thorough needs assessment of Central and Southern Maryland counties, as well as examining needs in the commercial horticultural industry and the commercial seafood industry, where there are additional regulatory and legal requirements. ALEI will use all the information they gather to ensure they are servicing the state as best they can, tackling this essential educational challenge and helping our college support farm viability and sustainability across the state.

Image Credit: Edwin Remsberg
Categories: Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Nathan Serway

IAA - Fri, 2017-11-10 16:46
Nov 10, 2017Author: Nicolas Tardif

An internship is not only a monitored work experience, but also a way to test career interests and goals. For second-year student in Sustainable Agriculture at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), Nathan Serway of Rockville, Md., his summer internship provided a chance to test his career choice of working in a laboratory and start building his resume.

Serway took an internship during the summer of 2017 at the University of Maryland, College Park's FIRE Environmental Pathogens (EP) research stream program located inside of the H.J. Paterson building. He mainly worked with the CONSERVE, a multi-institutional organization examining the viability of non-traditional water sources for use in agricultural irrigation.

Serway’s summer was filled with collecting water samples at the UMD Community Learning Garden on the College Park campus for bacteria count, strain, and provenance; and to analyze how environmental factors affect the bacteria. During his internship, Serway learned how to collect water samples, use bio-lab equipment and instrumentation, execute DNA extraction, and use proper bacteria culture lab protocol.

His advisor, Meredith B. Epstein, an IAA lecturer in Sustainable Agriculture, said, “Nathan had an internship that is a great example of how versatile careers in agriculture can be. He was able to pair laboratory work with practical field applications to help address water quality issues for small-scale farms."

Despite seeing gel electrophoresis DNA every week, the job was on the repetitive side and not very engaging according to Serway. On the other side, working in the field collecting water was enjoyable. In conclusion, Serway says, “Lab work is not for me. Too repetitive.”

Serway has transferred through the Agriculture Forward at Maryland (Ag Forward) program into the Environmental Science and Technology (ENST) four-year track. As a career goal, Serway looks forward to working with companies to make their practices more sustainable.

Nathan SerwayNicolas Tardifsustainable agricultureEnvironmental Science and TechnologyAGNRUMD Community Learning GardenFIRE Environmental PathogensMeredith EpsteinAgriculture Forward at Marylandag forwardCertificate of Applied AgricultureNathan Serway experienced both field and lab work during his internship with the FIRE Environmental Pathogens research team.
Categories: Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Monica Martin

IAA - Fri, 2017-11-10 16:30
Nov 10, 2017Author: Ally Thomas

Second-year Sustainable Agriculture major Monica Martin decided that the farm life was not for her. Instead, she opted to work on a golf course. Coming from her hometown of Westminster, Md., Martin spent her summer working in the gardens of the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills.

Over the summer, Martin performed various jobs around the golf course, but her main job was tending the kitchen. She harvested the various fruits and vegetables, cleaned the harvested products, weighed the produce, and kept detailed records. Then, she boxed the harvested fruits and vegetables and delivered them into the kitchen where the kitchen staff incorporated the fresh produce into daily meals. In addition, Martin replanted and weeded the garden to help generate the highest yield.

During her tenure at the course, Martin helped with some major golf events. Before arriving this summer, Martin was unaware that the Caves Valley Golf Course would be hosting a large tournament that would require her help. For the duration of the tournament and in addition to her other daily jobs, she set the tables, picked the flowers from the garden, and prepared centerpieces, which allowed her to experience the more creative size of gardening and design.

Martin gained skills over the summer that she might not have if she hadn't decided to work at a golf course. Of those skills, the ones that stood out to her were gardening, communicating clearly “even during disagreements,” time management, operating machinery, and the most obscure -- telling time by looking at the shadows. Harvesting turned out to be her favorite part of the summer because the club donated extra food to local food banks in her area, thus giving back to her community.

