Science of reproduction to be featured at Ag Progress Days

July 20, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The science of reproduction, using animals as a guide, will be the main attraction at the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 14-16.

Members of the Penn State Center for Reproductive Biology and Health and the Society for the Study of Reproduction will showcase their research through video and live demonstrations of reproductive cells and early embryos from animals.

Reproductive physiology and fertility will be the focus, according to Jonathan Ziegler, marketing specialist and coordinator of the College Exhibits Building. He noted that human health and the productivity of animal agriculture depend on the proper transmission of genetic information -- DNA -- to future generations.

At this hands-on exhibit, visitors will be able to isolate DNA and learn how meiosis -- the type of cell division by which germ eggs and sperm are produced -- generates animal variation.

"The College Exhibits Building should be entertaining and informative for young and old alike," said Ziegler. "Come learn about DNA, genes and the amazing cells that deliver genetic information to future generations.

"Visitors can observe live chicks developing inside eggs, and in our lab area, they also can watch the process of in vitro fertilization and learn how reproductive processes affect health and well-being after birth."

The presentations are made possible by support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Located between East Ninth and East 10th streets near the top of Main Street on the Ag Progress Days site, the College Exhibits Building also will emphasize the diversity of teaching, research and extension programs offered by the college, focusing on energy; pest prediction and response; water quality and quantity; and dairy, livestock and veterinary science.

Experts in each of these areas will be on hand to answer questions and discuss how the college's research and extension missions help Pennsylvanians.

Presentations in the building's theatre will feature such topics as stink-bug infestations, strategies for longevity in the dairy business, immunization protocols and how to make them more effective for livestock, protecting water supplies from natural-gas drilling, and on-farm animal composting, among others.

Full descriptions of the theatre presentations are available on the Web at (A schedule of the presentations follows.)

The College Exhibits Building also will focus on educational opportunities and careers in agriculture. There are more job openings in agriculture and related fields each year than qualified graduates to fill them, according to Marianne Fivek, student recruitment coordinator.

She invites people to visit the College Exhibits Building to learn about the College of Agricultural Sciences' academic programs in the animal, biomedical, plant, environmental, natural resource, food and social sciences, as well as in agricultural business and biological engineering.

"Faculty and staff will be available to answer questions and provide information to prospective students and their families," she said. "We'll give them a good idea where an education in the agricultural sciences can take them.

"With 19 majors, 24 minors and about $1.9 million in scholarships available, the college has considerable diversity in its academic programs and many educational and life-changing opportunities to offer prospective students."

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 14; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 15; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 16. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.


The schedule of theatre presentations:

Tuesday, Aug. 14
10 a.m. -- Attack of the Stink Bugs: What They Are, Where They Came From, What to Do
11 a.m. -- Protecting Private Water Supplies from Natural Gas Drilling
12:30 p.m. -- Improving Colostrum Quality for Calves
1 p.m. -- Prevention of Parasites in Sheep and Cattle
1:30 p.m. -- Income Over Feed Costs: A Key to Profitable Dairies
2 p.m. -- On-Farm Animal Composting
2:45 p.m. -- Animal Welfare in Commercial Livestock Production Systems
3:25 p.m. -- Simple and Quick Corrections for Calving and Lambing Problems

Wednesday, Aug. 15
10 a.m. -- House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Public Hearing
12:30 p.m. -- Too Many Cats Around the Farm? Trapping and Neutering Ideas
1 p.m. -- Why Vaccines Don't Work as Well as You Think They Should
1:30 p.m. -- Dairy by the Numbers: Strategies for Longevity in Business
2 p.m. -- On-Farm Animal Composting
2:45 p.m. -- Conservation Innovations on Pennsylvania Farms

Thursday, Aug. 16
10 a.m. -- Attack of the Stink Bugs: What They Are, Where They Came From, What to Do
11 a.m. -- Protecting Private Water Supplies from Natural Gas Drilling
12:30 p.m. -- New Ideas for Small Animal Vaccination/Parasite Control
1 p.m. -- Does Genetic Selection Work for Your Herd? Personalized Genetic Trend Visualization

  • The College Exhibits Building will be entertaining and informative for young and old alike, who can learn about DNA, genes and the amazing cells that deliver genetic information to future generations.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 30, 2012