Agriculture

UConn 4-H Military Partnership Hosts Barnyard Boogie

little boy holds rabbit

The UConn 4-H Military Partnership Project joined forces with the Subase Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), Subase New London School Liaison Officer, University of Rhode Island 4-H, CT and RI National Guard CYP Coordinators, and New London County 4-H clubs for a “Barnyard Boogie” family sensory afternoon. Hosted by Horses Healing Humans, a partnering agency with VETSCT.ORG (Veteran Equine Therapeutic Services), local businesses, non-profits and Mental Health Professionals collaborated to make possible this free event for military-connected EFMP kids to meet kid-friendly barnyard ponies, goats, chickens, rabbits, sheep, and dogs. Over forty youth connected to the 4-H animals, many meeting a farm animal for the first time. Four 4-H clubs attended with animals in tow. This event will become an annual experience for our military families. Proud moment of the day involved one school-age boy, who, after much encouragement from his mom, tentatively reached out one finger to touch Trinket the sheep’s fleece. An expression of pure joy flooded his face, and he threw both arms over Trinket and buried his face in her fleece.

family meets the animals little girl holding a rabbit

Article by Pam Gray, New London County 4-H

Survey for Poultry Producers

rooster at UConn facility
White leghorn roosters with chickens at the Poultry Uniton Jan. 27, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The University of Connecticut is collaborating with 14 multi-state institutions to put together a USDA grant on Agriculture and Food Research Initiatives titled: Systems-based integrated program for enhancing the sustainability of antibiotic-restricted poultry production.

Our focus is on sustainable poultry production and we are dedicated to help small, medium and large poultry farmers, processors and industry personnel to increase profitability, reduce input costs, increase productivity, and reduce losses due to environmental and biological stresses, including pests and diseases. In addition, this grant would help develop tools to enhance rural prosperity and health by ensuring access to affordable, safe and nutritious poultry products to sustain healthy lifestyles. 

The long-term objective of our project will ensure the sustainability of antibiotic-restricted broiler production by enhancing bird, human and environmental health, and ultimately increasing consumer acceptability and economic returns to farmers.  

We are using this survey questionnaire to gather information that will help us assess your needs for poultry research, education and outreach in the region. We would like inputs from all personnel involved with poultry production and processing such that our resources can better serve your needs in future.

We understand your time is valuable, the questionnaire should take only 3-5 minutes to complete.

Thank you

University of Connecticut Team

 

Please take the survey at bit.ly/PoultrySurvey

Job Opening: Laboratory Technician

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: UCPEA 4 LABORATORY TECHNICIAN II

 

POSITION

soil in handThe Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut invites applications for a permanent, 12-month position as an UCP 4 Laboratory Technician II. Reporting to the Laboratory Manager, this position provides technical support for the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory and serves as a primary resource to the University community, the general public and a wide variety of internal and external constituents.

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut contributes to a sustainable future through scientific discovery, innovation, and community engagement. CAHNR’s accomplishments result in safe, sustainable and secure plant and animal production systems, healthier individuals and communities, greater protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources, balanced growth of the economy, and resilient local and global communities. We epitomize the role of a land-grant university, which is to develop knowledge and disseminate it through the three academic functions of teaching, research, and outreach. In so doing, we improve the lives of citizens of our state, region and country.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The successful candidate will be expected to prepare and analyze soil and plant tissue samples, and report results to farmers, contractors, researchers, professors, commercial growers, landscapers, lawn care companies, and homeowners. Specific duties include: participate in meetings to plan and evaluate lab procedures; identify procedures for intended results and make modifications to incorporate suggestions for improvement; assist in editing and updating lab manuals, and keep current on new procedures and laboratory software; prepare reagents, solutions and other lab supplies or apparatus needed to complete laboratory procedures; assist, and instruct student workers with their duties and with technical problems related to laboratory procedures and equipment; Maintain up-to-date inventory of supplies; set up and maintains laboratory; instruct others in proper and safe use of equipment; answer phone and provide information to customers about interpretation of results or refer customers to Home and Garden Education Center; order lab supplies, chemicals and office supplies using UConn’s KFS, purchase orders and Pro-Card; and schedule outside repairs of lab and office equipment as well as perform routine maintenance and minor repair of lab equipment and related apparatus to ensure proper working order. Maintain the Laboratory’s Facebook page and perform outreach at Hartford Flower Show annually. The person selected will work in close cooperation with the Home and Garden Education Center.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

