University of Kentucky College of Agriculture College of Engineering





Sustainability bloggers

When asked to become involved in UK's living learning community Greenhouse, Carmen Agouridis, Ph.D., P.E., saw a wonderful opportunity to continue to meld all of these things she loves. While brainstorming ideas for Greenhouse, she read a book called No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. "The book resonated with me in that the author, who recognized that his political and environmental views were not in line with how he was living his life, decided to make a lifestyle change – and in a big way. For one year, the author and his family slowly learned to live their lives while making 'zero' (a.k.a. minimal) impact on the environment," she says. "What stood out, almost as much as the extremity of his lifestyle changes – no, I am not advocating going without electricity – was his willingness to try new things, be willing to make mistakes, and in general, to learn. Colin did not start out with all of the answers, but he was willing to search for solutions."

In the same vein, Dr. Agouridis's Spring 2015 course, A&S 100-014 The Sustainability Challenge, is an opportunity for students to learn ways to live their lives more sustainably. In the class room, students are participating in hands-on activities related to topics in the book, e.g. making green cleaning products and building a rain barrel and vermicomposting bin. Each week, students will also engage in new challenges – which, according to Dr. Agouris, "some I anticipate they will love, others, not so much."

To help students share their thoughts and ideas with a wider audience, Dr. Agouridis created The Sustainability Challenge, a website where students must write a blog post each week, reflecting on sustainability issues, including trash, eating seasonally, and consuming less. To mix things up, students have different roles, which change weekly: first reader, responder, searcher, and reporter. The four varying roles increase student (and reader) involvement in the topic at hand.

As an engineer, Agouridis' goal for the course is to expose the students to new experiences. She hopes that they, and the blog's readers, will adopt some of these techniques for living more sustainably. Are you ready to accept her challenge? If yes, follow the unfolding semester by signing up to receive student blog posts at


 Sustainability Challenge



Don Colliver appointed director of IAC

September 23, 2014 — Don Colliver has been appointed the new director of the Kentucky Industrial Assessment Center. The KIAC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and is one of 23 IACs which are located at universities around the U.S. Larry Holloway, Chair of UK Electrical and Computer Engineering, was the previous KIAC director.

IAC centers

There are two major goals of the IACs: a) teach students how to perform energy and productivity assessments and b) perform free assessments to small to medium industrial facilities in Kentucky. The IAC has done nine assessments this year; its average recommendations would save $94,000 per year in energy and $186,000 per year in productivity per facility. To learn more, visit the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) website or download a PDF.

Jimmy Ash



Jimmy Ash wins award

September 10, 2014 — Jimmy Ash, engineer aide senior, won the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Outstanding Staff Award in the Technician/Paraprofessional category on Staff Appreciation Day during the recent week-long Ag Round Up.

Ash brings widespread knowledge of construction materials and methods and construction management to the department. He is a highly skilled draftsman who has worked on development of plans and specifications for large scale, multi-million dollar projects within CAFE as well as numerous undergraduate and graduate student projects during his 15-year tenure.

"When you like your job and the people you work with, it's easy to do your job well," Ash said upon receiving the award.

The awards are co-sponsored by Gamma Sigma Delta Honorary Society of Agriculture, the Agriculture and HES Alumni Association, and Partners in Agriculture. The award is given to staff members who demonstrate their dedicated, steadfast, competent and outstanding service to the college. More information about the Outstanding Staff Awards and this year’s recipients can be found at CAFE Outstanding Staff Award webpage.


Crofcheck NSF


Crofcheck to focus on outreach, workforce development for NSF grant

September 10, 2014 — Dr. Czarena Crofcheck, co-PI on the recently awarded $24 million NSF "new energy economy" grant, will serve as faculty lead for workforce development, education, diversity, and outreach. She will work closely with the science leads to provide connectivity between the research and education activities and to help guarantee that successful outcomes are achieved through NSF funding of KY EPSCoR.

The combined grants total $24 million ($20 million from NSF and $4 million from Kentucky EPSCoR), and focus on three pillars: Advanced Membranes (B. Hinds), Chemical Biology (S. DeBolt), and Electrochemisty (Y.T. Cheng), with CAER's Dr. Rodney Andrews acting as director and PI.

