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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Northern PlainFacts.

Issue: May/June 2009


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:

       

ARS soil scientist participates in international ag engineering meeting 

ARS researcher attends IOBC/WPRS European Meeting

ARS researcher speaks at 10th International Congress of Orthopterology

ARS scientists to speak at annual research farm field day

Eastern MT Extension agents to tour ARS research farm plots

ARS scientist appointed to SSSAJ Editorial Board

ARS ecologist invited to discuss plant interactions and their effect on evolutionary processes 

ARS Montana lab hosts USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council meeting 

ARS lab, local partners win White House award for e-waste program 

Boys and Girls Club youngsters to tour Montana ARS laboratory 

ARS researcher aids scientists combatting Japanese Beetle in the Azores

ARS works with APHIS researchers to evaluate Mormon cricket microbial control agents

ARS reps guide school field trip in National Grasslands

ARS laboratory earns 2009 Federal Electronics Challenge Award 

ARS scientists to give presentations for producers at county “weed fair”

Montana ARS lab hosts school groups in May 

Montana ARS lab receives “Friend of Education” award 

  

                         

  

  

  

ARS soil scientist participates in international ag engineering meeting

NPARL Research Soil Scientist Jay D. Jabro participated in the 2009 International Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) in Reno, Nevada, June 21-24. Within the ASABE meeting, Dr. Jabro presided over and moderated an irrigation session titled “Drip Irrigation Challenges and Evaluations” and also presented a poster entitled “Performance Evaluation of Automated Passive Capillary Sampler for Estimating Water Drainage in the Vadose Zone” co-authored with Robert Evans, William Iversen, and Bart Stevens, all researchers with NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit, as is Jabro. The poster presentation included three drainage water results from the state-of-the-art passive capillary water samplers (PCAP) study at the Nesson Valley irrigated site in ND. Jabro and Iversen also coauthored a talk titled “New Methodology for 3D visualization and Modeling of the Cracking Behavior of Soil at the Field Scale” presented by Dr. Majdi Abou Najm, and other collaborators (Rabi Mohtar, Julie Jesiek and Emily Sanders) from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, IN. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in St. Joseph, Michigan, ASABE comprises 9,000 members in more than 100 countries.

 

(Jay Jabro, 406.433.9442, jay.jabro@ars.usda.gov)

ARS researcher attends IOBC/WPRS European Meeting NPARL ResearchEntomologist Stefan Jaronski will be presenting a talk entitled, “Further Progress with Metarhizium Microsclerotial Production” at the 12th European Meeting of the International Organization for Biological Control, "Insect Pathogens and Insect Parasitic Nematodes" in Pamplona Spain, June 23-25. These biennial meetings bring together most insect pathology researchers in Europe for three days of scientific interchange. Jaronski’s presentation, coauthored with Mark Jackson of the ARS NCAUR, Peoria IL, concerns further work regarding their discovery of a new stage of the insect pathogenic fungus for which ARS has submitted a patent application. Jaronski will also be presenting a poster prepared by himself and two Azores coworkers, Jose Mota and Aida Medeiros, entitled "Assessment of Azores Metarhizium anisopliae for control of Japanese Beetle" This poster reports joint work in creating a fungus mass production capability within the Azores Plant Protection Service and evaluation of the mass production potential of several Azores fungus isolates. Dr. Jaronski is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.
 
(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)

ARS researcher speaks at 10th International Congress of Orthopterology

NPARL Research Entomologist David Branson was invited to speak at the 10th International Congress of Orthopterology held June 21-25, 2009 in Antalya, Turkey. Dr. Branson presented a paper co-authored by ARS Research Ecologist Lance Vermeire of ARS’ Miles City, MT research facility, entitled, “Effects of Fire and Post-fire Grazing Intensity on Grasshopper Assemblages in a Northern North American Grassland Vary Between Years.” Dr. Branson is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit. Approximately 300 researchers from all over the world attended the conference to share research experiences and ideas with other colleagues working in orthopterology. 

