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Inside... Sue Nokes is ASABE President-Elect ■ Alpha Epsilon Welcomes New Members ■ Regional Rally; Lawn Mower Clinic ■ Tire Waterers and Other Best Management Practices in Use at the Loretto Motherhouse Farm ■ BAE’s ‘Shop’ Changes Leadership ■ Competing in UK Graduate School’s 3 Minute Thesis ■ Book Drive at UK to Benefit International Book Project ■ Student Spotlight: Lauren Bell ■ Alumni Spotlight: Kirtley Amos ■ Grants, Publications, Awards 1

Welcome from the BAE Connections Editorial Committee Greetings Alumni and Friends: “Earth laughs in flowers!” I hope you are enjoying the scenic blooms of spring. I welcome you to the Spring 2018 edition of the BAE Connections. In it, we highlight some of the great work being done in the department by the faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Congratulations to Sue Nokes, Ph.D., P.E., professor and former BAE department chair, who will serve as ASABE President-Elect starting July 1. Another congratulations to Steve Higgins, Ph.D., who received the Eden Shale Farm Pioneer Award for 2017 for his dedicated service to best management practices. In this edition, Lee Moser, who works for Dr. Higgins, writes about tire waterers and other best management practices they have implemented at the Loretto Motherhouse farm in Ky. You will also read about this year’s Lawn Mower Clinic, as well as spotlights of BAE students Lauren Bell, Kirtley Amos, and Morgan Gerlitz. Alpha Epsilon, which conducted a fantastic Book Drive this year, has been a great help in preparing this newsletter.

Photo: Matt Barton, College of Agriculture

We are all connected to the BAE family! We hope you explore different ways in which you can become more involved with the department. We would love to have you visit to learn more about our program. Please contact us if you are willing to help with senior capstone projects, class tours, internships, and serve as guest speaker for classes or our student organizations. To stay up to date, please look at the latest BAE news by visiting and follow us on social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube).

Sincerely, Jian Shi, Ph.D.

Sue Nokes is ASABE President-Elect Sue Nokes, Ph.D., P.E., professor and former BAE department chair, will serve as ASABE President-Elect starting July 1. The three-year term includes stints as President-Elect, President, and Past President. Dr. Nokes’ statement for candidacy follows. “ASABE is my professional home, and I owe much of what I am professionally to the time others have given to our Society. Serving as President will allow me to pay that benefit forward, and to give generously as others have done before me. I recently completed a five-year term as society treasurer, and I believe that role, along with serving as department chair at the University of Kentucky for six years, has prepared me to undertake the role of president. Issues on which I’d like to focus during my term include continuing to empower young professionals as leaders in ASABE, and providing continuity for the website development, member value, and publications initiatives underway. I am optimistic about the future of our profession, and the role of ASABE in leading us into the future.” 2

Alpha Epsilon Welcomes New Members Alpha Epsilon will hold an induction ceremony for new members on April 20. Ryan Kalinoski Joseph Stevens Eric Vanzant

Francis Agbali Cynthia Arnold

In this issue... Pages 2-3

Welcome from the BAE Connections Editorial Committee; Sue Nokes is ASABE President-Elect; Alpha Epsilon Welcomes New Members; ASABE Southeastern Region Rally; Lawn Mower Clinic

Pages 4-5

Tire Waterers and Other Best Management Practices in Use at the Loretto Motherhouse Farm

Pages 6-7

Steve Higgins Receives Award; BAE’s ‘Shop’ Changes Leadership; Competing in UK Graduate School’s 3 Minute Thesis; Book Drive at UK to Benefit International Book Project

Pages 8-9

Student Spotlight: Lauren Bell; Alumni Spotlight: Kirtley Amos

Pages 10-11

Alumni Advisory Board Members; Upcoming Events; Grants; Internal Grants; Staff Professional Development Grants; Peer-Reviewed Publications; Awards; Departures; Arrivals; Retirements; Visiting Scholars

Amanda Williams Felix Akharume Colton Pugh Wenqi Li

ASABE Southeastern Region Rally The University of KY Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Student Branch will be hosting up to 150 BAE students from 14 states and 17 universities. The Regional Rally provides a valuable networking opportunity for these BAE student from different universities to meet, interact, and develop professionally. Over a series of three days (April 6th – 8th), we will have several distinguished speakers from the ASABE professional society, industry, and UK college of engineering presenting their perspective and information pertinent to being successful engineers. The Regional Rally serves as a valuable opportunity for these BAE students to learn about the University of Kentucky and the state of Kentucky.

