CORVALLIS- Steve Besse, William G. Brown, Joe Capizzi, Emery Castle, Edith Miller, Louis Oester, and Jackson Ross, all of Corvallis, will be honored as Diamond Pioneers on Oct. 27 by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.
They are among the 28 men and women to be added to the college's Diamond Pioneer Registry for their contributions to agriculture and natural resources. The registry began when the college celebrated its 75th anniversary and honors those 75 and older. The 1998 pioneers will be guests at a luncheon hosted in the Memorial Union by Thayne Dutson, professor and dean of the college.
After graduating from OSU, Besse followed a career that included international sales, Extension, and volunteer work. He worked as international sales manager with Ferry-Morse Seed Co., joined the OSU Extension Service in 1963, served in Lane County as staff chair from 1969 to 1978, and later became associate director for what is now International Research and Development. After retirement Besse worked with Volunteers for Overseas Cooperative Assistance in Poland and Belarus.
Brown began his career in the OSU Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 1955, making major contributions in farm management and production economics, natural resources, research methodology, outdoor recreation economics, and economic evaluation of Oregon steelhead and salmon sports fisheries. He also served as an economic consultant to the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in 1965, was commended by the Sport Fishing Institute in 1976 and was a member of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors from 1981-85.
Capizzi served as OSU Extension entomology specialist from 1972 to 1987 and is still active in the field as vice president of Agricultural Safety Consultants. His work focused on safe handling of agricultural chemicals. He worked closely with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Agriculture, chaired the program committee for the 1987 National Pesticide Certification and Training Conference, and developed materials for certification training.
Castle joined the OSU faculty in agricultural economics in 1954 and has served as department head, dean of faculty, dean of the Graduate School, director of the Water Resources Institute, and chair of the graduate faculty of economics. He co-authored a farm management textbook, and after retirement became vice president and then president of Resources for the Future, providing non-partisan analyses about issues related to natural resources and the environment.
Miller, a charter member of Oregon Women for Agriculture, has been active in rural affairs since moving to her farm south of Corvallis in 1942. She has been an active member of the Benton County Farm Bureau, Willamette Grange, Corvallis Weavers Guild and Oregon Small Woodlands Association, with which she helps on the annual tree farm tour. She is a past board member of Oregon Women for Agriculture, served as editor of their monthly newsletter for three years, and was a 4-H volunteer leader for more than eight years.
Oester began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher at Knappa and then Scappoose high schools. He joined the OSU Extension Service in 1955, an involvement that was to last for 27 years, including service in both Columbia and Curry County. In 1965, Oester moved to Corvallis to serve as Extension rural defense specialist and became an area supervisor in 1966. In 1971, he was named Extension training coordinator, coordinating in-service staff training programs.
Ross received his degree from OSU in 1951 and then worked as an inspector with the seed certification program. He served as OSU Extension agent in Jefferson County, where he established test plots for grass seed and alfalfa, detected ring rot in potatoes, and collaborated with OSU researchers to determine the incidence of white muscle disease in calves and lambs. He moved to Corvallis to become an Extension area supervisor and later was named supervisor of county programs. He was CorvallisSenior First Citizen in 1994 and in 1998 was named Kiwanian of the Year.