July 2019 ABeNotes

A Rare Bird Siting

Author: Robert M. Stwalley, III

Since Richard regularly reports on the Redbuds blooming in ABE Notes, I decided to provide a rare bird field siting report. While driving home from work on 4th Street Tuesday evening (June 11th) near Miller School (within a week of the D-Day 75th anniversary, I might add), I thought there was a locomotive coming-up behind me trying to pass my poor little Civic. Low and behold, one of the most beautiful birds of prey ever passed over my head at about 400 ft, departing the Purdue airport. I was unable to photograph it then, but it came back over my house about 15 minutes later. There are less than a dozen of these amazing machines still flying in the world. The B-17 was powered by four Wright Cyclone R 1820 turbocharged engines with between 800 and 1200 hp each (depending upon which production variant). Taken together, these are easily the equivalent of a locomotive.

July 2019 AgrAbility News

Indiana AgrAbility sponsors a Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest. The contest challenges FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, youth organizations, and non-profit organizations to conduct service projects in the community for individuals or groups of individuals with disabilities. This year there were three entries for the contest and each was an FFA chapter. The awards were presented at the 90th Indiana State FFA Convention. Over 2,000 members and guests participated in general sessions, SAE contests, and received awards in the Elliot Hall of Music on the Purdue University campus. First place winner was the Franklin FFA Chapter. They were presented $600 for their entry of portable steps for a 2 ½ year old little girl with a mobility impairment. Second place went to the South Putnam FFA Chapter for their entry of clearing a nature walk at their school so all would be able to access the area. They were presented $350 for their entry. Third place was the East Central FFA Chapter for constructing accessible picnic tables for the Dearborn Parks. They were presented with a check for $200.

Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, conducted five farm accessibility assessments.  Three of them were for Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the other two were preliminary visits to help determine client needs and a plan of action to move forward.

Chuck Baldwin, Breaking New Ground/IN AgrAbility project manager, attended the national Amish Handicap Gathering (their name for it) and staffed an AgrAbility booth there in Dayton, Virginia, June 7-8, 2019. The Gathering was a group of 980 primarily Amish and Plain Mennonite from many different states, all of them impacted by disability. Two chartered busloads of Amish were there from northern Indiana. The event was held at the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction.

Friday afternoon was check-in with a supper at 4:30. Saturday’s gathering began about 8:30 and ran until 4:30 in the afternoon. Fellowship and visiting on a personal level were the order of the day, as individuals and families shared encouragement with each other and recounted what was working in their lives that helped them overcome their disabilities, and sometimes what wasn’t working as they sought help. One special highlight prior to closing was the Mennonite youth choir of about 100 young people (picture, left) who sang hymns acapella for an hour. They were followed by several smaller groups of Amish/Mennonite musicians, including a yodeling quartet, singing several fun songs. Some personal testimonies of God’s grace in difficult circumstances were shared with the group, as were words of scripture and personal encouragement during announcement times throughout the day.

Due to the early work with the Amish farming communities in Indiana many years ago by Dr. Bill Field, PI for both the National and Indiana AgrAbility Projects, and Purdue Extension personnel like Steve Engleking, the ongoing efforts of AgrAbility today among these agricultural Anabaptists find an increasingly open reception to working mutually toward ag safety and the enablement of continuing farm work for those who struggle with disability. This was evident in the warm reception Chuck received from the leaders of the Handicap Gathering in VA, the invitation to AgrAbility to participate again in next year’s 2020 Gathering in Shipshewana, IN, and the hand-written note Chuck received from one Mennonite gentleman requesting help from AgrAbility for a friend of his who needed a tractor lift. Chuck passed that note along to Bill Begley, one of AgrAbility’s assistive technology partners working with Life Essentials in Wolcott, IN, and true-to-form, Life Essentials contacted the potential client the very next morning and is continuing to work to meet his needs today.