Although she had a great summer working at the golf course, Martin is unsure whether working out in the field is the right job for her. Monica's supervisor, Michelle Michol, stated that “Monica is a motivated and hardworking young woman… we had a lot of fun this summer!”  Although she doesn't plan to return to a golf course career, she made many memories and gained experiences that will last her a lifetime.

^^ Monica Martin showing off one of the various types of produce grown at the Caves Valley Golf Course.

Monica MartinAlly ThomasCaves Valley Golf ClubMaryland agricultureCertificate of Applied Agriculturesustainable agricultureOwings Mills60-credit certificate programUniversity of MarylandMonica Martin (left) and a co-worker in the garden at Caves Valley Golf Club.
Categories: Departments News

Thomas Woltz, "Cultivation, Conservation, Culture: The Arc of a Mission Based Practice"

PSLA - Fri, 2017-11-10 15:08

Inspiring and innovative landscape designer, Thomas Woltz, opened up our guest lecture series with an audacious and fascinating presentation. The day started off with a Q & A luncheon with our MLA and BLA students, where he answered questions both personal and practical. He provided insight into his work that not many other people get to see, which was a very special experience. Following lunch, he stopped into the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year BLA studios to engage in conversation with our students. Having someone so talented and distinguished in our field, so close to where we work and create, was inspiring in and of itself. Afterwards, Mr. Woltz gave his presentation where he spoke passionately about the cultivation, conservation and culture of what it means to be a landscape architect in today’s world. He emphasized his process of digging deep to find the true story of a site to help guide the design and creation of a project. By utilizing this process, Nelson Byrd Woltz is able to create breath taking landscapes with significant meaning. 

“Only when you, through your knowledge of place and your research that you’ve done, when you engage their mind, that’s when you have their heart”. - Thomas Woltz

Written: 9/28/2017

Nov 10, 2017Author: Max Berger
Categories: Departments News

Thomas Woltz, "Cultivation, Conservation, Culture: The Arc of a Mission Based Practice"

LARCH - Fri, 2017-11-10 15:08

Inspiring and innovative landscape designer, Thomas Woltz, opened up our guest lecture series with an audacious and fascinating presentation. The day started off with a Q & A luncheon with our MLA and BLA students, where he answered questions both personal and practical. He provided insight into his work that not many other people get to see, which was a very special experience. Following lunch, he stopped into the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year BLA studios to engage in conversation with our students. Having someone so talented and distinguished in our field, so close to where we work and create, was inspiring in and of itself. Afterwards, Mr. Woltz gave his presentation where he spoke passionately about the cultivation, conservation and culture of what it means to be a landscape architect in today’s world. He emphasized his process of digging deep to find the true story of a site to help guide the design and creation of a project. By utilizing this process, Nelson Byrd Woltz is able to create breath taking landscapes with significant meaning. 

“Only when you, through your knowledge of place and your research that you’ve done, when you engage their mind, that’s when you have their heart”. - Thomas Woltz

Written: 9/28/2017

Photo Credit: Max BergerNov 10, 2017Author: Max Berger
Categories: Departments News

BLA Student Michael Pullano Participates in the Maryland Leadership Conference

PSLA - Fri, 2017-11-10 15:04

This year Michael Pullano, 3rd year student BLA, was nominated, accepted and participated in the Maryland Leadership Conference. This is what Michael said about his experience:

"It was a really beneficial experience—not only did I make new friends and connect with different student groups, I learned through different activities that leadership is about working with others for positive change, that it is a process, not a position, and ultimately, I learned how to improve my own leadership skills.

As for my role in LABash, SASLA is currently working on fundraising--our goal is to make enough money so that all UMD students can attend for free!" Learn more about the Maryland Leadership Conference by visiting the Maryland Leadership Conferences' website.Learn more about SASLA on our SASLA page.Nov 10, 2017
Categories: Departments News

BLA Student, Michael Pullano, Participates in the Maryland Leadership Conference

LARCH - Fri, 2017-11-10 15:04

This year Michael Pullano, 3rd year student BLA, participated in the Maryland Leadership Conference. This is what Michael said about his experience:

"It was a really beneficial experience—not only did I make new friends and connect with different student groups, I learned through different activities that leadership is about working with others for positive change, that it is a process, not a position, and ultimately, I learned how to improve my own leadership skills.

