OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of agricultural sciences

Don't let disease foul your bird feeder

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As you're welcoming wild birds into your yard this winter, be sure to keep your bird feeder clean and keep an eye on the health of your feathered diners.

"Sick birds will either be found dead or perched, often with feathers in disarray, eyes squinted or wings held out," said Dana Sanchez, a wildlife specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. "Healthy birds are alert and mobile, whereas sick birds stand out because they are neither of those."  

Birds can get salmonella from bird feeders. Other diseases can spread when birds congregate or land on infected perches, Sanchez said.

"If the sick bird is associated with your feeders, take down the feeders and clean them," she said. "It is probably a good idea to keep the feeders down for two to three weeks, until the disease has had a chance to run its course in the local population. Allow the bird to recover on its own. Make sure children, pets and free-ranging cats cannot get to the bird."

Sanchez offered these tips to make sure your feeders are clean and free of mold for backyard visitors.  

  • Clean your feeders once a month during low-use times and up to once a week during high-use periods.
  • Scrape off bird droppings and rinse or wipe clean the perches with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 20 parts water.
  • Hang your feeders where the feed won’t get wet. If seed in a feeder has gotten wet and compacted, remove the feed and discard it. Then clean the feeder with warm water and a brush.
  • Dry the feeder before refilling with the fresh seed.
  • If your feeder’s location is likely to get wet often, only fill it with a one- to two-day supply of seed at a time.
  • Clean up under feeders regularly and prevent accumulation of feed beneath the feeders by moving them occasionally. Seed on the ground can attract other animals, such as rodents, that you would prefer to not have near your home.

For more information about feeds and feeder placement, check out the following publication from the OSU Extension Service: http://bit.ly/WxaJgU

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Dana Sanchez, (541) 737-6003

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Bushtits are frequent visitors to this suet feeder. Photo by OSU's EESC

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As you're attracting birds to your yard this winter, make sure your feeders are clean. (Photo by Betsy Hartley.)

OSU aims to spice up rice with thiamine

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University aims to create rice with higher levels of vitamin B1 to make it more nutritious and at the same time, resistant to two crop-damaging diseases.

If the efforts are successful, it could mean higher yields for rice producers and a reduced use of pesticides.

Research shows vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, can boost the immune system of plants, including rice, cucumbers and tobacco. OSU's researchers are hoping that sustained accumulation of thiamine can make rice immune to bacterial leaf blight and rice blast, which cause significant yield losses in Southeast Asia, the world’s top rice-growing region.

"Literature suggests that if we boost vitamin B1 we may be able to enhance resistance to diseases most harmful to rice," said Aymeric Goyer, a plant biologist with the OSU Extension Service.

At OSU's Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Goyer will grow rice that overexpresses genes that synthesize vitamin B1. Within 10 to 12 months, he'll see if the leaves contain higher-than-normal amounts of vitamin B1 and if the plants resist diseases.

Goyer will also see if the rice grain itself contains more thiamine, which is present only in low amounts in white rice. In areas of the world where white rice is the cornerstone of most diets, thiamine deficiencies are common. Thiamine helps create acids for digestion, supports carbohydrate metabolism and is essential for the overall health of the nervous system.

"We have the potential to make more nutritious rice while helping improve yields and find an alternative to pesticides," said Goyer.

The research is funded by Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Pamela Ronald from the University of California, Davis is a collaborator with Goyer on the grant.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Aymeric Goyer, 541-567-8321 ext. 112

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Oregon State University molecular biologist Aymeric Goyer holds a tissue cultured potato plant. This spring, Goyer will attempt to increase thiamine levels in rice. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

OSU has new potato breeding head after two-year vacancy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University once again has a plant breeder leading its potato development efforts after filling a position that was vacant for nearly two years.

Sagar Sathuvalli, who started this month, is leading OSU's work to create new varieties of potatoes that are more nutritious and resist pests and diseases, including late blight. He is based at its Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

A native of India, Sathuvalli spent most of the last decade in Corvallis, earning doctoral and master’s degrees in horticulture from OSU. In 2011, he began working as a post-doctoral research associate in hazelnut breeding and genetics at OSU.

