ACU students and alumnus earn awards at agriculture science conference

Posted February 17, 2010 Three students and an alumnus from ACU's Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences presented original work and were honored at the 107th annual Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) meetings in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 6-9.
"The A&E department takes seriously the university's commitment to help students think critically and globally both as they implement their projects and as they analyze their results," says Dr. Foy Mills Jr., professor of agriculture and environment and chair of the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Jason Davis, senior animal science major from Harrison, Tenn.; Melanie Shinsky, junior animal science major from La Plata, N.M.; and Colton Laws, junior environmental science major from Clyde, Texas presented original research. Dylan Wann, a 2008 ACU graduate who is pursuing his master's in sustainable agriculture at the University of Georgia, presented in the graduate student oral presentation competition.

Wann won first place for his collaboratively developed paper, "Evaluation of Runner-Type Peanut Cultivars and Approved Fungicides for Use in Organic Production."  His research focuses on how to optimize crop yields in organic production systems. Laws competed in the undergraduate poster competition in agronomy. 

Laws won first place with his poster entitled, "Comparison of warm season legume production under drip irrigation in the summer in a semiarid region of West Texas."  His field work holds specific significance in producing protein supplements for small ruminant livestock using limited amounts of scarce water resources.

Davis and Shinsky competed in the undergraduate oral presentation competition in animal science.  Davis' presentation, "Use of a naturally occurring source of sulfur to control gastrointestinal nematodes in small ruminants" won 3rd place overall in the competition.  Shinsky's presentation, "Utilization of tropical forage legumes to supplement a sudangrass diet fed to growing small ruminants," was well received with numerous questions posed by the panel of judges, said Mills.

Beyond his students' work on their projects and papers, Mills says they are also challenged to remember their mission.

"Whether the research is conducted at ACU's Rhoden Farm or in Zambia, Africa, students are encouraged to think about the implications of their research in a global community," says Mills. "Transferability of research among small shareholder farmers in developing countries often provides an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Dr. Florah Mhlanga, professor of agricultural and environmental sciences, and Dr. Michael Nicodemus, assistant professor of environmental science, were the faculty research advisors accompanying the students on the trip. 
The Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists was established in 1899 to forward the interests of southern agriculture by bringing together agricultural leaders in education and industry to present and engage in dialogue surrounding scholarly efforts.