As for my role in LABash, SASLA is currently working on fundraising--our goal is to make enough money so that all UMD students can attend for free!" Learn more about the Maryland Leadership Conference by visiting the Maryland Leadership Conferences' website.Learn more about SASLA on our SASLA page.Nov 10, 2017
Categories: Departments News

IAA Salutes its Student Veterans

IAA - Fri, 2017-11-10 10:43
Nov 10, 2017Author: Rob Ballenger

The Veterans Day holiday does not mean a day off for University of Maryland students. For most it probably seems like just another unexceptional day in class. But for many across campus and at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) in particular, it’s another day in class with some exceptional student veterans. This Veterans Day, the IAA is fortunate to have three such former service members within its ranks.

Bryson Spaulding, Ryan Smith, and Trent Wolfersberger collectively bring to the IAA 33 years of service in the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, respectively. The discipline they mastered in the military helps in their success as students today, and each of their military careers set them on unique paths to the IAA and agriculture careers.

Just after graduating from high school, Bryson Spaulding enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to Parris Island, South Carolina. That summer of training was just what Spaulding expected: “three months of hell.” But, he says, “I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.” That experience earned Spaulding the title of Marine, and in the years that followed he was stationed in North Carolina, Missouri, Maine, Oregon and California. He also spent time in Mexico training that country’s marines in security tactics for patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.

Corporal Spaulding fulfilled his military commitment earlier this year and – although he loves the Marine Corps – decided that it was time to return to civilian life and continue his education. While enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College over the summer, Spaulding saw his career path leading toward agriculture. It was a natural fit for the 21-year-old who grew up in a very outdoors-oriented family. 

Ever the outdoors enthusiast, Spaulding took a summer job at Cedar Point Golf Course in St. Mary’s County. At the time Spaulding didn’t see much of an intersection between golf and agriculture, but the course superintendent certainly did. After learning about the Marine veteran’s love for both agriculture and golf course management, the superintendent knew exactly where to steer his employee: the Institute of Applied Agriculture. (The superintendent’s son also happens to be an IAA alum.) Spaulding is now wrapping up his first semester at the IAA and plans and sees his civilian career path leading to the title of golf course superintendent.

This semester is also the first for IAA student Ryan Smith, who served in the Air Force for 16 years. Like Spaulding, Smith enlisted right after high school. During his 16-year military career Smith served in Japan, Alaska, Turkey and beyond as a munition systems technician. His duties at air bases included storing and maintaining explosives, which ranged from small-caliber bullets to rockets. Smith joined the Air Force eager to travel. “It’s hard to turn down a free ride around the world,” he says.  

That ride came to an end in 2014 when Master Sergeant Smith took early retirement and soon thereafter moved to the Annapolis area. As a civilian, Smith brought with him to Maryland a lifelong interest in agriculture that stretches back to his Midwest family’s roots. Smith, a native of Fostoria, Ohio, comes from a long line of farmers. With farming in his blood, he searched online for places to study agriculture in the Washington, DC area. Smith discovered the four-year programs at University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources but quickly gravitated toward the IAA’s two-year areas of study.

Ornamental Horticulture at the IAA was just the right fit for Smith and his green thumb. “I want to have my own greenhouse, to grow plants and sell them,” Smith says. Over the next few semesters he’s looking forward to taking lecturer Ken Ingram’s plant courses and gaining hands-on greenhouse experience that will pave the way to his post-military career. 

