Legislative Summary 2021

Newly funded programs at the College of Agricultural Sciences 2021

The research at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences provides critical insights for the sustainability of our agricultural production and natural resources. In recognition of those critical insights, specific areas of research, teaching, and outreach were identified to receive state funding during the most recent Oregon legislative session.

We are grateful that the state legislature recognizes the vital role our college plays in advancing the future of all Oregonians.  When we invest in the vision to make tomorrow better, we can improve the health of our economy and treasured natural ecosystems, providing opportunities for more Oregonians to thrive.

Projects supported during this year’s session include:

Expansion of the smoke impact lab for research and wine industry testing support ($2.68M)

In Fall of 2020 and during the peak of grape harvest, wildfires filled the majority of the state with smoke. Grapes can absorb smoke from the fires and at high enough levels that the smoke can negatively impact the flavor of the wine and lead to significant negative economic impacts for grape growers and winemakers. While Oregon State researchers were able to provide some guidance to grape growers and winemakers, many questions remain about the impact of smoke on wine. This new funding will provide necessary additional testing machines for smoke analysis, providing access for multiple commodities and year-round testing services for the agricultural industries.

Reducing avian deaths at wind energy facilities – ($427,083)

This funding will support a three-part study aimed to meet increasing demand to better understand avian deaths at wind energy facilities. First, the study aims to identify practical techniques for painting wind energy facilities that are scientifically shown to increase the visibility of the facilities to birds and prevent avian deaths. Second, it aims to evaluate the suitability of the techniques identified for use at wind energy facilities in the state. And finally, the study will evaluate the feasibility of implementing the techniques in a manner that complies with any applicable requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Wheat Research – ($100,000)

A one-time amount from the State’s allocation of federal ARPA economic stimulus funding was provided to support the College’s wheat research infrastructure, including facilities at the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center in Pendleton and the main campus in Corvallis.

The Berry Research Initiative at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center ($150,000)

A one-time grant of $150,000 was allocated for the Berry Research Initiative program located at the North Willamette Regional Extension Center (NWREC). This program does research on cost-effective agricultural planting, growing, and harvesting. The funding will enable the program to assist strawberry growers with a focus on invigorating the fresh-market industry for sustainability-minded growers. The funding will also enable four students to be mentored and contribute to other research projects. 

Modernizing OSU Clark Meat Lab - ($300k)

The Clark Meat Lab is a teaching, research, and outreach facility on Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus. New funding will update the lab to align with current industry and government inspection standards and accommodate modern livestock practices. These Meat Lab improvements will also aid in OSU’s teaching mission by exposing stakeholders and students to modern equipment and procedures in a facility demonstrating current COVID-19 processing guidelines. It will aid in the research mission by modernizing beef processing to better reflect the industry, studying the effect or prevention transmission of communicable diseases, like COVID-19, among processing employees. Lastly, it will aid in our extension and outreach mission by providing a model facility for the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network and will allow for increased collaboration with the Oregon Department of Agriculture in training future Oregon meat processors.

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.