Winter 2017

Volume VIII - Issue 1

Dan's Observations

Dan Arp

Water and climate change

This winter has delivered us icy, snowy weather that at times felt more like Nebraska than Oregon. And yet Earth’s globally averaged temperatures hit a record high in 2016, beating the record set in 2015, which beat the record set in 2014.

Weather is not climate; they differ on a scale of time and space.

Similarly, it’s sometimes easy to look out at the winter-drenched Willamette Valley and forget about summer drought. And yet, climate change assessments from an array of science agencies predict that warmer temperatures in Oregon will likely change the equations for calculating water supplies during the state’s dry season.

Researchers in the College of Agricultural Sciences aren’t simply documenting changes that occur; they are developing tools to mitigate environmental changes and help people and communities adapt.

For example, ecological engineers Chad Higgins and John Selker are developing precision sensors to detect real-time changes in soil and atmospheric conditions to help growers plant, irrigate, and harvest efficiently. Biological engineer Hong Liu is harnessing the power of microbes to clean industrial wastewater and generate electricity. Crop scientist Stephen Machado is testing biochar to help boost soil moisture in Columbia Basin wheat fields. And Extension specialist Amy Garrett is demonstrating that it’s possible to grow delicious tomatoes and watermelon without adding water.

These new advances build on earlier successes from Ag Sci researchers who, for example, helped show that more water could be made available in dry rangeland by removing invasive juniper. And at the Malheur Experiment Station, Clint Shock helped onion growers reduce groundwater pollution and grow bigger, better onions in the process.

Although it might be surprising to find world-class marine research in the College of Agricultural Sciences, here it is. For more than 75 years, our researchers have lived and worked on the Oregon coast, creating opportunities for coastal communities and economies. Our scientists lead the world in understanding marine systems, from the smallest phytoplankton to the largest mammals on earth.

The planet will likely continue to warm, and our weather will certainly change. But the College of Agricultural Sciences will not waver in our dedication to tackle the challenges of water supply, water quality, and aquatic ecosystems across Oregon and around the world.



Daniel J. Arp
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station

Recent News

Food Science students muscle curdsTillamook County Creamery Association gives $1.5 million for new research facility at OSU

(By Peg Herring)  The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) has announced a gift of $1.5 million to support construction of a new Food and Beverage Facility at Oregon State University.

The planned facility, part of OSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology, will include space for innovative research, testing and teaching related to Oregon’s dairy industry and other food and beverage industries important to Oregon.

Total projected cost for the new dairy pilot plant facility is $6 million, which includes $3 million planned from philanthropic support and a matching $3 million proposed from state bonds pending legislative approval during the 2017 legislative session.

Whale License PlateOSU pitches whale plates

(By Anthony Rimel, Corvallis Gazette-Times) As the result of a law the Legislature passed in 2015, the process for creating a new plate is now regulated by the DMV.
Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute in Newport is hoping to be the first to create a new plate using this system, a blue seascape featuring a pair of gray whales.

Bruce Mate, director of the Marine Mammal Institute, said it initially brought a plate design to the Legislature in 2015, but legislators didn’t have much enthusiasm for plates that year because many of the specialty plates they created had not sold well...



White HouseFACT SHEET: New Steps to Advance Soil Sustainability

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in collaboration with Federal agencies and private-sector stakeholders, announced new steps to work towards the long-term health and sustainable use of one of America’s most important natural resources: its soil. OSTP is also releasing today a Federal framework for soil science, developed in collaboration with more than a dozen Federal agencies, with input from approximately 80 stakeholders from academia, industry, non-profit organizations, and the agricultural community.

Oregon State University, acting through its College of Agricultural Sciences, will hire new faculty members in soil science and related disciplines, including three new positions related to soil quality. These new researchers will investigate: (1) the application of biochar from agricultural and forest byproducts to improve soil fertility, (2) the development of passive sensors to measure soil pollutants, (3) the use of solarization to reduce soil-borne plant pathogens, and (4) the role of the soil microbiome in maintaining soil health.