BAE Connections is published twice a year by the University of Kentucky Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department, an Equal Opportunity Organization. The newsletter is produced by BAE in partnership with Alpha Epsilon. ©2018.

Lawn Mower Clinic

BAE Connections Editorial Committee Director: Mike Montross, Ph.D., P.E. Advisor: Jian Shi, Ph.D. Editor, Designer: Karin Pekarchik Contributors: Lauren Bell, George Day, Ph.D., Lee Moser, Jian Shi, Ph.D.

The Lawn Mower Clinic is a yearly fundraising staple for BAE Student Branch. This year’s event, held March 22-25, raised around $3,700, with approximately 100 mowers readied for the summer mowing season. Over the course of the weekend, fifteen students shared duties, which ranged from checking in mowers, tuning up lawn mowers, and collecting money.

Photography: Steve Patton, Matt Barton, UK College of Ag; BAE faculty/staff. Please submit story ideas, questions, or comments to or karin.


Tire Waterers and Other Best Management Practices in Use at the Loretto Motherhouse Farm By Lee Moser | Agriculture Extension Associate When people think of Loretto, Kentucky, they undoubtedly think of Maker’s Mark Bourbon. However, tucked away just a few short miles from Kentucky’s famed bourbon giant, there is a hidden treasure that is little known around Kentucky. I am referring to the Loretto Motherhouse Farm. The Loretto Motherhouse Farm is a part of the Loretto Motherhouse, which is run by The Sisters of Loretto. The

mixed enterprise farm (corn, soybean, and beef cattle) is managed and operated by Cody Rakes (College of Agriculture Food and Environment alumnus). Cody is a young, enthusiastic farmer who is determined to integrate conservation into his production practices wherever possible. Part of his role at the farm is to utilize the farm facilities and his management practices as educational tools to raise awareness of and encourage local producers to adopt alternative methods for accomplishing routine tasks. He does this

through experiential learning opportunities at the farm.

This past year we began working with Cody From top: Water harvested from the landscape is stored in Mary’s Lake and distributed to tire to develop a Best waterers for livestock consumption. A heavy traffic pad, concrete, and exclusion fencing protect Management Practice the tire waterer and improve the environment for the livestock. A tire waterer allows multiple (BMP) demonstration animals to drink at one time. site on the farm that not only meets his needs as a producer but also serves as a tool for his role as a local agricultural educator and role model. The majority of the practices that were implemented on the farm focus on the beef cattle feeding, handling, and watering facilities. Early on in the project we identified problem spots, underutilized facilities, and areas of opportunity. Problem spots included an aged


stack pad with failing sidewalls and damaged guttering. Underutilized facilities included an old silage feeding barn with a silo attached. Areas of opportunity included water harvested from a nearby lake. The major theme of all of the renovations was to do more with less and capture as many free resources from nature as possible. So, what exactly did that mean in terms of renovating structures and installing new watering facilities? We used vegetative treatment areas for remediating nutrient rich runoff, installing passive ventilation to improve animal housing environment, and tapping into harvested water from a nearby lake. One of the practices that has received the most attention is the water harvesting system that is plumbed to two repurposed heavy equipment

tires for watering livestock. Tire waterer tanks have become popular over the past several years around Kentucky because they are excellent low-cost, highvolume livestock watering systems. A tire tank waterer uses a loader, grader, dump truck, or similar OTR (off the road) tire as the reservoir. Because these tires have a large circumference, livestock have more access for drinking as compared to traditional automatic fountains. A heavy equipment tire tank should remain operational for over 10 years, and in many cases, will cost less than other types of

permanent water sources.

