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News from the Center

Amanda Kinchla teaches class
March 26

UMass Food Science Extension recently held an intensive 3.5-day course called “Better Process Control School” to train existing and would-be food producers in the fundamentals of food safety processing techniques and in meeting FDA requirements.

Student in Winter School
February 4

You might think a lot has changed since 1927, and you would be right in many respects. One thing that has not changed is the top-quality training that turf professionals have received at UMass Amherst’s prestigious ‘Winter School for Greenkeepers.’ Established at Massachusetts Agricultural College in the same year that Charles Lindbergh made the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic, Winter School maintains the same rigorous standards as it did then, through classroom, laboratory and discussion activities in a seven-week intensive format.

January 30

The Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA) of the Student Affiliate Division (SAD) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) annual meeting will be hosted by the Veterinary and Animal Sciences (VASCI) faculty and students on Saturday, February 8.

Sonia Schloemann discusses rasperries at Powisett Farm, Dover, MA
December 22

Since its beginnings early in the twentieth century, UMass Extension has always brought new methods, new research, information and best practices to farmers across Massachusetts. Today, UMass Extension continues this tradition by reaching out, finding and training growers across the Commonwealth about methods in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Dean Goodwin receives Paris Award
December 20

Dean Steve Goodwin, of the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst, received the Guy L. Paris Award from Jim Ward, President of the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association and owner of Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, Mass. This prestigious award was presented at the 2013 New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference in December, 2013 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Gretchen May, retired from Extension Service
December 18

 While much has changed since Gretchen May first started coming to work in the courthouse in Greenfield for the Franklin County Extension Service in 1977, a lot has stayed the same. While the geography and the subject areas of May’s work have changed over the years, her overall goals and style of work have remained consistent. “My work has always been centered on responding to people’s needs. We learned what was needed and then went out and helped people. With newspaper columns and radio shows, newsletters, workshops, and more, we brought information on how to respond to family issues to people in whatever way we could.”

Scott Jackson
December 16

Scott Jackson, Extension associate professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation, has been named the 2013 Conservationist of the Year by The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts to recognize his efforts in conserving the Bay State’s lands and waters.

The award was presented Dec. 12 at the organization’s Boston office.

“Scott Jackson has been a tireless advocate for science-based conservation for more than 20 years,” said Wayne Klockner, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “Honoring him as our 2013 Conservationist of the Year provides just a small portion of the recognition he deserves for his countless contributions to the health of Massachusetts’ natural environment.”

Weeds on a cranberry farm being treated by Katherine Ghantous with the type of open flame cultivation tool used in the study.
December 2

Cranberries are important agricultural commodities in states such as Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Washington, and Oregon. But cranberry-growing operations are challenged by weeds, which compete for precious resources and often decrease fruit yields and revenues. Producers currently rely on weed management strategies such as flooding and sanding cranberry beds, hand-weeding, or applications of pre- and postemergence herbicides.

Kathleen Draper addresses Biochar Conference
October 25

For four days in October, the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts became the hub of the biochar universe, as 300 researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from across North America and the world met for the 2013 USBI North American Biochar Symposium. Focused on the Symposium’s theme – Harvesting Hope: The Science and Synergies of Biochar – participants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, France, Mexico, Cameroon, Wales, and Germany attended plenaries, workshops, keynote addresses, a Tech Field Day, videos, and a Biochar Banquet.

Simi Hoque, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation
October 13

Dr. Simi Hoque is passionate about improving the ways in which buildings use the earth’s resources.  She teaches environmental systems and sustainable design principles in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. Her research, partially funded by the Center’s Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, is focused around the application and development of energy-efficient buildings. Dr. Hoque specializes in energy modeling, resource efficiency, and systems design. She is co-author of a recent online publication (October 2013) intended to provide a quantitative approach to assessing sustainability indicators in a city.

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