Dr. Crofcheck's work spans all three pillars, providing her with a unique opportunity to:

  • develop partnerships with other organizations;
  • connect groups with similar and/or supporting missions across the Commonwealth;
  • and target student groups that are underrepresented in STEM through internships, research experiences, and workshops.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Kentucky to strengthen our economy by building infrastructure and expanding our education efforts in science and technology,” Crofcheck said.


To learn more about this grant, visit UK Now.

Chellgren Fellow


BAE student Ashley Cutshaw named Chellgren Fellow

August 27, 2014 — Ashley Cutshaw, a biosystems engineering major from Kalamazoo, Mich., has been named a Chellgren Fellow. Read more about this prestigous accomplishment at UK Now.

Visit the Chellgren Center to learn more about the program and its benefactors.

Water Week 

Dr. Agouridis' Water Week, September 15-19, follows K Week event

August 25, 2014 — To highlight water's status as one of our most precious natural resources, Dr. Agouridis has planned Water Week, September 15-19.

Water Week consists of a scavenger hunt and photo contest that takes place in advance of the actual Water Week activities. Contest dates are September 2 at 8am through September 11 at 5pm.

All undergraduate students are eligible to compete. Cash prizes will be awarded at the awards ceremony September 15 at the UK Student Center. Please visit Water Week for contest rules and registration.

You can also learn more at the Water Week Facebook page. Water Week is sponsored by the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment.

Akinbode Adedeji, Ph.D. 

Adedeji joins BAE faculty

August 22, 2014 — The Department of Biosytems and Agricultural Engineering is very pleased to welcome its newest faculty member, Akinbode Adedeji, Ph.D.

Bode, as he prefers to be called, has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Food and Bioprocess Engineering. He will teach AEN 340, Principles of Food Engineering, this fall, while he assembles his laboratory. Bode's areas of expertise are agricultural produce value addition via processing, heat and mass transfer applications in food, e.g. deep-fat frying, drying, freezing, and extrusion processing. He comes to BAE from Canada's McGill University.

“We are so pleased that we were able to attract Dr. Akinbode Adedeji to join our faculty in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at UK. Dr. Adedeji brings a new dimension to our faculty with his experience in food process engineering, and we look forward working with him,” Dr. Nokes remarked.

In addition to his food engineering experience, Bode brings a wealth of cultural experience with him, having worked in Nigeria, Canada, and France. Two years into his Ph.D. program in his native Nigeria, Bode had the opportunity to apply to McGill. Despite having already received two degrees in Nigeria, Bode was placed in the master's program at McGill. After only one semester, he proved his mettle and moved to the Ph.D. program, which he completed in 2010. He continued to work for his supervisor at McGill before returning to Nigeria.

He then accepted a short appointment as a post-doctoral scholar in Nantes, France, before moving to Kansas State University, where he spent two years working as a post-doctoral scholar. When his two-year contract at Kansas State expired, he was able to return to McGill, where he worked prior to accepting the position with BAE. His wife and two children, who have remained in Canada while he is getting acclimated to life in Kentucky, will join shortly.

Bode in food lab

"This position in Kentucky is a perfect fit. It fits my background and my skill set. I felt very much at home here and I believe I can succeed. I also was impressed with the resources in the department and the warm reception I received," Bode said soon after his arrival. 

Bode was in a pioneering food engineering program in Nigeria, the first in the country to offer a degree in that area of specialty. Bode explained that now there are four other universities that offer food engineering and more than 25 food engineers graduating every year. Because of the limited funding for research and industry positions, Bode chose to look for opportunities outside of Nigeria.

"I had to think about my joy as a teacher. Close to ninety five percent of food engineering students in Nigeria graduate and have to do something else. Only the very lucky ones get into the food industry," he said.

For additional information, including more about Bode's research focus and CV, visit his webpage.