OSU Update

Ed Feser Edward Feser named provost and executive vice president at OSU

Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray has named Edward Feser the provost and executive vice president for the university. Feser, who currently serves as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will begin at Oregon State on Feb. 28.

“Ed Feser will be a great addition to Oregon State University,” said Ray. “His academic and leadership success at the University of Illinois, the University of North Carolina and the University of Manchester in England will serve him very well.

“Ed fully understands Oregon State’s land grant mission as Oregon’s statewide university and OSU’s role as an internationally recognized public research university,” Ray said. “As the provost of the University of Illinois, a nationally top-ranked land grant university, he has successfully helped provide transformative learning experiences for students in and out of the classroom, and steward a global research portfolio.”

Our Best

Jeff StovenJeff Stoven - CAS Distinguished Alumni Luminary Award

Congrats to Jeff Stoven for his innovations in the nursery industry, honored as an AgSci Alumni Luminary

Brent FetschBrent Fetsch - CAS Distinguished Alumni Leader Award

Brent Fetsch, Oregon President of Northwest Farm Credit Services, serves the College of Agricultural Sciences on the Dean’s Council and the Leadership Academy, where he helps graduates gain the skills they need to land successful careers after graduation.

Ken MunsonKen Munson - CAS Distinguished Alumni Legacy Award

Ken Munson, champion of international forest sustainability and mentor to OSU students, shares his global experiences with AgSci Leadership Academy. Last week he was honored as OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Legacy.

Jim ChapmanJim Chapman - CAS Hall of Fame

Jim Chapman, the second of three generations of progressive cattle ranchers in Poe Valley, is recognized for his innovations in cattle health and diet.

Jim BernauJim Bernau - CAS Hall of Fame

Jim Bernau, Oregon wine pioneer, entrepreneur, and industry champion, is recognized for his leadership in helping to create Oregon’s multi-billion-dollar wine industry.


OAP Pollination InnovationHoney bee research story wins Gold award

For her story on Pollination Innovation in Oregon's Agricultural Progress Magazine, author Tiffany Woods has received a Gold award in feature writing from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).  Oregon's Agricultural Progress is the research magazine for the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station at Oregon State University.

OSU Postdoctoral Research Symposium AwardeesCAS post docs win poster session awards at OSU Postdoctoral Association Research Symposium

Congratulations to our three postdoc winners!  Postdocs make a vital contribution to OSU and to the impact OSU makes through its outstanding academic input.

2nd Prize:  Laurel Cooper and Austin Meier (Botany and Plant Pathology) "Planteome:  Reference Ontologies and a Platform for Integrative Plant Genomics"

3rd Prize:  Qing Yan (Botany and Plant Pathology) "Codon Usage Regulates Antibiotic Production of Soil Bacteria"

Highlight: Central Analytical Laboratory

Central Analytical Lab TeamOSU Central Analytical Laboratory

We are pleased to announce that the OSU Crop and Soil Science Department has reinvigorated the Central Analytical Laboratory and we are open for service. CAL can process plant, soil, water, and soil amendments for a range of characteristics. We offer analytical packages for plant tissue nutrients, as well as several different soil package options, from nutrient characterization to physical characterization to soil health analyses. We can also characterize manure, compost, biochar, or other organically-based soil fertilizers or amendments. Individual tests within each of these categories can also be requested. See our website for further analysis information.

One of the main goals of this reinvigoration was to make CAL a centerpiece of agricultural education at OSU. We regularly train graduate and undergraduate students on how to perform routine analysis on their samples so that they can reduce costs and be connected to the process of data analysis. Much of our work is focused on research, and we are happy to perform fee for service work with newly developed methods. Soil is related to many natural sciences, yet we understand that researchers in other fields cannot keep up with our literature, so we are here to help people ensure that they are sampling properly and performing the analyses that will allow them to answer their questions.