B.S. degree in chemistry, geology, biological sciences or other lab oriented scientific discipline and 1-3 years of experience, or equivalent education and experience. Demonstrated knowledge of concepts, practices and standard laboratory procedures used in a soil testing laboratory, including digital handling of laboratory data.  Knowledge of standard laboratory safety procedures. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to explain laboratory procedures and to edit laboratory manuals. Experience using Microsoft Word and Excel, and social media platforms, e.g. Facebook. Demonstrated ability to work independently.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

B.S. degree in chemistry, geology, biological sciences or other lab oriented scientific discipline. Ability to program in Microsoft Access; Experience analyzing water or soil extracts using an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), discrete

analyzer, or other related analytical instrument; Knowledge about how fertilizer recommendations are developed; Plant science background; Knowledge of analytical chemistry.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a full-time position with a competitive salary and a complete benefits package including health insurance, vacation time and retirement benefits. The successful candidate’s appointment will be at the Storrs Depot campus. The Soil Nutrient Analysis Lab is located at 6 Sherman Place, Storrs, CT

TO APPLY

Position available March 15, 2020. Applicants should submit a letter of application, resume, and a list of contact information for three (3) professional references to UConn Jobs at http://www.jobs.uconn.edu/.  Unofficial transcripts will be required at time of interview.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on January 15, 2020.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

__________________________________________________________________________________

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Environmental Monitoring for Food Safety

worker in a dairy processing facility with a swab and computer taking a sample for food safety
Photo: NCSU Extension

Dairy Processors: Are you interested in designing and implementing an environmental monitoring program (EMP) to improve your food safety program? This course may be for you.

In this eight-hour online course, you will learn alongside virtual dairy processors and apply concepts in the context of a dairy facility. This online course is available on-demand and adapts to your understanding of the materials. These features provide you with the flexibility to progress at your own pace with the confidence you will understand the content.

Dennis D’Amico, our Extension educator in the Department of Animal Science at UConn was one of the educators who developed this course. For more information, or to register, please visit NCSU Food Safety.

Agriculture and Asbestos Safety

asbestos danger signWhile the April 2019 Final Rule established by the EPA was a large leap into the protection of U.S. citizens from asbestos, it has not completely annihilated the threat. The Final Rule, put simply, was created to protect the public from uses of asbestos that are “no longer on the market and are not covered under any other laws or regulations.” It added a few more asbestos banned products to the list as well as prohibited some other new uses of asbestos. 

In light of these relatively new changes that have occurred over the past few decades, farmers and agricultural workers may be wondering what these changes have to do with them; even more concerning could be the lack of knowledge throughout the public sphere of the nature of asbestos, what it does, and why there have been seven different regulations created or amended around the mineral since 1973.

Here are some questions and answers to consider:

What Does Asbestos Have to Do With Agriculture?

Individuals must first have a foundation of knowledge on what asbestos actually is. In essence, asbestos is a fibrous mineral that occurs in soil and rock. When mined and used properly, it acts as what is known to be the “miracle mineral” because of its resistance to heat and electricity, and its sound proofing abilities. It has been mined all over the world and was widely used in the late 20th century in many commercial and consumer products, including makeup and construction materials. 

