College of ACES
College News


Save the Date Auction

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Tent between Mumford Hall and ACES LIAC

Proceeds benefit the "I Pay It Forward Students Helping Students" campaign. 



I Pay It Forward Sand Volleyball Tournament

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Sand Volleyball Courts near Ikenberry Residence Halls

The College of ACES Student Advancement Committee is holding a sand volleyball tournament to benefit the I Pay it Forward Student Helping Student Scholarship Campaign.

Complete a registration form.

Team Registrations due by April 12 to Jenna Sudeth – Email: or Drop off at 203 Mumford Hall, Attn: I Pay It Forward Checks made payable to: University of IL Foundation | Pay Online: All gifts are tax deductible. 

Decisions about winter wheat and weeds

Published April 7, 2015

URBANA, Ill. - The most recent report on the condition of the Illinois winter wheat crop indicated approximately 10 percent of the crop was rated poor or very poor. Close to 90 percent was rated fair to excellent, and it appears likely that much of the wheat crop will remain intact.  However, in other instances farmers might elect to terminate poorer stands and plant corn or soybean, said a University of Illinois weed scientist.

“If the decision is made to plant corn or soybean into wheat stands where some plants remain alive, it is advisable to control any remaining wheat plants prior to planting either corn or soybean,” said Aaron Hager. “Controlling existing wheat stands may be accomplished through the use of tillage, herbicides, or a combination of these.”

If the wheat field was previously treated with a herbicide, Hager said growers should check for any applicable crop rotational intervals. “These could determine whether or not corn or soybean could be planted,” he said. “If a combination of herbicides and tillage will be used to terminate an existing stand, improved control might be achieved if the herbicide application occurs prior to the tillage operation, compared with the opposite order.”

Regardless of what herbicide is used to control wheat plants, Hager added that there should be an interval of 3 to 5 days or more between application and tillage to allow the herbicide to work within the plant.

“It is altogether possible that other weed species, such as maturing winter annuals, early summer annuals, biennials, or perennials might also be present in existing wheat fields.  If so, select a herbicide or herbicide combination that will provide broad-spectrum control of both grass and broadleaf weed species.”

Hager explained that if 2,4-D is included in the tank mix, growers should be aware of the intervals that must elapse between application and planting, especially for soybean, but also for corn with some formulations.

Several herbicides could be used to control existing wheat plants. Hager explained that glyphosate is very effective on grasses, including wheat. The label suggests using 0.56 lb ae to control overwintered wheat up to 6 inches tall, 0.77 lb ae to control wheat up to 12 inches tall, and 1.125 lb ae for wheat up to 18 inches tall. 

He added that Gramoxone SL is a rapidly acting contact herbicide. “Efficacy on wheat can be improved when atrazine or metribuzin is tank mixed with Gramoxone SL.  A crop oil concentrate or nonionic surfactant should be included. Thorough spray coverage is essential for good control,” Hager said.

The labels of the ACCase-inhibiting herbicides (Poast, Assure II, Select Max, Fusilade DX, and Fusion) indicate these products are effective against volunteer wheat. “However, each product label also indicates a specific rotational interval between application and planting corn,” he said.  

Poast is labeled for pre-plant applications, and must be made at least 30 days before planting corn. The labels of Select Max, Fusion, Fusilade DX, and Assure II indicate rotational intervals of 30, 60, 60, and 120 days, respectively, between application and planting corn.

“Herbicide applications to control weeds in wheat must be properly timed to provide good weed control and minimize the potential for crop injury,” Hager said. “Applications made to actively growing weeds and during periods of warm air temperatures generally provide more effective and complete weed control as compared with applications made during cold, cloudy conditions.”

Hager added that the labels of all herbicides commonly used for weed control in Illinois wheat have application restrictions based on the developmental stage of the wheat. The labels of most herbicides commonly used in Illinois indicate that applications must be made before the wheat-jointing or boot stage. Before making any herbicide application, consult the respective herbicide label for additional information, he cautioned.

“If you are considering applying a herbicide with liquid nitrogen as the carrier, be sure to consult the herbicide label prior to making this type of application. Not all herbicides allow applications with liquid nitrogen as the carrier, and those that do allow this might have specific recommendations for including/excluding other spray additives or their application rates,” Hager said.

