Summer 2020

Volume XI, Issue 3

From the Dean

It is hard to believe summer is almost over and we are about to kick off the fall term in a format that will predominantly be offered remotely. While navigating the challenges of a pandemic has been difficult, I am proud of our faculty, staff and students who continually demonstrate tremendous tenacity, resilience and creativity at every step.

Despite these challenges, our research has never been stronger. In fact, fiscal year 2020 was the biggest year for research in the college in recent history. We grew our research grant funding to $62.6M, an increase of 22% over fiscal year 2019.

Teaching has continued over the summer, with many teachers adapting the lessons learned in the spring term to further enhance remote learning.

Our commitment to and partnership with industry and communities across the state has never been stronger, as we continue to create resources and improve access to science and information for critical areas of our agriculture and natural resources systems.

At the same time, this summer we joined the rest of the nation in reflecting on the pain and grief that was put into focus in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many other Black men and women who have had their lives taken away by extreme acts of violence. In response to that, we will launch a new Climate, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce this fall, led by Executive Associate Dean, Staci Simonich. This group will actively work on developing strategies that promote sustainable programs to improve access and visibility for underrepresented communities in agriculture and natural resources, here in the college and beyond.

Throughout it all, we’ve witnessed and recognized the tremendous accomplishments of faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond to ensure our land grant mission is uninterrupted. These Stay at Home Heroes have been celebrated every week, as they represent the true heart of our organization.

While there may continue to be uncertainty, there is much to celebrate and recognize as we look back on this summer and anticipate what’s to come this fall. Thank you for your continued interest and support of the College of Agricultural Sciences – in all seasons.

Alan Sams
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station

Oregon Agriculture, Food and Fiber: An Economic Analysis

Dean Alan Sams has asked the department of Applied Economics to develop a report focusing on Oregon agriculture and the economy. The college has not had such an analysis since 2015. The report will provide a profile of agriculture, food and fiber in the Oregon economy and include estimates of economic contributions. Specifically, the report will estimate the direct effects (agriculture and food sectors), indirect effects (suppliers), and induced effects (household spending by proprietors). It will also include the backward linkages (suppliers for direct sale commodities and processed commodities) and the forward linkages (wholesale trade and transportation and warehousing). In addition, the report will include estimates for international trade for Oregon agricultural products as well as retail and restaurant forward linkages.The Applied Economics department head Jennifer Alix-Garcia has asked Jeff Reimer and Bruce Sorte to conduct this analysis and provide initial estimates by January 2021 with a final report by July 2021. These faculty may be contacting you or your network of partners for assistance in gaining access to data and people. The goal of this effort is to deliver findings that will help the college continue to demonstrate the importance of agriculture in Oregon’s economy and the nation and the important role that our teaching, research and outreach activities contribute to this matrix.

Join OSU’s first virtual pop-up dinner

Food Brings People Together: even when they're apart

You are invited to enjoy a delicious meal and a unique gathering of the Oregon State University community: the first-ever College of Agricultural Sciences Virtual Pop-Up Dinner, presented in partnership with the OSU Foundation.

Participants will be shipped a box containing recipes by Sarah Masoni and Jason Ball of the OSU Food Innovation Center plus the ingredients for these dishes, sourced from Oregon farms. With our meals prepared, we’ll sit down together to meet via Zoom, enjoying our food in the company of alumni, faculty and friends of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Thursday, September 3 @ 6 p.m.

$65 per box of ingredients
Each box will make two meals (three courses)

Reservations close August 27, or once 200 boxes have been reserved (so don't delay!)

Learn more about this event

P.S. If you'd prefer to supply your own meal, but would still like to join us for the Zoom gathering, you are welcome to do so. Let us know by Monday, August 31 in order to receive the recipes, video and Zoom link.

College of Agricultural Sciences sets record in research grants awarded in Fiscal Year 2020

Fiscal year 2020 marked a milestone for the college as it grew its research grant funding to $62.6M, an increase of 22% over fiscal year 2019. After averaging approximately $50M in each of the previous five years with some modest increases of 3-5% in past two years, this year’s increase is particularly notable.