The Breaking New Ground (BNG)/IN AgrAbility advisory team meeting was held June 25 at the FFA Center in Trafalgar, Indiana. In addition to the 18 team members and one guest, the seven incoming and seven outgoing FFA officers and three of their advisors joined the group for lunch and an animated discussion on farm youth with disabilities in FFA and 4-H. Several of the officers (youth) responded to questions from Bill Field, IN AgrAbility PI, by sharing personal testimonies of FFA members impacted by disability and how they were incorporated in FFA activities. The concern of the entire group to see that agricultural youth with physical or mental impairments be included just like everyone else was readily apparent.

In addition to staff reports, advisory team business included a wonderful discussion on the relationship between Indiana AgrAbility and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) led by Steve Etheridge, retired VR counselor and current AgrAbility consultant, and Kristina Blankenship, VR staff/Business & Community Engagement.

Paul Jones, IN AgrAbility engagement coordinator, shared the latest version of a new AgrAbility video and invited feedback from the advisory team. A number of favorable comments were received.

Chuck Baldwin, IN AgrAbility project coordinator, led the team in an overview of the changes to the Indiana AgrAbility Project in the new proposal that was submitted to USDA/NIFA in May 2019.

Mahmoud Nour received a conference scholarship for the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH):


URBANA – Mahmoud Nour, is pursing a PhD in Agricultural & Biological Engineering, with a minor in Agricultural Safety Management, at Purdue University received a conference scholarship from the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH). This scholarship supported attendance at the 2019 ISASH Annual Conference held in Des Moines, Iowa June 24-27, 2019.

Scholarship recipients are undergraduate or graduate students, studying in the field of agricultural safety and health. Students must submit and have a poster or oral presentation accepted to be eligible for this scholarship. Mahmoud Nour’s abstract was entitled Manure Storage, Handling and Transport: Development of an Incident Coding System.

Nine students, from across the U.S. received 2019 ISASH conference scholarships. In addition to attending conference educational sessions, students participated in interest group meetings and had numerous opportunities to network with safety and health professionals from around the world. 

“Graduate scholarships to support attendance at ISASH are one of the best ways to encourage early participation and engagement of young agricultural safety professionals, which is critically important in the long-term sustainability of the field of agricultural safety and health,” Dr. Gretchen A. Mosher, ISASH Professional Improvement Co-Chair.

185 people attended the conference, from 7 countries and 27 states, the District of Columbia and 5 Canadian provinces. Next year’s conference will be held in Asheville, NC June 22-26, 2020.

Learn more about the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health by visiting www.isash.org.

2019 ASABE Annual International Meeting News

ABE was well represented at the ASABE Annual International Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts:

Professor Kingsly Ambrose

  • Discrete Element Methods used in Grain/Seed Processing Industry at the Use of Models to Study Crop Drying, Handling, and Storage invited session
  • Moderator for Grain Drying, Storage and Aeration Systems invited session

Professor Dennis Buckmaster, Metadata App-Streamlining the Generation of the Backstory at the Apps in Agricultural Applications session

Professor Natalie Carroll, Environmental Systems Management: From Lecture to Flipped to Online at the Curriculum Design and Student Success session

Professor Somali Chaterji

  • Interpretable Modeling for Yield Trends of Corn and Soybean in the Midwest, at the Big Data and Data Analysis for Agricultural Applications session
  • Iris: Tuning the Configuration Parameters of NoSQL Databases for High-Throughput Digital Agricultural Processing Pipelines at he Cloud Computing and Internet of Things in Agriculture session

Professor Keith Cherkauer, Beichen Lyu, Stuart Smith, and Yexiang Xue. "Deriving Vegetation Indices from High-throughput Images by Using Unmanned Aerial Systems in Soybean Breeding"  at the Information Technology, Sensors & Control Systems Poster Session. His work on this paper was also a part of his ABE Capstone/Design Experience. Beichen is a senior finishing a dual degree in ENRE and Computer Science. The ITSC Technical Community Meeting Paper Awards are given only to the top 10% of meeting papers.

Dr. Klein Ileleji and Jua Technologies, LLC, received an AE50 Award for the DehytrayTM

Following his visit to Purdue, Professor Rabi Mohtar also attended the ASABE AIM and participated in a special panel discussion on sustainability.