That practical experience with agriculture is a big part of what drew Trent Wolfersberger, one of Smith’s fellow student veterans, to the IAA. The former Navy officer says “the hands-on aspect is amazing,” especially when it comes to instructor Roy Walls’ Agricultural Mechanics course. Wolfersberger is a 13-year veteran and a second-year IAA student focusing on Sustainable Agriculture. He says the IAA is preparing him to operate a hops farm and brewery, much like the one where he’s currently interning near Frederick. Wolfersberger is grateful to the IAA for connecting him to the Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, which provides an ideal model for Wolfersberger to follow in the latest chapter of his post-military career. 

Before coming to College Park to fulfill his hops yard ambitions, Wolfersberger had already accumulated several years of civilian career experience. He worked for the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, DC for a decade, capitalizing on his naval experience as a civil engineer. Prior to leaving the Navy in 2006, Lieutenant Commander Wolfersberger served as the executive officer of a construction battalion in Gulfport, Mississippi. He also managed public works projects at Pearl Harbor during an earlier posting there.

Wolfersberger, who began his naval career as a midshipman and then a helicopter pilot, describes his years of military and civilian work in civil engineering as being focused on sustainability (e.g., environmental restoration projects). In the years ahead he looks forward to putting into practice the sustainable agriculture lessons from IAA instructor & advisor Meredith Epstein as well as building on the contacts he’s made here as a student. Strong connections within the agriculture community is what Wolfersberger says he likes the most about the IAA.

Wolfersberger as well as his fellow student veterans are succeeding at the IAA, an achievement they credit in part to the self-discipline learned in the military. Spaulding says that thanks to the Marine Corps, he’s doing better in school now than he would’ve had he gone to college right after high school. Smith, who says “It’s a little more chaotic here in the civilian world,” agrees. The discipline of military life is what he misses the most about his Air Force days. Wolfersberger highlights that he can juggle his duties as an IAA student, a father, etc. because the Navy taught him how to prioritize. “They teach you how to jam 18 hours of work into a 16-hour workday,” he says. 

The civilian workdays that lie ahead for each of these future IAA alumni – on a golf course, in a greenhouse, or at a hops farm & brewery – is worthy of a salute. The military experience they bring to Jull Hall is as valuable to the IAA as the IAA is valuable to their new career paths. The IAA salutes its student veterans for their past service to our country and their future service to our agricultural communities.


^^Bryson Spaulding (on left).

^^Ryan Smith.

^^Trent Wolfersberger.

Veterans Day 2017UMD inspiresBryson SpauldingRyan SmithTrent WolfersbergerRob BallengerMeredith EpsteinUniversity of Marylandstudent-veteransinstitute of applied agriculture60-credit certificate programCertificate of Applied Agriculturegolf course managementornamental horticulturesustainable agricultureNavyMarinesAir ForceStillpoint BreweryCedar Point Golf CourseBryson Spaulding, Ryan Smith, and Trent Wolfersberger collectively bring to the IAA 33 years of service in the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, respectively.
Categories: Departments News

Highlight of mini summit on summit on food safety, policy, and sustainability

NFSC - Fri, 2017-11-03 13:51
Nov 3, 2017Author: AGNRRelated Photos:  Highlight of mini summit on summit on food safety, policy, and sustainability

So proud to highlight our commitment to improving global food and nutritional security this week by hosting a summit on food safety, policy, and sustainability. By partnering with institutions in Taiwan and Shanghai as well as across the country, our college is promoting international conversations and collaborations to address these issues.

Categories: Departments News

Workplace Spanish Workshop

IAA - Wed, 2017-11-01 14:39
Nov 1, 2017Author: Randie Hovatter

For January 2018, the IAA is offering a 10-session evening workshop, "Workplace Spanish."

This workshop is designed to benefit any native English speaker who works in golf course management, farming, landscaping, and/or other agriculture-based industry jobs where it is beneficial to understand workplace Spanish.

The course will be led by Israel Orellana, a bilingual green industry professional who currently works with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARC). The workshop is activity-based and will provide participants with opportunities to hone their Spanish speaking skills.

For golf course professionals, this workshop qualifies for 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through GCSAA. For other professionals, this non-credit course can be taken for personal and professional development. Tuition for each participant is $400.