Agricultural materials and machinery that may be impacted include:

  • Brakes, brake pads, brake linings
  • Insulation
  • Gaskets, valves, seals, clutches, engine parts
  • Other mechanical components that are submitted to high heat and friction
  • Barn/storage buildings (roof, shingles, walls, flooring)

This means that almost all agricultural workers could be exposed to asbestos, such as:

  • Dairy Farmers
  • Poultry Farmers
  • Ranchers
  • Farmhands
  • Sharecroppers
  • Sheep, goat and cattle, vegetable, and market farmers
  • Agricultural equipment mechanics and operators

How Asbestos Impacts the Lives of Workers

While asbestos may be a “miracle mineral,” it is not so miraculous to a person’s health. Asbestos fibers can become airborne easily. This occurs when submitted to high heat and friction, cracks in the foundational aspects of buildings, and with any type of wear to asbestos based products. Once released, the risk of inhalation from workers is high, exposing the lungs and other internal organs.

As the mineral enters the respiratory system, it clings to the lining of the victim’s lungs, and embeds itself. Once embedded, it cannot be removed because the particles are invisible to the naked eye and the immune system cannot break them down. Over time (sometimes decades), the lungs will become inflamed and begin to scar. Once that occurs, the individual could contract a rare form of lung cancer that is only known among those exposed to asbestos, called mesothelioma. Like many types of cancers, there are various forms but all have a poor prognosis, making treatment extremely difficult.

Because of these health hazards, agricultural workers should be extremely cautious with their products, machinery and buildings. Be weary of cracks in the walls and linings of barns, when replacing brakes and when handling insulation of any kind.

Handling Asbestos Based Products

Workers should not handle the removal of asbestos on their own. In fact, not only does the U.S. government have various rules and regulations on how to handle asbestos, but many states have even stricter guidelines to prevent unneeded exposure. Be aware of the procedures set in place to handle asbestos, because otherwise, workers and loved ones could become easily exposed, putting their health at risk.

General guidelines to follow when handling asbestos:

Receive an asbestos inspection. Before any renovation projects take place, hire an inspector to determine if asbestos is present. Without the inspection, workers may not know whether they are exposed to the fibers.

Locate an asbestos abatement contractor. Because of the strict laws both nationally and state-wide, it may be wise to hire a contractor that has been educated on them. They will know how to handle the asbestos, where to store it, how to extract it and dispose of it.

Though asbestos is common among many products, it has dwindled in usage. Many companies today are either cutting back on its inclusion in their products, or they have completely eliminated it. No matter the concern, if an agricultural worker has been exposed to asbestos, they should see a physician immediately to address proper treatment and future actions.  

Article submitted by the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center

CT Farmlink Website Improves Farmland Access for Farmers

screenshot of the homepage of the CT Farm Link websiteConnecticut FarmLink, a clearing house for the transition between generations of landowners with the goal of keeping farmland in production, is pleased to announce the launch of a redesigned website, www.ctfarmlink.org. A partnership between the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) with funding through the Community Investment Act (CIA) is ensuring new and beginning farmers are able to more easily locate and access farmland for their business. 

“One of the top barriers for beginning farmers to getting started, or having their own business, is land access,” said Bryan P. Hurlburt, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner. “Connecticut FarmLink lets them find available land that meets their needs and evens the playing field to finding farm properties.”

The updated website now features log-in profiles, allowing both farmland owners and farmland seekers to edit, or deactivate, at their own convenience. A filter option enables them to select what they are looking for whether it’s properties, seekers, or resources. An integrated online messaging offers instant connection between all parties and email notifications will be sent when new farmland options have been posted.

“Users will be better able to manage their own information and the redesigned site is modeled after other FarmLink websites available nationally, making it more consistent for searchers,” says Lily Orr, Connecticut Farmland Trust Conservation Associate. Orr was responsible for working with a consultant to build and transition the website to the new format incorporating feedback from users to include features they requested.

There are currently more than 70 properties listed that are looking for a farmer to keep the land in production. “Agriculture is so diverse in Connecticut, we have people looking a quarter acre up to 200 acres, everything from vegetables and greenhouses to forestland for mushrooms or maple sugaring,” says Kip Kolesinskas, consulting Conservation Scientist. “The website is a source of information offering connections to agency programs and planning for everything related to leasing, farmland preservation and succession planning.”