CAL is working on the team to develop a set of nationally adopted soil health metrics. We are very excited to be developing a soil health database with NRCS that will be used as a tool to help producers make long-term land management decisions based on the impacts to the health of the soil system. Our goal is to support producers in their efforts to maintain their soil’s health and in turn, long-term productivity. If you are interested in participating in our Soil Health Initiative by providing production information and access to your farm, please contact us, and we would be happy to talk.

Our new website has detailed information regarding services, prices, protocols, and our new sample submission form: 

You can bring samples directly to the CAL on the third floor of the Ag Life Science building in room 3079. We are typically available from 9-5 Mon-Fri. Or you can mail samples to:
Oregon State University; Central Analytical Lab; 3017 Ag Life Sciences Bldg; Corvallis, OR 97331

I look forward to working with you and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Shannon Andrews, 541-737-2187,

Global Experiences

Dr. Edly Santiago of the University of Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Group Tour

Originally designed as an agriculture tour focused on food security and sustainability on a tropical island, the December trip encompassed service-learning projects for the students who attended. All 11 students assisted in planning, translating, and delivering three different agriculture-based lesson plans. Since much of the funding in Puerto Rico for agriculture programming has been cut in recent years, the lesson plans and ready-made agriculture lesson kits gave Oregon State students a creative and high-impact way to provide long-term change in the two Puerto Rican schools the group visited. In addition to educational service learning, Oregon State students identified and recorded bird species on a citizen-science bird survey project sponsored by Para la Naturaleza, a non-profit environmental organization in Puerto Rico...

in front of the Beaufort Cheese Cooperative in the French AlpsUpdate for the College of Agricultural Sciences Global Experience Fund

The Global Experience Fund continues to provide support for various international opportunities for our students. Consistent with the College’s goal to provide additional international opportunities, the fund contributed to two recent group trips.

In September 2016, the College of Agricultural Sciences offered its most recent edition of its Exploring World Agriculture study abroad course series. The theme of this two-week program to France was “commodities to cafes – understanding French food systems from farm gate to food plate.” ...

Student Success Initiative

Student Success InitiativeThe College of Agricultural Sciences prepares the next generation of leaders in the food, agriculture, natural resources, and life sciences.  Our students aspire to become leaders who solve society's most pressing challenges and create new opportunities for the future.  Student learning is focused on mastery of STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), integrating research and extension with hands-on experiences in laboratories and field locations across Oregon and the world.  

OSU president Ed Ray has challenged the university to improve graduation rates and retention rates, and to reduce financial barriers to higher education for all Oregonians.

Meeting that challenge, the College of Agricultural Sciences has three priorities for student success:

- Experiential learning for transformative education
- Access and meeting the full cost of a college education
- Recruitment and retention of high-achieving Oregonians

Learn more about the Student Success Initiative.


Tiffany Harper and Quentin Tyler Meet two of tomorrow’s ag leaders, from two very different backgrounds

(Farm Credit Mid-America) “MANRRS provides students with access to mentorship, which is a crucial piece in their professional development,” said Quentin Tyler, the national president of MANRRS and director of diversity at the University of Kentucky. “It allows students to see things from a national perspective and, most importantly, it shows them what they can be.”

Strand BuildingOSU announces agricultural honors scholarships

(By Kym Pokorny) Honors scholarships totaling $92,000 have been awarded to Oregon State University students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The scholarships are made possible by gifts to the college.  Click on the title link to see a list of the recipients and their home towns.

2016/17 AmbassadorsMeet the 2016-2017 Ambassadors

Ambassadors for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources have the opportunity to develop and enhance their public speaking, time management skills, individual and group dynamics, prepare for student and pre-professional success and engage in activities that promote the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Forestry.

Ambassadors have the opportunity to attend on and off-campus recruiting events; travel to high schools throughout the state and make presentations; attend professional conferences, industry and alumni events; engage in the marketing and promotion efforts of both colleges; and host students and parents to campus.