This workshop consists of ten (10) three-hour sessions. Sessions will be held in Room 1123 on the first floor of Jull Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 4 - 7 p.m. on January 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18. 

In observance of national holidays, we will not meet on January 1 or January 15

This course has a limited number of seats, and registration is first-come, first-served. Register soon, the deadline is December 30, 2017.

With questions, contact IAA Lecturer and Advisor Ken Ingram at


Learn SpanishInstitute of Applied Agriculture workshopsKen IngramMAAGCScommunication workshopUniversity of MarylandCollege Parkprofessional developmentdiversity at UMDGCSAAIsrael OrellanaUSDA Agricultural Resource ServiceLearn Spanish for the workplace at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA).
Categories: Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Frank Bohne

IAA - Mon, 2017-10-30 15:05
Oct 30, 2017Author: Conrad Mellin

Imagine being 4,753 miles away from home -- not for vacation, but for an internship. Frank Bohne, a second-year Sustainable Agriculture student at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), spent last summer working at Big Island Farms in Honokaa, Hawaii.

Bohne was excited to hear that he gotten the internship, and he spent eight weeks in Honokaa, working a typical 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. day. While interning, Bohne did permaculture design, weeding, planting, general maintenance, and clean-up to prepare the landscape for the next group of student-interns. He met Coconut Chris, a farmer well-known for his work in sustainability and permaculture. Bohne also learned about many new topics; ranging from the various types of bananas to a malady known as Rat Lungworm Disease.

Because he lived on location, Bohne could spend his free time working on the farm or just being a tourist. This afforded him the opportunity to hike Canton Avenue, the world’s steepest road, to Waipio Valley multiple times per week.

^ The tree nursery at Big Island Farms in Honokaa, HI.

This internship opportunity caught Bohne’s eye because he "wanted to learn about tropical agriculture," and because "getting to intern in Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Bohne's initial love for sustainable agriculture came from his high school AP Environmental Science class, which initially made him want to help solve the world's food crisis.

After he graduates from the IAA, Bohne would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Horticulture at the University of Maryland. Bohne says the main reason for pursuing this career path is his affinity for being outdoors. He looks forward to a career as a manager or supervisor of a tree nursery or forestry business.

Frank BohneConrad MellinIAA Internshipiaa internshipssustainable agricultureBig Island FarmsHonokaaHawaiiWaipio ValleyCanton AvenueCoconut Christropical agricultureEnvironmental ScienceEnvironmental HorticultureUniversity of Marylandinstitute of applied agricultureCertificate in Applied AgricultureforestrysustainabilitypermacultureHiking the scenic Waipio Valley was a perk of Frank Bohne's summer internship in Hawaii.Image Credit: Meredith Epstein
Categories: Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Jessica Dumsha

IAA - Mon, 2017-10-30 14:44
Oct 30, 2017Author: Emily Novak

Ever been put to work when you thought you were going in for an interview?

That’s exactly what happened to Sustainable Agriculture student Jessica Dumsha when she arrived at Clagett Farm, a working farm located in Upper Marlboro, Md., that is owned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Dumsha first experienced Clagett Farm on a rainy March day when she interviewed for an internship position.

During her “interview,” she raked a hay barn and repaired a wall on the back side of the barn. This may seem like a strange interview, but as a student at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) at the University of Maryland, Dumsha was ready to get her hands dirty!

Dumsha interviewed with Michael Heller, who was her supervisor over the summer of 2017. Heller hired Dumsha after interviewing her and three different young men for the position. In an email to Dumsha, he stated that the job was hers and that her “skills and…future plans match up well with [Clagett Farm’s] needs and interests.”

Dumsha, who is from Pasadena, Md., had experience working on an organic vegetable farm, but was interested in rotational grazing and may one day start her own pastured beef and sheep operation. At Clagett Farm, Dumsha gained experience in the world of rotational grazing, spending time assisting in managing two herds of Red Devon and Angus beef cattle, and one herd of Katahdin sheep, all the while becoming more comfortable around the animals.