 

(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406, dave.branson@ars.usda.gov)

ARS scientists to speak at annual research farm field day

NPARL Agronomist Brett Allen; Soil Scientist Upendra Sainju, and Weed Ecologist Andrew Lenssen are among the featured speakers at this year’s annual Froid (MT) Research Farm Field Day set for Thursday, June 25th, at the farmsite. The tour is sponsored by Sidney ARS and the Roosevelt and Sheridan County (MT) Conservation Districts and Montana State University Extension Offices, and concludes with a BBQ steak dinner sponsored by the Conservation Districts. A new wind turbine at the Froid Research Farm is the focus of two special presentations at this year’s tour. The day’s events begin with a special “Renewable Energy 101” workshop by Kathy Montgomery, a Program Energy Specialist with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality who will discuss alternative energy options, including wind, solar and geothermal, scaled for the farm and home. Representatives from Sheridan Electric Cooperative, who helped hook up the research farm’s new turbine to their power grid, will also be on hand to provide insights on working with your energy provider when adding utility-connected wind power to your operation. Additional speakers for the day include new Montana State Conservationist Joyce Swartzendruber and Dawson County Extension Agent Bruce Smith, who will discuss the “Farm-to-Table” project working to build a local food system in Eastern Montana. The “on-farm tour stops” with Drs. Allen, Lenssen and Sainju include ARS studies on cropping sequence effects on root and soil properties; camelina planting depths and emergence; dryland corn seeding rates and yields, and alternate and stacked rotation impacts on weed density, as well as a new joint hay barley fertilizer rate trial that will be discussed by Sheridan County Extension Agent Terry Angvick. All three NPARL speakers are with the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.

(Brett Allen, 406.433.9402, brett.allen@ars.usda.gov)

(Upendra Sainju, 406.433.9408, upendra.sainju@ars.usda.gov)

(Andrew Lenssen, 406.433.9471, andy.lenssen@ars.usda.gov)

Eastern MT Extension agents to tour ARS research farm plots

ARS dryland cropping systems research at the Froid (MT) Research Farm is among the featured stops planned for a Montana State University Extension Agent tour/update on June 24th. MSU Extension Eastern Region Department Head Larry Brence is heading up the tour which will allow the agents to review the research being conducted, and the different crops and forages at the site. ARS Weed Ecologist Andy Lenssen, a member of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit, will be the presenter. The tour will then move to other field sites in the area where participants can view larger scale farm plantings, and look at planting/spraying/harvesting equipment as well as reviewing farm practices, agronomics, pest programs, and more with local producers. The tour concludes with an evening meal.

(Andrew Lenssen, 406.433.9471, andy.lenssen@ars.usda.gov)

ARS scientist appointed to SSSAJ Editorial Board

NPARL Soil Physicist Jay Jabro has accepted an appointment as an Associate Editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal (SSSAJ) and to become a member of its editorial board from 2010-2012. Dr. Jabro, a member of NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit, was invited to join the SSSAJ editorial staff by Editor David D. Myrold (Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University). In addition to his new appointment with SSSAJ, Jabro has also been serving as an Associate Editor of the Agronomy Journal and a member of its Editorial board since 2008.

(Jay Jabro, 406.433.9442, jay.jabro@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS ecologist invited to discuss plant interactions and their effect on evolutionary processes

NPARL Research Plant Ecologist Erin Espeland has been invited to speak at the University of California – Davis’ McLaughlin Reserve at Lower Lake, CA on June 20. She will discuss work she’s previously done in the Reserve on the California native plant Plantago erecta, also known as the dotseed plantain. The title of her presentation is “When the Darwinian struggle for existence is more like a cakewalk: how mild conditions and helpful neighbors influence the evolution of plants.” Dr. Espeland will discuss the need for native plant populations to undergo “adaptive evolution” in order to persist when faced with new pest invasions and with climate change. Previously plant interactions were typically thought to be competitive due to limited resources, but it also turns out that plants can actually help one another survive, acting as a force of natural selection. Not all plant populations are equal in their ability to adapt, however, and plant populations have very different evolutionary challenges compared to animal populations. Espeland’s research on Plantago erecta shows that some environmental factors are more important than others in driving evolution in plant populations, and these factors can affect both the direction and the rate of adaptation. Espeland is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.

