University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

A new officer team for the 2013-2014 BAE Student Branch has been announced

Student advising shifts to Drs. Dvorak and Sama as lead, with Drs. Agouridis and Crofcheck continuing their supporting roles.

President: Melody Embry
Vice-President: Ian Colton
Treasurer: Bob Schmidt
Secretary: Thomas Loxley
ESC Rep: Luke Dodge
ASC Rep: Open position
Eday rep: Myles-Anthony Moore
Social Committee Co-chairs: Dylan Heath & Drew Jones

Doug Overhults Receives RERC Award

Doug Overhults, Ph.D., P.E., was honored with the Rural Electricity Resource Council (RERC) Distinguished Service Award during a luncheon at the RERC’s national conference.

“Recognizing allies who help in the energy management and education effort is important to electric power supplier members of our Council,” Richard Hiatt, RERC executive manager, said. “Since the first award was presented in 1977, individuals like Doug Overhults have been honored for their dedicated efforts and accomplishments.”

The RERC cited the “the continuing work of Doug Overhults in fan ventilation efficiency, farm energy audits and cost savings,” and recognized his years of service in educating rural consumers on the efficient and safe use of energy. For more on Dr. Overhults' research, click here.


Czar Crofcheck Elected to ASABE Nominating Committee

Czar Crofcheck, PhD, PE, has been elected to the ASABE Nominating Committee. Dr. Crofcheck will serve a two-year term ending in 2015, leading the biological engineering division. In addition this new appointment, she serves as the director of undergraduate studies, president of the Institute of Biological Engineering, and co-chair of the Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative Project.


Tau Beta Pi Awards Announced

BAE winners of the 2013 UK Tau Beta Pi Awards are: Outstanding junior: Matt Fogle;Outstanding senior: Zeb Vance;Outstanding teacher: Czar Crofcheck. The winners will be honored at the Tau Beta Pi College Awards Banquet on Tuesday, April 16, in the UK Student Center Ballroom at 6 pm.


Tau Beta Pi is the only engineering honors society representing the entire engineering profession. Currently 234 collegiate chapters of Tau Beta Pi are organized, with over 500,876 members. For more information on this engineering honor society visit Tau Beta Pi.


Kentucky Weather Outlook: Wet

An unsettled weather pattern for much of the Ohio Valley through the remainder of March could impact early planting.The weather forecasts and outlooks suggest the Bluegrass state and entire Ohio Valley will be very wet through next Thursday. Rainfall amounts from this weekend through the middle of next week look to be on the order of 1.5 to 2.5 inches with some locally higher amounts.

This all comes as Kentucky is transitioning into a more unsettled weather pattern through the weekend and into next work week. Models are suggesting that multiple frontal boundaries and upper level disturbances will act to keep solid and lengthy chances of rain in the forecast. In addition to this upcoming week, both the 6- to 10-day and 8- to 14-day outlooks are both indicating that the Bluegrass State will receive above normal precipitation nearly through the end of March.

This continues on into the three-month outlook for March, April, and May. Although the Commonwealth was put through the drought of 2012, this past winter has really acted to replenish soil moisture conditions. February was dry, but December and January had totals that were, on average, 2.57 inches above normal.

The 30-day and 90-day outlooks will be updated on March 21. Find more weather information at UK Ag Weather Center.

—Tom Priddy and Matt Dixon

Midwest Rally partipants 'see blue'

Lexington, Ky. (March 12, 2013) - Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering hosted this year's ASABE Midwest Regional Rally, with 56 participants from six neighboring states. Students from Iowa State, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign, Ohio State, Purdue University, and University of Wisconsin - Madison joined Kentucky students from February 28 to March 2 to learn more about the biosystems engineering program at UK and other universities.

"Rally is a time to get to know other preprofessionals in ASABE without going to an expensive and technical event like the ASABE Annual International Meeting. It's an opportunity for students to hang out and learn about ASABE in other states," Zeb Vance, BAE student branch and ASABE Midwest president, said. "It also helps create important connections and job opportunities that most people wouldn't normally think about."