KWeek 2014 

Agouridis leads BAE team that will participate in K Week

August 19, 2014 — K Week, the annual welcome whirlwind for new students, is August 22–30. Led by Dr. Agouridis, BAE is partnering with other departments that have a sustainability focus to provide lunch and giveaways for students on Tuesday, August 26, from 11am–1pm. The event will drive awareness of UK's sustainability programs and is sponsored by CAFE Environmental Programs.


Students will feast on local products, including hamburgers from Marksbury Farm Market, brats from the UK Butcher Shop, buns from Bluegrass Baking Company, and a vegetable stir-fry and watermelon from UK Horticulture Research Farm. Beverages will be supplied by Ale-8-One and Highbridge Springs. Care has been taken to lessen the environmental impact, so students can expect to see compostable and recyclable products.


There also is an app that students can use to create their own personal schedule of events and even rate the event. The event listing, below, is on page 16 of the K Week guide:


11 a.m. – 1 p.m. SUSTAINABLE UK: EXPLORING ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS IN THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD, AND ENVIRONMENT (CAFE) (Greenspace on the corner of Hilltop Avenue and Woodland Avenue) Are you interested in creating a healthy and sustainable future for our planet? If so, this is the event for you! Join faculty, staff, and current students to learn about environmental majors in CAFE and programs on campus while enjoying great food and fun giveaways! Sponsored by CAFE Environmental Programs.

BAE Student Branch 

New BAE Student Branch officers announced

August 14, 2014 — A new officer team for the 2014-2015 BAE Student Branch has been announced. Faculty advising remains in the hands of Dr. Dvorak, with Dr. Sama as incoming and Dr. Agouridis as past faculty advisor.



For more information, visit BAE Student Branch.

Brazil Study Abroad 

Vote for BAE's Study Abroad trip to Brazil

August 4, 2014 — Education Abroad is sponsoring a photo contest on Facebook, and BAE has submitted two entries for the recent study abroad trip to Brazil. Entries with the most "likes" win, so please go to Facebook now to vote. Please note: It is important that voters "like" the actual photo. Likes on shared photos will not be counted. Nicole Koeninger, Thomas Loxley, John Evans, and Alicia Modenbach appear in the two photos submitted by BAE.

For more on UK's international studies, visit Education Abroad.

Carmen Agouridis 

Carmen Agouridis is a recipient of 2014 A.W. Farrall Young Educator Award

July 31, 2014 — ASABE Press Release:   'Five Earn Awards for Early-Career Achievement'

Download the PDF

Sam McNeill 

Sam McNeill recognized by Kentucky Association of County Agricultural Agents

July 24, 2014 — Associate Extension Professor Sam McNeill, Ph.D., P.E., was recognized as the "Outstanding Specialist" for 2014 by the Kentucky Association of County Agricultural Agents at the group's annual meeting. The recognition also included naming him as an “Honorary Kentucky County Agent.” This award reflects the level of support that McNeill provides to county agents, a clientele that many extension engineers may not have regular and visible contact with.

ASABE Montreal 2014 

BAE busy at 2014 ASABE Annual Conference in Montreal

July 22, 2014 — ASABE’s 2014 Annual International Meeting, held in Montreal from July 13-16, recently concluded. ASABE's yearly meeting provides an important opportunity for professional development, with 1,607 in attendance, 43 percent of whom were under the age of 35.

BAE faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni were very busy at the conference  — receiving awards, presenting posters, giving presentations, and moderating panels. At 29, this year's group was one of the largest from this department to attend. 


Awards and Fellows:

Carmen Agouridis received the A.W. Farrall Young Educator Award for her exemplary research and teaching performance, and unique ability to engage and challenge undergraduate and graduate students. Agouridis, who recently received tenure, is involved in research, teaching, and extension programs focused on applied research to address current issues in the natural resources community. She is currently teaching five courses, and she developed and administers the Stream and Watershed Science Graduate Certificate program. She has amassed a research portfolio of more than $5 million.

Scott A. Shearer (UK BAE Chair, 2007-2011, Professor Emeritus, Machine Systems Automation; current Chair, The Ohio State University) and Larry G. Wells (Professor Emeritus, Machine Systems Automation) were named ASABE Fellows. ASABE defines a Fellow as a member of unusual professional distinction, with outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in, or related to, the field of agricultural, food, or biological systems engineering. This is ASABE’s highest honor.