Molly Spacapan
The hands-on lab-style classes were most helpful to my career.
Arlington Heights, Illinois

Hands-on research experience in multiple mediums through her major in natural resources and environmental sciences (NRES) validated Molly Spacapan’s interest in survey research. The NRES alum now uses surveys to generate insights to support clients in her career as an analyst for Survey Insights.

“I enjoy taking a client’s research questions through the full market research cycle,” Molly says. “Specifically, I most enjoy designing questionnaires, putting the research tool into the field, and creating presentations that tell a data-driven story.”

Molly’s University of Illinois experience stands out because it allowed her to spend time in field work and internships and to assist with faculty research. She attributes her success to attention to detail, understanding statistics, and knowledge of survey methodologies—all of which her NRES major gave her experience with.

“The hands-on lab-style classes were most helpful to my career,” Molly says. “There, I learned how to run research projects from start to finish. Understanding how to take a research question from conception to actual usable results was essential to building a solid career foundation. Additionally, I found that I was able to apply knowledge from past classes to lab-style classes to enhance my learning.”

Molly fondly remembers a class that centered on a constructed lake in an urban Champaign community. Two NRES professors had the students take nutrient readings of the lake and then distribute additional questionnaires to the community. The students wrote research papers from the findings and presented the findings to the homeowners association. Molly learned a great deal from the course and enjoys the memories from the experience.

“The six years I spent at U of I were filled with interactions with dedicated and intelligent people,” Molly says. “I especially enjoyed my time with professors who were just as dedicated to their students’ futures as they were to their own research. My two degrees from the university are some of my greatest accomplishments!”

More hogs than expected, mystery continues

Published April 6, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – More hogs than expected was the theme of the pork market in the first quarter of 2015. The USDA March Hogs and Pigs report did little to help explain why hog numbers were high, other than to simply admit that hog inventory counts from previous surveys were too low.

According to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt, at the start of 2015, pork supplies in the first quarter were expected to rise 1 percent. In reality, first-quarter pork production was up 5 percent due to 4.5 percent more hogs and 0.5 percent higher weights.

“There is currently an even more price-depressing force as the number of hogs coming to market in the most recent four weeks has been remarkably 10 percent higher than year-ago levels,” Hurt said. “Higher-than-expected current numbers may mean that the breeding herd expansion is larger than USDA surveys have indicated and/or that PED death losses were smaller than producers reported to USDA. If there has been an undercount of animals, the possibility remains for higher market numbers than was anticipated for the remainder of the year.”

As a result of the higher actual marketings in the first quarter, Hurt said USDA revised last summer’s pig crop upward by nearly 3 percent.  As always, “the proof is in the pudding,” meaning that if actual winter slaughter is higher than accounted for by last summer’s pig crop, last summer’s pig crop has to be revised upward. USDA did this by increasing the estimated number of farrowings.

Has there been more expansion of the breeding herd?

“While USDA raised the size of last summer’s farrowings, the size of the breedng herd was not increased,” Hurt said. “This still leaves the question unanswered of whether the breeding herd is actually higher, which would indicate that the breeding herd has expanded more rapidly than indicated by USDA survey numbers. If the breeding herd has expanded more rapidly, future animal numbers may also be higher than indicated by the USDA counts.

“So we have come full circle. More pigs coming to market in the first quarter than expected must have come from a larger breeding herd,” Hurt concluded. “Current marketing numbers have been averaging 10 percent higher. If the marketing herd is larger, marketing numbers could continue to surprise the market on the high side and hog prices will stay depressed,” he said.

How will the current uncertainities of market supplies be resolved?

Hurt said market participants will watch daily and weekly hog numbers coming to market. The best proof of the size of the pig crop about six months ago is the number of hogs coming to market today. Over time, USDA will probably be able to better resolve the diffierences and to give a clearer picture of future market supplies.