On the main day of the event, participants went on three specialized tours, visiting Link-Belt, a manufacturer of telescopic and lattice boom cranes headquartered in Lexington; the Center for Applied Energy Research, UK's state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research facility; and a stream restoration site and rain garden created by BAE faculty and students. The final stop was a visit to Alltech's Kentucky Ale and Town Branch Distillery.

After returning to the Barnhart building for a tour of BAE's laboratory facilities, students ended the day with Ag Olympics, competing in games that tested skills at corn-hole toss, the hula hoop, and other team challenges. Dr. Crofcheck, director of undergraduate studies, said, “It was so fun to see the students competing and laughing at the same time.”

"We really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into by offering to host, but it was a great team effort," Vance noted, reflecting on the organization of the 2013 Rally. Vance acknowledged students’ efforts, noting that some guests travelled over 700 miles to UK, and on behalf of UK BAE and the ASABE, he extended thanks to everyone who helped make Rally a success.

The 2013 Midwest Regional Rally was made possible in part from contributions from the UK College of Engineering Alumni.

Michael Hagan Named One of ASABE's New Faces of Engineering

Lexington, KY (March 1, 2013) - Named one of ASABE's New Faces Of Engineering, BAE's Michael Hagan, BS, PE, joins an elite group of young engineering professionals. A UK graduate in BAE's Food and Bioprocess Engineering, Hagan was an engineer associate based in the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service office in Owensboro.

His work under graduate advisor Mike Montross focused on energy audits for agricultural applications, including grain dryers, poultry barns, dairy operations, greenhouses, and farm shops.

Hagan's other areas of expertise are diesel engine manufacture and performance and diesel aftertreatment for emissions reductions. He has accepted a position as a process engineer with Southwire Company, a leading manufacturer of electrical distribution cable and wire.

Visit ASABE's New Faces of Engineering - 2013 for more information.

UK MBA Students Win Alltech Innovation Competition

Lexington, KY (March 1, 2013) - Three student teams answered Alltech's May 2012 challenge to create jobs in Eastern Kentucky. The winning team, led by four MBA candidates in the UK Gatton College of Business Economics — Lee Gage Goatley, Jarrod Willis, Jordan Denny, and Jordan Laycock — proposed a plan for reclaiming mountaintop sites by growing switchgrass for fuel production.

With exclusive rights to technology developed by BAE professors Sue Nokes, Ph.D., and Mike Montross, Ph.D., the UK team’s TerraCast Technologies would target 104,925 acres of reclaimed mountaintop land in nine eastern counties. To read the full UKNOW news story, click here.

Lexington, KY (March 1, 2013) - BAE’s Lee Rechtin received the 2012 UK College of Agriculture Outstanding Staff Award in the category of Technician/Paraprofessional/Skilled Crafts Worker.

These awards are co-sponsored by Gamma Sigma Delta Honorary Society of Agriculture, the Agriculture and HES Alumni Association, and Partners in Agriculture.

For more information about the Outstanding Staff Awards and this year’s other recipients, click here.

BAE Participates in E-Day

Lexington, KY (Feb. 25, 2013) - E-Day, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, in the Engineering Complex, was a great success again this year. The interactive event draws families to the UK campus each year in an effort to encourage middle-school students to consider careers in engineering. BAE has been a long-time participant in this outreach program.

In addition to UK-blue balloons and cotton candy, BAE showed off its engineering expertise, with an outdoor exhibit of the award-winning quarter-scale tractor, a replica of what on-farm biomass production might look like, algae education, and more.

The hands-on stream restoration exhibit used common items such as rock and household sponges to simulate how grasses and trees can act as retaining walls to keep streams intact and healthy.

“Our room had a lot of visitors and a lot of great interaction from kids of all ages, which made the day a huge success for us,” said Carmen Agouridis, Ph.D., P.E., assistant professor and director of the Stream and Watershed Science Graduate Certificate.

UK’s E-Day coincides with National Engineers Week, held this year from February 17-23. National Engineers Week is an outreach program for kids and adults that aims to introduce them to the world of engineering.

Transforming a Negative Space into a Green Solution

Lexington, KY (Feb. 22, 2013) - The EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge is a national contest that challenges teams to propose innovative ways to improve storm-water management for their campus.