University of Kentucky won the International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. For more about this winning team, see UK Ag News.

“Managing Stormwater Using Low Impact Development (LID) Techniques” by Carmen Agouridis and John McMaine received a 2014 ASABE Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Award.

“Mulching by Large Round Bales between Plastic-covered Beds” by John Wilhoit, Tim Stombaugh, and Tim Coolong received a 2014 ASABE Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Award.

D.F. Schiavone, A.A. Teixeira, R.A. Bucklin, S.A. Sargent received an ASABE Superior Paper Award for “Design and Performance Evaluation of a Solar Conevction Dryer for Drying Tropical Fruit,” Applied Engineering in Agriculture, Vol. 29, No. 3.

T.C. Bridges, R.S. Gates, E.M. Smith, L.W. Turner received an ASABE Superior Paper Award for “Modeling the Growth of Laboratory and Farm Animals: Part 2. Polytocus Animals and the Relationship of Birth Weight, Gestation Time, and Mature Size” Transactions of the ASABE, Vol. 56, No. 3.



Matthew W. Veal (Bayer CropScience) received the Larry W. Turner Young Extension Professional Award. BAE has endowed the Larry W. Turner Young Extension Professional Award in honor of Dr. Larry Turner, a former faculty member who died in 2006 in an airplane crash while departing for an Extension conference. Veal received his Ph.D. from this department before heading to NC State.

Alicia Modenbach is the Incoming Chair of the Membership and Development Council.


Presentations (Monday – Wednesday):

John Evans: Session 112, Animal Manure Management Systems. Presentation: Calibration of Oxygen Sensors for use in Compost.

Czarena Crofcheck: Moderator, Session 15E: IBE Perspectives of Biological Engineering and Partnerships with Other Societies. Presentation: Utilization of Microalgae for CO(2) mitigation and the production of value-added products.

Mike Sama: Session 135, Teaching Instrumentation and Controls. Presentation: Using Instrumentation Amplifiers as Recurring Theme for Teaching Instrumentation.

Yongbo Wan: Session 105, Power and Machinery Division. Poster #28: CAN Bus Monitoring Node Network for Sprayer Application Performance Evaluation.

Nicole Koeninger: Session 133, Soil and Water Division. Poster #71: Impact of Varying Cover Factors on Soil Erosion due to Biomass Removal.

Carmen Agouridis: Session 133, Soil and Water Division. Poster #28: Comparison of Composite Sample Concentration and FWMC for Rainfall Simulation Studies.

Whitney Blackburn-Lynch: Session 133, Soil and Water Division. Poster #58: Comparison of Regional Curves and Hydraulic Geometry Curves for Physiographic Provinces across the U.S.

Joe Dvorak: Session 251, Advances in Instrumentation and Control. Presentation: Testing of Tablet-Based GPS Systems.

Alicia Modenbach: Session 26, Teaching Methods and Student Learning. Presentation: An alternative approach to introducing the engineering design process to freshmen engineering students.

Carmen Agouridis: Session 249, Waterborne Contaminants of Health Concern. Presentation: Hydrologic Characterization of a Rain Garden Mitigating Stormwater Runoff from a Commercial Area.

Bobby Carey: Session 232, New Frontiers in Energy. Poster #88: Rapid Genetic Identification of Phanerochaete chrysosporium during Pretreatment of Lignocellulose.

Drew Schiavone: Session 232, New Frontiers in Energy. Poster #43: Bale Moisture Measurement via Time-Domain Reflectometry.

Amanda Hickman: Session 232, New Frontiers in Energy. Poster #83: Optimization of P. chrysosporium During Solid State Pre-treatment.

Mike Montross: Session 232, New Frontiers in Energy. Poster #49: Mechanical Properties of Radially Compressed Miscanthus and Switchgrass.

Aaron Turner: Session 257, Food and Process Engineering Division. Poster #36: Mechanical Properties of Radially Compressed Miscanthus and Switchgrass.