Professor Dharmendra Saraswat

  • Sustainable Food-Water-Energy Nexus - Potential Options in India Context at the Sustainable Food-Water-Energy Nexus session
  • Moderator for Innovations in Precision Agriculture session

Professor Robert M. Stwalley III

  • Electronic Control for Hog Cooling Pads at the Precision Animal Management session
  • A Low Cost Mechanized Tube Well Installer at the Natural Resources & Environmental Systems poster session
  • Analysis of a Market Assessment Survey to Help Promote Lake Restoration of Lake Bosomtwe and Increased Livelihoods for Smaller-Holder Farmers at the Erosion Control Research and Case Studies
  • Introduction of 3D Printers in ABE Machine Design Classes at the Improving Student Learning One Course at a Time session

Graduate students and visiting scholars presenting:

Zhengpu Chen, Determination of the Physical Properties of Corn and Wheat Kernels for DEM Simulations (Ambrose) at the Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) Applications in Agriculture session.

Clairmont Clementson, Data Analytics for Effective Stored Grain Management (Ileleji), at the Information Technology, Sensors & Control Systems poster session

Sarah Daly, Bio-Methane Potential Testing Methodologies - A Review (Ni) at the Anaerobic Digestion session and the Energy Systems poster session

Aaron Etienne, Weed Location and Type Identification using UAV Imagery and Deep Learning at the UAV (Saraswat) for Sensing, Imaging, and Agricultural Aquacultural Applications part II session

Jiajia Fang, Finite Element Modeling of the Baling Process of Alfalfa in a Round Baler (Ambrose) at the Machinery Systems Poster Session

Jeff Fiechter, Digital Soil Mapping: Comparative Evaluation of Machine Learning and Geostatistical Modeling Methods (Saraswat) at the Innovations in Precision Agriculture session

Jonathan Overton, Maleic Acid and AICI3-Catalyzed Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Glucose (Mosier) at the Value-Added Chemicals and Products and Lignin Valorization session.

Servio Palacios, Trellis++: A Practical Privacy-Preserving Food Safety Framework (Buckmaster) at the Cloud Computing and Internet of Things in Agriculture session

Benjamin Pluimer

  • Surface Profiling of Grain Dusts (Ambrose) at the Processing Systems poster session
  • Characterizing Adhesion Force of Dust to Corn Kernels (Ambrose) at the Physical Properties Related to Processing and Handling session

Diana Ramirez

  • Modeling of the Heat and Moisture Transfer in a Multipurpose Solar Dryer (Ileleji) at the Modeling and Optimization in Food Processing and Storage session
  • Novel Solar Drying Technologies for Small and Mid-Size Growers of Specialty Crops (Ileleji) at the Processing Systems poster session

Tanzeel Rehman

  • Development of an Automated Multi-Sensor System for High-Throughput Phenotyping in Greenhouse Environment (Jin) at the Imaging Technologies for High Throughput Phenotyping session part II
  • Development of an Algorithm for the Periodic Leaf Movement Analysis of Arabidopsis Plans (Jin) at the Machine Vision Applications in Agriculture and Food session

Josept Revuelta, Evaluation of the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) Model for Quantifying Subsurface Drainage Flow at the Advances in Applying and Evaluating Hydrologic and Water Quality Models session

Karthik Salish, Improving the Flow of Cohesive Powders Using Portable Flow Aids (Ambrose) at the Plant, Animal and Faculty Systems poster session

Zhihang Song

  • Development of a Low-cost and Minimally Invasive Root Phenotyping System (Jin) at the Imaging Technologies for High Throughput Phenotyping,  session part II
  • A New Greenhouse Plant Phenotyping Robot Based on LeafSpec, Purdue's Handheld Hyperspectral Leaf Imager (Jin) at the Robotics and Co-Robotics for Agriculture part I session

Ronald J. Smith, Stakeholder Mapping of Controlled Environment Agriculture Utilizing the Technological Innovation System Framework (Stwalley) at the Sustainability Metrics - Concept, Evaluation, and Advances session

Paul Thieme, Development of an Open Source Linux Based Operating System for Agricultural Equipment (Buckmaster) at the Sensors and Control Systems for Precision Agricultural Equipment session