In his new post, Sathuvalli and his colleagues will search for favorable traits in wild species, then cross those potatoes with domesticated ones. Creating new breeds of potatoes can take at least 12 years, but OSU hopes to speed up the process by using genetic markers, which are sequences of DNA that are found near genes researchers are analyzing.

Sathuvalli assumes the responsibilities of departed OSU potato researchers Dan Hane, who retired, and Isabel Vales, who accepted a job elsewhere.

The position had remained vacant because of funding shortages, said Russ Karow, the head of OSU’s department of crop and soil science. A portion of Sathuvalli’s salary will be funded through an endowment created by a recent $500,000 commitment to OSU by the Oregon Potato Commission.

“There is an expectation to find new varieties for the Pacific Northwest,” Karow said. “We are in a strong cooperative relationship with the Oregon Potato Commission, regularly discussing issues and research. We work hand-in-hand with the commission to look at their research priorities.”

Sathuvalli is also working closely with OSU's potato researchers around the state, including Solomon Yilma in Corvallis, Brian Charlton in Klamath Falls and Clint Shock in Ontario. The group is collaborating on breeding and marketing efforts with peers in Washington and Idaho as part of the Pacific Northwest Tri-State Breeding Program.

“We will try to find solutions as a team,” said Sathuvalli. “My main philosophy is to listen to growers, to see what they’re interested in and any issues in variety development. I look forward to finding out what the industry needs.”

When not conducting research, Sathuvalli will perform duties for the OSU Extension Service by disseminating new information to farmers and processors. Among his top priorities is to spearhead the development of a new website.

“We will use the website to create awareness about our breeding program. It will house information useful for researchers across the globe,” said Sathuvalli. “Hopefully it will bring new collaborations, too.”

Real-time alerts about disease and pest outbreaks, such as zebra chip and tuber moth, will also be featured prominently on the website.

Potatoes were Oregon's sixth most-important agricultural commodity in terms of gross sales in 2011, according to a report by the OSU Extension Service. The state's sold $165 million of them in 2011 after harvesting nearly 40,000 acres, the report said.

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Source: 

Russ Karow, 541-737-2821

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Sagar Sathuvalli will serve as head of Oregon State University's potato breeding program.

 

Learn about the secret life of bees with OSU beekeeping course

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Move over backyard chickens. Here come honeybees. They're an emerging homesteading trend, according to a honeybee expert at Oregon State University.

"People are starting to see their importance as pollinators," said Ramesh Sagili, who added that interest in beekeeping has picked up in the wake of news about a national decline in honeybees.

As a result, he helped create the three-part Oregon Master Beekeeper Program, which teaches people how to raise the honey producers, which are crucial pollinators for blueberries, pears, cherries, apples and other crops. 

"There's a lot of interest in bees, and we want to satisfy the needs of citizens," said Sagili, a honeybee research specialist with the OSU Extension Service and one of the instructors for the training.

Classes in the basic "apprentice" level of the program, which debuted in 2012, will start in January or February depending on the applicant's location.

Participants do not need to own any hives or equipment in the beginning level. They'll be matched with mentors in cities that include Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Portland and Salem. In 2012, more than 50 experienced beekeepers around the state were paired with 140 apprentices, most of whom are still working toward their certification, said Carolyn Breece, a research assistant in OSU's honeybee lab who coordinates the program.

"Students work with a mentor through each season so they experience firsthand how to manage bees in the springtime, harvest honey in the summer, treat for pests and disease in the fall and successfully overwinter colonies," Breece said.

The apprentice course costs $100 and includes supplies and books. Applications are accepted in the order they are received. There's no deadline for applying; the number of mentors available determines acceptance. Slots are already full in Portland but other regions still have openings. About 85 people statewide have signed up so far for 2013, Breece said.

After becoming certified as an apprentice, students are eligible for the $150 yearlong, intermediate "journey" level. Registration for that will open Jan. 1. Thirty apprentice-level graduates are eligible to enroll so far and have expressed interest in applying, Breece said.

At the intermediate level, participants don't have a mentor and they must have their own hive. Students must attend educational events like webinars and workshops and volunteer to share their knowledge with the community, such as with beekeeping clubs and local schools.

Once students complete the journey level, they can advance to the master level, the third and final stage. The curriculum for it is still being developed.

