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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: July/August 2008
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Northern PlainFacts.

Issue: July/August 2008

The Northern PlainFacts electronic newsletter offers brief updates on research, personnel, and events from both the Agricultural Systems Research Unit and Pest Management Research Unit at NPARL, and includes contact names and information for those interested in further details. 

In This Month's Issue:


Quarantine dedication ceremony held at NPARL, Sidney, MT 

ARS researchers participate in MSU research center field day 

ARS scientist keynote speaker at International Conference in Japan



Quarantine dedication ceremony held at NPARL, Sidney, MT

In the afternoon of August 17 a program was held in front of the USDA-ARS grounds for the dedication of the new quarantine and greenhouse research facility, also known as phase two of the expansion that began in 1998. The state of Montana and the community has greatly supported the research work done here and continues to be involved. Mayor Bret Smelser welcomed attendees and Sen. Max Baucus was the keynote speaker. The purpose of the quarantine facility is intended mostly for bio-control. Before the biocontrol agent is released, it undergoes exhaustive testing, both in its original country and then here in the quarantine facility to ensure it will only target the specified host-plant and cause no harm to the environment.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496,

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444,



ARS researchers participate in MSU research center field day

NPARL Plant Pathologist Robert Lartey and Agronomist Bart Stevens both gave invited presentations at Montana State University’s (MSU) Eastern Ag Research Center Field Day in Sidney, MT on Wednesday, July 16th. Dr. Lartey’s talk was entitled “Biological seed treatments for sugarbeet and barley,” and included discussion of his work with a new fungal biocontrol agent for Cercospora leaf spot disease in sugarbeet, that is also showing promise against net blotch in malting barley. For his part, Dr. Stevens discussed “Nitrogen fertilizer placement in strip-tilled sugarbeet.” Both scientists are members of the Sidney ARS lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.


(Robert Lartey, 406.433.9490,

(Bart Stevens, 406.433.9476,



ARS scientist keynote speaker at International Conference in Japan

NPARL Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju was invited to give the keynote address at the Farming Systems and Agro-ecology Symposium at the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Environment in Sapporo, Japan July 2-6, 2008. Dr. Sainju’s presentation was entitled “Management Practices Impact on Soil Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Emission.” More than 200 scientists from around the globe attended the conference which focused on issues surrounding sustainable crop production and improved soil and environmental quality, with an emphasis on increasing carbon sequestration, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and sustaining crop yields. In addition to his symposium presentation, Dr. Sainju was also invited to speak to the faculty, staff, and farmers of Hokkaido and Ibaraki Universities, respectively, in Sapporo and Tsukuba Science City, Japan, on July 4th and 9th. The invitations were extended by Dr. Hajime Araki (Hokkaido University) and Dr. Masakazu Komatsuzaki (Ibaraki University). His presentation at both venues was entitled “Bicultural Cover Crops for Sustaining Crop Yields and Improving Soil and Water Quality.” The lectures have helped to establish future research collaborations between the Sidney, MT ARS lab and the two Japanese Universities, where research on cover crops is just beginning. Dr. Sainju is a member of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.


(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408,


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Last Modified: 9/25/2008
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