Hello, my name is Cydney Stables. I am the intern for the OSU Extension Communications office, located in the Kerr Administration Building on the main Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.

Two girls are posing with a dairy cow.
Cydney Stables (right) shows a dairy cow in 4-H.

I’m from Gaston, Oregon, and I just completed my first year of college at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. I am majoring in agribusiness, communications, business administration and economics with a minor in plant and animal sciences.

I plan to pursue a master’s in agricultural communications upon completing my undergraduate work. After that, I hope to obtain a job in agricultural public relations, working as a spokesperson for the agriculture industry or as an educator for Extension.

So far, this internship has given me insight into the vast future career opportunities I may have in Extension and communications. One of the greatest experiences I have had thus far was the opportunity to tour county Extension offices across the state.

Statue from the Pendleton rodeo grounds

In late May, I traveled with the communications’ news and public issues team to Pendleton, where we began our tour of offices from there.

We visited with faculty and staff in the Extension offices in Umatilla, Sherman, Wasco, Hood River and Clackamas counties.

Then at the beginning of June, I went with colleagues in Extension Communications to the Extension office in Tillamook County, where we met the staff and discussed communications resources on the Extension employee intranet and media outreach. On our way back to Corvallis, we stopped at the Extension office in Yamhill County, which is one that is very familiar to me. My mom works there and I’ve helped around the office in previous summers as a volunteer.

These trips opened my eyes to the breadth and depth of what Extension truly does. Growing up a part of Extension through the Oregon 4-H program, I had no idea how many opportunities OSU Extension offers for communities. In addition, I learned first-hand from faculty and staff about their successes, challenges and failures.

Hood River Extension office research orchard

The trip was an immersive experience. Not only did I get to see Extension employees in action, but I also had the opportunity to experience the diversity in agriculture across the state.

I learned about programs of SNAP-Ed, Strong People, Master Gardeners, Open Campus, Juntos and more. All of which are great community outreach opportunities that benefit individuals in countless ways.

I want to thank all of the employees from the county offices we visited for being so welcoming and kind.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this internship learning opportunity has in store.

Hi, I’m Em Jones (they/them), a small farmer in northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood. My partner and I propagate a variety of heirloom vegetables using regenerative practices. We recently started a mushroom farm focused on plastic light operations that leverage local waste streams for substrate. Aside from a growing business, pun intended, I am a full-time student in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. I am on track to earn bachelor’s degrees in horticulture and sustainability.

Em Jones poses for a picture with a newly planted flower
Em Jones

I’m excited for this summer as it’s my first time being an OSU Extension Service intern! I’ll be working for Multnomah and Clackamas County supporting the Small Farm School, scheduled for Sept. 12. It’s a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge on the dynamics of running an urban farm while assisting others in the learning process. The event supports beginning and intermediate small-scale farmers with a variety of educational workshops. Perhaps you’ll join us or invite someone you know for Small Farm School. If the event is not applicable to you, feel free to access our variety of resources through the OSU Extension website that you might find more beneficial.

As an OSU intern, I’ll support access to information via our website page, as well as connect with community members to support the Small Farm School. I’ve recently been building relationships with local farmers through my new business. There’s a great community of like-minded individuals that are localizing our food systems and working to improve the land.

My personal goal is to increase access to sustainably grown, healthy, affordable food for my community. I seek to dismantle current systems of oppression that plague our food systems. Unfortunately, mass produced agriculture continues to be exploitative to farm workers and the land. That type of agriculture is mining, not farming, and my goal is to interrupt it. Instead, I focus on no-till, no-chemical farming that builds up the soil.

Blue oyster mushrooms in a small jar on top of a table
Blue oyster mushrooms in a small jar

I hope to share my knowledge and skill-set with other small farmers, as well as to learn from them so we can grow our regenerative farming practices together. Community resilience is created through the open sharing of knowledge and resources, something OSU Extension continually contributes to. We are stronger together and better suited to fight climate change, racial injustice, and to improve our systems to reflect an equitable society. I look forward to furthering my goals and the mission of OSU Extension during my internship.

Hello! My name is Jillian Rudolf, and I am a rangeland sciences major with an animal sciences minor at Oregon State University. I just finished my sophomore year, and I am amazed by how fast college is going! I am a fifth-generation farmer from Fort Rock, Oregon, where we grow alfalfa hay and cattle.

