Welcome to come JiLin Unlveiversity College of communication engineering

Wonderful Activities

Wonderful Activities

Yu Yinhui: “Farm helper” aids farmers with livestock rearing, empowering with technology and compassion

March 10, 2021   browse:

Posted on: 2020-10-12

Written by/ Jilin University correspondent Xiao WeiThe golden October harvest makes the perfect time to reap the fruit of yet another achievement for Jilin University in this decisive year on the battle against poverty. After a live presentation and voting, Jilin University’s project to alleviate poverty through technology, “Farm helper aids with livestock rearing” emerged in a class of its own among 70 model poverty alleviation projects from 70 Universities directly affiliated to the MOE, and was chosen as the fifth model poverty alleviation project by a University directly affiliated to the Ministry of Education. This marks the first of such an honor for Jilin University, and a new milestone for the battle against poverty in Jilin Province. Today, we’ll take you behind the scenes with the honoree of this award, Professor Yu Yinhui of the College of Communication Engineering in JLU and hear the story of how she and her team banished poverty with technology.

We all know that the proverb says to teach the skills of fishing is better than just giving away a fish, but what exactly is behind the “fishing” metaphor in the fight against poverty? Empowering the locals with technology, ridding the stubborn roots of poverty with innovation driven methods is certainly one answer. Under the leadership of the Communist Party Committee of JLU, and the coordination of the University Union’s Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, a campus-wide effort was made to utilize the University’s professional and academic niche, research on the “three rural issues” of agriculture, rural area and farmers, and transform the vast countryside into dissertations. After 8 years of hard work, the 11 research projects funded by Jilin University delivered results with direct agricultural application, and significant impact on production. Farmers were borne on the wings of technology. In Jilin’s Tong Yu County, Jilin University made outstanding contributions for poverty alleviation and rural vitalization. Professor Yu’s research team, dealing jabs and uppercuts with the force of technology, was one such contributor for the sweet victory of precise poverty alleviation.

Poverty alleviation through technology:“farm helper” finds way into the homes of ordinary farmers

In October, the morning air was already nipping in north-eastern China. Zhao Gui, a villager from Lin Hai Village, Shuang Gang Town, Tong Yu County, Bai Cheng City of Jilin Province had barely gotten out of bed when he heard that the neighboring village lost 9 cattles. He was jolted wide awake and rushed to the cooperative which he belonged to check on his sheeps. He heaved a sigh of relive at the sight of them grazing grass, evidently on present and without a care in the world. The reassuring red light of the farm’s smart pyroelectric infrared security system was blinking as always.

Professor Yu Yinhui, who is also the secretary of the Party Branch of the College of Communication Engineering, leads a research team that focuses on development and application of the internet of things. When Professor Yu made her way to Lin Hai Village, in which the College will assist with poverty alleviation, she threw up multiple times because of the bumpy ride. Things did not get easier when she arrived. The howling wind lashed out with grains of yellowish dirt, and the cooperative reeked of livestock dung. When she left, the odor lingered on every strand of her hair.

Tong Yu County rested on the eastern edge of the Kerchin Grassland, where high salinity of the soil strangled crop productivity for years on end. However, the county is blessed with ample sunlight, and abundant grassland resources, or the highest ratio of grassland in all of Jilin Province to be exact. Undaunted by her initial shock, Professor Lin carried on with her field visit to Lin Hai Village, and discovered that the livestock rearing cooperative adopted a primitive and inefficient method of animal husbandry. Villagers have to take turns taking the night watch, and check on the stables and barns every one or two hours. Even so, the lack of a secure holding pen meant that the livestock were stolen on a regular basis. Having gone through so much trouble just to have their livestock stolen, many villages are unwilling, or scared of rearing livestock. To them, the animals are their lives. On that very day, Professor Yu witnessed scenes that would reaffirm her resolution to rid the village of backwards poverty: an injured cattle stuck in the opening of a wall kicking wildly, the villager who tried to save the cattle kicked in the hand, and blood gushing profusely, a villager wiping tears over stolen sheep.

After returning to campus from her field trip, a dream began to take shape in Professor Yu’s mind: she could use her professional knowledge and use technology to change the backwards and primitive methods of livestock rearing, so that villagers can rear their livestock scientifically without fearing whether the animals would be stolen. With this ideal in mind, in 2017 Professor Yu led her research team out from the laboratory and into the farm, and embarked on the journey of targeted poverty alleviation and helping farmers with technology.