While most days’ work entailed fence maintenance, pasture management, and mechanical work, Dumsha recalls her favorite day at Clagett Farm – the day that she was able to help deworm the lambs. Dumsha learned how to check the color of the lamb’s lower eyelid to see if it is pale or whiteish. If it is, the lamb is given a dose of de-wormer. Dumsha scooped up each lamb with one arm around its chest and the other around its bottom and brought it over to be weighed, wormed, and chalked to indicate it had been dosed. On top of the excitement of deworming, Dumsha spent time bottle-feeding an “adorable baby lamb,” named Blanca, and assisted in rotating the cows between fields. Occasionally, the cows found a way to escape their enclosure, and the fence would then have to be repaired.

^ One of Dumsha's favorite responsibilities on the farm was bottle-feeding Blanca, a baby lamb.

Dumsha developed skills over the summer that allowed her to operate tractors and their various implements, weed whack and mow safely, and build muscle to become a stronger and even more capable worker.

June 1, Dumsha’s birthday, was met with a wonderful surprise - a handsome bull calf named Jay-Jay was born and now shares Dumsha’s birthday!

Dumsha learned some useful insights while interning at Clagett Farm: when operating a weed whacker (or any type of mechanical device on the farm) one should always wear eye protection. She learned this the hard way while finishing a quick weed whacking job. She also learned how valuable air conditioning is, and how difficult it is to spend an entire summer working outdoors in the humid Maryland heat, but she is quick to add that “good hard work is good for the soul.”

All in all, Dumsha’s experience at Clagett Farm has enlightened her and given her the opportunity to see what an owner of a rotational grazing farm must do in order to be successful. Once she graduates, Dumsha hopes to obtain a government job that allows her to continue working in the ag industry while weighing the decision to start her own farm. Her time at the IAA has provided her with the knowledge, experience, and skills she needs to pursue a career in the ag industry, as well as a network through which she can find the perfect career path.

Jessica DumshaEmily NovakClagett Farmsustainable agricultureChesapeake Bay Foundationrotational grazingMichael HellerRed Devon beefAngus beef cattleKatahdin sheeppasture managementCertificate in Applied AgricultureUniversity of MarylandCollege Park60-credit programIAA Internshipiaa internships
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2017 Excellence in Multistate Research Award

PSLA - Fri, 2017-10-27 12:48
Multistate Research Program Group

On November 12, James Atland (USDA-ARS), Tom Fernandez (Michigan State University), John Lea-Cox (University of Maryland), and Sarah White (Clemson University) will accept the 2017 Excellence in Multistate Research Award on behalf of a team of scientists from 21 land-grant universities working to help greenhouses and nurseries better manage their water use. Most greenhouse and nursery crops rely on irrigation, but the availability and quality of water for irrigation is decreasing, and droughts, pollution, competition for water resources, and concerns about environmental impacts are making it necessary for the industry to use water sustainably. All of the researchers participating in Multistate Research Project NC-1186: Water Management and Quality for Ornamental Crop Production and Health are being honored for their outstanding collaboration during the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.


The Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award is awarded annually by the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy during the Awards Program to recognize scientists who are conducting exemplary multistate activities.

The 2017 award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities on November 12 in Washington, D.C., by Jay Akridge, Chair of the Board on Agricultural Assembly Policy Board of Directors and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity at Purdue University, and Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Tags: AwardJohn Lea-CoxGreenhouseCollege of Agriculture and Natural ResourcesOct 27, 2017Author: Sara Deheimer, Multistate Research Program
Categories: Departments News

Food Science Senior Kristi Kan Awarded IFT Evan Turek Internship and Scholarship

NFSC - Fri, 2017-10-27 12:45
Oct 27, 2017

Kristi Kan, Food Science and Chemistry ‘18, was awarded the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Mondelēz International Evan Turek Internship and Scholarship. This award gave her the opportunity to intern for twelve weeks at Mondelēz International’s technical center located in East Hanover, NJ. In addition, she received subsidized housing and was able to travel to Las Vegas to attend IFT17, an annual Food Science conference and food expo.

