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With the Viva Fresh Expo April 5-7 deep in the heart of H-E-B country, picking a local favorite as the 2018 Viva Fresh Healthy Living Lifetime Achievement Award honoree only makes sense.
Viva Fresh chose Hugh Topper, who recently retired as group vice president of fresh foods for San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Co., as this year’s recipient.
The award’s purpose is to recognize people who make a difference in educating consumers about the importance of health and nutrition, especially when it comes to increasing fruits and vegetables in their daily lives.
With previous recipients like David Katz and Bhimu Patil, Topper is in good company, Galeazzi said.
“Both have been tremendous advocates, and they continually advocate the importance of fresh produce in our lives,” he said.
Topper’s commitment, not only in H-E-B produce departments, but also in Texas schools and communities led to his nomination for the honor.
Topper will be honored during the April 6 keynote luncheon, which runs from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Scientists with the Texas A&M AgriLife Research department received a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to research and improve the U.S. melon industry. About $35 million have been awarded nationally by the USDA to 12 projects across the country seeking to address the concerns of melon safety, according to a thebatt.com report. Bhimu Patil, a horticultural sciences professor and director of the AgriLife Research department’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, will head the project of collaborators from universities across the nation. “VFIC has been successful in teaching initiatives to increase awareness and effectively disseminate solutions to target audiences,” Patil said in the report. “A&M’s VFIC scientists will lead the nation partnering with melon growing states in the country.” The money was awarded to the university after the USDA-NIFA recognized the VFIC as a Center For Excellence in the field of U.S. melon research.
Link to website
Jun 02, 2014
The state government will fund a centre each at the University of Horticultural Sciences in Bagalkot and International Centre for Agriculture at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad respectively.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced this after he met delegates from the Texas Agricultural and Management University, USA in Bangalore early last week.
Delegates from Texas A and M University, Mark Hussey, Interim President, and Bhimu Patil, director, Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, met chief minister Siddaramaiah along with vice-chancellor of UAS, Dharwad, D P Biradar. Bhimu Patil initiated the tieup between Texas A&M University (TAMU) and UAS-Dharwad (UASD) 12 years ago with the signing of an MoU under the guidance of Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug.
The success of the decade-long exchange activities among students and faculty, and reciprocal visits of administrators between the two institutes, the chief minister said had prompted Karnataka to immediately provide funds to start the two new centres.
VFIC director Bhimu Patil told Business Standard that the Texas A&M University’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center’s (VFIC) Foods for Health Initiative and The Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture will play important roles as strategic partners to these new centres and provide training opportunities for scientists and students from the UAS-D and UHSB.
These interdisciplinary centres will collaborate with other agricultural and horticultural universities, institutes and centres that do work relating to medical sciences, food and nutrition sciences, in Karnataka and beyond. The Foods for Health Center will enhance the addition of value to fruits and vegetables, and food in general, by conducting research both at the VFIC and at the new Centre of Excellence in Bangalore.
The Centre will leverage the research conducted at the VFIC using the “Consumer to Farm” approach, including pre and post-harvest aspects of retaining health-promoting compounds, examining their role in human health to reduce risk from chronic diseases, and increasing food and nutritional security using commercial crops and unexplored vegetables and fruits.
It is anticipated that this Centre would focus on research and educational activities to reduce the risk of malnutrition, increase the value of produce grown in Karnataka, and enhance the export potential of specific crops.
“TAMU leads in international agriculture through The Borlaug Institute for Agriculture and the international centre at Dharwad, under a tieup with TAMU, would be a win-win for both institutes and the countries. The immediate goal of this centre will be to host international scientists after their retirement, to help them continue to contribute towards improving global agriculture. The centre will emulate and remember the legacy of Borlaug, who worked until the age of 95, in international agriculture, specifically in Indian agriculture, and feeding the world,” Bhimu Patil said.
