OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of agricultural sciences

'Discover the Scientist Within' workshop offered for middle school girls

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will host a free workshop next February designed to encourage middle school girls to become interested in science and engineering.

Girls in grades 6-8 and their parents may register until Feb.10 for the workshop, called "Discovering the Scientist Within." It will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 8:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the new Linus Pauling Center auditorium on campus. The first participants to register will receive first choice of tours.

Guest speakers will talk about their career path and how it led them to become scientists. Middle school girls will engage in hands-on activities and take tours to science labs on campus.

"The goal is to change the stereotypical perception that scientists are male," said Sujaya Rao, OSU crop and soil science professor.

Parents are welcome to attend the tours and a workshop about how they can encourage their daughters to consider a science or engineering career.

For program information contact Rao at 541-737-9038. To register, send e-mail with the student’s name and school to Sylvia Harvey at sylviaharvey@rocketmail.com.  

Source: 

Sujaya Rao, 541-737-9038

Study finds Great Plains river basins threatened by pumping of aquifers

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Suitable habitat for native fishes in many Great Plains streams has been significantly reduced by the pumping of groundwater from the High Plains aquifer – and scientists analyzing the water loss say ecological futures for these fishes are “bleak.”

Results of their study have been published in the journal Ecohydrology.

Unlike alluvial aquifers, which can be replenished seasonally with rain and snow, these regional aquifers were filled by melting glaciers during the last Ice Age, the researchers say. When that water is gone, it won’t come back – at least, until another Ice Age comes along.

“It is a finite resource that is not being recharged,” said Jeffrey Falke, a post-doctoral researcher at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “That water has been there for thousands of years, and it is rapidly being depleted. Already, streams that used to run year-round are becoming seasonal, and refuge habitats for native fishes are drying up and becoming increasingly fragmented.”

Falke and his colleagues, all scientists from Colorado State University where he earned his Ph.D., spent three years studying the Arikaree River in eastern Colorado. They conducted monthly low-altitude flights over the river to map refuge pool habitats and connectivity, and compared it to historical data.

They conclude that during the next 35 years – under the most optimistic of circumstances – only 57 percent of the current refuge pools would remain – and almost all of those would be isolated in a single mile-long stretch of the Arikaree River. Water levels today already are significantly lower than they were 40 and 50 years ago.

Though their study focused on the Arikaree, other dryland streams in the western Great Plains – comprised of eastern Colorado, western Nebraska and western Kansas – face the same fate, the researchers say.

Falke said the draining of the regional aquifers lowers the groundwater input to alluvial aquifers through which the rivers flow, creating the reduction in streamflow. He and his colleagues estimate that it would require a 75 percent reduction in the rate of groundwater pumping to maintain current water table levels and refuge pools, which is “not economically or politically feasible,” the authors note in the study.

Dryland streams in the Great Plains host several warm-water native fish species that have adapted over time to harsh conditions, according to Falke, who is with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. Brassy minnows, orange-throat darters and other species can withstand water temperatures reaching 90 degrees, as well as low levels of dissolved oxygen, but the increasing fragmentation of their habitats may impede their life cycle, limiting the ability of the fish to recolonize.

“The Arikaree River and most dryland streams are shallow, with a sandy bottom, and often silty,” Falke said. “The water can be waist-deep, and when parts of the river dry up from the pumping of groundwater, it is these deeper areas that become refuge pools. But they are becoming scarcer, and farther apart each year.”

Falke said the changing hydrology of the system has implications beyond the native fishes. The aquifer-fed stream influences the entire riparian area, where cottonwood trees form their own ecosystem and groundwater-dependent grasses support the grazing of livestock and other animals.

Pumping of regional aquifers is done almost entirely for agriculture, Falke said, with about 90 percent of the irrigation aimed at corn production, with some alfalfa and wheat.

“The impact goes well beyond the Arikaree River,” Falke said. “Declines in streamflow are widespread across the western Great Plains, including all 11 headwaters of the Republican River. Ultimately, the species inhabiting these drainages will decline in range and abundance, and become more imperiled as groundwater levels decline and climate changes continue.”

Other authors on the study include Kurt Fausch, Robin Magelky, Angela Aldred, Deanna Durnford, Linda Riley and Ramchand Oad, all of Colorado State University. The study was supported by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Jeff Falke, 541-754-4309

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Arikaree River

New OSU program grooms students to become top-notch workers

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new program at Oregon State University aims to help agricultural sciences and forestry students succeed in the workplace – and show employers that these OSU graduates are top-notch employees.

