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Committee Selects Jeremiah Dung

Posted by: | October 8, 2013 | No Comment |

Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center and Oregon State University’s Selection Committee are pleased to announce the COARC Plant Pathologist position has officially been filled. After an extensive search and interview process, the selection committee offered the COARC plant pathologist position to Jeremiah Dung, which he accepted. Jeremiah will begin work at COARC on December 31, 2013. Please read on to learn more Jeremiah and what he brings to COARC.
Jeremiah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Eastern Washington University (Cheney, WA), where his studies focused on botany and mycology. After graduating from EWU, Jeremiah went on to earn his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology at Washington State University (Pullman, WA) under the direction of Dr. Dennis Johnson, where he conducted research on Verticillium wilt and other diseases found in mint and potatoes. Before arriving at COARC, Jeremiah was a postdoctoral scholar with Philip Hamm at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. During his time there, he investigated the epidemiology and control of ergot in grass seed crops. Jeremiah has extensive experience working in applied, extension-based research programs. He particularly enjoys working with growers and stakeholders to find solutions to local and regional plant disease problems.
Jeremiah was born in Berkeley, California before moving to his adopted hometown of Spokane, Washington. As a youth he spent his summers at his grandparents’ home in Pomeroy, Washington, where he was exposed to agriculture and nature at an early age. In his spare time, Jeremiah enjoys backpacking, fishing, gardening, cooking, bicycling, and spending time in the outdoors. He is also an active member of the American Phytopathological Society, the Mycological Society of America, and the Potato Association of America.
jeremiah

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The Passing of Iraj Motazedian

Posted by: | September 24, 2013 | No Comment |

A Note from Marvin Butler-
Growers likely knew Iraj, as the OSU Seed Certification Program representative responsible for Central Oregon, who inspected grass seed fields. His smiling face, gracious manner and unassuming, helpful demeanor won the respect of colleagues, seed industry representatives and growers alike.
It was with particular sadness when I learned last March that Iraj had kidney cancer while we were both attending an Oregon Mint Commission meeting in Hood River. At the time, I was dealing with my father’s situation – a brain tumor removed in mid-November and well into his decline that ended June 29th. I could relate to the difficulty of the situation for Iraj and appreciated his wish for a cure rather than just a treatment. Unfortunately reality has a way of imposing itself on our wish for something better – for both my dad and Iraj.
Accommodate is a word I learned from Iraj. He used it frequently in the context of trying to resolve issues related to field inspections. Regulator people often see things as black or white based on the rules in place. Iraj brought a refreshing sense of reality based on real world situations to his regulatory responsibilities. Finding that balance is difficult at best, but Iraj was able to do so as well as anyone I know.
Because of this balanced approach, the Jefferson County Seed Growers and OSU/Jefferson County Extension presented Iraj with a plaque expressing our appreciation at the Central Oregon Farm Fair and Trade Show several years ago.

