Missouri Farmers Union Member Appointed to NOSB

The USDA announced the appointment of four new members to the National Organic Standards Board. We are thrilled to announce Missouri Farmers Union member Elizabeth “Liz” Graznak as one of these new nominees.

The NOSB is made up of 15 volunteer members representing the biological community. The new members will serve five-year terms, until January 2027. Graznak was appointed to the seat of environmental protection and resource conservation.

Graznak is the owner and “FarmHer” of Happy Hollow Farm, an 82-acre diverse organic vegetable farm near Jamestown, Missouri. She markets through retail and community supported agriculture. She brings to NOSB 16 years of certified organic farming experience, a passion for the environment, and a commitment to growing and providing healthy, nutritious food to her community. Graznak has served on several boards, including the Missouri Organic Association and the Council of Sustainable Farms and Communities. She was voted 2021 “Farmer of the Year” by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service.



Richt and Valent named to first BRI endowed faculty positions

Barbara Valent, University Professor Emeritus in the College of Agriculture, and Jürgen Richt, Regents Professor Emeritus in the College of Veterinary Medicine, are awarded the first endowed chairs at the Kansas State University Biosafety Research Institute.

The chairs were created through a donation from Marty Vanier and her late husband Bob Krause for faculty members who are doing or will do a significant portion of their academic work at the Biosafety Research Institute, or BRI. Applicants must also have demonstrated global research impact in their fields.



“BRI Endowed Chairs allow us to both build on and extend our unique strengths and scientific leadership in biosafety and biodefense research,” said David Rosowsky, Vice President of Research at K -State. “Drs. Valent and Richt are spectacular examples of our human assets, both eminent scholars and both internationally renowned in their respective fields. We are proud to recognize these inaugural BRI Endowed Chairs and are grateful to Marty and Bob for their vision and generosity.

Valent, who is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has worked on understanding blast disease for more than 40 years. Over the past decade, his work has focused on blast, a dangerous new disease in which the fungus is capable of destroying entire wheat fields. Valent led a research team that conducts the world’s most comprehensive studies of the wheat blast to keep it out of the United States.

“Combating emerging transboundary food plant pathogens requires the discovery of genetic resistance as well as the development of diagnostic and management tools to control the disease where it occurs and prevent it from invading new areas” , Valent said. “Our research into severe wheat blast is helping to control this disease in other parts of the world before it reaches the United States. This research would not have been possible at K-State without the laboratories specializing in the biocontainment of BRI plants.”

Valent said the chair would allow him to add equipment and new students for BRI research on mechanisms of European corn borer variability that inform and improve biosecurity plans to defeat the dangerous pathogen.

“Barbara’s work is truly transformative, both in terms of improving the basic understanding of plants and how to preserve wheat and rice yields around the world,” said Ernie Minton, Dean of the College. of Agriculture. “It is fitting that Barbara be honored with an inaugural BRI Endowed Chair, as it was at BRI that she and her team of scientists were the first to discover a resistance gene called 2NS for the wheat blast.”

Richt studies zoonotic, emerging and transboundary diseases of livestock, focusing primarily on viral diseases. His work has led to strategies to identify, control and/or eradicate pathogens with significant impact on veterinary medicine, human health and food safety. His recent work focuses on the establishment of preclinical animal models for SARS-CoV-2 to assess the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19.

“We are delighted that Dr. Jürgen Richt has been selected as one of the first two professors at BRI,” said Bonnie Rush, Dean of the Hodes Family of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “He is a leader in containment research, directing two major emerging infectious disease centers at K-State. In 2020, Dr. Richt shifted his work to strengthen our understanding of the pathophysiology and disease transmission of COVID-19. The BRI Professorship will further enable Dr. Richt to perform the advanced high-containment research that is essential to protect and improve human and animal health globally.

The two researchers are able to work on high-risk pathogens in the BRI thanks to its agricultural level 3 and biosafety level 3 laboratories.

“To be selected as one of the first recipients of this award is deeply meaningful because of the reputation of BRI and its staff within the scientific community,” said Richt. “The existence of the BRI demonstrates first and foremost Kansas State University’s tangible commitment to food animal health science in particular, to science in general, and to the concept of animal health research more broadly. critical needs.”