The college’s leadership attributes this significant increase to the hard work of the faculty, staff, and students who develop research proposals, build the corresponding and often interdisciplinary teams, while persevering through the administrative complexities that can often accompany significant grants. It also shows the importance of our work to funding agencies, industries, organizations and our many other stakeholders.

“This increase in awarded research is testament to the strength of our science, the discipline of our research office, and the impact of our collective work for the benefit of our stakeholders,” explained Alan Sams, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Director of its research arm, the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. “It also speaks to the breadth of our work and the true majesty of our diverse, interdisciplinary research to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our state, nation and world.”

BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] in AgSci

As we reflect upon the pain and grief of the past few months as the nation responds to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other Black men and women who have had their lives taken away by extreme acts of violence, the College is looking for ways to do a better job of sharing the stories and voices of Black and Brown people in our communities. In that spirit, we are introducing a new section to The Source and our website that elevates the voices of our BIPOC AgSci community – past and present.

Student Champayne Masters is Passionate About All Creatures Great and Small

Through working in the animal behavior lab at OSU and Heartland Humane Society I have found I want to continue helping shelter animals and improving their adoptability. In addition to helping companion animals in the community, I am also passionate about marine mammals and marine conservation.

2020 Grad Logan Quinn is Hungry for Change

My horticulture science major aligned with my interest in growing my own food and sharing that with others. I was highly influenced by my family and my high school agriculture teacher Ms. Moyer. It is important to provide sustainable and equitable ways for people to access food and ensure inequities do not exist.

PhD candidate Eric Wade sees fisheries with new eyes

While my program is in Fisheries Science, I work on the social dimension side of fisheries science. Instead of looking at fish species, I work with the people who catch the fish, manage the fish, and eat the fish. Specifically, I explore decision-making strategies with small-scale fishers in Jamaica.

Diversifying the Agricultural Space: OSU Minority Society

MANRRS is one of the largest and most diverse national non-profit societies. Its 60-plus university chapters in six regions across the country are dedicated to preparing its student membership for careers in agricultural and related sciences. The OSU MANRRS Chapter has proven itself a vital piece to bridging the gap in enrollment and graduation rates, and perhaps even more importantly, for preparing students for their post-campus careers.

Students Discover Opportunities in Newly Endowed Club

Of OSU's nearly 400 recognized student organizations, one repeatedly honored in recent years is MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences), a student-run professional development group. As BioResource Research senior Alejandra Márquez Loza explains, MANRRS is far more than a social club.

Anton Alverez is Playing by Heart

I am a proud first generation Asian American of parents who immigrated from the Philippines. Throughout my entire life, my parents have always taught me there is nothing more valuable than a college education. I knew I always wanted to pursue higher education, and while I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly what I want to do, I just know I want to help people.

Recent News

5G wireless networks have few health impacts, Oregon State study using zebrafish model finds

Findings from an Oregon State University study into the effects of radiofrequency radiation generated by the wireless technology that will soon be the standard for cell phones suggest few health impacts.

The Coronavirus pandemic inspires sustainable solutions for Willamette Valley Vineyard using UVC light

Jim Bernau, Founder of Willamette Valley Vineyard, decided to team up with the USDA, Oregon State University, Cornell and Washington State University to further study the benefits behind using UVC light and how it effectively kills the powdery mildew when the fungus’ defenses are down at night.

Oregon State University Gets $1.25 Million to Study Carbohydrates Taste

Dr. Juyun Lim, Professor of Sensory Science, and her research team in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University has received a $1.25 million grant from National Institute of Health (NIH) / National Institute of Deafness of Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study sensory mechanisms underlying taste perception of complex carbohydrates.

Predation by Caspian terns on young steelhead means fewer return as adults

Caspian terns feeding on young fish have a significant impact on runs of steelhead in the Columbia River, according to a new paper from Dan Roby, professor emeritus in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Sneaky slime mold may be creepy, but it’s harmless to plants

The gross-looking substance known as slime mold shows up on mulch and lawns, but is harmless to plants. Instead it feeds on decaying matter, fungi or bacteria, according to Neil Bell, a horticulturist for OSU Extension Service.

