SBC Update: Fall 2018

SBC Update from the Co-Director

By: Jim Bradeen, Co-Director of the Stakman-Borlaug Center

Will Zorrilla Associate Director of Oat Global

Oat Global Associate Director Will Zorrilla

The SBC Hires New Associate Director of Oat Global

Oats are more than a favorite breakfast food! It is true that oats are nutritious, tasty, and shown to have important heart health benefits. But oats also support an entire value chain of farmers, millers, food processors and consumers. Oats provide important ecosystem services as a rotation crop that promotes soil health. And oats are an important research and breeding subject at the University of Minnesota and other institutions worldwide.

The SBC is proud to lead Oat Global, a consortium of public and private partners that represents the oat value chain. Oat Global is ideally positioned to align the pre-competitive research and extension needs of oat stakeholders with research and extension priorities at public institutions. Oat Global is also ideally suited to identify novel funding sources to support research and extension. The SBC is supported in these efforts by the Oat Global Board of Directors comprising representatives from numerous industry, government, and higher education entities.

Oat Global extends a hearty welcome to Associate Director Will Zorrilla. Will holds an MBA from Kansas State University and has nearly a decade of experience working in the agriculture and food space aligning pre-competitive research with the bottom line of industry. As Associate Director of Oat Global, Will manages the day-to-day activities of Oat Global and leads long term strategic planning. Will facilitates dialogue and interactions within the Oat Global community, works to secure external research and extension funding, and manages a growing portfolio of Oat Global research and extension priorities. Expect to hear great things from Will about Oat Global in the near future!

You can learn more about Will Zorrilla here. You can learn more about Oat Global here.

More SBC Staff Changes

The SBC also bids a very fond farewell to Dr. Mohamed Yakub and Dylan VanBoxtel.

For three years, Mo has worked with the SBC as our Outreach and Education Coordinator. He has also provided exceptional leadership of the CFANS Minnesota Youth Institute. During his time with the SBC, Mo created and successfully launched the PlantEd Group, leveraging relationships with UMN Bee Squad, the Horst M. Rechelbacher Foundation, and an interdisciplinary group of scientists to provide exceptional research-focused outreach opportunities. (See Mo’s update on PlantEd activities, below.) Mo recently joined AAAS in Washington, D.C. on SciLine, an effort to connect scientists and journalists to ensure expert opinion in public reporting.

For three and a half years, Dylan served the SBC and the Department of Plant Pathology as Communications and Relations Coordinator. Dylan provided significant leadership of communications planning and implementation, including creating and integration of web, video, and social media content. Dylan has also worked closely with the PlantEd Group Steering Committee to initiate plans to expand and foster science-based communications. Dylan is joining the CFANS Communications Team as Digital Content Lead, focusing on strategy, consultation, design, execution, and approach for visual and written content.

Thank you, Mo and Dylan, for all you’ve done for the SBC! Good luck!

Plant Education Group Update

By: Mohamed Yakub, Outreach and Education Coordinator

PlantEd Flowers for PollinatorsThe University of Minnesota Plant Education Group (PlantEd) had a very successful summer of research and outreach at the Horst Rechelbacher Site in Osceola, WI. Summarized below is an overview of work conducted on the farm in 2018 as well as specific updates for projects we are conducting at the site.

Read the full update here >>

Food for Progress Sustainability Assessment Update

By: Britta Hansen
Collaborative Research Specialist

The SBC is working closely with The Improve Group to refine our evaluation questions and to plan our evaluation. We are conducting stakeholder interviews with past project participants, project staff, collaborators and others involved. With these insights we will be designing our methodology to accommodate local needs and constraints. We are excited to announce our faculty partners who will participate in all areas of the evaluation process: they will be proposing questions, refining methods and will participate in field visits and data collection this spring.

Read the faculty bios here >>