BAE’s team, consisting of four BAE and one CE graduate students, focused on a subwatershed containing the Barnhart, Plant Soil Sciences, Gluck, and Good Barn buildings. They delivered their presentation this morning to an audience of BAE students, staff, and faculty.

The team, consisting of John McMaine, Holly Enlow, Dave Griffith, Sam Lee, and John Villines, used a design that emphasizes sustainable, low-impact storm-water controls distributed throughout the watershed. The proposed controls include rain gardens, pervious pavement, a green roof, rainwater harvest systems, and a storm-water wetland. The project stems from the class BAE 750 Low Impact Development, which Dr. Carmen Agouridis taught in the fall semester of 2012.

This proposed low-impact design has been submitted to the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge. Winners, who will receive a cash prize and research funds, will be announced April 22.

Wall Street Journal Highlights Hiring Uptick for Ag Students

Lexington, KY (Feb. 19, 2013) - In “Farm Boom Sows Jobs Bounty: Agriculture Students, and Their Schools, Reap Rewards of a Fertile Field,” Wall Street Journal reporters David Kesmodel and Owen Fletcher write about a recent uptick in demand for agriculture graduates.

The reporters cite multiple factors for increased hiring, such as global demand, high U.S. farm incomes, predicted large harvests in 2013, and increased on-campus recruiting by companies including Monsanto, all of which are contributing to a robust hiring climate for ag students.

“Students with science and technology skills tend to be especially sought-after,” Kesmodel and Fletcher write in their February 13 article.

With a “new normal” in the U.S. economy that has contributed to uncertainty in the job market, this is welcome news for BAE graduates, who offer employers uniquely specialized technical and agricultural experience.

Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture, echoes that thought, providing the following quote for the article: “Students who have some science credibility and know their way around a farm are incredibly valuable.”

CNH Engineers Provide Recruitment Tips

Lexington, KY (02/18/13) - During a seminar for Biosystems and Ag Engineering students and faculty, Kevin Smith and Didier Verhaeghe, engineers with the global agricultural-equipment manufacturer CNH, a division of Fiat Industrial, talked about what employers look for when hiring.

Smith and Verhaeghe, who were visiting from their respective home offices in Pennsylvania and Belgium, evaluate and work with new employees and interns at CNH, whose agricultural arm manufactures the Case IH, New Holland, and Steyr equipment lines.

Because CNH's human resources department expects them to assign a grade to each job fair applicant they talk to, Smith stressed the importance of making a strong first impression with the recruiter, showing interest and having done some research on the company.

“Career fairs count,” Smith said, underscoring their importance.

Internships, study abroad, advanced degrees, and PE licensure also set a student apart, demonstrating motivation and competence. Beyond essential engineering skills, which range from Excel to Pro/E and CAD modeling, foreign language skills, an ability to write succinctly, and an aptitude for teamwork are useful.

“It's important with different people working on a team to accept you don't know everything and to be motivated to find the solution yourself. You can't look for the easy answer,” Verhaeghe said. “You have to be able to move outside your comfort zone.”

Having an interest in agriculture makes a real difference in motivation when problem-solving, and can be the key to an employee's success. Both Smith and Verhaeghe agreed that successful agricultural engineers have a feeling for what they do and enjoy it.


UK BAE Bioenvironmental Senior Design Team to present at 2012 ASABE

Lexington, KY (06/27/12) - Congratulations to the UK BAE Bioenvironmental Senior Design Team. Mary Deicher, Aaron Gilpin, Nicole Koeninger, and Matthew Mattingly will be traveling to the 2012 ASABE meeting in Dallas, Texas to present their design, "Stormwater Management Plan for the Kentucky Horse Park Event Stabling Area." Our team is one of the three finalists in the 2012 G.B. Gunlogson Student Environmental Design Competition. Their design addresses the lack of a stormwater management plan for the Kentucky Horse Park's ten acre event stabling area. We wish them more success.

