Tag Archives: international

Hokie football goes to China

Yufeng Zou, left, presents Pute Wu with a Virginia Tech football.

Yufeng Zou, left, presents Pute Wu with a Virginia Tech football.

In March, China 111 Project at the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (NW A&F) in Yangling sponsored crop and soil environmental sciences professor Naraine Persaud for a visit and to discuss possible academic linkages.

In these meetings, NW A&F Vice-President Pute Wu, a professor in the field of water saving agriculture, expressed an interest in making connections through sports. As a goodwill gesture, Tim East, associate director of athletics for external affairs at Virginia Tech’s Athletic Department donated a genuine Hokie regulation football to NW A&F. Yufeng Zou, coordinator for China 111 Project in NW A&F, received the football and formally presented it to Wu on behalf of Virginia Tech.

At the presentation, Wu said, “I’m grateful and very much appreciate holding an American football for the first time. While we do not now play American football at NW A&F, that does not mean our students are not interested in the sport which they’ve seen on television. We envision that with continued cooperation between our institutions, we may someday have a football game between teams from NW A&F and Virginia Tech.”

NW A&F started as Northwest Agricultural University. Established in 1934 in Yangling, Shaanxi Province, it was the first national agriculture university in China. In 1999, it was renamed Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University after merging with the Chinese Academy  of Sciences’ Institute of Soil and Water Conservation and its Institute of Botany (Northwest China), the Institute of Water Resource Sciences (Northwest China), the Shaanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Shaanxi Academy of Forestry, and the Northwest Forestry College.

NW A&F has since expanded rapidly and is one of the top three of China’s agriculture universities in research and teaching. It belongs to the exclusive China’s Project 985 club, which includes the top 5 percent of  the 2,101 colleges and universities all around China. Enrollment in 2011 was 28,816 students served by 1,619 faculty in 23 academic colleges.

The city of Yangling is about 80 km from the ancient walled city of Xi’an and is home to the famed Terra Cotta warriors, the most visited of UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological sites.

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innovATE and TEAM Africa work to stimulate agriculture innovation in developing countries

Jerzy Nowak, second row, third from right, and Kurt Richter, third row, eighth from right, recently traveled to Africa as part of innovATE.

From Nov. 11- 18, 2012, Jerzy Nowak, of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Kurt Richter, of the Office of International Research, Education, and Development, traveled to South Africa to participate in the third Partnership for Africa Tertiary Agricultural Education meeting organized by the TEAM Africa.  The meeting was held at the Stellenbosch University, 40 km from Cape Town.

The primary objectives of their trip were: (1) to learn about the scope of the TEAM Africa agriculture education transformation program and its implementation strategies, and (2) to explore the potential for collaboration between TEAM Africa and Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education (innovATE).

innovATE is a $6.2 million project recently awarded to a Virginia Tech-led consortium of land grant universities (Virginia Tech, Penn State, Tuskegee University, and University of Florida) by the United States Agency for International Development for the development of web-based training and education materials to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector in over 20 developing countries.

The leader award funding will:

  • Carry out analytical work to provide development practitioners with recommendations on good practice and tools to facilitate agricultural education and training system development, including a web-based portal and a Global Learning and Exchange Event planned for summer of 2013.
  • Provide training materials, training, and workshops on agricultural education and training system development.
  • Provide country assessments and program design and reform recommendations to improve the effectiveness of agricultural education and training.

A student focus and gender equity and access considerations are central to the approach.  Country assessments will include gap analysis of both supply and demand for skills at different levels to assist in targeting future investments. There will be ample opportunities for the CALS faculty to participate in the implementation of the innovaATE.

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CSES’s Ozzie Abaye teaches grassland management in Senegal

While working on a research project (VT-USAID-ERA) on Conservation Agriculture, a rather unexpected opportunity came our way — provide hands-on training on grassland management and conservation.

Ozzie Abaye, a crop and soil environmental sciences professor on sabbatical in Senegal, writes: “We provided information covering the role of grassland management in building more resilient farming system to cope with more variable rainfall and long dry season where forage is in  short supply.

“Here are a few simple grassland principles we shared with the villagers:

  • Identify the different grassland species and  how each respond to management schemes
  • The difference between annual and perennial species and their response to management (grazing vs cut and feed)
  • The dynamics between defoliation (grazing) and rest period – recovery
  • Stress the difference between forage quality and quantity (in grassland forage biomass and quality is inversely related i.e as biomass increase quality decreases
  • Optimize biomass yield/production vs quality through management


  • To introduce innovative techniques to preserve forage crops to be used or marketed during the dry season when livestock feed is in short supply.
  • Preserve the forage as hay
  • Green chop (dried and stored in bags)

We had two to three activities. One dealing with harvesting the rapidity growing forages for hay and the other for green chop.”

More photos can be found on the CALS Facebook page.


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