Read the bios of our current Ambassadors.

New Fields

Dean Dan ArpA year in review with Dean Arp

(By Meg Marchand, Director of New Fields) Aside from parking, between now and 27 years ago when Dr. Dan Arp first arrived at Beaver Nation, much has changed. I had the pleasure of meeting with the College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dan Arp, to discuss experiences and happenings of both this past year and this upcoming year. In this one-on-one interview with Dean Arp, I got the inside scoop on how he overcame learning how to Tweet in 2016 and what changes he would like to see implemented in 2017.

We started the interview with a few basic “get to know you” questions and I came to find that this is Dr. Arp’s ninth year putting on the hat labeled “Dean.” Before coming to the College of Agricultural Sciences, Dean Arp served 4 years at the Dean of the Honor College. On May 1st of 2012, he became Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Raisa Canete BlazquezWelcome to our newest advisor of Ag Exec

Hey Everyone!
If you haven’t heard yet, the Agricultural Executive Council added a new co-advisor to our team last week: Raisa Canete Blazquez. Raisa has a unique background that’s going to bring a new perspective to the team. Here’s her story:

“I am originally from Barcelona, Spain, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting. My first languages are Spanish and Catalan, and I also speak English and some German.

21 dates you’ll need to know to make it through the new year

Winter term has been off to quite the slow start. We had no school on Monday and with severe weather conditions still in surrounding areas we hope everyone has been traveling safe and all students have made it back to Corvallis by now. With the start of a new year and new term there’s some important dates you’ll want to keep on your radar and here they are:

January 15th: Last day to withdrawal from a course with 100% refund
January 16th: MLK Day (No School)
January 18th: First Ag Exec Meeting of the new year
January 26th: Etiquette Dinner in the MU Horizon Room at 6pm


Seahorse Key’sThe mystery of Seahorse Key’s missing bird colony veers into strange territory

(Audubon Magazine) Dan Roby, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and a scientist with the Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, suspects cumulative disturbance is to blame for the mass abandonment of the world’s largest Double-crested Cormorant colony this past summer. In mid-May, somewhere in the span of three days, around 16,000 birds deserted eggs on East Sand Island, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

SockeyeDespite evolutionary inexperience, northern sockeye manage heat stress

(By Steve Lundeberg, OSU News and Research Communications) Sockeye salmon that evolved in the generally colder waters of the far north still know how to cool off if necessary, an important factor in the species’ potential for dealing with global climate change. “Often what’s happened has been counterintuitive, so we had no idea what to expect,” said Jonathan B. Armstrong, assistant professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Fish and Wildlife, the lead author on the study. “About 40 million sockeye return to Bristol Bay every year. These huge salmon runs are a big part of the regional culture and economy, so how these fish respond to climate change will have very real effects on people’s lives. It’s encouraging that the sockeyes showed this innate capacity to respond.”

Michael BehrenfeldSpace-based lidar shines new light on plankton

(By Gail Wells) A space-based sensor that can “see” through fog, clouds and darkness has given scientists their first continuous look at the boom-bust cycles that drive polar plankton communities.

The decade-long set of images reveals that phytoplankton cycles are more tied to the push-pull relationship between them and their predators than was initially thought, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Phytoplankton are the foundation of the ocean’s food web. Commercial fisheries, marine mammals and birds all depend on the blooms, said the study’s lead author, Michael Behrenfeld, an expert in marine plankton at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Cattle by a streamHow Much Time do Cattle Spend in Rangeland Streams? Not so Much

(Drovers) In a five-year study recently published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, John Williams and his colleagues placed GPS collars on cows and sent them out to graze with their herds across large acreages of rangeland in eastern Oregon.

