March 28, 2014
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around the college

In this issue:

Purdue students innovate with soybeans
Beck named Agribusiness Leader of the Year
Ag faculty member named Murphy Award winner 

Purdue students innovate with soybeans

2014 Soy research competition
(Purdue Agricultural Communication Photo/Tom Campbell)
Team Filasoy members (from left) Carmen Valverde-Paniagua, Yanssen Tandy and Nicole Raley Devlin may not have a tiger by the tail, but they have a shark by the ear. The three Purdue engineering students earned the top prize of $20,000 in the 2014 Student Soybean Product Innovation competition by developing a recyclable 3D printing material. The filament can be used to produce many three-dimensional objects, even a toy shark.

A group of Purdue University students who created a soy-based, renewable and recyclable filament for 3D printing won the top prize in the annual Student Soybean Product Innovation Contest. 

The awards were announced at a reception Wednesday night (March 26) in Indianapolis. A record 15 teams completed projects in the competition, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. 

“For 20 years, Indiana soybean farmers have supported this competition in the College of Agriculture as a way to elevate our organization, Purdue and Indiana as the center of food and ag innovation,” said Jane Ade Stevens, CEO of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, sponsor of the competition. “We are excited to see 15 student teams complete the competition this year and hope that their experience leads them to consider food and agricultural sciences as their future career.” 

The S3D Innovations team took top honors for Filasoy, a next generation 3D printing material. Filasoy replaces harmful petroleum-based plastic with a low-energy, low-temperature, renewable and recyclable filament. It retains similar properties found in a bioplastic with an added “green” twist: it allows printing without waste. 

The team will receive a $20,000 prize. Members are Carmen Valverde-Paniagua of Chihuahua, Mexico, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering; Nicole Raley Devlin of Rockville, Md., a doctoral student in chemical engineering; and Yanssen Tandy of Jarkarta, Indonesia, a senior student in chemical engineering. 

2014 Soy boot conditioner

(Purdue Agricultural Communication Photo/Tom Campbell)
Soybean oil and beeswax are the ingredients of Soots, an eco-friendly, organic leather boot conditioner and polish developed by Purdue students Sara Richert and brothers Evan (left) and Sean Anderson. Their invention earned the runner-up prize of $10,000 in the 2014 Student Soybean Product Innovation competition.

The runner-up team, Soots, produced a 100-percent-organic leather boot conditioner and polish by the same name. The product comes in two forms. One form, made from soybean oil and beeswax, is a thick, more solid polish for genuine leather, such as boots and reins, and also serves as a waterproofing agent. It is safe for the environment and not harmful to animals. The second form, a spray, is a much lighter conditioner that can be used on faux leather items. It is used more for cleaning and improving appearance than waterproofing. 

The Soots team will receive a $10,000 prize. Members are Sean Anderson of Churubusco, Ind., a junior in forestry; his brother, Evan, a sophomore in agricultural engineering; and Sara Richert of Oak Park, Ill., a sophomore in agricultural engineering. 

Beck named Agribusiness Leader of the Year

Sonny Beck

Sonny Beck

Sonny Beck, BS ’62, MS ’64, has been named the 2014 Agribusiness Leader of the Year by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). 

The award, the association’s highest honor, acknowledges outstanding leaders in agribusiness, education, government service or other agribusiness-related areas who exemplify excellence in agribusiness by their significant contributions to the industry. 

NAMA is the nation’s largest association for professionals in marketing and agribusiness with more than 1,800 active members. The award will be presented to Beck at the association’s 2014 Agri-Marketing Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., on April 10. 

As president of Beck’s Hybrids, Beck has led the company to unprecedented growth. As the largest family-owned seed company in the United States, Beck’s Hybrids is now the sixth largest seed company in the U.S. Under his leadership, Beck’s Hybrids has experienced a 20 percent increase in sales each year for the last 20 years, doubling in size every four years. 

“Sonny has distinguished himself as a businessman and a leader,” said Jay Akridge, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. “This recognition is most deserved and we could not be more proud to claim him as an alumnus.” 

In 1962, Beck became the first student from the College of Agriculture to earn the prestigious G. A. Ross Award as the outstanding senior male student on the Purdue campus. 

After joining the family business in 1964, Beck started what is now called the Practical Farm Research (PFR)® program. The PFR program is unlike any other in the seed industry. Focused on farmers’ needs, hundreds of studies are completed at five Beck’s locations in an effort to look at how different management practices perform in different environments. The information is delivered to farmers across the Midwest in a 280-page summary book, website and field shows. 

But it was not just traits that Beck and the Beck’s Hybrids team pursued. In 2001, Beck’s Hybrids was the first to market 100 percent of its seed corn with a seed-applied insect control system called FaSTart®. Over time the seed treatment evolved, and in 2009 Beck’s Hybrids became the first seed company to put together a unique set of yield-enhancing products called Escalate® yield enhancement system. Escalate comes standard on all Beck’s corn, soybean, wheat and alfalfa products. 

Beck was one of the inaugural recipients of the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award in 1992. In 2006, the Beck family provided the lead gift to build a training and research facility at the university’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education. The building was dedicated as the Beck Center in 2007. 

In June 2013, Beck was appointed to a three-year term on the Purdue University Board of Trustees by Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  

Beck has held a variety of leadership positions within the agricultural industry, including as president of the American Seed Trade Association, president of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association, and vice president of the Ag Alumni Seed Improvement Association, and as a member of the first Indiana State Department of Agriculture Advisory Council.

Ag faculty member named Murphy Award winner  

Suzanne Nielsen
Suzanne Nielsen

Suzanne Nielsen, professor of food science and a faculty member since 1982, has been named a recipient of the 2014 Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards. 

The University’s highest undergraduate teaching honor, the Murphy Award is accompanied by a $10,000 cash award and induction into Purdue’s Teaching Academy, which provides leadership for the improvement of undergraduate, graduate and outreach teaching. 

Murphy was a history professor at Purdue from 1927 to 1970. Since the inception of the award in 1967, only 206 faculty members have received the Murphy Award. 

Nielsen, who was the head of the Department of Food Science from 2002 to 2013, earned the department’s outstanding teaching award in 2013. 

A list of previous Murphy Award winners can be found here.



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