The program, called Leadership Academy, got under way this term with 10 students. Over the course of the year, participants will sharpen their ability to lead, think critically, communicate and work in a team.

"We heard feedback from employers that our graduates have impeccable technical skills, but that most job-seekers would benefit from additional development in these soft-skill areas," said Kellie Strawn, the director of the academy, which is run by the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Participants, who are selected after submitting an application and being interviewed, must meet regularly with a faculty mentor, develop personal goals, hold leadership roles on campus and in the community, and attend a biweekly campus seminar. They do not receive credit for participating in the academy but they do receive a small stipend. The program is only for students in the Agricultural Sciences and Forestry colleges.

"If employers want a well-rounded student who can come into a company and make an immediate impact, one who understands the importance of personal skills, communication, critical thinking and teamwork, then they need to go after Leadership Academy students," said Jonathan Velez, who teaches the seminar and holds the newly endowed Terence Bradshaw Leadership Academy Professorship.

The academy's hallmark is the one-on-one mentoring component, Velez said. It was the main draw for Tom Griffin, an environmental and economic policy major who plans to attend law school next year. His mentor is Sonny Ramaswamy, the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"The opportunity to network with a faculty member is going to help tremendously with making industry connections," said Griffin, who will intern for a congressman winter term.

The program is funded by the Terence Bradshaw endowment and contributions from individuals and businesses.

Velez hopes to double the number of academy students next year and eventually offer it to 50 to 60 students a year.

To watch a video about the program, go to: http://oregonstate.edu/media/rrjmb.

Source: 

Kellie Strawn, 541-737-2661

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Kellie Strawn teaches a leadership seminar. (Photo by Rachel Beck.) Velez001RB

Oregon State University professor Jonathan Velez (left) and student Tom Griffin. (Photo by Rachel Beck.)

Oregon high school students chosen for National 4-H Congress

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Fourteen 4-H high school students from throughout the state have been selected as the Oregon delegation to attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Ga., during Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25–29. The theme for the congress has changed to “Become a Catalyst of Change.”

During the event, delegates will dedicate the second National 4-H Congress Habitat For Humanity house they helped build in Atlanta. Congress delegates donate funding for the houses, and employees of the Hyatt Atlanta, the yearly meeting place, provide the labor.

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

A committee of the Oregon State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Program http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/ selects delegates based on overall achievement in 4-H projects, leadership, communication, citizenship and community service. Finalists were chosen for National 4-H Congress in June at the State 4-H Summer Conference at OSU.

Delegates chosen for the 2011 National 4-H Congress are:

 

Astoria: Danielle Sampson

Bend: Kallee Salber

Corvallis: Katie Waldo

Eagle Creek: Kayla Cochran

Fairview: Sam Meisenhelder

Fossil: Marina Anglin

Grants Pass Jessica DeHaan

Jefferson: Donielle Miller

McMinnville: Connor Daggett

Molalla: Lauren Riback

Powell Butte: Kaitlin Brouhard

Roseburg: Sarah Gordon

Sherwood: Janika Jordan

Talent: Shae Rogers

Source: 

Helen Pease, 541-737-1314

End of “Secure Rural Schools” payments will hurt Oregon economy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon counties face the loss of about 4,000 jobs, $400 million in business sales and $250 million in income when federal funding for the Secure Rural Schools Act runs out June 30, 2012, according to a new report.

Economists at Oregon State University produced these new economic impact estimates as an update to an earlier OSU report, based on the findings of the 2009 final report of the Governor’s Task Force on Federal Forest Payments and County Services.

In this latest report, the economists note that Oregon counties face a steep drop in revenue that will sooner or later require employee layoffs, a reduction of services, less funding for schools, and long-term economic consequences that may push the overall impact even higher unless they receive significant new funding, or Congress reauthorizes the federal act.

Bruce Weber, an economist who directs the Rural Studies Program at OSU, says the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) act will result in a 94 percent drop in projected federal forest payments in 2013 from the amount counties received in 2008.

“Secure Rural Schools act payments to Oregon counties have been phased down over the past four years,” Weber said, “and some counties already have cut jobs, eliminated services, increased local fees and reduced road repairs and construction in anticipation of the termination of these payments.