Johann Vera

  • Selecting BMP Locations Based on the Relationship Among Steam Order, Land Use and Water Contaminants Using SWAT (Engel, Chaubey) at the Natural Resources & Environmental Systems poster session
  • Co-moderator for the Practices for Nutrient Loss Reduction in Drained Landscapes session

Vamisikrishna Vema, Impact of Calibration Objective Function on the Performance of the Hydrological Model (Chaubey) at the Advances in Applying and Evaluating Hydrologic and Water Quality Models session

Shuyuan Wang, Estimating Sediment Transport Capacity for Overland Flow (Flanagan, Engel) at the Erosion Control Research and Case Studies session

Yang Wang, A Tutorial on Wireless Communication Protocol Selection for Digital Agricultural Applications (Buckmaster) at the Cloud Computing and Internet of Things in Agriculture session

Yaguang Zhang, A Probabilistic Model for Estimating Harvested Areas via GPS Tracks (Buckmaster) at the Novel Data-Intensive Methods to Support Precision Agriculture session

Yumeng Zhao, Predicting Dust Cloud Concentration Using CFD-DPM Modeling Approach (Ambrose) at the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Applications in Agriculture session.


2018 Superior Paper Awards presented in 2019:

Estimating Passive Stress Acting on a Grain Entrapment Victim's Chest, S.F. Issa, C. Wassgren, C.V. Schwab, R. Stroshine, W.E. Field

K.K. Barnes Student Paper Award Competition:

3rd Place - Michelle P. Dixon, The Effects of Compaction on Reconstitution Characteristics of Dairy Powder

July 2019 Faculty News

Professor Jenna Rickus was awarded a new patent, #10,287,699, for "Sensors and methods of manufacture thereof," May 14, 2019. Congratulations, Dr. Rickus!

John and Carol Weaver with Dr. Rabi MohtarPurdue ABE welcomed back Dr. Rabi Mohtar on June 28. Dr. Mohtar's presentation, "A System(s) View for the Water-Energy-Food-Health Nexus" was well-received. Dr. Mohtar visited with a number of colleagues during his (brief!) visit and was delighted to catch up with his ABE colleagues. Mohtar serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut and took the opportunity to share his vision and emphasis with Department Head Nate Mosier.

The McMillan lab, including graduate students Dani Winter, Rachel Scarlett, Jonathan Mills and undergraduate student Elizabeth Beyers, recently presented at field days showcasing work on design and implementation of two-stage ditches. Both days were well attended by members of the NRCS, The Nature Conservancy, and local SWCD branches.

The team of Dennis Buckmaster, Dharmendra Saraswat, James Krogmeier (ECE), and Mark Ward (STAT) are in the midst of a “Data Science for Ag” program funded by USDA NIFA. They are assisted by Jessica Gilbert, Purdue undergrad and are having some key participation from Bruce Erickson (AGRY) and Jeff Holland (ENTM). Participants: Demetre Mitchell, IN, ME student from University of Indianapolis; Eric Shim, TX, Business student from Texas A&M University; Jatavian Smith, MS, Environmental Science student from Alcorn State University; Morgan Abraham, IL, Physics student from Monmouth College; Tajah Billingsley, FL, Biological Systems Engineering student from Florida A&M University; Jaclyn Lee, HI, Biological Engineering student from University of Hawaii at Manoa; Bailey Walvoord, CA, Animal Sciences student from Purdue University; Katie Krick, IN, Biological Engineering student from Purdue University.

These students have been learning how to use R, Python, Unix Shell, ArcGIS, and Excel to wrangle data and generate decision aids.  They are now working on independent research projects and will present them on July 25 at the university undergraduate research symposium.  The photo at the Purdue model is from our first day. This group also enjoys disc golf as shown in the pic (and they have custom discs to keep!).

From Marcos Fernandez: Heartiest of congratulations to our very own Dr. Dennis Buckmaster, recipient of the 2019 NACTA Educator Award. 2019 Annual NACTA Awards Banquet. College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, Idaho, June 21, 2019.

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