Richard Warner: Session 311, Innovative Hydrology and Water Quality Monitoring. Presentation: Design and Evaluation of a Multistage Tipping Bucket.

Whitney Blackburn-Lynch: Session 309, Environmental Considerations of Resource Extraction. Presentation: A Hydrologic Assessment of a Stream Created on Mined Lands.

Richard Warner: Session 309, Environmental Considerations of Resource Extraction. Presentation: Design of Weep Berms for Appalachian Contour and Area Surface Coal Mining.

Carmen Agouridis: Session 309, Environmental Considerations of Resource Extraction. Presentation: Long-Term Hydrologic Characteristics of Loose-Dumped Mine Spoil.

Mike Sama: moderator, Session 301, Instrumentation and Controls for Precision Agriculture.
Presentation: Scalable Control Architecture for Variable-Rate Turn Compensation.

Fred Payne: Session 323, Spectral Scattering Technology for Food Quality and Safety. Presentation: Fluorescence Sensor for Process Control in the Dairy Industry.

Timothy Mains: Session 323, Spectral Scattering Technology for Food Quality and Safety. Presentation: Fluorescence for monitoring yogurt fermentation and predicting culture endpoint.


Alumni Recognitions:

Morgan D. Hayes (University of Illinois) was recognized in the Structures and Environment Division, Outstanding Reviewers for 2013 Publication Year.

Jason K. Ward (Mississippi State University) was recognized in the Food and Bioprocess Engineering Division, Outstanding Reviewers for 2013 Publication Year.

Scott Shearer (The Ohio State University): Session 333, Machinery Management and Logistics. Presentation: In-Field Logistics Analysis of Single vs. Multiple Machines on a Harvesting Operation.

Jennifer Frederick (Kansas State University): Session 257, Food and Process Engineering Division. Poster # 6: Review of Industrial Heat Treatments for Pest Management.

Joe Luck (Nebraska State University): Moderator, Session 204, Advances in Pesticide Application. Poster: Combining Site Specific Data with Geospatial Analysis to Identify Variable Rate Irrigation Opportunities in Agricultural Fields; Presentation: Evaluation of a wireless capacitance based sensor for monitoring spray deposition.

Christina Lyvers (University of Illinois): Session 219, Animal Responses to Environment. Presentation: Assessment of individual beef cattle movement using global positioning system monitoring.

Mike Sama 

Part 2: Mike Sama interviewed by "Across Kentucky" about UAV research

July 17, 2014 — Assistant Professor Mike Sama, Ph.D., P.E., was interviewed by Mike Feldhaus of Kentucky Farm Bureau's "Across Kentucky" about unmanned aerial vehicle research Sama is working on. Additional podcasts featuring Sama are available on the Kentucky Farm Bureau Newsroom website.

tractor auction 

Tractor team scholarship fund begins move toward endowment

July 9, 2014 — The inaugural quarter-scale scale tractor auction, held June 27, raised money for a recurring scholarship through the sale of two tractors from previous ASABE International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competitions.

Tim Greis, a 2003 graduate of our BAE program, purchased the 2001 tractor. Greis brought along a photo album documenting a cross-country trip he, Tim Smith, and Scott Shearer took to the 2001 ASABE meeting on the West Coast. His photo album was full of pictures of the tractor in front of major tourist attractions, including the St. Louis Arch, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas strip, Hoover Dam, Bonneville Salt Flats (Utah) and Cadillac Ranch (Texas).

Greis lives near Cincinnati with his wife Stephanie and son Ian. After graduation, he began working for Cummins, Inc., as a service engineer. Over the past 11 years, he has worked in current product support, future product field testing and service process development, and field service engineering. He currently works in marketing and sales as a technical support manager for Cummins' largest national account.

"I attribute much of my success to the practical knowledge I gained as a member of the UK quarter scale pulling tractor team. As a team member I was able to transform classroom learning into practical application. When I entered the workforce, most of my colleagues had not had comparable programs at their university and, consequently, they faced a much steeper learning curve when entering industry. Cummins has since recruited numerous quarter scale tractor team members," Greis said.