“In counties with financial reserves from prior SRS payments, the full impacts of termination may not be evident next year or the year after as they spend down reserves,” he said. “However, for other counties – particularly those for whom federal forest revenues represent more than half of their general fund – the impacts will come sooner, and SRS termination threatens their fiscal viability as governmental units.”

More than half the land in Oregon is owned by the federal government. For the past 100 years, the federal government has shared revenues from its timber harvests with county government, providing an important revenue source for many counties.

After timber harvests began declining in the early 1990s, shared revenues declined sharply and Congress passed a series of laws that supplemented shared timber revenues, culminating in the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.

This act provided payments to counties and schools in 42 states that were based on shared revenues in years with historically high timber harvests.

In Oregon, these payments went to 33 of its 36 counties. Funding tied to U.S. Forest Service lands were earmarked for county roads and schools, while funding tied to Bureau of Land Management lands could be used for general purposes in those counties.

The new report estimates that Oregon counties will receive about $14.8 million from federal timber harvests in 2013 without the Secure Rural Schools funding – a far cry from the $230.2 million counties received in 2008 under the act.

In estimating what impacts the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools act might have, the OSU economists compared projected 2013 federal forest revenues with the amounts counties received in 2008 with payments under the act. They looked at two possible scenarios – one, that counties’ future cuts would be based on current budgetary allocations with 65 percent of the general fund expenditures involving personnel; and second, where all such cuts taken involve personnel. Among the estimates:

  • When 65 percent of the cuts are used for personnel, the loss of jobs for Oregon counties from the elimination of the Secure Rural Schools funding is estimated to be 3,833; at the 100 percent level, it is 4,469;
  • Sales of goods and services by Oregon businesses would be reduced by $385 million to $438 million;
  • The loss of income – wages, rent and other property income – is projected to range from $250 million to $300 million.

“These estimates only represent the short-term economic impacts related to the reduced spending and re-spending of the SRS funds,” Weber said. “There may be more significant longer-term negative impacts on economic activity that result from the counties not providing levels of services in public health, law enforcement and other areas that are important to business, citizens and visitors.”

Weber emphasized that the report does not account for economic impacts from the loss of funding to schools. In 2007-08, nearly $32 million in Secure Rural Schools funding – or more than 13 percent of the overall total of $230 million – went to Oregon schools.

“Obviously, the loss of those funds will have additional impacts,” Weber said.

Although the Secure Rural Schools funding historically has had a disproportionate impact on Oregon’s coastal, southern and eastern counties, it does affect urban regions as well, the OSU economists note. However, urban counties may have more diverse revenue streams to offset the loss of federal funding than their rural counterparts.

The 2011 update was written by Weber, Paul Lewin and Bruce Sorte of OSU. It is available online at the OSU Rural Studies Program website: http://ruralstudies.oregonstate.edu/

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Bruce Weber, 541-737-1432

Applications open for American Youth Leadership exchange with Mongolia

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Twenty-nine high school-age youth and five adults will be chosen to explore historical and cultural traditions of Mongolia in a four-week exchange program beginning in mid-June of  2012.

"The American Youth Leadership Program with Mongolia – Enhancing Global Perspectives" will focus on environmental issues common to the western United States and Mongolia, including water quality, renewable energy and land restoration and reclamation.

Youth and adults will be recruited from the 13 states, including Oregon, that make up the western region of the Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Service.

"The exchange is for young people to learn how to enhance global citizenship and understand other cultures," said Lillian Larwood, Oregon State University Extension 4-H youth specialist. "This will help them work effectively in a global society and become better prepared to address environmental issues."

Applications, due Jan. 15, are online at http://4-h.uwyo.edu/Mongolia/Mongolia_applications.asp or by request from crawford@uwyo.edu

Youth applicants must be U.S. citizens, 15-17 years old by the trip departure date (approximately June 21) and have at least one semester of high school left following the trip. A pre-trip orientation is scheduled May 17- 20 at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Participants should have an interest in environmental issues on water quality, renewable resources and land reclamation and restoration, as well as Mongolian history and culture. They must participate in a web-based interview and, if selected, will be asked to complete a medical information and behavior agreement form.

Parents or guardians must give permission to participate in the entire program, including orientations and post-program activities.

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will cover most of the costs. Participants will pay for passports and passport photos, transportation to the airport for orientation and the exchange trip, spending money, a modest host-family gift and two books for the Mongolian 4-H Youth Organization.