WOW! 2012 Wildcat Pulling Team - No. 1

Peoria, IL (06/07/12) - Congratulations to the BAE 2012 Quarter Scale Tractor Team; they are the 2012 Overall Team Champions of the ASABE sponsored International Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, held May 31 – June 3, 2012 at the Expo Gardens Fairgrounds, Peoria, Illinois. Twenty-three teams competed. Our UK BAE team, Wildcat Pulling Team, comprised of freshmen through graduate students, also won the Team Presentation Award and first in the Tractor Pull Competition. Twelve (12) other awards were won by this team, from Innovation, Safety, Manufacturability to Cooking Side Dishes and Desserts. The Wildcat Pulling Team has certainly represented their sponsors, university, department and themselves in an outstanding manner. For more information on the UK team, go to   More information on this ASABE competition is available at

Read more at UKNow:

View the recent article (06/21/12) in the Lexington Herald Leader at:

Kentucky Sports Radio, June 19. 2012 had a segment on the QST team: The UK item is about of the way down. This certainly reached a new audience for the BAE department.

Another link for our QST team can be found in the article "Cultivation, Construction, and Competition: Inside the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show." Diesel Power. 8(6): 64.

Wildcat Pulling Team Members are: John Evans – BAE; Chance Corum – BAE; Jordon Cook – Ag Econ; Nick Rhea – BAE; Eric Varner – PLS; Catie Lester – Mechanical Engineering; Michael Blum – Mechanical Engineering; Angela Lyvers – CLD; Cody Rakes – Ag Ed. BAE Wildcat Pulling Team Advisors are: Tim Smith, , Michael Sama , Carl King, Christina Lyvers

Tau Beta Pi honors 4 from BAE

Lexington, KY (04/12/12) - Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society that represents the entire engineering profession, recognized four BAE individuals at its annual honors banquet held on April, 10, 2012. Dr. Czar Crofcheck, BAE Associate Professor, received the outstanding BAE faculty award. Mr. Matthew P. Mattingly was awarded the outstanding BAE senior award, while Mr. Zeb Vance received the outstanding BAE junior award. These outstanding awards refer to the individual’s scholarship, leadership and service within the engineering community. Also presented at this Kentucky Alpha Chapter meeting was the BAE Frank Woeste Award, given to Ms. Holly Enlow, for having the highest GPA of all BAE seniors. Well done all.

Outstanding Presentation from T. Maupin

Lexington, KY (04/12/12) - UK BAE graduate student, Travis Maupin, won the Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation at the 2012 Student Water Conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which was held at Oklahoma State University on April 4-5, 2012. His presentation title was Conductivity Sensor Performance for Water Quality Monitoring. Mr. Maupin is studying bioenvironmental engineering at UK, with Dr. Carmen Agouridis as his advisor. Congratulations to Travis.

Annual Lawn Mower Clinic

Lexington, KY (03/21/12) - The Biosystems Agricultural Engineering Preprofessionals present the Annual Lawn Mower Clinic. Designed as a preventative maintenance for lawn mowers in preparation for the summer season. Space is limited. Click here to read more.

Service Award for Dr. Taraba

Lexington, KY (03/20/12) - The UK College of Agriculture presented BAE professor Joseph Taraba with an award for thirty-five years of service to the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Taraba’s area of study is manure management methodologies, including microbial dynamics, composting and anaerobic treatment. His quality, continuous service is a source of pride for the BAE department and we look forward to many more years of his expertise in working with the people of Kentucky.

Alicia Modenbach Michael Sama

Gamma Sigma Delta recognizes BAE’s Modenbach and Sama

Lexington, KY (03/20/12) - UK BAE doctoral student, Alicia Modenbach, was inducted into Gamma Sigma Delta (GSD), the international agriculture honor society. In addition, BAE graduate student, Michael Sama, was selected as the GSD Outstanding PhD Student in the College. Congratulations to both!

Sue Nokes Elected to AIMBE Elite

Washington, DC (02/29/12) - UK BAE professor and chair, Sue Nokes was one of 107 members of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) to be elected to the Class of 2012 College of Fellows. This College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the USA; Dr. Nokes was nominated by her peers and screened by committees of Fellows in her area of specialty. She was elected for her research, teaching, outreach and workforce development contributions to alternative energy production, specifically bioethanol. Well done, Dr. Nokes! For more information:

Michael Sama receives National Engineers Week Foundation Award

Alexandria, VA (02/21/12) - Michael Sama, P.E. and BAE PhD candidate received the New Faces in Engineer award from the National Engineers Week Foundation. This program highlights the interesting and unique work of young engineers and the resulting impact on society. Young engineers two to five years out of school are the focus of this recognition program. Engineers Week sponsoring societies nominated young working engineers from among their membership. Read more about this prestigous award at Click here to see the USA Today profile.