When you take into account that you are repurposing a waste product (the old tire) while utilizing free, From top: The water level in the tire waterer is controlled by a float valve and an overflow harvested water (a natural pipe. Concrete bin blocks were added to an aging covered stack pad to improve stability and resource), you are looking at functionality. Cattle utilizing the renovated feed barn for shelter and shade. a win-win for the producer and the environment. The alternative water source also serves the purpose of providing water for livestock away from environmentally sensitive areas such as streams and ponds, which have been traditional sources of water for livestock. Careful placement of the tire tank waterer allows for better pasture management, facilitates rotational grazing, and helps protect soil and water quality. Locate tire waterer tanks on solid, well-drained soils 5

away from streams, ponds, and sinkholes. To reduce the development of mud and manure buildup, install a heavy traffic pad around the tire tank waterer. The heavy traffic pad can be a made of geotextile fabric and gravel, concrete, or a combination of both. The two tire waterer tanks installed at the beef cattle facility at Loretto Motherhouse Farm have been in service for nearly one year now. There have been several minor obstacles to overcome with the structures. We’ve dealt with minor algae buildup in the summer. This has been addressed through biological controls, e.g., adding fish to the tanks to consume the algae. Another issue with the tanks has been winter freezing.

When comparing the costs and benefits of these structures, they have undoubtedly been a key component of the upgrades to the beef cattle facility at the Loretto Motherhouse Farm. We look forward to field days at the Motherhouse Farm with Cody this year and hope to see you all there! Contact Steve Higgins (shiggins@ or Lee Moser (lee. to arrange a tour. If you are unable to attend in person, feel free to take the virtual tour online at and follow the farm on Facebook at motherhousefarm/.

BAE’s ‘Shop’ Changes Leadership

research, extension, and academic engineering projects to reach fruition.

After Carl King’s long tenure — 25 years — as manager of the Agricultural Machinery Research Lab (the ‘Shop’), Will Adams took charge. Approximately five years after his tenure began, Will has left to work in industry.

The Engineer Associate Sr/ Research (shop manager) manages the AMRL, including tsupervising three full-time technicians and a minimum of two hourly students. The person in this position designs and fabricates research equipment, manages and conducts field work, evaluates projects and determines materials and supplies requirements, and manages purchasing and budgets. The shop manager is responsible for inspecting department facilities and equipment, supervising and performing maintenance, and scheduling work orders. Quality leadership in this position

Donnie Stamper, an engineer associate within the department, has been appointed Interim Manager, while a search committee begins to refine the job description to meet the department’s needs and then hire a successful candidate. As BAE alumni know, the AMRL is an integral part of the department, allowing faculty 6

This has been addressed by traditional means of breaking ice and using stock tank heaters, when necessary.

Steve Higgins Receives Award The Eden Shale Farm Pioneer Award for 2017 was presented to Dr. Steve Higgins for his dedicated service to best management practices.

Interim Shop Manager, Donnie Stamper. Photo courtesy UK College of Agriculture.

is vital to the department’s teaching, extension and research missions. In addition, the AMRL often provides design, fabrication, and machining services to other CAFE units.

Competing in UK Graduate School’s 3 Minute Thesis The 3 Minute Thesis is a popular worldwide research communication initiative. It challenges graduate students from all disciplines to speak concisely and engagingly to public audiences in three minutes with one static illustration slide. The 2017 3MT at UK marked the fifth year of competitions at the University of Kentucky. Workshops on topics such as public speaking, targeting research, and effective visual aids are offered in September, with the preliminary rounds held in October. The

Book Drive at UK to Benefit International Book Project By Carol Lea Spence | Agriculture Communications A book drive sponsored by the BAE’s honor society, Alpha Epsilon, ended March 30. The drive, with an eye toward promoting literacy and cultural understanding, collected gently used books for the International Book Project. This is the second year for the book drive. Last year’s drive, which lasted two weeks, collected enough books to fill a minivan. This year, the organizers expanded with a much longer drive and by

final competition is held in November, with community leaders serving as judges, and the winner goes on to regional competitions. BAE graduate student Morgan Gerlitz competed in the 2017 3MT and reached the finals. Morgan is a graduate research assistant in Bioenvironmental Engineering, and Dr. Agouridis is her advisor. Here is why Morgan chose to participate in the competition. I entered the 3MT competition because I could use more practice with public speaking. I never expected to make it to the finals! Presenting to a nontechnical audience was a very different experience for me. I was surprised to find that I had reaching out to also include the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine. The International Book Project was founded in 1966 by UK alumna Harriet Van Meter, who was struck by people’s need and desire for books while on a trip to India. The project, which continued to grow long after her death in 1997, has distributed more than 6 million books throughout the world and the United States, sending both small, tailored shipments of a few dozen books to small organizations and sea containers of 20,000 books

Photo courtesy of UK Ag Communications. the most trouble staying within a strict time limit and not having multiple slides to give structure to my speech. Overall it was a great experience and I think I got less nervous with every speech I gave. to organizations with larger capacity. Though all types of books are accepted, medical, engineering and agricultural books are in high demand. Those interested in donating books in the future should contact Jian Shi, Alpha Epsilon’s faculty adviser, at


Student Spotlight: Lauren Bell Lauren Bell is the president of Alpha Epsilon. Her final semester at UK will be in the fall of 2018.