Applications must be submitted directly to the University of Wyoming. A copy of the application should be sent to Lillian Larwood, 105 Ballard Hall, OSU, Corvallis, OR 97331-3608. Call 541-737-1316.

This exchange program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the University of Wyoming 4-H Youth Development Program.

Source: 

Lillian Larwood, 541-737-1316

OSU announces agricultural honors scholarships

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Honors scholarships totaling $89,800 have been awarded to Oregon State University students in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  The scholarships are made possible by gifts to the college.

Recipients of the 2011 scholarships are:

Adair Village: Stacy Eash, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $800 from the Roberta Mitchell Jansen Scholarship Fund.

Bend: Samuel Palacio, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund and the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Canby: Emily Kraxberger, freshman majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.  Brooklyn Nelson, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Charles E. and Clara Marie Eckelman Scholarship.

Clackamas: Douglas Cook, freshman majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship and the $1,000 Paul & Frances Montecucco Beginning Venture Scholarship.

Cove: Joseph Batty, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship.  Scott DelCurto, freshman majoring in general agriculture and forest engineering, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Culver: Kenny Smith, freshman majoring in crop and soil science, received the $750 Walter J. and Florence J. Jaeger Undergraduate Scholarship and the $1,000 Johnny R. and Helen H. Thomas Scholarship.

Eagle Point: Brendan Kelley, junior majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Gladstone: Logan Breshears, junior majoring in fisheries & wildlife science, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Heppner: Brett Harrison, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship, the $1,000 John & Florence Scharff Agricultural Honors Scholarship, the $750 Walter J. and Florence J. Jaeger Undergraduate Scholarship, and the $2,000 V. Kent Searles & Nancy J. Billingsley Searles Scholarship.

Hermiston: Catalina Coleman, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Oregon Women for Agriculture Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.  Rebecca Walker, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Imbler: Reva West, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Keizer: Patricia Brown, freshman majoring in rangeland ecology & management, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Klamath Falls: Brittney Alves, freshman majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Jernstedt Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Lakeview: Krystal Albertson, freshman majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Milwaukie: Neysa Daquilante, freshman majoring in crop and soil science, received the $1,000 Loren J. Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Monroe: Dylan Larkin, freshman majoring in crop and soil science, received the $1,000 Johnny R. and Helen H. Thomas Scholarship and the $1,000 Loren J. Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Newberg: Kory Blake, freshman majoring in rangeland ecology and management, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.  Ariana Piscitelli, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

North Powder: Jon Calhoun, junior majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Naumes Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship, the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship, and the $2,000 V. Kent Searles & Nancy J. Billingsley Searles Scholarship.

Oregon City: Jesse Dodge, junior majoring in horticulture and fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.  Korinda Wallace, junior majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 Charles E. and Clara Marie Eckelman Scholarship.

Philomath: Kayla Thorsness, freshman majoring in animal sciences and business administration, received the $1,000 Fisher Farm and Lawn Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Phoenix: Jake Erceg, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Portland: Cynthia Le, freshman majoring in bioresource research, received the $1,000 Summers Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Prineville: Marcie Nelson, freshman majoring in rangeland ecology and management, received the $1,500 Malcolm Johnson Scholarship.

Sherwood: Jillian Bradley, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Clayton Fox Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Springfield: Andrew Schmunk, freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received $1,000 from the Agricultural Honors Scholarship Program Fund on behalf of Lane County Farm Bureau Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

St. Paul: Jaimee Brentano, freshman majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Sutherlin: Kassandra Freeman, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Naumes Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship. Rozalyn Patrick, freshman majoring in environmental economics and policy, received the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Tillamook: Joseph Meyer, freshman majoring in bioresource research, received the $1,000 Tillamook County Creamery Association Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Union: Briana Tanaka, freshman majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

West Linn: Olivia Mahnic, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Arroyo Grande, Calif.: Amber Hartman, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Charles E. and Clara Marie Eckelman Scholarship.