WhalesHow drones are helping scientists study the future of whales

(By Tom Costello and Bradleigh Miranda Chance, NBC News) The sight of a 50-foot whale breaching is breathtaking. Water slides down the whale's back as it leaps above the surface, shooting spray in the air and then crashing back into the water. The powerful ocean giants make their own waves with mighty, mid-air twists and turns.

Every now and then, a powerful spray blasts into the air from the creature's blow hole. The average onlooker just sees a cloud of vapor, but marine biologists view it as important genetic material.

Filbert, DNA donorOSU Researchers release first analysis of complete beaver genome

(By Chris Branam) The North American beaver’s genetic code has been revealed and will enable scientists to gain insight into beaver populations, disease and where the animal sits on the tree of life.

A team of Oregon State University faculty, staff and students will release the genome sequence for the beaver – the school’s mascot – on Saturday at the annual Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego.

The genome sequence, released as part of the Beaver Genome Project at Oregon State, is considered a “first draft” and analysis is ongoing. The public release will enable researchers around the world to analyze the information, said Brett Tyler, director of Oregon State’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.

Art About Agriculture

Nelson Sandgren, Sunflower

Eye, Hand, Spirit, in Balance
Paintings by Nelson Sandgren (American 1917-2006)

Gallery 440,Strand Agriculture Hall
Jan. 23 through March 10, 2017

Reception and Gallery Talk: Thursday, Feb. 16, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Gallery Talk by Erik Sandgren begins at 4 p.m.

Gallery Hours: 3:15 to 4:30 p.m Wednesdays

A selection of works by the late Nelson Sandgren, art professor emeritus at Oregon State University, will be exhibited in Gallery 440 of Strand Agriculture Hall on the OSU campus from Jan. 23 through March 10.

“Eye, Hand, Spirit, In Balance,” is organized by OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences through its Art About Agriculture program.

A reception will be held in the gallery, located in Room 440 on the fourth floor of Strand Hall, on Thursday Feb. 16 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., with a gallery talk by Erik Sandgren beginning at 4 p.m.

The exhibit's title derives from an artist statement written by Sandgren when he participated in the 2000 Art About Agriculture annual touring exhibition. While he was best known for his acrylic, watercolor and oil paintings, Sandgren was also an accomplished printmaker and muralist. This show comprises paintings on canvas and board, as well as works on paper, including lithographs, mono prints, and watercolors.

Two pieces on exhibit—“The Gardener,” a mono print; and “Spring Series #3,” an oil on board—are part of the Art About Agriculture Permanent Collection thanks to the 1990 Dean of Liberal Arts Purchase Award and the 1992 Monsanto Purchase Award. Other work in the show is on loan thanks to the generosity of Jan Sandgren, Erik Sandgren, and Kathryn Cotnoir.

Nelson Sandgren taught drawing and painting at Oregon State for 38 years, beginning in 1947. After his retirement from full-time teaching, Sandgren continued to teach art at the University of Oregon and to coordinate his annual en plein air painting workshop on the Central Oregon Coast. His extensive international exhibition history dating back to the 1940s attests to his successful, productive creative life, which included sabbatical leaves to paint and research in Mexico and in western Europe. After his retirement, Sandgren journeyed to paint in Russia’s major cities and nearby countrysides.

Sandgren’s work is held in public and private collections internationally, including the Portland Art Museum, Coos Art Museum, Salishan Lodge, University of Oregon, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  His architectural scale murals grace the Mahlon Sweet Field Airport in Eugene and the Valley Library at OSU in Corvallis.

While this retrospective of 14 pieces is limited to the Gallery 440 space, many of Sandgren’s other works held in various OSU collections are on display throughout the Oregon State main campus.

Gallery 440 is open to the public on Wednesdays from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. from Jan. 25 to March 8.

Multimedia Connections

MultimediaFacebook Pages


Down on the FarmDown on the Farm

OSU Extension Service is excited to share our Fall/Winter Edition of NWREC’s Down on the Farm newsletter.  This issue is packed with news from the Center, our new faculty (including those still on the horizon…), and a compilation of the projects we’ve been able to undertake over the past few years—thanks to the generous contributions of our Friends of NWREC donors and financial sponsors for the annual Harvest Dinner.

Oregon Small Farm News - Winter 2017Oregon Small Farm News

Oregon Small Farm News is a free online newsletter that concentrates on both commercial small farm entrepreneurs as well as non-commercial small acreage landowners. Our focus embraces organic/biological and conventional farming systems and emphasizes three areas:

  • Small Acreage Stewardship - Addressing enterprises, land management and soil and water quality for non-commercial small acreage's.
  • Commercial Small Farms - Entrepreneurial Agriculture Addressing high value horticulture, livestock and poultry, and alternative crop production emphasizing organic and pasture-based systems and specialty and niche production.
  • Community Food Systems - Address alternative and specialty marketing through creation and enhancement of local and regional food systems and farm direct marketing channels.

Reaching Out

Nick Andrews, co-developer of Croptime, is an Extension agent serving small farmers in the north Willamette ValleyNew web-based tool helps farmers plant veggies at just the right time

(By Gail Wells) A team at Oregon State University has built a web-based predictive tool that Willamette Valley vegetable farmers can use to schedule their plantings and harvests for the most favorable times. The interactive tool, called Croptime, taps into temperature data and weather and climate forecasts to calculate optimal dates for planting of vegetable crops grown in the valley. It is being developed by Nick Andrews, Len Coop and others in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Yamhill County 4-H Ambassador reads to childresnAg in the Classroom spreads the word

(By Brenna Wiegand, Capital Press) In addition to educating kids and families on Ag in the Classroom, Jessica Jansen hopes to enlist more members of the ag community to share their knowledge with school-age kids.

Jessica Jansen fell in love with agriculture during her high school FFA years. Its broad range of disciplines led her to earn degrees in agricultural sciences and communications at Oregon State University.

Now Jansen is executive director of Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom, providing free curriculum, a lending library and training to teachers from kindergarten through high school. The program uses agriculture to teach science, math, history and nutrition across existing curriculum in an especially relevant way.

Ramesh SagiliBee App

( Podcast) Protecting bees from pesticides just got easier with the release by Oregon State University of a smartphone app that farmers and beekeepers can use to consult a publication when they’re out in the field. The smartphone app accompanies OSU Extension’s 2013 publication, “How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides.”

“It’s a smartphone world,” said the publication’s lead author, Ramesh Sagili, an entomologist and Extension bee researcher in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Tracking Caspian Terns Lab SiteCheck out our collection of laboratory websites

Most of our faculty provide outreach, and many turn to the web for an easy, affordable way to disseminate information to a number of audiences. The agsci-labs platform provides a simple way for our faculty to spin up websites dedicated to such topics as tracking the migration patterns of Caspian terns, providing Extension information to the Oregon beef cattle industry, and offering consumer sensory testing services to industries. Click on the title link to see a list of CAS lab sites.

In Memoriam

John Adair

John Adair

John Adair, 89, passed away Jan. 4, 2017 at his home south of Corvallis surrounded by family. John was born March 10, 1927 in Seaside to John and Grace (Dawson) Adair. He grew up on a farm which spawned his love for the outdoors and the creatures that reside in it, with a particular fondness for waterfowl. He served as a supply sergeant in the army and attended Oregon State College where he both got a degree in animal science and met his future bride, Barbara. He worked 35 years as supervisor at the OSU mink ranch amongst friends who sometimes topped his ability to spin yarns.

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is Oregon's principal source of knowledge relating to agricultural and food systems, and a major source of knowledge regarding environmental quality, natural resources, life sciences, and rural economies and communities worldwide. The College provides undergraduate and graduate education leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and extended education programs throughout Oregon and beyond. Its research programs create knowledge to solve problems and to build a knowledge base for the future. It is a source of information and expertise in integrating and applying knowledge with benefits that are felt in domestic and international settings.