“The effect of the PED virus is likely tied to the current uncertainties in the numbers,” Hurt added. “PED caused disruptions to the pork industry beginning late in 2013. The largest impact on baby pig death losses was from late 2013 into the summer of 2014. The summer of 2014 is when current inconsistencies in USDA numbers prevail. The numbers that producers reported to USDA could have been influenced by their concerns over the impact of PED at that time. The impact of PED on the number of pigs per litter appears to have been smaller this winter compared to the previous winter. In the winter of 2014, the number of pigs per litter was down about 7 percent from trend. In the recent winter, the number of pigs per litter was only about 2 percent below trend,” he said.

According to Hurt, the current large number of hogs coming to market has caused cash prices and lean hog futures to be on the defensive. Moderation of these large numbers will be a requirement for price recovery.

“All indications are that the pork supply increases will remain high, but maybe not at the current rate that is up about 10 percent,” Hurt said. “If USDA Hogs and Pigs numbers are used as the best estimate of future supplies, then pork production will be up by about 7 percent in the second quarter, followed by an 8 percent surge in the summer quarter. The hogs for the last quarter will come from this spring’s farrowings where producers indicated a 2 percent increase. The number of pigs per litter this spring is expected to be about 5 to 6 percent higher, resulting in pork supplies in the last quarter of 2015 being higher by about 7 to 8 percent.”

Hurt said current price forecast derived from futures prices for 2015 are for live hog prices to average about $51 per hundred pounds, down from the record high of $76 last year.

“My bias is that hog prices will recover some and post an average near $53,” Hurt said. “If so, projections by quarter would be around the following levels for quarters 1 to 4: $48, $54, $58, and $51, respectively.

“With an average projected hog price near $53 per live hundredweight for 2015, costs are currently projected to be near $52 based on current feed-price expectations. If so, this would mean a small profit of about $2 per head for the year, with the best of those profits in the third quarter and with small losses in the first and fourth quarters. These lowly expectations for positive returns should keep producers from making further expansion plans,” he said.

News Source:

Chris Hurt, 765-494-4273

News Writer:

University of Illinois Extension

U of I researchers receive USDA grant to develop childhood obesity intervention programs

Published April 6, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois researchers have been awarded a USDA grant that aims to decrease childhood obesity rates in Hispanic populations.

The grant, funded under the 2014 Farm Bill through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) for nearly $500,000, intends to continue support up to five years for a total of $3.4 million.

The program, Abriendo Caminos, is a six-week workshop series that promotes healthy dietary behavior patterns and basic knowledge of nutrition; positive family interactions, including shared family mealtimes; and active living in low-literacy, low-income Hispanic families. It specifically targets 6- to 18-year-old children of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage in five locations across the country.

Abriendo Caminos was developed by two faculty members in the U of I’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The program is directed by Margarita Teran-Garcia, a U of I assistant professor of nutrition and Extension specialist for Hispanic health programs. Angela Wiley, a U of I associate professor in family studies, co-directs the project.  

Affiliated with Abriendo Caminos at other sites are Amber Hammons at California State University, Fresno; Kimberly Greder of Iowa State University; Maria L. Plaza and Nancy J. Correa at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez; and Sylvia Crixell of Texas State University.

The research team intends to generate a diverse community of scholars who will develop and disseminate programs to decrease gaps in health inequality, including Hispanic university students, who will meet the specific needs of this population.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in announcing the funding, said that one-third of American children are overweight or obese, making this issue one of the greatest health challenges facing our nation.

Teran-Garcia stressed that Spanish-speaking families are at increased risk of obesity and its associated metabolic diseases. “Abriendo Caminos has been successful in changing the behaviors that lead to childhood obesity in this growing segment of the U.S. population,” she said.

“Our preliminary findings indicate that participants in Abriendo Caminos eat more fruits and vegetables and drink less sugary beverages after participating in the program,” Wiley said.






ACE Departmental Seminar - Dr. Eeshani Kandpal

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Monsanto Room, ACES Library

The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, ACES Office of International Programs, and Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program is proud to present

Dr. Eeshani Kandpal
Economist, Poverty and Inequality Unit Development Research Group
The World Bank

Seminar title: "Unintended Consequences: Learning from the Implementation of Development Interventions Targeting Women and Children"

Friday, April 10, 2015
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Monsanto Room, ACES Library

For a listing of upcoming seminars, please go to

Recommendations for added sugars: How to control your sweet tooth

Published April 2, 2015
open soda can

URBANA, Ill. – “Added sugars” are often included during the processing of food and beverages to enhance their flavor and palatability. These foods—with extra calories and little nutrient content—are referred to as being calorie-dense, said a University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator.

