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Extension programs help area agriculture

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Faculty members check honeybee hives and explain research to visitors.This is the second article in the four-part news series about OSU Extension programs, and is about agriculture extension.)

The goal of the Agriculture Extension program in Jefferson County is to meet the needs of both local growers and residents alike through education, services and research. Most agriculture extension programs are conducted through the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center.

These agricultural programs provide valuable knowledge to central Oregon residents relating to agriculture, food systems and biological, social and environmental sciences. COARC does not just help residents of Jefferson County and Oregon, their knowledge is shared across many other regions.

Researchers at COARC are currently working on many projects to help growers and local seed companies. Current research projects include nitrogen volatilization in Kentucky bluegrass, increase of honeybee health and rangeland weed control of invasive species, like cheat grass.

Targeted field days are being planned for this summer where producers and community members can come and learn more about research being done at the center that will make a difference in their lives.

Master gardeners from the Oregon State University Master Gardener Program, are onsite regularly (at COARC) to assist in diagnosing plant disease, identifying insects and answering other garden questions. COARC has a demonstration garden where gardening and pruning workshops are provided. Master Gardener training is offered annually in the tri-county area for those interested in volunteering.

Faculty work in alfalfa research plots at the Ag Research Center north of Madras.Online pesticide recertification classes are currently being created by COARC faculty and Oregon State University’s Professional Noncredit Education staff members. These courses are designed to be an hour in length and meet the standards for pesticide recertification credit.

Classes can be taken anytime and anywhere there is Internet access and one credit hour will be awarded for each class successfully completed. In addition, onsite pesticide applicator classes and certification tests are offered by COARC faculty at the COCC Madras Campus.

On May 16, the annual Seeds of Science field trip for all Madras fifth-graders will be held. Students will participate in science and agricultural-related activities which include topics on birds of prey, bees, planting, worms and composting and beneficial insects. Other educational activities for children are also being planned for the future.

The agriculture extension program co-sponsors the annual Central Oregon Farm Fair and Trade show with the Jefferson County Seed Growers Association. The 34th annual Farm Fair will be held Feb. 5 and 6, 2014, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Farmers and ranchers are able to get updates on issues affecting agriculture, hear research reports on crops growing in Central Oregon and are able to receive pesticide applicator recertification credit. Growers can also check out new farm equipment, products and services from over 30 vendors.

Additionally, the JeffCoSeed.com website and roadside crop-sign project is co-sponsored between these two groups. The project includes the placement of up to 24 crop signs along Highways 26 and 97 and in the Culver area.

The signs will lead viewers to the new JeffCoSeed website which will present pictures and information about a variety of Central Oregon crops. The site will also include pages offering information about the history of agriculture in Central Oregon and the importance of burning and smoke management. The website is on track to be launched at the end of May.

For more information about agriculture extension in Jefferson County or to reach Master Gardeners in Jefferson County, call 541-475-7107, visit http://oregonstate.edu/dept/coarc/ or stop by COARC at 850 N.W. Dogwood Lane in Madras.



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