Author: Alison

ARE Graduate Program Offers USDA Fellowship in Data Science

tablet with graph

Students applying to the master’s program in agricultural and resource economics (ARE) in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources who are interested in data science can also apply for a USDA National Needs Fellowship. The funding supports students for both years of the master’s program providing them with a tuition waver and a stipend of $18,500 per year. Applications are due January 15, 2024. The funding is limited to U.S. citizens or nationals.

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ARE Students Win National Food Marketing Challenge

3 students with award placard

UConn students placed first in the national Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) Student Food Marketing Challenge. The winning team included John Daly ’23 ’24 (CAHNR), William Hiers ’24, and Jacob Timchak ’25 and was organized by Cristina Connolly, ARE Assistant Professor.
All teams were given a real-world problem and one week to develop strategies to address the issue at hand. The UConn team was assigned an Uzbekistani company, Metin LLC, looking to expand into international markets beyond Russia. They looked at various food products, namely fresh and dried fruits, and identified which foreign markets would be the best fit for those products. After many iterations and a few late nights, the team decided to recommend the company sell fresh fruit to China and dried fruit to the United Kingdom.
“Because these are real clients, the solutions that all three teams came up with are all getting sent to Metin,” Connolly says. “So, there could potentially be real impacts from the results of this competition, it’s not just theoretical.”

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Dollar Store Expansion Pushes Out Independant Grocery Stores

Dollar Store aisle

Rigoberto Lopez, professor of agricultural and resource economics in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, found that when dollar stores enter these areas, independent grocery stores shut down. Lopez and collaborators Keenan Marchesi from the USDA and professor Sandro Steinbach from North Dakota State University published these findings in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.

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NSF Future Manufacturing Grant: Poultry Nutrition

6 researchers

ARE Professor Rigoberto Lopez part of interdisciplinary research team that will use a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a novel biomanufacturing technology to use microalgae to produce an essential amino acid for poultry feed. The team is led by Mingyu Qiao, assistant professor of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), and includes three faculty members from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: Yu Lei, centennial professor, Yongku Cho, associate professor and Burcu Beykal, assistant professor; and one other faculty member within CAHNR: Yangchao Luo, associate professor of nutritional sciences.

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UConn Alum Fights Food Insecurity with Hydroponics

hydroponic farm

ARE alum Christian Heiden '20 and his team at Levo International build a hydroponic farm at 455 Garden Street to help address food insecurity issues prevalent in Hartford's North End. Heiden founded Levo International in his first year at UConn while also taking part in an array of entrepreneurial development and support opportunities offered by the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Today, Levo provides turnkey solutions for any organization at any level, Heiden says, and they’re hoping to expand and replicate their work on Garden Street all around the city of Hartford and into other urban areas in Connecticut as well.

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Rudd Center Awarded $1 Million for Research Project

farmer in field with cows

The Rudd Center received $1 million in funding from the Connecticut Department of Public Health for a new research project focused on COVID-19's impact on children’s health. The study, led by Agricultural and Resource Economics Associate Professor Tatiana Andreyeva, will look at how infant feeding practices such as breastfeeding changed throughout the pandemic and how these changes affected children’s health and weight outcomes.

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Zwick Center Reports on CT Farming Labor Shortage

farmer in field with cows

Zwick Center produces report prepared by ARE's Professor Rigoberto Lopez, Christopher Laughton, director of knowledge at Farm Credit East, Luis Seoane, a Ph.D. student in ARE and Joan Nichols, director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau. The report shows a clear lack of labor availability for Connecticut's green industry and predicts a move towards mechanized and smart agriculture. Industry vacancies include both low-skill and higher-skill managerial positions leading the report to recommend a more proactive approach to workforce development by establishing programs in high schools and colleges.

Lopez is now working with his colleagues Assistant Professor Cristina Connolly and Assistant Professor in Residence Emma Bojinova to complete a needs assessment evaluation to further understand the problems and priorities of Connecticut farmers.

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ARE welcomes UConn Extension’s Marketing Intern

abigail wilbur

Abigail Wilber ‘23 (CAHNR) is learning and implementing marketing strategies, practices, and tools to help advance UConn Extension’s digital presence to ensure their content resonates and reaches as many of Connecticut’s residents as possible. Using Salesforce, Wilber helps Extension complete vital activities like email marketing, transcripts for accessibility, and records management.

Wilber recently completed her associate of applied science degree in animal science, a program offered through the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. She is transferring into the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the fall with a concentration in business management and marketing, thanks in part to her experience with UConn Extension this summer.

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ARE undergrad studies importance of local food procurement

Karina Cangas

Karina Cangas, Zwick Center Student Intern and ARE Undergraduate student, works with Professor Cristina Connolly and Zwick researcher and PhD student Alyssa McDonnell on an initiative led by New England Feeding New England. The program’s goal is to have 30% of food in New England procured locally by the year 2030. As part of this effort, the organization is engaging a team of researchers in each state to gather data. Cangas and Connolly are part of the Connecticut branch of this regional study.

Cangas has been working with UConn’s Zwick Center since January and has supported other studies on topics including composting programs in major U.S. cities and the status of Farm to School programs in Connecticut. The Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy was established in 2010 after a generous gift from alumnus Charles J. Zwick.

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Professor T. Andreyeva, Director of Economic Initiatives

Tatiana Andreyeva

Agricultural and Resource Economics Professor Tatiana Andreyeva named Director of Economic Initiatives at UConn's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health. Her research on food policy and child nutrition focuses on the role of economic incentives in food choices and diet, with a particular focus on fiscal policy (taxes and subsidies) and federal food assistance programs. Recently completed projects include an evaluation of Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) on academic and health outcomes and school meal costs and a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of fiscal policies on foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

The Rudd Center also welcomes two ARE graduate students as Summer Research Assistants: Mengji Li and Luis Seoane Estruel Sr.

UConn alumnus Daniel Munch on citrus production in the U.S.

graph of decline in citrus production in the U.S.

Currently employed by the American Farm Bureau Association, Daniel Munch authors report on the decline of citrus production in the United States. “Once leaders in citrus crop production, citrus farmers in the United States, particularly in Florida, have faced numerous challenges that have led to an unfortunate decline in domestic supply,” Munch said in the report.  Click here to read the full report.

CAHNR Honors Dedicated Alum, Richard DelFavero

Delfavero, CAHNR alum

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is naming a conference room in the W.B. Young Building after Richard DelFavero (CAHNR ’56, ’58), a dedicated alumnus who passed away in July 2020. The DelFaveros have provided transformational support for students in the department through the establishment of three endowed scholarships. In 2011, they also contributed to the establishment of the DelFavero Chair in Agriculture and Resource Economics, which has helped expand teaching and research capabilities.

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