Two months later, armed with the specially designed smart agriculture IOT system prototype, Yu’s team returned confidently to Li Hai Village, only to have that confidence dashed. The prototype’s sensors simply could not function in such a low temperature and harsh environment. Undaunted, Yu’s team headed back to their lab, buried themselves in research, and emerged no more than one month later with an upgraded sensor.

This time it worked! The farm’s perimeters were installed with wireless pyroelectric infrared detection security system, the 12 thousand square meters of barns and sheds are shielded with 24 hours protection, and farmers no longer need to worry about stolen sheep and cattle. Following that, the team also designed a “farm helper” system that can monitor the temperature, humidity, and hazardous gases such as ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and so on. By logging into the “farm helper” mobile app, farmers can get real time data and live footage. When the numbers are approaching the critical threshold, windows opening for ventilation, and a serious of other functions are available to effectively prevent the pens from being too humid, thereby preventing the livestock from catching contagious skins diseases and other illness. The app also supports real time pen monitoring, so that farmers can clean up and make the rounds in time. Numbers exceeding standard are flagged, data are uploaded onto cloud storage, and livestock rearing is done with science. Meanwhile, every sheep has an e-collar around its neck for real time location monitoring, so that the movement tracks and real-time monitor can be played back. As research results find their way to the “cloud”, sheep and cattle can also enjoy a better life with the help of internet big data. The villagers, meanwhile, are completely mesmerized. “Professor Liu often visits the village, her high tech device are practical, easy to learn, and quick to get familiar with”, one such villager says.

Through scientific monitoring and management, Lin Hai Village showed early results in the four links of livestock rearing, prevention and control of disease, raising and fattening of the livestock. The cattle and sheep are strong and fat, and the average weight of a sheep ready for slaughter has increased from 60 kg to 75 kg. The problem of ewes drastically losing their milk output has also been solved. Brucellosis and skin diseases in sheep herds are fewer, and zero losses have been reported. In three years, the cooperative’s average revenue per annum has increased by 1.7 million RMB, and 747 poverty stricken households across the town had a share of the dividend.

The village’s popularity grew alongside its wealth. In the past, only the elderly stayed and reared livestock, but now young people are returning to join their elders. “Times have changed, we’re now tech savvy sheep farmers”, remarks Zhao Gui, one of the youths that returned. Every day, he would rear his sheep using the mobile app, and during his free time, he would also browse the “internet of livestock rearing” website that Professor Yu’s team built to learn scientific skills for livestock rearing. So far, Yu’s project has attracted 13 young people to return to the rural area to seek employment. It is also Tong Yu County’s only project that was established by Jilin Technology Bureau.

“Bitterness or sweetness is best known by the savorer, the ruggedness of a journey is best felt by the traveler”. The achievement of Lin Hai Village has not come easy. “I want to transform the farm here into a fully intelligent livestock farm, and then replicate it to the entire province, and even the whole country.” Warding off poverty with her learned profession, check; a herd of healthy and fat livestock, check; step by step, Yu Yinhui is walking towards her goal.

Educating through practice: 400 km of wind and snow makes the most grounded classroom

In the chilling north eastern part of China, snow flakes decorate the skies when it is just the start of winter, and during the coldest days, a water drop will turn into ice before hitting the ground. Yet, such a harsh condition does not stop Professor Yu from leading her team and making many trips on the 400 km journey of wind and snow to stop poverty.

Professor Yu would make use of every opportunity to teach her students to apply their knowledge in practice. Rather than sitting in the lab all day, they should go deep into the rural areas, and remember Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s advice to young people: “go deep into the land of the people, understand the country and its people, grow wiser through innovation and entrepreneurship, and better their qualities and willpower through hard work”, the passionate dream of a youth should be emerged with the great Chinese dream. With such a conviction, Lu led her team to collect data, conduct research, develop equipment again and again, enhancing every member’s confidence and strength in this journey of precise poverty alleviation through technology. Over the years, the students and faculties under her leadership has held eight seminars on scientific livestock rearing, medical prevention of livestock diseases and other essential knowledge. They have also printed 8 different booklets on spreading scientific knowledge, such as rearing pigs, sheep, cattle, growing crops, ginseng, edible black fungi, prevention of Brucellosis in Sheep, etc. There are a total of 4000 such booklets that cover a wide spectrum of handy information.