Federal funding for pollinator health research includes $454K for OSU

Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will award $3.5 million in federal funding to support 10 Pollinator Health Research grants across the nation. One of those grants, for $454,939, will be awarded to Oregon State University.

Effects from low-level concentrations of harmful chemicals preserved through three generations of fish

“What that gets at is something your grandparents may have come into contact with in their environment can still be affecting the overall structure of your DNA in your life today,” said Kaley Major, a postdoctoral scholar at OSU and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

New OSU Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator now available

The OSU Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator has been online since 2010, and is widely used by farmers, students and agricultural professionals. It is a free online tool that predicts nitrogen release from cover crops, organic fertilizers and compost using nitrogen mineralization models. You can also enter your input and labor costs to compare the cost and nutrient value of different management plans.

Oregon State receives $5.9 million to study environmental health problems

“The center provides a missing link of sorts, by strongly encouraging researchers to actively engage with stakeholders who need sound science to make informed decisions,” said Robyn Leigh Tanguay, the director of the Pacific Northwest Center for Translational Environmental Health Researchand and an Oregon State Distinguished Professor and molecular toxicologist in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Dogs can be 'early warning systems' for toxic chemical exposure at home

The silicone is so effective because it passively absorbs chemicals in a similar manner to human cells, giving scientists an idea not only of the chemicals a person contacts while they wear the bracelet, but also how much. Previously, scientists could only measure chemicals found in blood and urine, says Kim Anderson, an environmental toxicologist at Oregon State University, who developed the wristband technology.

Malheur land managers get early look at rangeland-threats course

Project Director Sergio Arispe, with OSU Extension in Ontario, said he’s offering an earlier version of the course to local land managers in light of several large-scale, public-lands proposals for southeastern Oregon with implications on livestock grazing, recreation and other uses. Instruction is planned via videoconferencing for up to 10 participants.

OSU researchers part of international effort to save critically endangered seabird

The global population of the critically endangered Chinese crested tern has more than doubled thanks to a historic, decade-long collaboration among OSU researchers from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and scientists and conservationists in China, Taiwan and Japan.

OSU research suggests a better way to keep birds from hitting power lines

The findings by researchers in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences are important because around the globe both the number of power lines and concern over bird fatalities are on the rise.

Timing key in understanding plant microbiomes

Posy Busby, an assistant professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, and Devin Leopold, a postdoctoral fellow in her lab, have made a key advance in understanding how timing impacts the way microorganisms colonize plants, a step that could provide farmers an important tool to boost agricultural production.

Naked barley looks to shed image as an overlooked grain

Patrick Hayes, a professor of crop and soil sciences, and other individuals who conduct research on naked barley said more work needs to be done to publicly promote the attributes of the crop. They acknowledge it's most likely going to be a gradual climb for the grain to become a mainstream offering.

OSU Update

Higher education leader Alexander assumes presidency at Oregon State

F. King Alexander, a prominent national advocate for public higher education, becomes Oregon State University’s 15th president. Alexander assumes the helm at a time of extraordinary momentum within Oregon State and yet uncertainty nationally for colleges and universities.

President Alexander’s greeting to alumni and friends

Oregon State University ranked in the top 1.4 percent of universities worldwide

Oregon State University has been ranked in the top 1.4 % out of more than 20,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide this year by the Center for World University Rankings.

Oregon State President Ed Ray leaves a legacy of leadership and transformation

In 17 years at the helm of Oregon State University, President Edward J. Ray has led a dynamic transformation, fueling unprecedented momentum and widespread impact for the state’s largest public university.

Oregon State to provide flexible learning options for students this fall

Oregon State University will deliver over 90% of courses on its Corvallis campus remotely in the fall, providing maximum flexibility that will enable students to learn where it is best for them while advancing their safety, success and continued academic progress amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Our research, teaching and outreach missions are more essential now than ever during a global pandemic that has impacted countless people across the state, the nation, and the world. Below are some examples of the work we’ve done in response to COVID-19, adhering to our enduring land-grant mission.

Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-level Coronavirus Epidemics

Oregon State University has launched a new project to help determine the prevalence in the Corvallis, Bend, Newport and Hermiston communities of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Outdoor guides look to top out on COVID shutdowns and get clients back to Northwest summits

That’s a concern for a lot of outdoor recreation businesses across the Northwest. Randy Rosenberger, who teaches applied economics at Oregon State University, said outdoor recreation brings money into small communities from tourists – that’s people coming from at least 50 miles away.