John T. Evans III, father of previous tractor team captain and current graduate student John Evans, purchased the 2004 tractor. The Evans family farms in Fayette and Clark counties, where they raise tobacco, corn, wheat, and soybeans. They also have about 80 head of cattle and a flock of sheep that John's mother raises.

After the tractors, a toolbox, a frame side rail, and two tires were auctioned off. Sales of tractor team shirts and hats from previous years were brisk, bringing in additional funds. Then, after a lively auction led by Lee Hall from Farmers Feed Mill, the night ended with tractor pulling by John Paul Jones, Wanda Jones Lawson, Michael Sama, Andy Watson, brothers Justin and Josh Jackson, and John Evans.

Proceeds from the auction, dinner, apparel sales, and donations were deposited in the Quarter Scale Tractor Team Scholarship Fund account. The scholarship will be fully endowed when the fund reaches $25,000. If you would like to make a contribution, contact Marci Hicks in the Office for Advancement, 859-257-7200.

Clark donates electric forklift for research project

June 23, 2014 — Clark Material Handling has donated a GEX30 forklift to advance machine systems research in BAE, illustrating the opportunities for cooperation with local companies and Clark’s commitment to advanced research.

The electric forklift will be used to test different power delivery methods in agricultural systems. This ongoing collaborative project is overseen by Joe Dvorak, Ph.D., assistant professor, Machine Systems Automation. Dvorak, who teaches two undergraduate classes and conducts research in alternative power systems and autonomous machinery, said, "I was very pleased to have this opportunity to work with Clark Material. Their generous donation of the forklift is appreciated by our department, and our hope is that the collaborative nature of this research will lead to greater ties with industry and to new projects."

Clark Material Handling, located in Lexington, is a forklift manufacturer whose truck range includes 1,500 to 18,000 pound capacities, LPG, gasoline, dual fuel, diesel, narrow-aisle stackers, electric riders and powered hand trucks. Clark has state-of-the-art parts distribution warehouses in Louisville, Kentucky, and Changwon, South Korea. Clark also has a large dealer support network, with over 550 locations worldwide in more than 80 countries.

 Clark Material Handing forklift

Shown here, in front of Clark's Lexington headquarters on 700 Enterprise Drive, are, left to right: Lonnie Oxley, Mike Grossman, Mark Dyster, Scott Johnson, Joseph Dvorak (BAE), Chuck Moratz, Dennis Lawrence, and Jason Sexton.

teen conference 

Workshops held for 4-H youth during 2014 Teen Conference

June 19, 2014 — Twenty-two 4-H youth attended two BAE workshops during the 2014 4-H Teen Conference, held on the UK Lexington campus from June 9 – 12. The "Sustainable You " workshops introduced the teens to home energy use and consumption. Beverly K. Miller, architect and BAE Agricultural Extension Associate Senior, led the group discussions and tours of the SKY BLUE solar house, the 2009 UK entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The final activity was sampling s’mores, made in solar ovens made from pizza boxes. 4-H'ers came away with sticky hands and an appreciation of the amount of energy appliances and electronics use and can waste when "on" but not performing their primary function.

Tractor Auction 

Quarter-scale tractor auction scheduled for June 27

June 16, 2014 — In an inaugural event, the 2001 and 2004 tractors from those ASABE International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competitions will sold at auction, with all proceeds benefiting the newly established Quarter-Scale Tractor Team Scholarship Fund.

Please see the attached invitation for additional details. To RSVP, email Brooke Stone or call 859-257-3814.

UK's Wildcat Pulling Team has just won the 2014 ASABE International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, and the team will hold a pulling demonstration during the event.

Don't miss this opportunity to congratulate members of this year's winning team, and to visit with tractor team alums. The reception begins at 5:30, with dinner and the auction at 6:30. There is a $10 charge per person for dinner; reservations should be made by June 20.

Group returns from study abroad trip to Brazil

June 11, 2014 — A group of students, faculty, and staff recently returned from a two-week study-abroad trip to Brazil that Tim Stombaugh, Ph.D., P.E, organized in conjunction with Brian Steward of Iowa State University. The May 10-26 excursion was similar to trips taken in 2010 and 2012, with a focus on agricultural development.