What do you hope to achieve with your degree in Biosystems Engineering and what are your interests in the field? My interests are in the Biomedical Engineering field. I’m not exactly sure which specific area I want to work in yet, but I am very interested in neural engineering and biomaterials. What advice would you give to current and future students entering Biosystems Engineering? Be open minded in your interests. Try experiences that might not be in your comfort zone. Make many friends and connections... Engineering is a

lot easier when you have people to go through it with. Don’t stress too much, learning balance is extremely important to your sanity and success. What are your plans for the near and distant future? This summer I plan to get an internship in the Biomedical or related field. I then plan to graduate in the fall of 2018 (this year). After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, which I plan to have a career in one day. Were there any specific classes, activities, or people who made an impact on your education? The 2017 education abroad progam in Germany took me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to push myself. It increased my global awareness and has inspired me to see more of the world, which I hope to do in the future. I was immersed in another culture and was able to experience things I wouldn’t here. It also showed the impact engineering and its


principles around the world. How has the program benefitted you so far? Being in BAE has helped me in many ways. I have valued how it is a smaller department that I think allows me to get to know my peers and professors well. The program is personal and makes such a large university seem much smaller. I have also been able to make many great friends. I got the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Germany last summer through BAE and it was an experience I will cherish forever. Please tell us something about yourself that we may not know. I majored in Elementary Education before switching to engineering. Switching was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Engineering fits me and my interests perfectly.

Alumni Spotlight: Kirtley Amos Kirtley Amos is a Ph.D. candidate at UK in the Department of Horticulture.

Where are you in your career? I’m a Ph.D. candidate at UK in the Department of Horticulture. I’m studying chemical genetics, specifically, how novel compounds influence cellulose synthesis. How did your experience at UK prepare you for what you are doing now? As an M.S. student in the Department of Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering, my thesis focused on genetic transformation of yeast DNA into algae, making the algae more stress tolerant. In order to perform these experiments, I spent a lot of time in the lab of my current advisor, Seth DeBolt, and developed a love for molecular biology. What advice would you give to current and future students as

they prepare to join the workforce or go to graduate school? If you’re going to graduate school, find an advisor who you get along with. You will be spending a lot of time with this person and working long hours for and with them. The way that you interact with them, or them with you, will determine your graduate experience to a large degree. Bring courage and professionalism to a Ph.D. Were there any specific classes, activities, or people who made an impact on your education? Multiple events within UK have led me to this point. Initially, I came into college determined to practice medicine, enrolled in pursuing a B.S. in Agriculture Biotechnology, and then I took a class offered by Dr. Dave McNear, a professor in

Plant and Soil Science, who I give credit to pointing me toward plant science. After that event, I had a summer internship at Alltech in the Aquaculture Research Center, where I built a temperature-controlled recirculating trout system. That developed my interest in engineering and pointed me toward my M.S. in the Biosystems and Ag Engineering Department. From there, I started doing molecular work and taking all my electives in plant molecular biology. I then found a love for molecular biology and the concept of combining engineering with biology. That’s when I joined Seth’s lab; he had a project that nurtured my interests, using a liquid handling robot to perform the largest forward chemical genetics screen on Arabidopsis to date. What are your plans for the near and distant future? Run my first half marathon, graduate with my degree, maybe get an MBA or go straight into industry, focusing on plant biology or molecular biology. Please tell us something about yourself that we may not know. Running isn’t my favorite exercise. I have a cute German Shepherd/herding dog mix named Corrie who is one year old. 9

BAE’s Alumni Advisory Board meets twice a year, in the spring and fall. The group offers valuable feedback on the department’s academic, extension, outreach, and research programs.

