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March 6, 2007

Purdue Agriculture funds research tied to state initiatives

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Twelve Purdue University research projects will split more than a quarter of a million dollars in an effort to find solutions to some key agricultural concerns in Indiana.

The funding, awarded by Purdue Agriculture, will pay for integrated, applied research and Extension efforts that are tied to Indiana State Department of Agriculture strategic initiatives. Ten of the 12 projects will study concerns regarding livestock and biofuels expansion. Other projects will focus on hardwood production and pest control for organic product storage.

"Recent questions regarding livestock operations and the growing biofuels industry in Indiana triggered the need to find scientific solutions that could be readily applied," said Marshall Martin, associate director of Agriculture Research Programs. "This funding was established to help find answers to critical concerns of Hoosiers."

More than 40 Purdue Agriculture researchers will participate in projects that include efforts to:

* Develop science-based odor setbacks for Indiana dairy farms.

* Evaluate use of distillers dried grains and glycerol, both byproducts of biofuels production, as livestock feeds.

* Help producers profitably grow corn after corn to meet increased ethanol demand.

* Research the growth of switchgrass for biofuels.

* Analyze continuous soybean production to meet the demand for biodiesel.

* Study water-quality impacts of increased corn production for biofuels.

Called the Mission Oriented Grant program, the effort will become an annual source of funding for integrated research and Extension projects that address issues tied to Purdue's land-grant mission to serve the state of Indiana.

"Most research funding these days is awarded by the federal government through a competitive process generally focused on fundamental science questions," Martin said. "This makes it difficult for some researchers to get the necessary funds to conduct more applied studies on state and regional concerns. Thus, this new source of funding for research and Extension is important for Indiana stakeholders."

All the research will be conducted within the 2007 calendar year. In addition, each project has a public education component so that the results can be shared with Hoosiers in a timely manner.

The funding total is $257,420 and the maximum award for each grant is $25,000, which may be used to pay for technicians, graduate student stipends, equipment and supplies necessary to conduct the research as well as to develop publications or Web sites to share the information generated.

Grant recipients were encouraged to seek additional resources in order to stretch the funding capability. Other resources could be additional grants and/or in-kind gifts, such as seed donations from private companies.

Writer: Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722; forbes@purdue.edu

Source: Marshall Martin, (765) 494-8370; marshallmartin@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;  purduenews@purdue.edu

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