Chatsworth, Calif.:  Lauren Eyrich, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Summers Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Montebello, Calif.: Erika Wakabayashi, junior majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Eugene H. Fisher Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Strathmore, Calif.: Emily Clifton, junior majoring in general agriculture, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Brunswick, Ga.: John Powell, sophomore majoring in fisheries and wildlife sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Eagle, Idaho: Kaylee Anderson, freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Naumes Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Elkton, M.D.: Zoe Milburn, freshman majoring in horticulture and agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Jernstedt Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Pinckney, Mich.: Erik Levi, junior majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Lawrence E. and Marguerite Kaseberg Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Austin, Texas: Connor Carroll, freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife sciences, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Colton, Wash.: Holdan Druffel, freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Eugene H. Fisher Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Omak, Wash.: Bradley Ives, freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund.

Tacoma, Wash.: Joshua Querl, junior majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Charles E. and Clara Marie Eckelman Scholarship.

Gillette, Wyo.: Lisa Strid, post-bacc majoring in food science and technology, received $1,000 from the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Fund and the $1,000 Clifford Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Source: 

Paul Dorres, 541-737-5655, paul.dorres@oregonstate.edu

'Growing Farms' planning book is available to public

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Over the last three years, 250 new and would-be farmers in Oregon have learned to dream strategically in an Oregon State University Extension workshop series called "Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management."

The Growing Farms workshops are for people who want to start a farm business, are in the first years of owning a farm or want to make major changes to their existing farm. They learn how to make a reality of their dream farm with a strategic plan and how to consider production options, manage finances, produce and sell its products and deal with liability.

 The 44-page planning book that goes with the workshops is now available separately and can be purchased for $8, plus shipping and handling. Order online at http://bit.ly/qaOpfk or call 541-737-2513 or 800-561-6719.

"People can use the book to process information, record their ideas and work through whole-farm planning," said Melissa Fery, small farms instructor with Oregon State University Extension, Benton County. "They can document and reflect and become more definitive in their planning, which makes them better able to access their farming options."

Although the planning book alone can be helpful, Fery also recommends the workshops, in which attendees can share ideas, network with each other and listen to experienced farmers on field trips to working farms.

Many of the people who attend the "Growing Farms" training sessions come with a desire to learn more about starting a farm business, but may have little background or training. "Specialty crops are popular, and many new farmers need to learn direct market strategies to sell organic vegetables and livestock products such as spun wool," Fery said.

Retired veterinarian Robert Bradford took the Growing Farms workshops in 2009 to set goals, clarify his values and measure risks to determine what his niche market plans might be. Now the Bradford Family Farm in Rogue River is the first Oregon Department of Agriculture-licensed chicken and rabbit processing facility in southern Oregon. The license allows the farm to sell the meat at markets, restaurants and grocery stores.

"We also are growing a couple acres of wheat," Bradford said. "We plan to bring the wheat to farmers' markets in the spring to grind on site as it's purchased."

One young farmer, Gary Bernet, used his degree in marketing and what he learned in the Growing Farms workshop to revive his family's farm with an agri-tourism corn maze and pumpkin patch.

"Growing Farms gave me a better grasp of the whole farming picture," Bernet said. "It’s easy to focus on the parts you want to see, but the course forced me to look at all aspects of a farm business, not just growing a crop."

OSU Extension's Small Farms program received federal funding to begin Growing Farms in 2009 as a partial solution to the concern that in the United States the average age of farmers is about 57.  The series of workshops, offered in four regions of Oregon, teaches what it takes to succeed in whole-farm management.

The next workshop series will be from 5 to 9 p.m. for six Wednesdays in 2012, from March 7 to April 11, in Junction City. For more information about the course and registration, call 541-766-6750. Costs are $275 for individuals and $450 for a farm team of two.

Source: 

Melissa Fery, 541-766-3553

Registration opens for OSU online vineyard management class

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has opened registration for an online class that teaches wine industry professionals and aspiring vintners and grape growers to manage vineyards.

The lectures for Principles of Vineyard Management will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays between Jan. 10 and March 15 from 8-9:50 a.m.. Professor Patty Skinkis, viticulture specialist with the OSU Extension Service, will teach the course.

Students will learn how to select prime sites for growing grapes, design and plant a vineyard, identify and manage pests and diseases, balance yield and fruit quality, use cover crops, and ensure that vines are getting the proper nutrients. Participants will be encouraged to think critically about management practices and make decisions based on case studies and research presented throughout the course.

The class is taught on the OSU campus in Corvallis to upper-division students, and will be streamed live through a conferencing program that lets online students see in real time the same lecture slides that the cohort on campus sees. The classes are recorded so students can later view them at their convenience.