(Erin Espeland, 406.433.9416, erin.espeland@ars.usda.gov)

ARS Montana lab hosts USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council meeting

NPARL is hosting the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council (USADPLC) Board of Directors at the Sidney, MT ARS laboratory June 17-18. In addition to the group’s regular business meeting, participants will tour the Sidney facility and meet with lab officials to discuss current and future research efforts related to pulse crops. The Council is a 5,000 member, non-profit organization made up of growers, processors, exporters, and associates of premium commodities. Founded in 1965, the organization’s mission is to provide research support, development of new markets and increased awareness of US grown dry peas, lentils, and chickpeas worldwide. The group will be meeting with NPARL’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU) Leader Robert Evans and other ASRU scientists at the lab.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, robert.evans@ars.usda.gov

 

ARS lab, local partners win White House award for e-waste program

NPARL employees and their community partners received an honorable mention award in the Electroncis Stewardship-Civilian category of the 2009 White House Closing the Circle Awards for their innovative “E-rase your E-waste” rural community recyling program. The NPARL-inspired community electronics recycling program was one of only 15 winners and 13 honorable mentions selected from nearly 200 nominations in seven different categories. Each category included a military and civilian award, with no obligation to give an award if there were no worthy candidates. The Closing the Circle awards are presented annually by the White House Office of the Federal Environmental Executive to recognize outstanding achievements of Federal facilites and their partners in promoting environmental stewardship. NPARL staff involved in the creation and development of the “E-rase your E-waste” rural electronics recycling program include: Health and Safety Officer Jackie Couture and Technical Information Specialist Beth Redlin, with aid from IT specialist Kevin Dahl, Purchasing Agent Kelly Roberts, Location Administrative Officer Barb Flammond, and many other Sidney ARS lab employees and leadership. Community partners included representatives from county and city government, disaster and emergency services, the local hospital and county health department, the local Rural Electric Association, telephone cooperative, and more.

(Jackie Couture, 406.433.9422, jackie.couture@ars.usda.gov)

Boys and Girls Club youngsters to tour Montana ARS laboratory

Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Richland County (MT) will tour the Sidney, MT ARS laboratory June 9th and 16th to learn more about insects and science careers in their own back yard. Approximately two dozen students, ranging from kindergarteners to 5th graders, will participate. NPARL does extensive research on grasshopper and Mormon cricket biology and management, as well as studying biological control of rangeland weed and crop insect pests. In addition to learning how potential insect biological agents are identified, the students will also learn about the precautions taken to extensively test promising agents before they are approved for final release, using a model of NPARL’s new insect and plant containment facility. Students will also learn how to use a special LucidTM electronic key to identify grasshoppers found in the lab’s extensive collection. The students will then be able to identify up to 70 common grasshopper species potentially found in their own backyards using the key developed by the Decision Support and Pest Management Systems Laboratory of the USDA-APHIS Center for Plant Health Science and Technology. The key is available to students and the general public either through links on the NPARL’s “grasshopper website” at http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/grasshopperor on a companion CD to be presented to the club leaders.

(Beth Redlin, 406.433.9427, beth.redlin@ars.usda.gov)

   

 ARS researcher aids scientists combating Japanese Beetle in the Azores

NPARL Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski is returning to the Azores in June to continue working with the Regional Plant Protection Service there to combat Japanese Beetle using insect pathogenic fungi. He has been helping their staff to set up a fungus production facility using technology developed at the Sidney, MT ARS lab, and helping them evaluate autodissemination approaches to disperse the fungus spores through the beetle population.   Japanese Beetle has been a serious problem on some of the Azores islands in past years and has now spread to almost every island in the archipeligo, posing a serious threat to Azoreano agriculture.
 

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS works with APHIS researchers to evaluate Mormon cricket microbial control agents

Dr. Nelson Foster and his research team from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Center for Plant Health Science and Technology in Phoenix are at the Sidney, MT ARS laboratory the week of May 25 th to work with ARS Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski in a project evaluating promising microbial control agents for Mormon cricket. They will be assessing several fungi for the control of this insect in an outdoor arena approach. This is the fourth year of cooperation between APHIS and ARS to develop new microbial agents against grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. Jaronski is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit. The Center for Plant Health Science and Technology supports APHIS’ Plant Protection Quarantine regulatory decisions and operations through methods development work, scientific investigation, analyses and technology.
 