NIH launches analytics platform to harness nationwide COVID-19 patient data to speed treatments

The National Institutes of Health has launched a centralized, secure enclave to store and study vast amounts of medical record data from people diagnosed with coronavirus disease across the country.

Oregon agricultural workers hit hard by coronavirus pandemic

“Folks that are in our processing facilities that are frontline workers and essential workers, and, you know, they were mandated to go to work, and it’s wonderful because they’re feeding the rest of Oregon,” said Morrow County Commissioner Joe Doherty. He said agricultural workers are being hit hard by the pandemic and in some cases can’t afford to miss work.

The Science of Taste and Smell & the Covid-19 Connection

OSU Food Science Professor Juyun Lim studies how people experience taste, smell, and other related chemosensory stimuli. Her research focuses “primarily on understanding how human taste and smell work and the role of underlying human taste and smell perception and the role of human sensory perception in food preference,” she said.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Agricultural Research Foundation’s Investment Portfolio

The Agricultural Research Foundation (ARF) manages funds derived from gifts and from contracts with non-profit organizations and commodity commissions.  Those funds support agricultural and natural resource research at OSU and other universities.  As those funds come into the Foundation, they can be added to ARF’s investment portfolio and then drawn on by researchers as they are needed.

Disinfectants and COVID-19

NPIC has compiled disinfectant related resources into one location.

Disinfectant safety during the COVID-19 pandemic

NPIC converted a Facebook Q&A with the poison centers to FAQs online.

Leadership Changes

Dr. Steve Giovannoni is the new head of Microbiology

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Giovannoni has accepted our offer as head of Microbiology, effective July 1. Steve is an internationally recognized microbiologist and holds the rank of distinguished professor. We would like to thank Dr. Jerri Bartholomew, who has headed Microbiology since 2015. Jerri will begin a sabbatical this year, but we will find an opportunity to thank Jerri at a college event in the next academic year. Both the colleges of Science and Agricultural Sciences are very proud of our shared department, one of the oldest at OSU. Microbiology has never been more important than right now, and we look forward to seeing the biggest successes in the future.

Brian Charlton named Director of Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center

The College of Agricultural Sciences is pleased to announce Brian Charlton as the Director of the Klamath Basin Research and Experiment Center (KBREC), following two years of serving in an interim director capacity.

Dr. Ricardo Mata-Gonzalez named Associate Dean of Academics at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences

“Dr. Mata-Gonzalez embodies true passion for student success and academic opportunity,” explained Alan Sams, dean of the college. “His leadership has been exemplary in the variety of roles he’s held in his time at OSU and the entire senior administrative team is thrilled to have him step into this important position at a critical time.”

Awards and Accolades

NSF Career award: Rebecca Lybrand

Congratulations on your recent NSF Career award! I recognize that this is among the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards “in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.” The College is truly proud of your achievements, and we thank you for all of your efforts (I have not forgotten all of those travel requests to collect soil samples to teach your class remotely this spring!). Kudos Rebecca!!!

2020 Emmeline Moore Prize: Ivan Arismendi

Congrats to OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife professor Dr. Ivan Arismendi on receiving the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society’s 2020 Emmeline Moore Prize!

Named after the first female AFS President, this award is given to an AFS member demonstrating commitment and service to ensuring equal opportunity access to higher education in fisheries and/or professional development within a range of fisheries science disciplines.

From the AFS: “Dr. Arismendi's professional accomplishments reflect a journey and a perspective that is important to share with others. His story about the challenges that he has faced, moments that have shaped his career, and thoughts about the future of fisheries are incredibly valuable for all of us to learn from, particularly those early in their careers or still in school.”

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship: Lu Wang

Congrats to Lu Wang, a PhD candidate in microbiology, on being selected for SeaGrant's John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. In February, she'll start work in a federal government office in the DC area for a year. Lu studies seagrass microbes.