Online students do not earn the three credits that their on-campus counterparts do, and they don't receive a grade or have to take the tests. Online participants can, however, type questions to Skinkis in real time and also take part in an online forum for class discussions. Students who sign up for the online version are allowed to attend the lectures in person. The class is not affiliated with Ecampus, OSU's provider of online degrees.

The cost is $500 before Nov. 30 and $600 after that. The deadline for registration is Dec. 21. To register, go to http://wine.oregonstate.edu/onlineclass.

Skinkis, a faculty member of OSU's Oregon Wine Research Institute, teaches another class in the same manner every other year called Grapevine Growth and Physiology. The class will be offered in winter term 2013. To read a feature story about that class and how one vineyard manager benefited from it, go to http://extension.oregonstate.edu/online-vines.

Skinkis said that 110 on-campus students and 132 online participants have taken the two courses since she started teaching them in 2008. About half of the online students planned to develop or join commercial enterprises, she said. The other half are already employed in the industry, she added. They've included vineyard managers, winemakers, agricultural consultants and owners of small vineyards and wineries. They've hailed from California, Idaho, Indiana, Washington, Wisconsin, Canada and even France.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Patty Skinkis, 541-737-1411

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Mel Martinez, the vineyard manager at Oregon's King Estate winery, listens to an online lecture by Oregon State University professor Patty Skinkis

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Oregon State University professor Patty Skinkis lectures to her class on grapevine growth and physiology. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Cool weather could be an advantage to this year's Oregon wine vintage

CORVALLIS, Ore. - While it might make it difficult for gardeners to ripen backyard fruit, the cool weather this season could be an advantage to Oregon wine grapes, according to researchers at Oregon State University.

"Often the most challenging weather conditions produce some of the finest wines," said Steve Renquist, an OSU Extension horticulturist who works with the wine industry in the Umpqua region.

In monitoring heat units—a calculation involving time and temperature—Renquist pointed out that most wine growing regions in Oregon are about on schedule with last year for ripening, and the northern Willamette Valley is a bit ahead of 2010. In areas where heat units are fewer, less sugars develop. But the complexity of wine comes from many attributes of the fruit, not simply sugar content.

"In cool years similar to this in the past, the wines have developed delicate, crisp flavors because they've retained some of the acid in the fruit," Renquist said. "Of course, we won't know about this year until the grapes are harvested and the wine is in the bottle," he added.

Wine grape growers are accustomed to dealing with challenging weather, according to Patty Skinkis, an OSU professor and viticulture specialist. Cool temperatures this spring delayed flowering in the vineyards, she said, so everyone expected a late harvest. However, Skinkis's research has quantified that fruit set was significantly higher than normal for most of the region's wine grapes, resulting in big clusters of grapes.

"The growers prepared well for the season. They thinned fruit and pulled leaves to open the canopy in order to maximize grape quality, hasten ripening, increase fruit color, and reduce the potential for Botrytis bunch rot." Skinkis said.

Furthermore, results of her fruit quality research in 2010 indicate that last year's cool season led to higher than normal development of phenolic compounds and other quality parameters, despite being lower in overall sugar accumulation.

Unlike sweet table grapes, the quality of wine grapes relies on development of a complex array of flavors as well as the balance between sugars, acids and phenols, according to James Osborne, the Extension enology specialist at OSU. This is especially true of the cool season varieties that are iconic of the Willamette Valley.

"Pinot noir, for example, can develop more complex flavors and aromas with a longer, cooler season that often results in lower sugar levels," said Osborne, whose research focuses on how microorganisms impact flavor development during the wine-making process. "It's always a matter of balance, and some of the best vintages come from cooler years."

"The challenge and the attraction of Oregon wines are that they are not easy to make, but the potential for excellence is always there," Osborne said.

Neil Shay, director of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, sees potential for excellence in this year's vintage. "I've visited vineyards all around the state, and the fruit that's hanging now looks excellent," he said.

The harvest is now underway in parts of southern and eastern Oregon, Shay said. The wines will take months or years to develop. But like a good wine, he expects a fine finish for this year's grapes.

For more information about vineyard and wine research at Oregon State University, see http://owri.oregonstate.edu/

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Neil Shay, 541-737-3620

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James Osborne, an Extension enologist at Oregon State University

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Patty Skinkis, a viticulture specialist at Oregon State University

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Neil Shay, director of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, and Patty Skinkis