The muddy boots are tangible evidence of the dedication in everyone’s heart. Yu and her team have lost track of the difficult car rides, of the times spent in the keeping pens, in the fields and in the snow at minus 20 degrees Celsius, of the obstacles that they’ve overcome, of the sleepless nights that they shared. Through it all, the frustration of encountering setbacks in research, the joy for the experiment’s success, and eagerness for the farmers to be free of poverty have toughed the team’s mindset, honed their practical skills, and provided them with the conviction for their ideals, and the motivation to carry on. Finally, the “farm helper” that Yu’s team designed began to boost production and revenue. The villagers, Xinhua News and People Daily lavished their approvals and praises, but Professor Yu would simply smile and say, “this is not just my fight, I have the full support of JLU and leaders at all levels of Tong Yu County, and the guidance of academic elites from multiple fields in JLU, and furthermore, the firm devotion of my team members”. Today, she and her team are still developing the “internet of livestock rearing” platform. They hope to move from Tong Yu County to the entire province, then the entire country, from rearing sheep, to protecting and selling them. It is their ultimate goal that with the aid of technology, all livestock farmers will be able to feel the tailwinds of smart agriculture internet of things.

Every firm step and every smile of success is a lively class. Through the pride that research brings, students can better understand their teachers’ unwavering devotion to their initial aspiration and their dedication to their cause, as well as better feel for themselves, what the JLU wisdom, JLU strength and JLU spirit is all about.

Poverty Alleviation through Party building: Party Branch “pairs made, hearts connected”

Poverty alleviation should be organically fused with Party building at the grassroot level, so that the Party at the grassroot level can truly be a reliable bulwark that leads the people to fight against poverty. In order to implement President Xi Jinping’s important instructions on poverty alleviation, further consolidate the accountability mindset of the grassroot Party, and ensure that the poverty alleviation tasks are duly carried out, Jilin University has confirmed a total of 19 outstanding Party Branch from 15 grassroot government units, colleges and 4 clinical hospitals to pair up with Party Branches of 19 villages in Tong Yu County. By harnessing the momentum from Party building to propel poverty alleviation, strength can be gathered.

The Village Committee of Lin Hai Village, Shuang Gang Town, Tong Yu County is located in a two story building, where there is an impressive and spacious small meeting room that can hold up to 30 people. This meeting room was built under the help of the Party Branch that Yu belongs to, and under the funding of Jilin University in 2018. It also serves as the activity room for the Party Branch of Lin Hai Village. Party Branch members would gather here on multiple occasions with the village’s Party members to attend Party lessons, hold Party themed events, and jointly discuss how the build the Party at the grassroot level. They’ve also been bringing actual benefits for the villagers, such as building a library with the encyclopedias, books on telecom, the law and literature works that the teachers and students of Jilin University donated. Owing to their work, the gates of new knowledge have been opened for the farmers and children. While on a field survey to Lin Hai Village, the mayor of Shuang Gang Town was so moved by how the smart devices that Yu’s team installed for the barns and sheds have changed the villagers’ lives that he carefully took the Party emblem down of his chest and carefully gave it to Professor Yu. Yu was escalated, like a child that was just praised, and immediately asked her student to take a picture of her wearing the emblem. The emblem is an embodiment of the trust and gratitude that the Party leader and the people have for her---a Party member.

At the end of 2019, when the Eighth Central Inspection Team conducted the targeted inspection for Jilin Province’s poverty alleviation projects, they examined the work done in 9 villages, amongst which was Lin Hai Village. The Inspection Group went into the homes of 38 households stricken with poverty, and of all the 38 interviewed, the result was the same: “zero problem”.

Winning the battle against poverty is an important decision made by the Party Central and State Council, as well as a key indicator of achieving the target of “comprehensively building a society that is moderately prosperous in all aspects”. This April 10, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development circulated the notice on the evaluation of the Central Unit’s targeted poverty alleviation projects. Jilin University received the comment of “good”, which is the highest remark.

Party building is the corner stone, and technology is the building blocks for poverty alleviation. All the leaders of Tong Yu County agree on one thing, “the support that Jilin University provided to Tong Yu County includes funding, projects, but most importantly, a true heart!” In the 8 year long journey to overcome poverty, everyone from JLU is a participant, and many other students and teachers not unlike Professor Yu, with their hearts pure and committed to the people, have written the perfect “thesis” on poverty alleviation with their responsibility and commitment.

JLUers will always be on one journey or another, be it helping farmers, or alleviating poverty, our steps will never cease……