Oregon State Professor and Viticulture Extension Specialist Confirmed as ASEV President for 2020-2021

Dr. Patty Skinkis, OSU's Viticulture Extension Specialist and Professor, has been confirmed as 2020-2021 president of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) as of July 1.

Congratulations to our own Dr. Scott Lukas for winning the American Society for Horticultural Science’s 2020 Early Career competition!

Learn more about his award-winning research and Extension program at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC) on his blog: Lukas Integrative Horticulture Lab

Stay at Home Hero: Fisheries and Wildlife COVID-19 Response Team

Fisheries and Wildlife COVID-19 Response Team was formed on March 11 to cover major departmental needs, including: HR and front office operations, Research/facilities, Teaching, Advising undergraduates, and Advising graduates.

Stay at Home Hero: Nicole Sanchez

Nicole Sanchez, an Extension Service horticulture professor serving Klamath County who has made and distributed more than 1,500 face coverings throughout her community since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Stay at Home Hero: Daniel Smith

Dan continually provides exceptional service to students and fellow teachers. A senior instructor and head advisor, he manages to run his own writing intensive class while also managing the technology for a food chemistry class as well as conducting half of its remotely delivered recitations, writing its weekly quizzes and editing exams – grading half of all lab reports.

Stay at Home Hero: Ashley Thompson

Over the past several months, Ashley has been instrumental in helping to develop educational webinars, resource materials as well as helping to provide access to critical PPE and cleaning supplies for the cherry and pear growers in the region.

Stay at Home Hero: Warm Springs Agriculture & Community Gardening Team

Together, this interdisciplinary group has been working in collaboration with the Warm Springs Community Action Team to provide raised garden kits for tribal members.

Stay at Home Hero: Tjodie Richardson

Tjodie is the head advisor for the Applied Economics program and also serves as the assistant to the director of the Applied Economics Graduate Program as well as serving as the department’s E-Campus advisor. According to her nominator, she is “ALWAYS available WHENEVER you need her.”

Stay at Home Hero: Tim Weinke, Cory Zita & Dan Childs

Tim Weinke, Cory Zita, and Dan Childs have all been nominated collectively TWICE. Located at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC), the three have worked together to ensure the station remains open for business.

Stay at Home Hero: Jim Ervin & Lydia Graber

When the university first shut down in response to COVID-19, both Jim and Lydia kept coming in to work to take care of the facility and research plants. Heeding safety protocols, they put much of the shade cloth up on the houses without much help to keep the greenhouses from overheating.

Stay at Home Hero: Debbie Sutor

Deb has spearheaded the editing, promoting and coordinating of the CBARC virtual field day series. In light of the pandemic, traditional in-person field days were made impossible, but Deb’s pioneering approach helped to ensure stakeholders had access to information traditionally presented at these annual events, and became a model for other land grant universities.


Orientation of new students

START is virtual this year. New students sign up for START, complete a university-level orientation on their own via campus, interact with CAS staff in a live virtual event, and meet with their major advisor via zoom for advising and registration.


2020-2021 Ambassadors

Meet the College of Agriculural Sciences Ambassadors for the 2020-2021 academic year. These are qualified leaders who serve as student representatives for the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences, as well as Oregon State University


Caleb Yann received the 2020 Dave Liscia Volunteer Award from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A hearty congrats to Fisheries and Wildlife undergrad Caleb Yann on receiving the 2020 Dave Liscia Volunteer Award from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

Alexandra Avila is Immersed in her Education

I grew up in Ecuador surrounded by amazing marine and aquatic ecosystems. Since I was quite young, I was particularly drawn to the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon region. Being part of this vast and unique biodiversity gave me an unbounded curiosity and enthusiasm for nature, animals and for our water resources.

Leading by example

Ruben Lopez-Carillo is an intern in the OSU Extension office in Umatilla County.

My hometown of Boardman, Oregon, taught me some valuable life lessons and helped shape me to be the person I am today – a fourth-year student at Oregon State University majoring in animal science and bioresource research. Working out in the farm with my dad starting at age 12 helped me build a strong passion for livestock and agriculture.

Four College of Agricultural Sciences students receive Gilman Scholarships to study abroad

OSU’s Gilman Scholars will receive a total of $27,000 in aid to pursue their programs abroad. With seven honorees, Oregon State continues its trend of having students accepted at or greater than the national rate of 25 percent.