Other activities planned in partnership with these two centres and TAMU include developing a Dual Certificate Program in food, nutritional security, and sustainability, and training selected scientists at the VFIC in the area of foods for health, with courses from horticultural and agricultural universities in the state.
December 13, 2017 by Jeff Pool
College Station, Texas- Texas A&M University teamed up with three different schools across the country to create a different classroom experience for graduate students.
Lead instructor Dr. Bhimu Patil lectures his students on children’s health in their region
A USDA Higher Education Challenge grant helped develop a new, multi-disciplinary course called The Nexus of Food & Nutritional Security, Sustainability, and Hunger. The program uses video conferencing to connect Texas A&M with Ohio State University, Purdue University and Texas A&M Kingsville.
“We get to see the different perspectives of other campuses and really see what’s going on outside of our own school,” said Justin Buenger, a Texas A&M graduate student from Belville.
Texas A&M was chosen to lead this new course due to the recent success of two other courses funded by USDA-Challenge grants. Dr. Bhimu Patil, lead instructor in the course and principal investigator of the USDA grant, has shown that providing information from practical experiences of experts in the field rather than from a textbook is key to educating these students.
Texas A&M graduate students present their findings to Purdue University, The Ohio State University, and A&M Kingsville.
The classes are unlike any other because they use high impact learning experiences while connecting with students outside of Texas. Through discussion, students learn to work with organizations in their own communities that help and assist with insecure food areas.
“The course gets us out of the classroom and working, hands-on, in the field, with students from other majors,” said Pratibha Acharya, a graduate student from Pokhara, Nepal.
The purpose of the class is to teach these students about food insecurity and how to implement healthy living within their communities.
“Students are usually not aware of the problems with food insecurity in the world around them,” said Dr. Patil. “The class really opens their eyes to those problems in the United States.”
The series of classes are offered in the Fall semester every two years with Dr. Patil. For more information on the classes or how to sign up, visit https://agrilife.org/fnhs/.
Filed Under: Faculty, Graduate, High Impact Learning
To understand changes in the melon industry â€” cantaloupe, honeydew and other varieties, but not watermelon â€” Texas A&M University is conducting a survey to gather information about all aspects of the industry.
The goal is to establish the needs and perceptions of melon stakeholders â€” consumers, producers and retailers, according to Bhimu Patil, director of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M and the projectâ€™s director.
â€œThe outcome will help to develop new cultivars and varieties to make sure our research and outreach efforts will focus on the stakeholder needs and re-establish melon industry by developing domestic grown region-specific cultivars,â€ said Patil.
The center conducted similar surveys in 2009 and 2011. This yearâ€™s survey will help researchers understand if there are any changes in stakeholder needs concerning the melons, he said.
The survey will also shed light on changes in demands at all levels of the production chain.
â€œThis yearâ€™s survey will help us to understand any changes in consumer, melon producer, retailer, national associations (such as the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association) needs,â€ Patil said. â€œPrevious surveys provided strong evidence of developing flavorful, safer, healthy melons with disease resistance.â€
Patil asks that all members of the melon industry, consumers, producers and retailers take the survey before the cutoff date of Feb. 23.
The survey, which is anonymous, takes about 8-10 minutes to complete, and is available at this website.
“Fat” is becoming the new normal in America. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than seven in 10 U.S. adults aged 20 and older are either overweight or obese. Rates are lower for children and adolescents but have risen steadily almost every year. So prevalent has America’s obesity problem grown that the weight-loss industry continues to expand. This year, Americans are expected to spend more than $68 billion just on programs designed to help them shed the extra pounds. The U.S. spends in total nearly $200 billion in annual health care costs related to obesity.
New findings by the Physical Activity Council suggest a need for more aggressive efforts to combat the issue. According to the report, nearly 81.5 million Americans aged 6 and older were completely inactive in 2016. Lack of physical activity is a leading cause of obesity, in addition to genetics, emotional instability and sleeplessness.