St. Joseph, MI (02/13/12) - The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has named fifteen individuals to its class of 2012 “New Faces of ASABE.” Among those honored are two of our own Santosh Pitla, PhD and Michael Sama, P.E..

Santosh Pitla Michael Sama

The fifteen ASABE members, all 30 years of age or younger, have distinguished themselves with outstanding, early-career achievements that serve as inspiration to their peers and to the future engineers who will follow in their footsteps. Five of these individuals will be honored by National Engineers Week as “New Faces of Engineering,” announcement of which will occur during Engineers Week, February 19-25, 2012. ASABE is a sponsor of Engineers Week, an annual event aimed at promoting public awareness and appreciation of engineering professions.

Nominated by fellow ASABE members, the 2012 Class of New Faces of ASABE was formally announced today at the 2012 Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference , being held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Photos and biographies available online at

Congrats! BAE Mark Purschwitz Recipient of Safety Award

Lexington, KY (02/13/2012) - Dr. Mark Purschwitz BAE Extension Professor, has received the 2012 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) SMV Technologies Ergonomics, Safety and Health Award for his work in promoting the retrofitting of rollover protective structures (ROPS) on older tractors. Read more at:

Prestigious ASABE Award for Dr. Joe Ross!

UK BAE emeritus professor, Dr. I. Joseph Ross, has been selected to receive the 2012 ASABE Cyrus Hall McCormick-Jerome Increase Case Gold Medal. This award "honors exceptional and meritorious engineering achievement in agriculture that has resulted in new concepts, products, processes or methods that advanced the development of agriculture." Dr. Ross is receiving this award for his pioneering work in grain storage and granular mechanics, as well as career long contributions to education, research, and the profession. Given since 1932, the Cyrus Hall McCormick-Jerome Increase Case Gold Medal is ASABE’s oldest and probably its highest and most prestigious award. Dr. Ross is the first engineer from UK to receive this award.

Having joined the department in April 1967, Dr. Ross began work on granular mechanics. A number of ‘firsts’ are associated with this program. Dr. Ross and his students built test bins and handling systems ranging from table top experiments using only a few bushels of grain, to the large, full scale installations featured at Maine Chance Farm and the state-of-the-art granular mechanics laboratory in the C.E. Barnhart Building.

Dr. Ross was department chair of the UK BAE department from 1981-1994, thirteen years! During this period, seven new faculty members were hired. In 1990, the department moved from the old Agricultural Engineering Building (Kelly Hall) to the current 50,000 square foot, Charles E Barnhart Building. The name of the department changed from Agricultural Engineering to Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering during Dr. Ross’s time as chair. Read more in this UKNow article.

Congratulations to Dr. Ross – well deserved!

Dr. Nokes to be recognized as recipient of 2012 Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching!

Lexington, KY (02/07/2012) - Dr. Sue Nokes, BAE Department Chair and professor has been selected as a recipient of the 2012 Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. This is a very competitive and prestigious award within the UK community. It is certainly an excellent tribute to Sue’s dedication and creative contributions to our academic program over the course of her career. It also brings university wide recognition to the BAE Department and to the Colleges of Agriculture & Engineering. Sue will be recognized on-stage at the University Founders Day Ceremony on February 22nd. Please plan to attend if you can. Following is more info about Founders Day:
The 2012 Founders Day Ceremony will take place on February 22, 2012 at 4:00pm in the Worsham Theatre in the Student Center. The University of Kentucky will celebrate 147 years of academic tradition by honoring faculty and instructors for their outstanding achievements and contributions in teaching, research, and service. There will be a reception to honor all award winners immediately following the ceremony, in the Martin Luther King Center.
Thanks, Sue, for making the UK BAE star shine a little brighter!