OSU seeks input on Meadowfoam licensing at March 24 session


CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will hold a "listening session" to seek public input about meadowfoam licensing on Thursday, March 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. The session will be in the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center's Trysting Tree Room.

Meadowfoam is an oil seed crop, originally developed from a wildflower (Limnanthes spp.) native to northern California. Meadowfoam seeds yield high-grade oils sought by the cosmetics industry.

OSU scientists have been working to develop meadowfoam as an alternative crop to grass seed, to bolster the state's agricultural economy, since the 1960s.

The oil refined from meadowfoam seed is used as a base for many cosmetic products such as shampoo, soap and body lotions, and can be used as a machinery lubricant. It has brought millions of dollars into Oregon's agricultural economy.

The OSU Department of Crop and Soil Science held a similar listening session almost 21 years ago, said Russ Karow, head of OSU's Crop and Soil Science.

"Meadowfoam has come a long way as a crop since that time and its future is bright," Karow said. "We need public input on how best to step into the future."

The meeting is open to the public, and anyone interested in meadowfoam is invited to speak about their views on how OSU should deal with future licensing of varieties developed by OSU, said Karow.

The Oregon Meadowfoam Growers holds exclusive license on two varieties and OSU has agreed to not license other entities until after Dec. 31, 2005.

"OSU is interested in hearing from members of Oregon's agricultural community about their thoughts on future licensing," said Karow.

Thayne Dutson, dean of OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences; Craig Sheward, director of the OSU Office of Technology Transfer; a representative from the Oregon Department of Agriculture; and Karow will be at the gathering to listen and interact with those who speak.

The open meeting will be structured like a hearing, said Karow. Those interested in speaking will be asked to sign up to speak prior to the meeting or at the meeting itself. The two-hour time block will be divided among those signed up. There will be a chance to talk with the group confidentially as well, between 3 and 4 p.m. the same day. Persons interested in speaking during the public session or in a private meeting may schedule in advance with Barbara Reed at 541-737-5854 by March 18.