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS reps guide school field trip in National Grasslands

NPARL Research Entomologist Dave Branson and Research Plant Ecologist Erin Espeland led 90 eighth graders from Sidney (MT) Middle School on a tour of the National Grasslands near Sidney on May 21. The ARS scientists gave talks and answered questions on the plants, animals and insects found in the area and their ecological relationships. The scientists also discussed the geology of the area and what processes led to the formation of the badlands landscape. A highlight of the field trip was a visit to a natural rock concretion bridge found in the grasslands. This is the fifth year Dr. Branson has participated in the tour, and the first for Dr. Espeland. Both are members of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit. The annual tour is one of several Sidney Middle School science activities in which ARS participates, which led to the lab recently being named winner of that school’s 2009 Friend of Education award earlier this month. The lab was nominated by Science Instructor Mark Halvorsen. 
 

(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406, dave.branson@ars.usda.gov)

(Erin Espeland, 406.433.9416, erin.espeland@ars.usda.gov) 


 

ARS laboratory earns 2009 Federal Electronics Challenge Award
NPARL was recently named a 2009 Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) Bronze Level Award winner and will be recognized at the 2009 FEC Award Ceremonies to take place at the Federal Environmental Symposium (FES) West on June 3 at Seattle, WA. The FEC awards, established by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recognize the efforts of federal partners to increase their electronic stewardship efforts, with emphasis placed on three areas: purchasing greener electronic products; reducing impacts of electronic products during use, and managing obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way. NPARL was recognized for its activities in all three areas. This is the second year in a row that the Montana ARS lab has been recognized by the FEC for its electronic stewardship. In addition to representing the lab at this year’s award ceremony, NPARL Safety Officer Jackie Couture will also be giving a presentation at the FES Symposium on the lab’s innovative “E-rase your E-waste” rural community recycling program.
 

(Jackie Couture, 406.433.9422, jackie.couture@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS scientists to give presentations for producers at county “weed fair”

NPARL Botanist John Gaskin and Weed Ecologist Andrew Lenssen have been invited to speak at the Rosebud County Weed District’s County Weed Fair on May 27 in Forsyth, MT. The weed fair is held to aid farmers and ranchers with their weed management programs. Dr. Gaskin’s presentation is entitled, “Ecology and potential for biological control of Russian olive.” Frequently planted in Montana farmstead wind breaks over the past few decades, Russian olive is fast becoming invasive and poses a particular problem for riparian areas. It’s currently listed on state class B and C noxious weed lists for Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming and is being considered for inclusion on weed lists in several other western states. For his contribution, Dr. Lenssen’s presentation is entitled, “Using annual forages in dryland cropping systems for improved weed management.” Lenssen will discuss his research demonstrating the benefits of using of annual forages with no in-crop herbicides in diverse crop rotations to curb crop weeds. Gaskin is Research Leader of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit, while Lenssen is a member of the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit.

 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)

(Andy Lenssen, 406.433.9471, andy.lenssen@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

Montana ARS lab hosts school groups in May

More than 100 students, from a local high school and two elementary schools toured NPARL in May. The Sidney, MT ARS facility hosted the Sidney High School Advanced Biology class on May 6, with a special molecular presentation by Botanist and Pest Management Research Unit Leader John Gaskin. In addition to the presentation, students got a chance to try their hand at pipetting and loading a gel plate. The students then toured the rest of the facility with Dr. Gaskin and NPARL Technical Information Specialist Beth Redlin. On May 14th, Dr. Gaskin also did a presentation on plants for 68 Sidney Elementary School 4th graders. In addition to the presentation, those students also toured the research facility and greenhouses. On May 19th, twenty-six 4th through 6th grade students from Terry, MT toured the ARS facility to learn more about agricultural insect pests, such as grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, and wheat stem sawfly and what ARS scientists are doing to combat them. The students also learned about biological control of weeds research being conducted at the lab. In addition, all elementary school teachers and students were given ARS Science4Kids stickers, notepads, book covers and other materials to take with them for their classrooms

 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)
 

     

Montana ARS lab receives “Friend of Education” award

The Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney MT was recognized as the winner of the 2009 Sidney Middle School “Friend of Education” award at this year’s Sidney Education Association banquet held Friday, May 8, in Sidney. Dr. John Gaskin, Research Leader for the ARS lab’s Pest Management Research Unit, accepted the award on behalf of the Sidney ARS lab. NPARL employees were recognized for their contributions in helping to judge local science fairs, providing programs and tours of the research facility, and helping on various field trips throughout the year.
 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

 


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Last Modified: 12/17/2009
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