Paul Andersen, president of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association, said the buzz about backyard beekeeping is related to a growing enthusiasm for local food and environmental stewardship.

"There are small-scale backyard beekeepers who have a few hives around [their] town and that's definitely growing because every year different organizations and local beekeeping clubs hold bee schools for people new to beekeeping. More and more people are going to those classes," Andersen said.

Andersen's association and the Oregon Department of Agriculture provided initial funding for the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. The association also provides mentors and instructors. Sagili developed the program with support from Breece and a committee made up of honeybee academics, commercial beekeepers and experienced backyard beekeepers.

Oregon was home to 56,200 commercial honeybee hives in 2011, according to a report from the OSU Extension Service. About two dozen beekeepers owned 90 percent of them, Sagili said. Because backyard beekeepers who maintain five to 10 hives do not often register with the state, numbers of the state's small-scale beekeepers are not tracked, he said.

For more information about the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program, go to http://bit.ly/Vc7QXp.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Ramesh Sagili, 541-737-5460

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 Honeybees not only make honey but are crucial pollinators for some of Oregon's crops. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

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Ramesh Sagili, a honeybee research specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, examines a hive. He helped develop the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

OSU to test quinoa as Northwest crop

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers from Oregon State University are exploring the potential for quinoa to grow in the Northwest’s diverse climates.

Preliminary experiments have shown that some varieties of quinoa, harvested for its tiny grain-like seeds, can be cultivated in Oregon. To expand on those findings, OSU is a partner on a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Growing demand for quinoa worldwide has more than doubled its price in the past decade – possibly creating an economic opportunity for Northwest farmers, according to Steve Petrie, one of the researchers on the project and the director of OSU’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center.

“If we can figure out that quinoa can grow well in our environment, I think it has amazing potential for growers,” Petrie said.

Few Northwest farmers grow quinoa and little is known about its commercial viability in the United States. Most quinoa sold domestically is imported from South America.

The crop is harvested for its seeds that have a nutlike flavor and fluffy texture when cooked. In addition to high levels of protein, quinoa contains higher amounts of calcium, iron, fiber and vitamin B than similar foods, like rice, wheat and barley.

Quinoa is increasingly used as a starch substitute in place of rice or potatoes. In some recipes, quinoa flour can replace wheat flour, making recipes viable for those with gluten-free diets.

“Hopefully our research can provide a locally-grown alternative food for people who are gluten sensitive,” said Stephen Machado, an OSU agronomist in Pendleton. “Quinoa fits that niche market very well.”

Starting this spring, researchers will plant quinoa in a range of locations in Oregon, including the Willamette Valley and Columbia Basin. Throughout the summer, Petrie and others will monitor how the crops react to an assortment of soils, weather conditions and levels of irrigation, rainfall and fertilizer. 

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” said Petrie, who's also an agronomist with the OSU Extension Service. “Which varieties of quinoa will grow best? What farming practices will result in the highest yields? What are the ideal seeding dates and rates?” 

Most of OSU’s experiments will grow quinoa in organic conditions, meaning researchers will avoid the use of pesticides and other synthetic inputs. 

“When we find quinoa varieties that grow well here we will recommend those to farmers with a package of information detailing the best cultivation practices,” said Machado.

OSU will work with researchers from Brigham Young University, Washington State University and Utah State University under the USDA grant. 

Source: 

Steve Petrie, 541-278-4186

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Steve Petrie, the director of Oregon State University's Columba Basin Agricultural Research Center, stands on a field in Pendleton near where OSU will grow quinoa. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

 

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In addition to high levels of protein, quinoa contains higher amounts of calcium, iron, fiber and vitamin B than similar foods, like rice, wheat and barley. Photo by Daniel Robison.

Registration opens for training program for new urban farmers

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is accepting applications for its eight-month training program in the Portland area for aspiring urban farmers.

Now in its third year, the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA) program was developed by the OSU Extension Service and Multnomah County for people with little to no farming experience.

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 13. Classes start April 3. To apply, go to http://bit.ly/10YPZ5O. Applicants do not need to be residents of Multnomah County.