Iraj

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The Central Oregon Ag Research Center conducts research and outreach that has economic value to the local agricultural community focusing on high priority issues and opportunities facing growers in central Oregon.
At the present time, COARC has 2 faculty onsite and two vacant faculty positions, one of which is in the process of a hiring search. These positions are all split between research and extension. In addition to faculty, there are 6 additional positions at the station including research assistants, seed certification personnel, farm foreman and others.
The COARC is located in the center of over 60,000 acres of irrigated cropland focused largely on seed production. For example, central Oregon is the largest producer of hybrid carrot seed in the world. Other vegetable seed crops include onions, parsley and coriander. Grass seed production is largely Kentucky bluegrass and rough bluegrass. Peppermint production has historically been for oil, but more recently the majority has been going into the tea leaf market.
COARC is responsive to local industry in solving production problems, developing new crops for the central Oregon region and in providing outreach through product registration, educational programs and services, and by looking to new ways to engage with the local community. For example in 2011 COARC’s demonstration garden became operational, this allows COARC to interact with the Master Gardener program based in Deschutes County and to bring school aged children to the station to participate in agriculturally based learning programs.
In response to the CAS challenge for industry to provide 25% of branch stations base budgets, COARC developed a multi-pronged approach in cooperation with the COARC Advisory Council, local seed contractors and agricultural dealers. This voluntary plan includes $10/acre for carrot seed, $3/acre for grass seed, a suggested $1/acre for non-contracted crops, and donations by seed contracts or agricultural dealers. The total support for FY11-12 was $111K in local industry support and an additional $26K from statewide commodity groups for a total of $137K. These funds are placed into an OSU Foundation COARC Support Fund. Money is transferred by a group of 6 that includes the Dean, COARC Director and four industry representatives.
The purpose of this account is to create an ongoing support fund for COARC not to continually grow the account. As funds are needed, a formal request from the Director is made and funds are only transferred to COARC upon a vote from the group of 6. This voluntary program is designed to ensure COARC is using the funds in a manner that shows responsibility and transparency.
The current COARC budget is supported by $451,000 in AES funds and $106 in Extension funds. Other income includes an estimated $30,000 from rotational crops, land use fees and operational fees. Historically, grant funds have averaged around $200,000 per year, but are currently at the $100,000 level based on two faculty positions that are temporarily open. However, these funds are controlled by individual researchers to support specific research projects and are not available to cover base budget shortfalls.
As COARC fills vacant faculty positions, expenses will increase. The current support we enjoy from local industry is expected to assist COARC in covering base budget decreases. However, COARC’s long term success will ultimately be dependent upon its ability to meet local industry’s need for quality research-based information, educational programming and by taking a proactive approach to insure the relationship with industry is strong and vibrant.

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Local growers and agricultural industry representatives implemented a plan for local support for the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center (COARC), raising $110,000 locally. An additional $26,000 was provided by state commodity groups for wheat and potatoes to support current research activity at COARC. As Director of COARC I would like to thank you for your generous support.

The College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) challenged local agricultural communities around the state to provide 25% of the current base budget for the branch experimental stations. The assumption for maintaining the 13 branch experimental stations around the state has been that they provide local value in Oregon’s diverse agriculture and natural resource industries. Continued strategic investment across the state by the CAS will be guided by industry response to this challenge.

Local growers and industry representatives, recognizing the economic value provided by COARC, developed a plan for voluntary contributions to meet this challenge. Growers across the three counties of central Oregon are being asked to voluntarily contribute $1/irrigated acre for non-contracted crops. Vegetable seed and grass seed growers were contacted by local seed contractors about the suggested grower contribution of $10/acre for carrots, parsley and onions, and $3/acre for grass seed. In addition seed contractors and agricultural dealers are committed to providing meaningful, annual contributions of their own.

COARC’s economic impact upon the local agricultural community is seen through applied research, product registrations, educational programs and services, and new crop evaluation. COARC is proactive about addressing agricultural issues in the region, and providing an incentive for growers to support our research and educational activities.

 

A recent example is the initiation of an alfalfa variety evaluation last year that includes both conventional and Roundup Ready cultivars. For the first time, this 4-year project will provide independent feed value testing (ADF, NDF) for each of the four cuttings, in addition to the protein and yield data provided in the past. We are committed to making the results available in near real time to assist growers in their management decisions. This research is being funded by entry fees from seed companies at no cost to local alfalfa growers.

A second example is ongoing research being conducted on the amount of ammonia volatilization that occurs with urea-based fertilizers under central Oregon conditions. Losses in the 25 percent range, or 40 lbs N/acre, are possible when urea is applied to bluegrass seed fields following the last irrigation in mid-October. What is being learned from this project is changing the way agricultural dealers and growers are doing business related to fertilizer handling and crop fertility.

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The following describes the Dean’s challenge to the agricultural communities across Oregon for local support of the Agricultural Experimental Stations. Local growers and industry representatives, recognizing the economic value provided by COARC, developed a plan for voluntary contributions to support the station.

