CORVALLIS - The 2004 omnibus appropriations bill the U.S. Senate passed today (Thursday, Jan. 22) contains support for several ongoing Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station research efforts, plus funding that will jumpstart a major effort by the OSU Seafood Research Laboratory in Astoria to research and develop new products with the Oregon seafood industry.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in December. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of January.
Slated appropriations for work through OSU include a $1.5 million special grant from Congress to be used by the OSU Seafood Research Laboratory to develop new technologies such as high pressure processing and value-added product development for shrimp, oysters, albacore tuna and other seafood, said the lab's director, Mike Morrissey.
OSU researchers and Oregon's Congressional delegation, especially U.S. Senators Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden, hope that these funds will benefit the region's fishing industry, helping them survive ever-changing fishing regulations and thrive in the market-driven economy, added Morrissey.
"We want to bring seafood research and science closer to our communities and individual businesses," said Morrissey. "We hope to increase community and industry participation in this research, help entrepreneurs and connect seafood producers to markets and consumers."
OSU Agricultural Experiment Station programs that will receive continued funding when the agricultural appropriations bill passes out of Congress, and their anticipated annual funding, include:
- Developing better oyster broodstock for hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest at OSU's Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station in Newport ($353,000).
- Supporting small fruits research that includes numerous cooperative research projects through OSU, WSU and University of Idaho that benefit commercial berry and grape growers in the Pacific Northwest ($225,000).
- Breeding higher yielding varieties of meadowfoam, a newer oil-seed crop ($264,000).
- Improving grass seed cropping systems, including better use of post-harvest straw ($409,000).
- Enhancing Oregon's capability for innovation in food processing and marketing by funding programs at OSU's Food Innovation Center in Portland ($357,000).
U.S. Representatives Darlene Hooley and Greg Walden, as well as Senators Smith and Wyden, were particularly instrumental in obtaining these funds, according to C.Y. Hu, assistant director of OSU's Agricultural Experiment Station in Corvallis. U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer, David Wu and Peter DeFazio also were supportive, he said.