Spring 2018 Members

Upcoming Events

Allen Patton Brittany Adam Doug Mynear Ellie HAwes Laud Azu Maridely Loyselle Nick Coleman Pamela Pabian Rachel Lindsay Norton Richard Schultz

Southeastern Region ASABE Rally—April 6-8, 2018 BAE Alumni Advisory Board Meeting—April 12, 2018 Expanding Your Horizons Conference—April 21, 2018 Graduation—May 4, 2018

As the 2017-2018 school year comes to a close, it is clear the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering has much to celebrate. Our successes would not be possible without the hard work of our outstanding students, faculty, and staff. Gifts from alumni and friends support these individuals as they continue their good work. The University of Kentucky fiscal year ends on June 30th. Every gift received before June 30th helps make BAE better for the current generation of students. We hope you will join the numerous donors who contribute to our accomplishments each year. Gifts can be made online to the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Enrichment Fund at ca.uky. edu/give or through the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni at 859-257-3814.outheastern Region ASABE Rally—April 6-8, 2018

Coming next spring...


Grants Adedeji, Akinbode, EPA P3 Award, “Harnessing wind energy to improve grain safety from aflatoxin contamination.” $14,956. Agouridis-PI, NSF, “NSF EPSCoR: Expanding Your Horizons-a STEM Conference for Middle School Girls,” $5,600, Co-I: Rodney Andrews, Ellen Crocker, Susan Odom, Jeremy Van Cleve, Robert Hirsch, Sora Kim. Agouridis, co-investigator, U.S. Forest Service, “Restoring Headwater Streams and Riparian Corridors at the Savannah River Site: Part-B Restoration Proposal and Permit Application,” $16,848. Chris Barton-PI. Edwards, co-investigator, NRCS, “Nutrient and Sediment Runoff Assessment in the Upper Mississippi River Embatement,” $904,300. Brad Lee-PI, Co-I: Ennis Beck. Hoagg, J., Jackson, J.J., Sama, M.P., Yang, R. 2017. NRI: INT: Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Robots for Livestock Heath Monitoring. USDA-NIFA National Robotics Initiative. $899,907. 8/1/177/31/20.

Departures Will Adams Jerry Hash Lalitendu Das

Jackson and Sama-co-investigators, NIFA, “NRI:INT: Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Robots for Livestock Health Monitoring,” $899,907. Jesse Hoagg-PI, Co-I: Ruigang Yang. Purschwitz, co-investigator, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, “Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention,” $1,448,907. Wayne Sanderson-PI, Co-I: David Westneat, Joan Mazur, Mark Swanson, Richard Ingram, Stacy Vincent, Kang Namkoong. Sama, M.P. 2017. High-Throughput Soil Sampling System. VPR Minor Equipment Competition. $39,336. 1/1/18-6/30/18

Internal Grants 2018 Barnhart Fund for Excellence Award, “KYH20 Podcast,” $600. Carmen Agouridis and Amanda Gumbert. 2018 Sustainability Challenge Grant, “S.KYBLUE at UK Organic Unit,” $47,118. Team: Mark Williams, Greg Luhan, Joe Dvorak, Carolina Segura. 2018 Sustainability Challenge


Rilwan Oyetunji

Grant, “Kentucky Master Naturalist Program,” $14,257. Team: Carmen Agouridis, Donnie Stamper, Ellen Crocker, Laurie Thomas, Matt Springer, Wayne Sanderson, Amanda Gumbert, Chris Barton, Corrinne Belton, Wayne Long.

Staff Professional Development Grants Burl Fannin Beverly Miller Karin Pekarchik

Peer-Reviewed Publications Hamidisepehr, A., Sama, M.P., Turner, A.P., Wendroth, O.O. 2017. A Method for Reflectance Index Wavelength Selection from Moisture Controlled Soil and Crop Residue Samples. Transactions of the ASABE. 60(5): 1479-1487. Seyyedhasani, H., Dvorak, J. (2018). Reducing Field Work Time Using Fleet Routing Optimization. Biosystems Engineering.

Awards Steve Higgins, Eden Shale Farm Pioneer Award

Visiting Scholars Olufemi Adetola

Retirements Richard Warner 11

University of Kentucky Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering 128 C.E. Barnhart Building Lexington, KY 40546-0276 (859) 257-3000

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University of Kentucky BAE Connections | Spring 2018  

The University of Kentucky Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering publishes a newsletter twice a year. By keeping our audienc...

University of Kentucky BAE Connections | Spring 2018  

The University of Kentucky Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering publishes a newsletter twice a year. By keeping our audienc...