Dr. David Kopsell, professor of horticulture, and Dr. LC (Liangcheng) Yang, assistant professor of environmental health, have received a two-year, nearly $150,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).

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Drs. David Kopsell and LC (Liangcheng) Yang.
Drs. David Kopsell and LC (Liangcheng) Yang.

The purpose of this  USDA-NIFA grant program is to increase the capacity of universities with agriculture or renewable energy programs to develop original research, provide educational training, and increase outreach activities. This project will create research opportunities for faculty and students in the investigation of the energy potential and feasibility of incorporating anaerobic digestion of plant wastes in small to medium-sized conventional and organic farming composting operations.

This funding will also allow multiple units across campus—including the Departments of Agriculture and Health Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences—access to demonstration-scale anaerobic digestor equipment to better prepare students for employment in agricultural and renewable energy careers. The researchers anticipate adding hands-on anaerobic digestion laboratory activities in courses such as Organic Crop Production, Fruit & Vegetable Production, and Renewable Energy and Agriculture, impacting over 150 students.

Dr. John Sedbrook, professor of genetics, is the internal project evaluator. The researchers will also partner with the University Farm at Lexington and local organic farms such as PrairiErth Farm in Atlanta.