The Center

History: The Mid-Columbia Experiment Station was established by legislative action in 1913. In later years, the name was changed to the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center to reflect both research and Extension activities. Until 1925, research scientists shared offices in downtown Hood River with agencies of the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1925, offices were moved near the present location, where they have been since 1952. From 1947 until 1972, the Experiment Station also operated a 20-acre research orchard in The Dalles.

 Research: Three core research programs at the Center - Horticulture, Entomology, and Postharvest Physiology, are key to fulfilling our research mission. OSU Extension Service faculty also conduct research and demonstrations at the Center. 

 Facilities: In addition to office and laboratory facilities, pear and cherry research orchards, a greenhouse, and conventional and controlled atmosphere storage facilities are used by our researchers.

 The Industry: Recent estimates put total fruit acreage in the Mid-Columbia at about 26,000 acres with the following breakdown – cherries 48%, pears 43%, apples 5%, winegrapes 3%, and blueberries 1%.  Annual farmgate value is estimated at around $125 million, with first-handler value-added nearly doubling that.  Most farms are family owned and operated, and many have existed for several generations.  Industry plays a key role in supporting research through competitive grants funded by assessments on fruit production.

  Partnerships: MCAREC researchers work collaboratively with scientists and Extension specialists at OSU and other branch stations, as well as USDA and other universities throughout the U.S. and other countries.


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