To learn more about farmland available in Connecticut, visit www.ctfarmlink.org, or contact farmlink@ctfarmland.org.

Growing Food with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and UConn Extension have been collaborating thanks to a U.S.D.A. Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program to enhance agricultural production, food security, and health of tribal community members.

UConn Extension Growing Food With the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

#AskUConnExtension #UConnImpact

CAHNR Strategic Visioning Process

food, health and sustainability are the three program areas of UConn CAHNR

The UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources is engaged in a strategic visioning process.  You also may have received the invitation below from Dean Chaubey.  As one who knows about the College, we would love to have your input into the strategic direction the College will take over the next 5-10 years. Listening Sessions are scheduled in different parts of the state during the week of November 18. Please read some more about the process and information about how to attend. Here is the link for more information and this is the link to sign up.

Dear Colleague,

We need your assistance. The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) is undertaking a strategic visioning process that we believe will ensure that CAHNR will continue to be successful for many years.  While maintaining its roots at the core of the state’s land grant institution, the college has grown to include a diverse set of academic disciplines.  The unique combination of disciplines within CAHNR provides opportunities for innovation that can help address today’s emerging issues.

Our goal, with your input, will be to identify key knowledge areas that enable the college to have the greatest potential success for the next decade.   The project will allow us to have a dialogue on the future implications of trends and issues affecting our society, state, industries and communities, and to reflect on the state of the college and then come to consensus on focus areas of teaching, research, and extension. Ultimately, the project will drive our work to be as successful in 2030 as we are today.

The process will involve capturing input from internal and external stakeholders, gathering and evaluating data/feedback, and creating a vision for the future.  This will be a data and stakeholder driven effort because we believe you know most about what is needed from CAHNR to impact important issues within and beyond the state.  We created a process that we believe will produce a dynamic, forward-thinking, and focused description of a future that will position CAHNR to be among the most preeminent institutions of its kind in the nation.

To successfully achieve our goal, CAHNR leadership has identified a core team of individuals to spearhead this effort. These individuals bring their knowledge, experience, vision, and commitment to this endeavor while reaching out to learn as much as they can from others.  The strategic visioning team is co-chaired by Ashley Helton (Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment) and Justin Nash (Professor and Head, Department of Allied Health Sciences) and includes a cross-section of units in the college. The strategic visioning team is spending the next several months listening to stakeholders of the college, studying peer institutions, and consulting with funding agencies. As this will require time, energy, and commitment, our goal is to listen and learn from as many stakeholders as possible while maximizing the use of everyone’s time.

As part of the information gathering process, we will be reaching out to you and other individuals to ask you a brief set of questions.  As one of our leadership team members reaches out to you in the next few weeks, I sincerely hope that you will l be available to provide your input. We value and appreciate you volunteering your time to help us envision a future that will make CAHNR a regional and national leader in our mission areas. A brief fact sheet about the college is attached.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me (email: Indrajeet.chaubey@uconn.edu) or Committee Co-Chairs (ashley.helton@uconn.edu or justin.nash@uconn.edu).  Thank you again for your time and help.

Best,

Indrajeet Chaubey

Dean, UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources                          

Survey could help efforts to get more seafood eaten in CT

people eating seafood outside at picnic tables
Photo: Judy Benson

If you’re an average Connecticut resident, you probably didn’t eat seafood more than once in the last week.

But you might, if you knew more about how to prepare different types of fish, shellfish and seaweed, and where to buy local seafood. You’d also be inclined to have seafood more often if you knew more about its safety.

Those are some of the key findings of the Connecticut Seafood Survey, a 2½-year project to better understand current eating habits and how best to make of all types of seafood – but especially the shellfish, seaweed and fish from local waters – a more frequent part of state residents’ diets. Half the residents surveyed said they eat seafood just once a week – which is out of sync with the Food & Drug Administration’s recommendations. The FDA says adults should eat two or more servings per week to get all the nutritional benefits their bodies need.

