Ukrainian professors, scientists visit OSU for applied research and Extension collaboration

Dr. Rafiq Islam
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources   

A seven-member delegation from Ukraine including Drs. Nataliia Didenko (PI/Senior Researcher), Rushena Kupiedinova (Co-PI/Senior Researcher), Mykhailo Romashchenko, Co-PI/ Director), and Olga Zhovtonog, (Co-PI/Chief, Dept. of Irrigation Land Use), Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, National Academy of Agrarian Sciences, Kyiv, Ukraine; Drs. Rayisa Vozhehova (Co-PI/Director) and Anastasiia Maliarchuk (Co-PI/Senior Researcher), Institute of Irrigated Agriculture, National Academy of Agrarian Sciences, Kherson, Ukraine; and Vira Konovalova (Co-PI/Junior Scientist), Askaniya State Agricultural Experimental Station, Institute of Irrigated Agriculture, National Academy of Agrarian Sciences, Ukraine visited The Ohio State University (OSU) from April 15 to 25, 2019 under the Civilian Research Defense Foundation (CRDF) and Ukraine Ministry of Education sponsored US-Ukraine Competitive Grant Program. Dr. Rafiq Islam is the United States counterpart of the project and hosted the visitors. 

The delegation members visited The Ohio State University International Program in Agriculture (OSU-IPA), its Director and Professor Mark Erbaugh, and other staff members to learn about land grant mission of The Ohio State University. They signed a memorandum of understanding for future applied research and Extension collaboration to improve the professional development of Ukrainian scientists. The delegation met Professor Scott Shearer, who heads the Food, Agriculture, and Biological Engineering Department, to learn about teaching, research, and Extension collaboration with precision agriculture.

As part of their program, they visited Brandt’s Farm in Carroll, Fairfield County, to learn more about sustainable agriculture, especially continuous no-till, cover crops, and cropping diversity to improve soil health and quality, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and physical stability of soil. They were keen to learn how these practices can be applied to predict and calculate soil hydraulic properties, in the modification irrigation requirements, and for scheduling for major agronomic crops under irrigation in southern Ukraine. 

They were amazed to see how cover crops covered the grounds during the winter months, control runoff after snowmelts, and can create and recycle N and other nutrients for economic crop growth with reduced chemical inputs. They also visited the Fayette Country Extension Office to learn how Extension offices and various programs in Ohio work to reach clientele. While in Fayette Country, they toured field research and demonstration plots and soil compaction studies underway at the county farm.

In the final part of the program, they visited OSU South Centers at Piketon and met scientists in order to acquire knowledge about how a regional campus or research station works to develop science-based knowledge and disseminate information to clientele. The delegation visited the South Centers’ aquaculture, specialty crops, and soil and water resources laboratory facilities, including current aquaponic and hydroponic research systems with a great interest to develop similar lab services and systems in Ukraine. A wagon-tour was provided to the delegation to show the on-going field research activities, including berries and other specialty crops, vegetables, a second generation fertigation system (Mitsui iCast System), and long-term no-till and cropping diversity with multi-functional cover crops experiments. Rafiq Islam, Gary Gao, Brad Bergefurd, Hanping Wang, Wayne Lewis, Ryan Slaughter, Jordan Maxwell, and Tom Harker facilitated the lab, greenhouse, and field research activities.