Food and Agriculture Features and Impacts

Since its arrival in 2012, the spotted wing drosophila (SWD) has been one of the most damaging invasive species in Minnesota agriculture. Bill Hutchison and his team are exploring several management practices to help Minnesota small fruit growers deal with this devastating threat.

Honey bees play a keystone role in the productivity of agriculture and the beauty of our world by pollinating fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers. Recently, Marla Spivak and her team have been exploring how honey bees keep themselves healthy through social immunity - including propolis envelopes.

The Minnesota Youth Institute (MNYI) is a life-changing experience where high school students are encouraged to think critically about local and global hunger issues. During the event, the students engage with local leaders, experts, and industries on critical global challenges, participate in hands-on STEM activities and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Minnesota and around the world.

Despite control efforts, Salmonella remains a major cause of foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. resulting in an annual estimated loss of around $4 billion. Anup Johnny and his team are working to discover effective methods to control multidrug-resistant Salmonella to improve the safety of poultry products.

Roger Ruan and his team are developing intense pulsed light (IPL) technology to reduce harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in dry or powdered foods. For the project, they have designed and fabricated a small lab scale system for testing the IPL process in terms of microbial inactivation and physical, chemical and sensory changes under different conditions.

A three-year study looks at the specific fatty acids profile in milk produced from cows fed a 100 percent forage-based diet to cows under both conventional and organic management. 

UMN researchers participated in a multi-year and multistate experiment on soil functional zone management (SFZM) in corn and soybean systems that examined both ridge-till and chisel-plow tillage systems both with and without a rye cover crop and compared plant growth, yield, nutrient status, soil attributes and greenhouse gas emissions.

New wheat varieties and sharing of best practices are helping MN farmers grow more wheat on less acreage. 

A new multivariable model looks at how geographical factors may be a significant factor to help predict the risk of a PRRS outbreak.

Soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) has been wreaking havoc on Midwest soybeans since it was first discovered in 2000. While careful management practices have helped keep yields up, the possibility of aphids having resistance to insecticides remains a key concern.