Jillian Rudolf posing for a picture standing in a pasture.
Jillian Rudolf

I have been involved with agriculture my whole life. In elementary school, I was in OSU Extension 4-H, where I participated in cooking and sewing. In middle school, I showed 4-H market steers. In high school, I was heavily involved in our Future Farmers of America chapter. In FFA, I participated in competitions, showed a market steer, and served as the secretary and the president of the chapter. In college, I am involved with the Steer-A-Year club and my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.

Because of my background, attending OSU and being in the College of Agricultural Sciences made the most sense. After earning my degree, I plan on attending law school. I want to be an agricultural lawyer, focusing mainly on contentious issues and advocating for the agricultural community.

I will work in the Extension office in Umatilla County this summer with Chris Schachtschneider, an assistant professor and livestock and natural resource Extension specialist. So far, I have been networking with local producers at events like the OSU Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center Field Day and the Umatilla Cattlemen and Cattlewomen’s Father’s Day Barbeque. I also have been brushing up on computer skills by learning some video editing. I have also started a research project that looks into water and water rights in the county and state. The rest of my summer will be filled with more producer visits and an expansion of my computer and communication skills.

I am excited to be branching out this summer and getting involved with Extension. I have already learned so much through this internship and am excited to see what the rest of the summer offers!

Hi everyone!

My name is Kelci Free, and I am from Scio, Oregon. I recently graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and a minor in agriculture education, with plans to attend graduate school at OSU this fall as a part of the agricultural education master’s program. I hope to become an Extension agent after completing this internship and completing the graduate program.

Kelci Free designed a graphic to advertise an Extension event

For the second summer in a row my internship is with the Extension groundwater protection and education program in the mid-Willamette Valley. So far, I have been busy at work planning out events schedule for the summer. I will be hosting various nitrate screenings at farmers markets, county Extension offices, and even a neighborhood screening. I will continue to grow my skills in networking, advertising for programming, and creating programming in order to gain more experience in what it takes to be an Extension agent.

Before starting my internship last summer, I had really only thought about Extension helping farmers and putting on county fairs. Over the last year I have had the opportunity to see how much more Extension has to offer no matter your interests or backgrounds through its various programs.

Ray Qin's agronomy research team.
Ray Qin’s agronomy research team.

Hi everyone!

This will be my last blog post as an OSU Extension intern. This summer has flown by and I’m happy to have spent my time at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC).

I feel that my experiences from my internship have helped me to better understand the research process by seeing the amount of time and preparation that goes into getting results. This summer I assisted with a lot of sample collections and testing preparation for various research trials. It was really cool to learn about the trials being performed at HAREC and how it will benefit the producers in the Columbia Basin area. I worked mostly in collecting potato petiole, wheat, and alfalfa samples every week then getting them ready to be sent off for further testing.

One thing that I would like others to know about OSU Extension is that it serves a wide variety of people in the agricultural industry. I grew up in 4-H so I really only thought that extension was limited to 4-H and youth education. Extension plays a huge role in communities in a wide range of ways. I think people should get information about their local Extension service to see what programs they offer in the community and how they can get involved as community members. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Extension this summer, especially at HAREC.

During this summer I learned the value of relationships and staying in touch with those you work with. The value of human connection is one that cannot be matched through virtual communication and meetings alone. I know this will aid me in the future as I pursue a career in agricultural education. The experiences and relationships I’ve gained from this internship are ones that I’ll forever be thankful for.

 

Potato Field Day was held at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in June.
Potato Field Day was held at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in June.

Hi! This is Abbey Berhorst from the Hermiston Agriculture Research and Extension Center (HAREC) in Umatilla County. I have been doing a lot of lab work for research preparation this summer and it has been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve gotten to work with a variety of different crops including potatoes, wheat, and alfalfa and have learned the impact they have in this area of Oregon and other regions.

Ray Qin, Extension crop agronomist, speaks at Potato Field Day.
Ray Qin, Extension crop agronomist, speaks at Potato Field Day.