“You should limit your intake of these foods with added sugars because they carry a risk for several health concerns, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cavities,” said Kristin Bogdonas.

Several international and national organizations have established recommendations based on current research to help consumers make informed food and beverage choices for optimum health, she said.

The World Health Organization and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that added sugars make up no more than 10 percent of your total caloric intake. That means:

  • 40 grams a day (10 teaspoons) if you eat 1,600 calories
  • 50 grams (12.5 teaspoons) if you eat 2,000 calories
  • 60 grams (15 teaspoons) if you eat 2,400 calories
  • 70 grams (17.5 teaspoons) if you eat 2,800 calories

Recommendations from the American Heart Association are considerably lower. They suggest that women consume no more than 100 calories (24 grams or 6 teaspoons) per day from added sugars. For men, they recommend no more than 150 calories (36 grams or 9 teaspoons per day of added sugars, she said.

“As a reference point, one 16-ounce bottle of brown pop contains 54 grams or 13.5 teaspoons of sugar!” Bogdonas said.

Looking at a food’s nutrition label will quickly tell you how many carbohydrates and grams of sugar can be found in one serving of a particular food. This information can be helpful, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture because added sugars are currently not a separate line item, she advised.

Until nutrition labels are updated, naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in fruit and milk, and added sugars are lumped together as one. For example, yogurt is a seemingly healthy item, and it has roughly 9 grams of naturally occurring sugar (or lactose), but the flavored varieties can have more than 30 grams of sugar,” Bogdonas said.

Another way to find added sugars in your food is to look at the ingredient list. If you see sugar or another form of sugar in the first five ingredients, look for a different brand, variety, or a healthier alternative, she said.

Three Tips to Slow Down Sugar Intake

  1. Start by evaluating your choice of beverage throughout the day. Forty-seven percent of the added sugar in our diets comes from sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda (25%), fruit drinks (11%), coffee and tea (7%), sport and energy drinks (3%), and alcohol (1%). It’s easy to consume a lot of unnecessary sugar when it’s in liquid form. Try fruit- and herb-infused waters this spring. Tasty combinations include thyme and pineapple, basil and orange, mint and cucumber, and blackberry and sage.
  1. Enjoy smaller portions of sweet treats. You don’t have to completely eliminate desserts from your diet, but it wouldn’t hurt to cut back on the amount that’s being served. Try the “three-bite rule”: the first bite is to taste it, the second bite is to savor it, and the third bite is to be satisfied with it.
  1. Look for hidden sugar. Added sugars are not just found in soda and candy bars. They are also in such everyday foods as bread, ketchup, salad dressings, pasta sauce, and yogurt. To be a sugar sleuth, you have to get in the habit of reading labels and the ingredient lists. Several types of sugars are used during processing so check for these terms: high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, honey, maltose, cane sugar, brown sugar, and maple syrup.
  1. Keep track of how many grams of added sugars you consume per day or week and try cutting back a little at a time. By switching from a 16-ounce soda to tea or infused water, you can save 54 grams of added sugar in one sitting.

“For a look at what’s ahead in the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, check out the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,” Bogdonas suggested.



"Gender, Shocks, and Assets: Sources of Resilience"

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Heritage Room, ACES Library, 1101 S. Goodwin, Urbana

Presented by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute

Rural households face multiple sources of shocks, which are exacerbated by climate change. But household members do not all experience these shocks in the same way. Using the Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project (GAAP) conceptual framework and evidence from a range of studies in South Asia and East Africa, this presentation will examine the role of different types of assets in providing resilience for women and men.

Sponsored by: Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program.

Co-sponsored by: Center for African Studies; Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences; Departments of Agricultural and Consumer Economics; Human and Community Development; and Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy; and Inequality Initiative Co-sponsors.

Free lunch with registration by April 12th at: