Following a comprehensive internal search with extensive stakeholder engagement, Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences has named Dr. Alexander (Alec) Levin as the director of the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC).
Levin is a well-regarded viticulturist and associate professor who has served the agricultural community of the Rogue Valley at SOREC since 2016. As a leading wine grape researcher, he is also active with the Oregon Wine Research Institute. His research and extension activities have largely focused on water stress in a region that has increasingly found itself battling water scarcity issues related to climate change.
“We are excited to have Alec step into this important leadership role at SOREC,” said Staci Simonich, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. “His expertise in innovative agricultural practices to reduce water use and deep connections and trusted relationships in the southern Oregon agricultural community is critical to the region’s many important agricultural industries and its long-term resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
In addition to its prolific wine grape industry, the southern Oregon agricultural community also includes a long legacy of growing pears as well as hay, pasture, forestry, timber, and more recently, hemp. In fact, since 2016, the Rogue Valley has been the dominant hemp region in the state, with 35%-40% of the total statewide acres in Jackson and Josephine counties.
“Research stations and Extension play a critical role in the local economy and how we contribute to the success of sustainable agriculture,” Levin explained. “In the time I’ve been at SOREC, I’ve grown to appreciate the unique agricultural community of the region where a new generation of small-scale farmers and start-up wineries work shoulder to shoulder with established orchards, vineyards, and ranches. I am honored to step into this leadership role to deepen our established relationships and continue to help growers in the region find success as the Valley strikes a balance between its urban and rural infrastructure.”
Levin is filling the position left open by Rich Roseberg, who will be stepping down after serving as the station director for six years. Levin will continue his applied viticultural research while leading SOREC as the new Director.
Levin holds a PhD in Horticulture and Agronomy from the University of California, Davis and will begin his new role as director of SOREC on March 1, 2023