This summer HAREC was able to hold an in-person Potato Field Day in June. It was interesting to be there because I got to listen to multiple speakers talk about their research projects and I was able to learn a lot of new information. It was also cool to see all the producers be invested in the workshops and ask questions. Through this event I was able to see the mission of extension being met by seeing Extension staff and researchers work first-hand with producers in the area. It seemed like everyone was relieved to finally have an opportunity to meet in person for the field day rather than staying at home for a virtual event. There were a few different speakers so, all the participants were split into groups then they had the opportunity to rotate through each workshop.

A big learning moment that I gained from the field day and throughout my internship was the importance of staying connected with work clients, whether that’s in person or virtually. Those who came to the field day seemed so excited and happy to be there in person for the day. It was like a lot of people were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. HAREC still did a great job of staying connected virtually when needed, but I was able to see the impact that human interaction had between both the Extension agents and the producers.

Alli Studnick here, writing from the OSU Extension office in Benton County. Since my last blog I have been doing more than just testing water at local farmers markets. Weeks back, the Yamhill 4-H Agent contacted me and asked if I was interested in doing herdsmanship judging for their county fair at the beginning of August. I agreed and spent three days at the fair judging herdsmanship and then also judging the swine master showmanship rounds, too. It was a lot of fun going to a fair I have never been to before. I learned a lot about how much 4-H agents do, all the coordination, and how they deal with all the things that might not go as planned during a county fair. I also realized I might not be cut out to be a 4-H coordinator like I thought … they definitely don’t have the easiest job!  

During that same week I also did nitrate testing at the Stayton Farmers Market. I did 45 tests, drove close to 200 miles, and worked almost 13 hours. I have never been so tired in my life, but now that I look back on it, I am glad I experienced a day like that because the life of an Extension agent isn’t just an 8-to-5 day. 

Three weeks ago we went to Polk County to help with their Cultivating tent at the Polk County Fair. This was the week of the extreme heat so it was hot, but it was really fun to see the kids making bracelets and painting rocks, and the adults grabbing flyers and brochures about all the important things like taking care of streams and rivers, where to test your soil and water, and much more! Again, it was awesome to attend another county fair and learn more about how the different counties in Oregon do things when it comes to the fair.  

Judging at the Yamhill County Fair.
Judging at the Yamhill County Fair.

One thing I seem to forget often is that not all the people who come to Extension with questions are landowners, farmers, ranchers, and small farm owners. But they also teach the people who don’t have acreage or livestock. The people who want to learn about how they can provide habitat for native pollinators or learning about what to do if there was to be a wildfire, or if someone wants to learn how to can fruits and vegetables. OSU Extension provides classes for almost everything you can think of, and they are available to more than just rural residents. Which is the one thing I want people to know about OSU Extension. These people are here to help and to bring a smile to your face. To answer your calls and emails, or any questions you might have. Whether you live on thousands of acres or just a small lot in town, use your local Extension offices to your advantage, they are always there to lend a helping hand.  

This job revolves around service, and you can tell that the employees just want to help people and many of them jump head-first to do so. I have learned that to be an Extension agent you have to have stamina but good pacing because it’s not a race, it’s a marathon! It is so easy to go all in, and really tire yourself out quickly. I can now see why Extension faculty have a hard time with work-life balance. I also understand why people stay in this career for so long, because they enjoy their communities, the people in them, and making a difference. Which is why Extension is so special to me. 

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to continue with the groundwater quality education program long after my summer internship. Chrissy Lucas-Woodruff, my supervisor, has allowed me to continue my time with her by letting me shadow her during my year-long agriculture education master’s degree program which begins in late September. So, if you need questions answered about your well or septic or want your well water tested, I’ll be here at the Benton County Extension office in Corvallis for the next six months!  

Hey everyone! It’s Kelci Free checking in from Benton County once again. My internship with the Extension groundwater protection and education program is nearing its end and it is safe to say the past few months of this internship have been packed full of new learning experiences for me.  

Visiting a greenhouse.
Visiting a greenhouse.

I was able to teach youth programming, help out at a county fair, run booths at farmers markets testing well water for nitrate, plan various events, and I even got to spend a day helping with a 4-H camp. There have been countless lessons learned with each of these experiences and have learned so much from each person I got the opportunity to work with. I have learned how to be a professional, how much teamwork and communication are needed as well as the ability to problem-solve and improvise on the fly.  