“I got to meet a lot of food science professionals, attend workshops, and try foods made with the newest and latest processing techniques! The highlight was being invited to the Food Packaging, Food Engineering, and Nonthermal Processing Social at IFT17, where I got to meet former colleagues of the late Evan Turek. I was inspired by their stories of his technical rigor and dedication to mentorship,” she said.

Kristi is the second Terp to receive this award; Kelsey Kanyuck ‘14 was the recipient three years ago. Kristi applied for the program in September, interviewed in January, and was notified in February.

“I was ecstatic to receive the phone call!” she exclaimed.

As part of the online application process, she wrote four short essays, filled out an application, and submitted her resume. While at Mondelēz over the summer, she worked as a research and development intern for Halls North America.

“It was a really cool experience. I made new flavors for the Halls pipeline and learned a lot about cough drops, flavor trends, and the FDA over-the-counter drug monograph. While I was assigned to the Halls brand, I still got to learn about Mondelez International’s other brands. I met the scientists and engineers behind Sour Patch Kids, Ritz, and Belvita!” she said.

And as to what Halls flavors Kristi made? “I can’t tell you that until they come out on store shelves!” she laughed.

Categories: Departments News

IAA Internship Stories: Cameron Smith

IAA - Thu, 2017-10-26 08:44
Oct 26, 2017Author: Becky Jones

Do you ever wonder which cover crop is most suitable to be grown in the state of Maryland? Current second-year Sustainable Agriculture major, Cameron Smith, spent her summer researching how to save farmers money through cover crop success!

This was just the beginning for Smith, who aspires to become a researcher in her future endeavors. “I strive to find and solve pressing issues in the agricultural and environmental industry,” said Smith. She got the inside scoop early in her career of what day-to-day life is like in a laboratory.

This summer, Smith worked in the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory (SASL) which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beltsville, Maryland. Smith interned under scientist Dr. Steven Mirsky and technician Megan Poskaitis. “She was timely, positive, and genuinely enthusiastic about the cover crop research aspects associated with each task and project,” said Poskaitis.

What exactly did Smith do at the SASL? During this 2017 summer internship, she assisted in gathering data for a breeding experiment containing vetch, crimson clover, and peas. In May, she and her team began analyzing the field crops for any pest, chemical, or biological damage before harvest. After examination, the fields were harvested.

Following harvest, interns like Smith learned how to thresh the different seeds; threshing is the delicate process in which the seed is isolated from all other parts. She got the opportunity to learn how to thresh the seeds by hand, using a belt thresher, and a machine called a Wintersteiger. In the last weeks of her internship, they weighed the seed to be sent off for final testing.

^Smith carefully harvesting samples of crimson clover that are ready to be threshed. Photo by: Katrina Vaitkus

Smith’s time spent working at the government research facility for just a short eight weeks gave her the opportunity to dip her feet into reality for just a little while before returning to her career as a student. For Smith, this opened the door for endless opportunities, “I can see a lot of potential in what could come in future research.”

According to her IAA advisor, Meredith Epstein, “Interning at SASL was an excellent way for Cameron to gain exposure to field and laboratory work at a top-notch research facility. "It's exciting to see IAA students building their resumes with positions at USDA!”

UMD InnovatesUMD DiscoversCameron SmithBecky JonesRebecka JonesKatrina VaitkusCertificate in Applied Agriculture60-credit programsustainable agricultureSustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory (SASL)United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)BeltsvilleMarylandDr. Steven MirskyMegan Poskaitis2017 IAA internshipsMeredith EpsteinWintersteigerCameron Smith with vetch that she helped to evaluate and later got to harvest.Image Credit: Meredith Epstein
Categories: Departments News


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