The North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) combines the research and Extension or outreach activities of Oregon State University to serve the needs of the region’s agricultural industries. NWREC researchers and Extension faculty focus their work and programming on our most important local agricultural commodities including: nurseries, berries, fresh market vegetables and seed production, and Christmas trees. In addition, two special programs at NWREC cut across these four commodity areas—small farms and specialty crop registrations.
Oregon produces more than 130 commercially important farm commodities, of which 90 are estimated to generate $1 million in gross sales receipts. Because of Oregon’s varied soils and a climate ranging from rain forest to high desert, agricultural scientists face a variety of challenges throughout the state. The location of the 13 University experiment stations and research centers provide a unique opportunity to implement current research designed to solve local problems.
Agriculture is Oregon’s leading industry. About one-third of Oregon’s total $4.8 billion farm gate value income comes from farm operations within a 40-mile radius of NWREC. Most of the state’s nursery operations, Christmas tree farms, berry and vegetable farms, and food processors are located in the North Willamette Valley.
The Center was made possible by a $50,000 appropriation by the 1957 Legislature and became a reality when Clackamas County leased 52 acres of fertile Willamette Valley farmland to the University. In 1965, the county purchased an adjacent 107 acres. In 1987, the legislature provided $310,000 for additional office and laboratory space. OSU Extension Service district horticulture agents were transferred to the Center, allowing them to work alongside their research counterparts and considerably expanding service to the agricultural community.
Funding for NWREC comes from a combination of federal, state, and county sources, plus grants and contracts, and contributions to the Friends of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center. The current NWREC budget is approximately $1,700,000 annually.