Participants can enroll in two tracks: one consisting of about 550 hours of instruction and another that's about 120 hours but doesn't have in-field training. Space is limited to 20 students for track 1 and 10 for track 2.

Students in the longer track take classes on Wednesday evenings, attend field trips on Saturdays and help at a farmers market on Sundays. They also work at the Learning Gardens Laboratory in southeast Portland and Multnomah County's community farm in Troutdale. The majority of the program focuses on organic farming.

"The team farms two days per week at several farms, ensuring good-quality food and community health benefits,” said lead instructor Weston Miller, a horticulturist with OSU Extension. "It’s fun and interactive and students develop strong friendships through the course of the year."

Since its 2011 debut, 43 students have completed the course. Some have gone on to intern or work on farms or start small farms that sell produce to members.

In the upcoming season, 13 graduates will help develop a small-scale farm on a vacant lot in northeast Portland that will grow produce for school meals. It's a new partnership with Portland Public Schools and the city of Portland.

Graduate Karen Flowers will be a part of that effort. New to farming, she completed the program in 2012 and said she came away with experience and confidence.  

"My year in BUFA taught me so much about the realities and challenges of farming but also gave me even more passion to be a farmer," Flowers said. "It solidified for me how rewarding it is to grow healthy food and share it with others. The BUFA program set a great foundation for my future in farming."

More information on the program and its cost is at http://bit.ly/Y0QRb4.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Weston Miller, 503-706-9193

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Weston Miller (left) teaches Willow Aevery in the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program during its debut year in 2011 at the Learning Gardens Laboratory in Portland. Miller is the lead instructor and a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Oregon 4-H students travel to Atlanta for national meeting

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Seventeen high school students from Oregon will attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 23-27.

More than 1,300 4-H members from all 50 states and Puerto Rico attend the annual meeting, which is often the highlight of a 4-H member's career. Delegates hear inspirational speakers, participate in cultural workshops, take part in large-scale community service projects and visit historical sites near Atlanta.

A committee from the Oregon State University Extension Service's 4-H youth development program selected the delegates based on their overall achievement in 4-H projects, leadership, communication, citizenship and community service.

OSU Extension oversees Oregon's 4-H program, which reached more than 114,000 youths via a network of 7,300 volunteers in 2011. Activities focus on areas like healthy living, civic engagement and science.

The following students traveling to Atlanta are:

Albany: Garrett Hurley

Aumsville: Raquel Albee

Beaverton: David DeFrain

Buxton: Emily Cackler

Damascus: Ely Crawford

Grants Pass: Caleb Lennon

Happy Valley: Emily Brant

Hillsboro: Matthew Ferguson

Monmouth: Shayne White

Newberg: Tia Piscitelli

Philomath: Tessa Gourley and Courtney Kutzler

Sandy: Akaela Wafford, Jacob L. Johnson and Chris Janik

Sherwood: Nathaniel Tilp

Veneta: Larissa Seyber

More information on the conference is at http://bit.ly/S9g9jz.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Helen Pease, 541-737-1314

OSU awards $80,500 in agricultural honors scholarships

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's College of Agricultural Sciences has awarded 32 undergraduates $80,500 in scholarships for the 2012-2013 school year.

Gifts to the college make the scholarships possible.

Recipients are:

Bend: Wesley Brown, a freshman majoring in bioresource research, received the $1,500 Malcolm Johnson Scholarship, the $1,000 Paul & Frances Montecucco Beginning Venture Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Canby: Brittany Haak, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Central Point: Gabriella Desimone, a freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship, and the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Clackamas: Amanda Thielke, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Dayton: Cody Putman, a freshman majoring in agricultural sciences, received the $1,000 Fisher Farm and Lawn Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Florence: Gina Evans, a sophomore majoring in environmental economics, policy & management, received the $1,000 Jernstedt Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Gaston: Keith Beierle, a sophomore majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Naumes Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Hillsboro: Andrianna Stoll, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship. Mason Wagner, a freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Karla S. Chambers Leadership Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Imbler: Emilee Patterson, a freshman majoring in bioresource research, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Oregon Women for Agriculture Scholarship.

Independence: Emma Miller, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Paul & Frances Montecucco Beginning Venture Scholarship.