Growers across the three counties of central Oregon are being asked to voluntarily contribute $1/irrigated acre for non-contracted crops. Seed contractors and agricultural dealers are committed to providing meaningful, annual contributions. Vegetable seed or grass seed growers have received information from these local contractors about the suggested grower contribution of $10/acre for carrots, parsley and onions, and $3/acre for grass seed.

COARC’s economic impact upon the local agricultural community is seen through applied research, product registrations, educational programs and services, and new crop evaluation. COARC is proactive about addressing agricultural issues in the region, and providing an incentive for growers to support our research and educational activities.

A recent example is the initiation of an alfalfa variety evaluation in August that includes both conventional and Roundup Ready cultivars. For the first time, this 4-year project will provide independent feed value testing (ADF, NDF) for each of the four cuttings, in addition to the protein and yield data provided in the past. We are committed to making the results available in near real time to assist in your management decisions. This research is being funded by entry fees from the seed companies, at no cost to local alfalfa growers.

A second example is ongoing research being conducted on the amount of ammonia volatilization that occurs with urea-based fertilizers under central Oregon conditions. Losses in the 25 percent range, or 40 lbs N/acre, are common when urea is applied to bluegrass seed fields following the last irrigation in mid-October. What is being learned from this project is changing the way agricultural dealers and growers are doing business related to fertilizer handling and crop fertility.

The link will provide you with a detailed description of the challenges and responses for COARC  http://oregonstate.edu/dept/coarc/sites/default/files/coarc_support_brochure_12-9-11_web.pdf

In addition, I would be happy to hear your thoughts, answer any questions, discuss your concerns, or share ideas of how we can collectively increase COARC’s positive economic impact on the central Oregon agricultural community. Feel free to give me a call at 541-475-7107.

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Gustavo Sbatella to Join COARC

Posted by: | June 23, 2011 | 1 Comment |

I am pleased to announce that Gustavo Sbatella has arrived and began work with COARC on August 29th (he filled the position formerly held by Rich Affeldt at COARC).  We are very pleased to welcome him to the team and are very excited about the expertise he brings with him for the Central Oregon agricultural community.

Gustavo worked on his graduate degrees (Masters and PhD) at the University of Wyoming under Steve Miller, who is known for an applied weed control program focused on agricultural industry needs. During the last 3 years Gustavo held a Post-Doc position with Bob Wilson, weed science researcher at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Gustavo and I will share crop responsibilities based on our areas of interest and expertise. With a strong background in weed control as well as interest and experience in agronomic issues, Gustavo is a knowledgeable and versatile new member of the COARC team.

Gustavo was born and raised in a small town 60 miles northwest from the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires.  After graduating, he worked in the production of a diverse variety of crops. It was during this period that he became interested in the challenges of controlling different weed populations.  While working on his graduate degrees in weed science at the University of Wyoming he discovered his passion for research and teaching. Gustavo is a good addition to the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center, and is looking forward to developing a working relationship with growers and industry to facilitate finding solutions and alternatives to area needs.

The search committee was chaired by Carol Mallory-Smith, with members including Don Horneck, Rhonda Simmons, Kurt Farris, Jim Carroll, Brad Holliday, Jay McCabe, and Mark Hagman. OSU weed science colleagues, Andy Holting, Dan Ball and Joel Felix, participated in the interview process. Thanks to this group for the time and effort you put into this process, and particularly Carol for the quality leadership you provided.

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Not A Bad Thing

Posted by: | January 25, 2011 | No Comment |

The song “Not a Bad Thing” by Trisha Yearwood is a backhanded way of saying, “Things are getting better.” This is true at COARC, not only COARC but for my program area as well. In response to a string of events, Rhonda Simmons, long time Senior Faculty Research Assistant has come to work in my program area. In addition, she will continue to assist Ramesh with honeybee research in central Oregon and is scheduled to pick up the potato aphid trapping program for Fahrettin.

The win for me is that I have a high quality partner to assist with my program area, something I have needed for some time. I am confident that between us, Rhonda and I can cover the ongoing research and educational projects that Rich and I have. This gives me and the agricultural industry as well, confidence to know that we can meet their expectations for the coming season, without feeling like we have to accept something less than the type of replacement for Rich that we desire.