On this bus tour through the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, the group had the opportunity to see a variety of agricultural operations from very small, subsistence-type family farms to some of the largest coffee and sugar cane producers in the world. Dr. Stombaugh’s goal was to look at development and adoption of technology in agriculture, and the itinerary was chosen specifically by him and Dr. Steward to provide a wide range of experiences for students.

Four undergraduate and four graduate students, along with Drs. Stombaugh, Dvorak, and Modenbach followed the full itinerary, with Drs. Nokes and Agouridis joining for part of the trip. Iowa State had a similar number, with 11 students and two faculty members rounding out the group. Family members from both universities were able to join for part of the trip, extending the unique experience even further.


The first four days were spent in Viçosa, where BAE has had a long-term educational partnership with the Universidade Federal de Viçosa.  The University released a press release about the trip, which is written in Portuguese.

Those four days were busy, with visits to a mid-size coffee farm, a small family farm, and a cachaça distillery. Cachaça is a fermented and distilled sugarcane juice that is “similar to Kentucky bourbon,” according to Stombaugh. “The distillery’s closed system was a fascinating clash of technologies: A 1900s steam-powered engine milled the sugarcane, while in the next room, a modern automated bottling line prepared the beverage for market.” They also toured university labs, faculty lectures, met with the President of the university. The Brazilian students hosted a traditional BBQ, or churrasco, one evening.

In Belo Horizonte, a capital city of more than five million, everyone got time off to see the central market, street fair, and museums. Next was a contrast in population: Rio Paranaiba, with a population of only 13,000, boasts a new satellite campus of Viçosa.  While there, the group visited a large vegetable production farm which began its now-successful dairy to supply the vegetables with manure. They use manure for fertilizer and methane to power the coolers, creating an energy-efficient closed system. While in Rio Paranaiba, Drs. Stombaugh and Steward gave invited lectures at the university. While there, students got to experience Brazil’s traditional stew, feijoada, which features nose-to-tail pork and beef cuts.

"My favorite part was the food. It was delicous! The pizza, meats, beans and rice, grilled pineapple, and bananas were the highlight of the trip. But as far as the ag/industrial tour part goes, the sugarcane fields were amazing to see. Corn to Americans is sugarcane to Brazilians. It's part of their fuel, food, distilleries, and economy. Studying abroad in Brazil showed the scope of how important sugar cane really is to Brazil and to the world," said Thomas Loxley, a BAE senior who, in addition to going to Brazil, is a summer intern at the Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee.


On to São Carlos, where the group visited Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, or EMBRAPA,  an agriculture research facility, which, in this case, conducts precision agriculture research. They also visited Museu TAM, an aviation museum created by the founder of Brazil’s TAM Airlines.

In São Paulo’s Piracicaba, students and staff toured a CNH facility which specializes in sugarcane and coffee harvesters. Following that, they visited a sugarcane breeding facility, which uses the cane as a thermal energy crop.

The journey ended with some well-deserved time off in Rio de Janeiro, where, despite unfavorable weather, the group enjoyed seeing the statue of Christ the Redeemer and a cable car ride to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. “It was really neat to see how similar, yet how different things were in Brazil, and the difference in scale of the various agricultural operations. It gives you a new perspective on things. This whole trip was a really great experience, one that I’ll definitely remember forever,” Dr. Alicia Modenbach, the department’s academic coordinator, said.


The study-abroad program was made possible in part by the CAFE’s Dean’s International Incentive Fund (DIIF) program, UK’s Education Abroad, and a FIPSE grant.

UK wins 2014 ASABE Quarter Scale Student Design Competition

June 3, 2014 — Congratulations to the 2014 Wildcat Pulling Team, winner of the ASABE Quarter Scale Student Design Competition this past weekend.

In addition to winning the overall competition, the team won first place awards in several categories, including the written design report, overall design judging, overall tractor pulls (including winning three of the four pulls), manufacturability, and safety. The team placed second in the team presentation, serviceability, and test & development. The competition was held at the Expo Gardens Fairgrounds in Peoria, Ill., from May 29th – June 1st and included entries from 29 teams across the U.S. and Canada.