This summer has been very eye-opening and informative for me to see what types of things I could be doing in Extension as a possible future career. This has been a huge summer of personal growth for me that I will be using moving forward into my senior year at OSU and future career.  

I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience this summer with Extension and see all the different aspects of what goes into Extension and the impact it can make on adults and children. I hope everyone can experience OSU Extension in one way or another in their daily lives as it is such a great resource for everyone. There are so many programs with a reach so far, that there is something for everyone, not just those involved in agriculture. 

Hi everyone! Henry Golb again, for my third and final blog post of the summer. As a brief refresher, I’m Christy Tanner’s intern working with the south Willamette Valley field crops. I am based out of Linn County, and my job is to assist Christy in both the field and the office.   

It’s hard to believe that my time with Linn County Extension is coming to an end. It’s been a remarkable experience and I’m very thankful I was able to work with this amazing group of people. I just want to thank the faculty and staff of Linn County Extension for all their support this summer. 

Blooming mint in Jefferson, Oregon. Photo by Henry Golb.
Blooming mint in Jefferson, Oregon. Photo by Henry Golb.

Over the course of my 10 weeks at the OSU Extension office in Linn County I’ve been doing ground sampling and drone flights in grass seed fields looking at vole damage, collected the data for the Willamette Valley Mint Pest Alert newsletter, and I was in charge of compiling and editing the Willamette Valley, Central, and Eastern Mint Pest Alert newsletters each week. I got to be a part of hop nutrient field research study with Christy’s north valley counterpart, Betsy Verhoeven, and so much more. A big highlight of my summer was having the opportunity to be given the tour of Reerslev Farms’ mint distillery just outside of Junction City. Seeing (and tasting) the final product of fields I worked in was pretty special. Riding around with John Reerslev and touring some his mint fields was the icing on the cake.  

All these experiences gave me a real-world taste of Willamette Valley agriculture and opened my eyes up to a world I’d only experienced through classrooms and textbooks. This internship taught me and showed me practical skills that can only be learned in the field.  

I walked into this internship not knowing much about Extension. I came in with the notion that Extension only worked with and helped farmers. While a sizeable portion of the Extension Service is focused on agriculture, I could not have been farther from the truth. I learned about and saw programs from 4-H all the way to food preservation classes. I’m walking out knowing that Extension works with and improves the quality of life for all Oregonians. I hope that more Oregonians see OSU Extension as a resource for them in their daily lives. Extension is here to serve and help the people.  

This internship could not be what it’s been without the people I’ve worked with. I want to take this opportunity to thank Christy, Betsy, and Michele Webster, who manages the Linn County office, for believing in me and guiding me along the way. I would also like to thank KJ Joseph, who coordinates the OSU Intern Program, and my family for all their support.  

Hey all! 

Chloe Hull here, updating you from Tillamook County. I am halfway through the internship, and I have learned and done a lot. Most of my time so far has been structured around getting to know community partners and building those relationships for the future. This last week I was able to sit in on a workgroup with Master Gardeners on how to increase inclusivity into the program and the work that they are doing. It was interesting being able to hear folks getting involved on the planning level and discussing the things that they have personally learned over the past several months and their ideas on moving forward into the future.  

Sun-scalded tomato plants from recent Oregon heatwave.
Sun-scalded tomato plants from recent Oregon heatwave.

As you may remember from my last post, I have been working on researching different listserv services and gathering contact information for food producers all across the north coast. With all of this research, last week we were finally able to send out our first couple of emails! I have already gotten several positive responses from folks on the listserv, and I am excited to continue being involved with sending out resources for these producers. One of the emails that we sent out last week had resources and information about fire preparedness and heat stress on plants, livestock, and workers. It is important to get these resources out to folks and work to develop a community of collaboration to become more resilient as more extreme heat events occur.  

Lastly, I am excited as the Tillamook County Fair (Aug. 10-14) gets closer because I will be hosting a 4-H exhibit. I have never gotten to host a county fair booth, so it has been a learning experience for me as I gather information and develop content and activities. I have some experience with youth engagement and development, but this will be new in that it will be a larger audience than I am accustomed to. I look forward to it though and I hope you will come say hi if you are in the area!