Read more….

Article and photo by Judy Benson

Job Opening: Extension Educator, Diversified Livestock

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut contributes to a sustainable future through scientific discovery, innovation, and community engagement. CAHNR’s accomplishments result in safe, sustainable and secure plant and animal production systems, healthier individuals and communities, greater protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources, balanced growth of the economy, and resilient local and global communities. We epitomize the role of a land-grant university, which is to develop knowledge and disseminate it through the three academic functions of teaching, research, and outreach. In so doing, we improve the lives of citizens of our state, region and country.

 

The Department of Extension is seeking applicants for a full-time,  non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Extension Educator, primarily based at the Windham County Extension Office in Brooklyn, CT (75% Extension), with teaching responsibilities (25%) at the UConn Storrs Campus.  Position level/rank will be commensurate with experience working with Extension and/or teaching livestock production.  Anticipated start date is July 2020.

 

This is a joint appointment between the Department of Extension and Department of Animal Science with administrative responsibility in the Department of Extension. The successful candidate is expected to establish an externally funded Extension program that meets critical needs and builds the knowledge base with multidisciplinary, collaborative opportunities in livestock production.  Livestock species shall include but are not limited to beef, sheep, swine, goats and poultry. Faculty member will assess clientele problems and needs for Extension programs, and is expected to partner with other disciplines, programs, agencies, organizations and groups. Integrated programs may address basic and/or applied issues relative to livestock production including but not limited to animal health and nutrition, food safety and nutrient management.  This position will extend the reach of UConn Extension by integrating distance learning technology into program delivery through computer applications, web pages, electronic mailings, multimedia, and emerging technologies. This will be accomplished by utilizing innovative approaches to deliver timely, evidence-based solutions for livestock-related issues to diverse clientele. 

 

The candidate will also teach one course per semester in the Department of Animal Science (e.g. Livestock Management and Livestock and Carcass Evaluation). The incumbent is expected to effectively support and work across Extension and Animal Science teams, especially in applied research in the candidate’s area of expertise.  The successful candidate is expected to work with other faculty members in a multidisciplinary team environment, develop a diverse portfolio of educational materials for Extension clients and scholarly materials for professional peers.   To fulfill the extension mission, the successful candidate will perform other appropriate duties as needed or assigned. 

 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • An earned PhD in animal science or closely related field required.
  • Three years’ experience working with and teaching livestock production in Extension and/or informal classroom settings.
  • Candidates must have a significant and demonstrated experience in the field of livestock production.
  • Experience in scholarship and grantsmanship.
  • Candidates must possess strong skills in leadership, written and verbal communication, and interpersonal relations.
  • Personal transportation and a driver’s license are required; mileage allowance is provided for Extension related travel.Evening and weekend work may be required.

 

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Experience with Extension and the land-grant university system.
  • Demonstrated applied research interests associated with livestock production.
  • Demonstrated experience with enhancing diversity in educational program delivery and participation.

 

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a full-time position with generous benefits package. For more information on benefits, go to:  http://www.hr.uconn.edu/benefits/index.html. Starting salary for this position will be commensurate with training and experience.  This is an 11-month per year non-tenure track faculty position. 

 

TO APPLY

Select “Apply Now” to be redirected to Academic Jobs Online to complete your application.  Applicants should submit a letter of application that addresses qualifications identified in the advertisement, a resumewriting sample, and a list of three references with contact information. Please demonstrate through your application materials how you meet the minimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications for this position.

Please reference Search #2020237 in your application submittal.   Screening will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is found.  Preference will be given to candidates that apply within the first three weeks. 

Employment of the successful candidate will be contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check. (Search # 2020237)

This position will be filled subject to budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.


The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Full details and information on how to apply is available at: http://web2.uconn.edu/uconnjobs/faculty/schools_colleges/cahnr.php