We are in the process of advertising for the position Rich holds, and expect to have a new person in place later this spring. Committee members include Carol Mallory-Smith, Don Horneck, Rhonda Simmons, Jim Carroll, Kurt Farris, Brad Holiday, John McKenzie and Mark Hagman.

Our office manager position is being advertised as well, and we plan to have a replacement for Deb Walker’s position by the end of February. Leta Morton, who retired from the position a year ago, is graciously filling in and has agreed to provide training for the new person.

Oh, and one more thing. With Rhonda transferring over to my program, Bo is in the process of creating a position and hiring a new research assistant to work in the pathology program. Although this transition is unsettling, I believe it may be a benefit as he is able to hire his own person rather than working with someone who was on staff when he arrived.

So, good things are happening at COARC and none of these personnel changes are expected to have a significant impact on the COARC budget. The cost of research assistants are the responsibility of researchers to fund from outside research grants. Ongoing funding is in place for the office manager and Rich’s position.

I believe we have turned a corner at COARC and expect good things will come our way in 2011, and “That’s not a bad thing.”

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Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot

Posted by: | January 9, 2011 | No Comment |

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot . . . a military term that appropriately describes how I feel looking back on the year 2010 at COARC. We attempted to fill our open research position held by Brian Duggan with Ramesh Sagali, OSU Honeybee Health researcher. In his short time at OSU he has a strong, proven track record with important research in central Oregon and we saw him as a valuable asset. This request was denied last spring despite extensive discussions over several months with our College of Agricultural Sciences representative, beekeeping industry and COARC Advisory Council. We wish him the best as he interviews for a tenure track position on campus. Given the economic conditions there are understandably no plans by the CAS to fill this position.

We successfully negotiated an extensive minefield last winter to fill the potato variety development position at Powell Butt previously held by Steve James. Fahrettin is a high quality person with all the characteristics for success. Even the CAS Dean publicly cited his high credentials and the skills he brought to the position. This spring and summer we had to repeatedly defended Powell Butte’s role in the variety development program against ongoing sniper fire, to be tripped up by evil gremlins that are sending Fahrettin to Hermiston in June.

To quote George Strait, “Well, that’s just great . . . just what I needed . . . the icing on the cake . . . she’s leaving.” That aptly describes the two recent announcements that Deb Walker (office manager) and Rich Affeldt are leaving COARC. Rich is going to leave his position at the end of February to follow a lifelong dream of farming. He will become farm manager for Agency Farms and farm with Dean Brooks who recently lost his son to pancreatic cancer. Deb successfully beat out the competition for a high level position on campus as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Research, and will start her new position the first of January. We give our best to both of them as they pursue these interesting, new opportunities.

So, it feels like a rough year for a guy whose fun comes from moving an organization forward. I often think back to my stated goal while interviewing for the superintendent position of “putting COARC on a trajectory for success into the future.” This year I feel more like the captain of a boat that keeps springing new leaks, and is now largely submerged. I guess the only thing left is to start bailing . . . duct tape or bubblegum anyone?

Both Rich and Deb’s replacement positions have been submitted to campus for approval. It will be difficult to find replacements of the same quality that these two brought to their jobs and the respect they generated for COARC. We will do a national search for Rich’s position through mid February and plan to conduct interviews in March, with a new person on board the first of May. Deb’s position will move forward more quickly, and should be filled sometime in February. Leta Morton, who retired as office manager last year, has graciously agreed to temporarily fill the position in the interim. What a God sent!

Looking forward to 2011 reminds me of a conversation at Dad’s in Prineville back in the early days of garbanzo production. Growers had been complaining about yields throughout harvest that was now mostly complete. Greg Merit came in from combining his last field, sat down and said, “I decided I am going to grow garbanzos again next year!” The others looked at him in wonder and said, “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?” His reply, “I decided it can’t be this bad two years in a row!”

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