Purdue University projects improving usability of climate information for Midwest agriculture and taking regional approaches to economic development in rural Indiana have earned National Institute of Food and Agriculture Partnership Awards.
The awards for the Useful to Usable and Stronger Economies Together teams were presented during a NIFA Day of Appreciation event Thursday (Oct. 22) in Washington, D.C. The awards honor work aligned with NIFA strategic goals that support the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"These two projects are stellar examples of how our faculty and staff build diverse teams to tackle pressing problems and strengthen lives and communities in Indiana and across the country," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture. "Whether it's helping rural counties band together and use shared assets to grow their economies or providing farmers with practical, easy-to-use decision support tools, these partnerships illustrate our commitment, in partnership with USDA and NIFA, to truly make a difference for the people we serve."
Useful to Usable, or U2U as it called, received the Partnership Award for Mission Integration. U2U offers online tools to help farmers and agricultural advisers manage increasingly variable weather and climate conditions across the Corn Belt. They provide historical climate data that help purchasing, marketing and activity planning throughout the growing cycle.
U2U released four decision support tools in 2013-14, all free and publicly available at www.agclimate4u.org. A new Irrigation Investment tool is schedule for release late this year.
The team is led by Linda Prokopy, professor in Purdue's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. It is composed of faculty, staff and students from the nine universities who specialize in applied climatology, crop modeling, agronomy, cybertechnology, agricultural economics and other social sciences.
The national team of Stronger Economies Together, or SET, received the Partnership Award for Multistate Efforts. SET is a nationwide program of USDA Rural Development in collaboration with the four Regional Rural Development Centers and their land-grant university partners, including the Purdue Center for Regional Development. Its objective is to grow businesses and create jobs based on the specific needs of regions of states.
Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu, professor in Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics, director of the Purdue center and former director of the Southern Regional Development Center, is a member of SET's national organizational team.
In Indiana, two regions consisting of 11 counties were selected this year to be part of SET. Professional staff from the Purdue Center for Regional Development and Purdue Extension will coordinate and provide leadership to the State Resource Team, composed of individuals from state and federal agencies, universities and other organizations with expertise in community and regional development.