But the problem is bigger in some states than in others. To determine where obesity and overweight most dangerously persist, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 19 key metrics. Our data set ranges from share of obese and overweight population to sugary-beverage consumption among adolescents to obesity-related health care costs. Read on for our findings, expert commentary from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
For a more local perspective on the obesity and overweight problem in the U.S., check out WalletHub’s Fattest Cities report. Also to help spread awareness about diabetes, WalletHub assembled an interesting infographic exploring the impact of the disease as well as what folks are doing to fight back.
Most & Least Obese States
Although this report examines the prevalence of obesity, it also evaluates the levels of inactivity and overweight in each state. However, given the particularly harmful effects of obesity, we constructed a separate table below that focuses just on obesity rates to highlight the states in which the problem is most concerning. Both adults and children were considered for this separate ranking. A rank of No. 1 corresponds with the highest obesity rate.
Ask the Experts
Our collective medical tab of nearly $200 billion is just one of the consequences of a perpetually unhealthy lifestyle that leads to obesity. To shed more light on the issue and find solutions that consumers and local governments can follow, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:
What are some tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank?
What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight?
What policies should government pursue to combat obesity and rein in the cost of health care?
What is the impact of obesity on the economy and worker productivity?
Should overweight people pay a higher premium for their health insurance? Do you think they will in the future, based on recent health care proposals?
TAMU research strives to improve food industry – @bowerman_rachel
In the U.S. melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew have been associated with the outbreak of 36 foodborne diseases and pathogen related fruit recalls since 1990 according to Texas A&M horticulturalist Bhimu Patil.
On Sept. 8, scientists with the A&M AgriLife Research department received a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to research and improve the U.S. melon industry.
The department received $35 million have been awarded nationally by the USDA to 12 projects across the country seeking to address the concerns of melon safety. The grant was awarded to the university’s horticultural sciences department as a part of a four year funded project, entitled “A Sustainable, Systems-based Approach for a Safer and Healthier Melon Supply Chain in the U.S..”
Bhimu Patil, a horticultural sciences professor and director of the AgriLife Research department’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center (VFIC), will head the project of collaborators from universities across the nation.
“VFIC has been successful in teaching initiatives to increase awareness and effectively disseminate solutions to target audiences,” Patil said. “A&M’s VFIC scientists will lead the nation partnering with melon growing states in the country.”
The money was awarded to the university after the USDA-NIFA recognized the VFIC as a Center For Excellence in the field of U.S. melon research.
NIFA Centers for Excellence are recognized by their success in developing beneficial public-private partnerships and efforts in the fields of research and education, according to the Department of Agriculture website.
In an email NIFA spokesperson Sonny Ramaswamy laid out the goals of his organization.
“NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors,” Ramaswamy wrote. “They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe, and affordable food sources.”
Ramaswamy feels that Texas A&M University researchers play a role in pursuing NIFA’s goals.
“These projects include a Texas A&M University effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the United States, emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven need,” Ramaswamy wrote.
Patil said that, due to their physical characteristics, melons are particularly susceptible to the spread of disease.
“The surfaces of these fruits are harder to wash,” Patil said. “And thus pathogens, such as salmonella, can accumulate on the outside and contaminate the flesh when the fruit is cut.”
Patil feels these issues need to be addressed because, despite the risk of disease, melons are incredibly beneficial and durable fruits.
“Melons have a multitude of health benefits and excellent flavor aspects for consumers, and as well as a good resistance to disease while growing in fields,” Patil said.
Patil also said the goals of the project will affect many areas of agricultural industry.
“The long term goal of this multidisciplinary project is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs,” Patil said.
According to Patil, the project will involve around twelve scientists from the VFIC who will partner with melon growers across the nation to improve melon safety and assist U.S. melon farmers to make the business more lucrative.
“We are developing varieties based on consumer needs,” Patil said. “We have more than 23 scientists in seven states collaborating to make this happen.”