UK’s entry, the Wildcat 3114, incorporated novel design features including an adjustable wheel base, which was electronically actuated from the operator’s station.

This year’s UK team was well rounded, with students participating from the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Student members were:

  • Michael Blum (ME, Captain)
  • Charles Crume (BAE)
  • Brent Howard (BAE)
  • Alex Kloentrup (ME)
  • Shawn O’Neal (BAE)
  • Angela Rakes (CLD)
  • Cody Rakes (AgEd)
  • Brad Wilson (BAE)

BAE Agricultural Machinery Research Laboratory staff Will Adams, Lee Rechtin, Brett Childers, and Ed Hutchens assisted with the fabrication of the Wildcat 3114. John Evans and Nick Rhea continued their support of the team in all aspects as graduate student advisors. Karin Pekarchik provided editing and media support. Carl King transported the tractor and all of the tools and equipment needed to maintain the tractor at the competition. Tim Smith continued his role as team advisor – a role he has served since 1999 with an outstanding dedication to providing students with practical engineering design experience. Mike Sama served again as faculty advisor.

Wildcat Pulling Team 2014

For another perspective, read about the competition in Farm Industry News.

Ag Weather Observer 

Ag Weather Center releases May Kentucky Ag Weather Observer

May 19, 2014 — The Kentucky Ag Weather Center has published the May edition of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Observer. Please note that the Weather Observer will transition from a monthly to a quarterly publication beginning in July.

Dr. Agouridis 

Carmen Agouridis receives promotion with tenure

May 1, 2014 — Carmen Agouridis, Ph.D., P.E., has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure pending approval by the Board of Trustees July 1. John Walz, Dean of Engineering, announced the promotion at the College of Engineering awards reception on Monday.

Colleague Richard Warner said, "Carmen successfully uses a systems approach, with both her students and in conducting applied research, where she takes into account the multiple interdependencies of the many factors in play to identify where effort and resources can best be applied. Incorporating the natural environment into many of her designs has proven to provide advantages to reducing cost and generating sustainable solutions."

Agouridis has been an energetic and influential addition to the department since accepting the Environmental Restoration position in January 2010. As one of the co-directors of UK's new living learning community, Greenhouse, she will continue to positively impact students throughout the university.

“Dr. Agouridis’s promotion was well-deserved. She has a very active program – both in teaching, and research, and she is definitely an asset to the University of Kentucky. The Department is looking forward to her leadership as she assumes her new role as an Associate Professor," Dr. Nokes said.

Agouridis's program focuses on using applied research to address current issues in the natural resources community, particularly in the fields of assessment and restoration of streams impacted by mining, urban or agricultural activities; mined land reclamation; riparian zone management particularly with regards to grazing; and stormwater management. She is specifically interested in the protection, management and restoration of streams and riparian zones; her efforts focus on developing techniques for restoring environmental quality in an effective and economically feasible manner.

While her position has changed slightly over the years, she currently has distribution of effort of 45 percent research, 45 percent teaching, and 10 percent extension. Agouridis has had 33 research projects funded, with total funding reaching $5,761,190. She has served as lead author or co-author on 18 refereed journal articles, four book chapters, six edited (refereed) symposium papers, 16 extension publications, 16 reviewed technical reports, 31 non-reviewed technical reports, 84 conference presentations, and 64 extension presentations (including presentations in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia).

She has directed or co-directed 10 master's level graduate students, and she is currently advising six graduate students. Her students have won numerous awards, including Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation at the Water Conference (Oklahoma State University), which was won twice by different students, and Outstanding Undergraduate Oral Presentation, at the American Society of Mining and Reclamation Conference.

CAFE ambassadors 

Three BAE students named 'Ambassadors'

May 1, 2014 — Three BAE undergraduate students have been named College of Agriculture Ambassadors. Ag Ambassadors perform an important function by representing the university at events in the agriculture industry. They also assist in recruiting other top-level students and in enhancing the image of CAFE and UK. 

The new ambassadors are:

  • Payton Carrico
  • Stephen Cecconi
  • Stefan Fink