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Should It Be Out of Our Hands?

Cast under the soft morning light of an empty hall, Poster Session 2 "Markets" began in a far more intimate fashion than the session held in the space yesterday afternoon. Perhaps the combination of a smaller audience, a quieter surrounding hall (and copious coffee personally) worked together to generate conditions for a far more interactive discussion of forward-looking market-centric research.

As a self-identifying young researcher (one of the dominant themes of yesterday's Welcome Address), I am currently deeply engaged with preparations for my first poster presentation at an upcoming conference later this autumn. The opportunity to follow multiple poster sessions this week has of course reiterated the necessity of certain characteristics in delivering an effective poster presentation, but perhaps more significantly, it has unveiled a dimension of "Well, this is out of my hands..." that seems inherent to this particular form of scientific communication. I am specially referring to the presentation time and poster location. Does the random selection of your presentation hall, or whether your talk precedes or follows a coffee break, significantly impact the effectiveness of your poster presentation? With no control over these factors, I would like to ask senior researchers for advice moving forward: What strategies have you cultivated to navigate some of these challenges? How can young researchers improve for future international conference environments?

Tubers that don't want to grow up!

Conservation of genetic resources is a crucial mean for safeguarding the agriculture of the future. However, medium to long term conservation of germplasm requires significant effort, expecially for vegetatively propagated plants, such as tuberous crops. impressions6 Stacy Hammond from the Czech University of Life Sciences conducted a brilliant investigation on how to effectively slow down the growth rate of Ulluco (Ullucus tuberculosus)(Loz.) of the Basellaceae family, an important Andean staple crop, so it can be efficiently conserved for farmers and for future generations. I certainly hope that these findings will serve as a basis for future studies in genetic resources and conservation.

Model Fashions

I reluctantly made my way to the modelling poster presentations. There’s a grimy romanticism to agriculture in the tropics and subtropics, it’s hot, sweaty and dirty. Even measuring the leaf area index with a Plant Canopy Analyzer requires patience in sweltering heat. Modeling conjures a different image, endless hours staring at a screen tinkering with a tangled web of components.

This is only half the story, it also requires intensive field work too. Models can only be created and calibrated based on real data. Above all, modeling is part of the future of agriculture. Without it, it’s nearly impossible to show the advantages of intercropped systems, or the diffuse impacts of global warming.

Unfortunately, the poster session just made a complicated subject more obscure. The noise drowned out most of the presenters along with the questions. Regardless, I got enough of an impression to make a list of my favorites. I made sure my choices made sense by pulling aside a modeler from the audience.

Best Poster

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Thanh Thi Nguyen: Assessing Impacts of Long-Term Maize-Cultivation Using the ‘Dynamic of Total Carbon and Nitrogen Distribution’ Model

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YPARD: Supporting Youth in Agriculture

The youth is the future, and their crucial role in the future of agriculture is undeniable. Thus, how can we support them in agriculture? To find the answer, Young Professionals for Agriculture Development (YPARD) initiated the discussion among young researchers at Tropentag 2017.

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As an international network of more than 13,000 members, YPARD serves as a global collective platform that allows interested young professionals to connect and contribute proactively to agriculture. This year, YPARD Europe, together with the International Association of Students in Agricultural and related Sciences (IAAS) organized an interactive session at Tropentag 2017. The workshop was the chance for young researchers to express their ideas and opinions to find practical solutions to improve youth involvement in agriculture.

With a friendly and dynamic culture, YPARD creates a place for young generation to interact, network and encourage themselves to work actively in agriculture. As a young researcher in agriculture, I found YPARD attractive because it offered access to an international network. If you want to know more about them, find their details at their information booth in the AULA.

ICRAF presents: Trees as a means of land restoration

Soil, soil everywhere, but not a spot to plant.

Land degradation is an important global environmental issue in the 21st century and is having a huge impact on agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods. Moreover, as Tony Simmons, director general of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) stated, economic losses from it account for a loss of $10.6 trillions a year.

Young Scientists Win Award for Fight Against Hunger

Many of the most influential agricultural innovations in the past century are due to the support of private foundations. In the hopes of inspiring another, Dr. Hermann Eiselen founded the Fiat Panis Foundation in 2000 to support young scientists as they conducted innovative research projects aimed at improving food security in developing countries. Andrea Fadani, the executive director of the Fiat Panis foundation, awarded the Hans H. Ruthenberg Award for Graduates to two brilliant young scientists at the Tropentag 2017 for just that. Hans Hartwig Ruthenberg Award1 “Genome based identification of heterotic pattern in rice”, Ulrike Beukert, University of Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg

Rice is one of the most important staple crops in the world. A lot of research has been conducted, but more investigations are needed in order to optimize land use by maximizing yield. Ulrike Beukert, a MSc. student at the University of Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg, conducted an investigation on boosting yield by exploiting heterosis in rice. Results show that heterosis provides enhanced yield stability and increased abiotic and biotic stress resistance.

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