Klamath Falls: Robert Hamlin, a junior majoring in agricultural sciences, received the $1,000 Tillamook County Creamery Association Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Lebanon: Marisa Owens, a sophomore majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship, and the $1,000 Lawrence E. & Marguerite Kaseberg Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Ontario: Nicholas Cheatham, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Clifford Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Paisley: John O’Leary, a freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Portland: Megan McConnell, a junior majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship. Elizabeth Overholser, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Clifford Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship. Seng Saechao, a freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Roseburg: Cody Steeves, a freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Clayton Fox Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Saint Helens: Teresa Garretson, a junior majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 Loren J. Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Salem: Kimberly Goertzen, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Karla S. Chambers Leadership Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Kenai, Alaska: Evening Ferguson, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

San Diego, Calif.: Matthew Leef, a junior majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Woodside, Calif.: Minda Newhouse, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Pensacola, Fla.: Andrew Tucker, a sophomore majoring in agricultural sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Yulee, Fla.: Zachary Ponder, a senior majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Fisher Farm and Lawn Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Holland, Mich.: Kayla Ockerse, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Columbia, Mo.: Giavanna Accurso, a sophomore majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 John & Florence Scharff Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Loren J. Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

West Long Branch, N.J.: Elizabeth Hagerman, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

West Sayville, N.Y.: Joy Phelan, a junior majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Eugene H. Fisher Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Springfield, Va.: Jennifer Moore, a sophomore majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Seattle, Wash.: William Wallach, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Donations for some of these scholarships were raised through The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. It has raised more than $860 million toward its $1 billion goal, including more than $145 million in scholarship and fellowship support for OSU students. Learn more at campaignforosu.org.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Paul Dorres, 541-737-5655

Worried about your Thanksgiving meal? Call OSU's food safety hotline.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – How do you quickly thaw a big turkey? Should you stuff it or not? How do you make turkey giblet gravy like your grandma's?

As Thanksgiving approaches, you can get answers to questions like these by calling the Oregon State University Extension Service's holiday food safety hotline at 1-800-354-7319.

The statewide hotline runs from Nov. 13-16 and 19-21 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. It's staffed by Extension-trained Master Food Preserver volunteers.

The Extension Service has offered the hotline for more than 20 years. Every November, volunteers with the OSU Extension Service in Douglas and Lane counties field an average of 200 calls from throughout the state, said Nellie Oehler, a retired family community health educator with OSU Extension.

Additional food safety information from OSU Extension is at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-safety.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Nellie Oehler, (541) 757-3937

OSU to host agritourism conference Nov. 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon farmers increasingly are seeking to diversify their income to remain profitable and some are turning to a strategy that has been successful in Europe – agritourism.

To help these farmers, Oregon State University is holding its inaugural Oregon Agritourism Summit, set for Nov. 30 on campus. Registration is now open for the event.

Organizers say the conference aims to inspire farmers and ranchers to diversify their income by inviting visitors to their operations. These revenue-generating agritourism opportunities include overnight stays, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, U-pick fruits and vegetables, horseback riding and hay rides.

The summit is organized by the OSU Extension Service and is open to the public.

The idea for it emerged from a partnership between Melissa Fery, a small farms instructor for OSU Extension, and Scottie Jones, owner of Leaping Lamb Farmstay in Alsea.

"Scottie and I were working together and we realized that Oregon has not had a collaborative effort to help agritourism business owners get the information they need and to bring all the partners together to address some of the barriers that face agritourism businesses," Fery said.

Sessions will address topics that include:

  • agritourism activities;
  • marketing;
  • regulations;
  • liability;
  • challenges in starting up agritourism businesses and ways to overcome them;
  • policy changes that support agritourism.

Speakers will include Bob Crouse with Fort Vannoy Farms of Grants Pass and Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard.

The cost, which includes lunch, is $25 per person. Register by Nov. 26 at http://bit.ly/WAYk14

or call 541-766-3556. The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center on campus.

Source: 

Melissa Fery, 541-766-6750

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Tulips bloom at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn. Every year, the farm invites the public to view its flowers, which is a type of agritourism. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

 

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Picking blueberries is a popular agritourism activity. Oregon State University will host an agritourism conference Nov. 30. Photo by Lynn Ketchum