Department and Station Updates

BUILD expands (FST)

The Building University-Industry Linkages through Learning and Discovery in Dairy program (BUILD) entered its third year in 2020. This program was initiated by the dairy industry and multiple Universities who are invested in building up talent in dairy and driving relevant research. This last year, BUILD fully funded 13 graduate students in the Food Science and Technology department whose research was focused specifically on dairy. That accounts for 31% of all grad students in the program.

Graduates of this program are prepared to take on leadership roles in industry and even during COVID, there’s a tremendously high rate of employment.

As the program has evolved, it has demonstrated that close partnerships between industry and the University presents a tremendous win-win-win. For students, for the University, and for the industry. Working in collaboration with one another, more opportunities have been made available to students interested in pursuing careers in dairy and more dairy businesses are investing in the growth of the program.

The success of the BUILD at OSU is also testament to the strength of the dairy science program as one of the most notable in the western region.

F&W: Operation De-Koi

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was contacted by the Office of the OSU President about a group of koi fish that needed to be removed from the pond at the new President’s house, due to construction activity. Just as COVID-19 shutdowns began in March, a team led by Selina and Scott Heppell, Peter Konstantinidis, and Olivia Hakanson rushed to catch and transport the 40 fish, ranging in size from 6 to 24 inches, to a large tank at the department’s Fish Performance and Genetics Lab. The koi are doing fine in their cool well-water holding tank as we look for a new home for them. Potential adopters who would like to provide a donation to the Fisheries and Wildlife Museum Collections can contact

Using Satellites and Virtual Fence Technology to Control Cattle Grazing Distribution for Land Management

Each year wildfires burn millions of acres of western US rangeland, resulting in billions of dollars annually in suppression costs and posing significant challenges associated with land, livestock, and wildlife management.  As an example, the increase of wildfire frequency and size in the Great Basin over the last few decades has taken a toll on sagebrush, with the native sagebrush-steppe ecosystem being replaced by annual invasive species, primarily cheatgrass, which dominates up to 100 million acres in the West.  In addition, livestock are attracted to burned areas and may overutilize plants within these areas and slow post-fire recovery.  Pastures within grazing allotments are often quite large, frequently in excess of 10,000 acres.  If a portion of such a pasture burns, that pasture is either excluded from grazing for at least a two-year period, or temporary fencing must be constructed to exclude the burned portion.  Traditional fencing is expensive, timing consuming, and often delayed by procedural and logistical barriers.  In lieu of traditional fencing, virtual fences using Global Positioning System (GPS) - shock collars may offer a less expensive and logistically challenging alternative to traditional fencing while allowing grazing to occur on unburned portions of pastures. 


Advancing the future of agriculture and natural resources

What can plants teach us about a pandemic?

At the start of the year, the United Nations declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health.  

“Fantastic!” we thought. “What a great opportunity for us to share our amazing stories of Oregon State University plant research. We have some of the top plant breeders and scientists in the nation, if not the world, doing amazing internationally collaborative work.” 

A New Normal

Research, teaching and outreach continues during the COVID-19 crisis

When Oregon State University closed its buildings statewide in mid-March to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Dave Stone faced a big decision.

Sharing Expertise: A Glance at COVID-19 Resources

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Oregon, faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences responded by creating trusted resources for the public.

Fact or Fiction: Dolphins Once Lived on Land?

Lisa Ballance, Director of the Marine Mammal Institute, talks about the evolution of marine mammals.

The Pursuit of an Impossible Food

Dr. Reva Barewal noticed her patients had trouble eating long after their surgeries, and collaborated with OSU’s Food Innovation Center on a seemingly impossible task: to create solid foods for people who can’t swallow.

Teaching in the time of COVID-19

Transforming hands-on, sensory-intensive classes for a virtual environment

UN International Year of Plant Health

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. With this global spotlight on plant health, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness on the ways that protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. Here in the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU, we have world class research, teaching, and outreach programs in plant health to feature. In honor of that work, we have launched a spotlight series on our plant health work that will run throughout 2020.

