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Grants Support Cattle, Farm, Cotton, And Concrete Research

Grants Support Cattle, Farm, Cotton, And Concrete Research

USDA supports training of underrepresented students in cattle research

Drs. Jennifer Earing and Justin Rickard, of the Department of Agriculture, have received $29,399 as part of a five-year, $749,497 grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture for the Illinois Beef Experiential Learning and Industry Exposure (I-BELIEF) program.

The Illinois State faculty are working with researchers from Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois to annually train 10 economically disadvantaged and female undergraduate students through experiential learning in beef cattle research. Two of those students will be placed at the University Farm at Lexington and will be mentored by a faculty member.

Professor to educate students on cotton through grant

Last year, Dr. Ui-Jeen Yu, professor of fashion design and merchandising, garnered a one-year, $25,530 Cotton in the Curriculum Grant from Cotton Inc.

The purpose of the project is to enhance students’ knowledge and experience with cotton-branded products and markets through cotton market and trend analysis, textile testing, research-based projects, and development of business plans for new cotton markets.

Grant supports experiments on farms

Dr. Maria Boerngen, an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, has received $87,741 as part of a three-year, $4 million grant awarded by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to a multi-institutional research team.

Boerngen is collaborating with researchers from universities across the country, including project director Dr. David S. Bullock, of the University of Illinois, to create an infrastructure that encourages farmers to implement on-farm precision experiments as a routine part of their farming operations.

Network supports project working to create environmentally friendly concrete

The Illinois Innovation Network has awarded a one-year, $29,955 grant to two Illinois State professors to investigate the use of recycled industrial waste to produce geopolymer concrete (GeoPC).

Dr. Guang Jin, a professor of environmental health and sustainability in the Department of Health Sciences, and Dr. Pranshoo Solanki, a professor of construction management in the Department of Technology, are collaborating on this project, which could reduce the carbon footprint of building materials by replacing cement, a significant source of air pollution, with GeoPC. Also, GeoPC is an alternative to cement concrete due to superior properties including high mechanical strength, chemical corrosion resistance, fire resistance, and durability.

ISU professor part of digital training project for agricultural workforce

Dr. Nicholas Heller, assistant professor of crop science at Illinois State University, has received $46,019 as part of a five-year, $500,000 grant awarded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to a project led by Dr. Carrie Butts-Wilmsmeyer, of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The researchers seek to bridge the digital divide in the agricultural industry by providing workforce training in data science, geospatial software, and remote sensing. Programming and resources will be deployed to a diverse group, including researchers, community college and high school students, farmers, and certified crop advisors.

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