Microbial Genomics

My research program studies the evolutionary, ecological, and mechanistic bases for how bacteria interact and affect the health of plants.

Potato Soil Health

Traditionally, potato production practices do not align with the principles shown to conserve or improve soil health. This is primarily due to the large amount of soil disturbance associated with growing potatoes.

Monitoring and Managing Fungicide Resistance in Grape Powdery Mildew

Grape powdery mildew is a worldwide disease of grapes and one of the primary reasons for fungicide use in the vineyard, as this disease is almost entirely controlled through preventative applications throughout the growing season. 

Barley breeding and genetics

I work on the breeding and genetics of barley, in all its forms and uses. My team and I seek to understanding the genetic basis of economically important traits and to use this knowledge to develop new varieties of barley that will contribute to economic development, health, and sustainability.

Resilience in Oregon/Pacific Northwest specialty crops

Together with collaborators, my lab focuses on making Oregon/Pacific Northwest specialty crops resilient. We have plant health projects with mint, potato, hazelnut, and black raspberry. We focus on specific pests and diseases of each of these crops. We sequence and analyze plant genomes, hunting for disease resistance genes. Often, we work with wild relatives of the crop species as there is more genetic variation available in the wild plant material.

Plant Disease Diagnostics and Management

I run the plant disease diagnostic clinic located at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. An important part of plant production is managing diseases and pests. I provide testing and diagnostic services for the irrigated vegetable growers of the lower Columbia Basin and eastern Oregon.

Art: Inspired by Science

Featured Artwork:

Amanda Triplett

Cell Wall, 2018

Salvaged fiber and thread, 13” x 25.5” x 1”

2020 Betty Brose and Margaret Hogg Art About Agriculture Purchase Awards.

Art About Agriculture Competition and Exhibition 2020: Tension/Harmony | September 3 – October 30

The 37th Annual Art About Agriculture Competition and Exhibition returns to the much-loved open call, juried format.

This year’s theme invited artists to consider our agricultural future, exploring the relationship between the conservation of natural resources and agricultural production. What will tomorrow’s food and fiber look like when we place equal weight on conservation and use? How might farming, fishing, fibers, fashion, and food culture change in the Pacific Northwest? How might communities and connectedness change as we better understand food insecurity and market access? What would cutting-edge research, technology, and innovation look like in the march towards finding a balanced future?

The exhibit will be available to viewers both virtually and in person at the Giustina Gallery, with reduced occupancy allowance for in-person viewing. Contact Giustina Gallery for information and to plan a visit:, 541-737-2402. A virtual reception will also be held on October 1.

More information about the event, including participating artists and sponsors, can be found at the Art about Agriculture website.

Friends & Alumni

Did you know that...

ER Jackman Friends and Alumni is the College membership organization for our alumni and friends. Anyone donating a gift(s) of $1000 or more to any of the College’s programs is automatically listed as an ER Jackman member. For 2019-2020, two hundred and forty-two individuals, couples or industries are members. There are, however, ER Jackman endowments totally about $ 2.5 Million which were established by generous donors specifically to benefit all students within the college regardless of major. The primary focus of the ER Jackman Endowment, Scholarship, and Enhancement Funds is to provide enabling opportunities for students and to support learning experiences beyond the walls of a classroom. Despite the challenges of the University responding to COVID-19 and the modifications needed to protect the students, faculty and staff, our Board continues to provide support for students, utilizing on-line resources to meet virtually. Four internships were awarded in the spring; 17 clubs applied for funding and were awarded $ 34,640 for the 2020-2021 school year. We anticipate holding our annual ER Jackman meeting in October as originally planned but it will be by Zoom. Details will be forthcoming in September. For now, please hold the original date of Friday, October 23, 2-4 p.m. Current members of ER Jackman will receive a postcard with specifics about our meeting. We anticipate an update from Dean Sams and hearing from student recipients of our funds  on how much this support means to them during their studies.

Our 2019-2020 ER Jackman Friends and Alumni Board members, Operating Guidelines and the summary from the October 11, 2019 annual meeting can be found at:

ER Jackman Friends and Alumni questions or comments can be sent to Stella Coakley (, a volunteer board member.

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.