OSU Extension Blogs

Willamette Valley Agriculture Expo

Small Farms Events - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 2:40pm
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Largest Agriculture Expo in the Pacifici NW!  Over 175 exhibitors featuring over 140,000 square feet of exhibits.  Classes and CORE training, goods and services for the agriculture industry 3 Big Days, 4 BIG Buildings FULL of displays.

Free Admission for Agriculture students (pre arrangements requirement)

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Farmer Workshop

Small Farms Events - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
The High Desert Food & Farm Alliance is partnering up with OSU Extension's Clare Sullivan to put on an amazing workshop at Seed to Table Farm in Sisters next Tuesday Nov 14th from 3-5 PM. This is a great opportunity to learn how OSU Extension can benefit your farm through programs and research. 
We will have discussions on soil fertility and best management practices of season extendersand invite all of you to share knowledge of getting the most out of season extenders. We'll also tour several different styles of high tunnels and have information on how to get funding for them (that's the big question isn't it?)! 
Tom Bennett from NRCS will be there to answer any questions about the High Tunnel Initiative, which is a fabulous grant opportunity that could help you get a High Tunnel on your farm. We will also discuss another funding opportunity through HDFFA. 
We're happy to announce that we've made this exciting professional development opportunity FREE and open to everyone (so invite your farmer friends and farm crew/interns). We'll also be providing light refreshments. PLEASE RSVP by calling (542) 390-3572 or emailing shaili@hdffa.org  
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course- HERMISTON, OR

Small Farms Events - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 (all day event)

Event Details

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course – HERMISTON, OR


Tuesday, November 14, 2017 (All Day Event)


Registration cost: $25, includes PSA Grower Training manual (printed and electronic copies); Certificate of Completion, morning coffee and refreshments, and lunch.

Registration is required. Register by Nov. 7, 2017 on-line at: PSA Grower Training

Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center

1705 E. Airport Road

Hermiston, OR 97838


Questions? Contact Stuart Reitz: 541-881-1417, stuart.reitz@oregonstate.edu or Sue Davis: 503-807-5864, sdavis@oda.state.or.us

Who Should Attend

Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

What to Expect at the PSA Grower Training Course

The trainers will spend approximately seven hours of instruction time covering content contained in these seven modules:

  • Introduction to Produce Safety
  • Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
  • Soil Amendments
  • Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
  • Agricultural Water (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water)
  • Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
  • How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

In addition to learning about produce safety best practices, key parts of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements are outlined within each module. There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.

Benefits of Attending the Course

The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. Individuals who participate in this course are expected to gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm
  • How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm
  • Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one
  • Requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.

After attending the entire course, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies they have completed the training course. To receive an AFDO certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course.


 Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center, 1705 E. Airport Road Hermiston, OR 97838


Stuart Reitz, 541-881-1417

This event appears on the following calendars:

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Willamette Valley Agriculture Expo

Small Farms Events - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Largest Agriculture Expo in the Pacifici NW!  Over 175 exhibitors featuring over 140,000 square feet of exhibits.  Classes and CORE training, goods and services for the agriculture industry 3 Big Days, 4 BIG Buildings FULL of displays.

Free Admission for Agriculture students (pre arrangements requirement)

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Home from the Sea

Terra - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 8:51am

A multi-year study of the marbled murrelet, a threatened West Coast seabird that nests as far as 50 miles inland, aims to discover the animal’s habitat needs and understand the reasons for the species’ ongoing population decline in the Northwest.

In addition to determine the needs of this elusive bird, the study aims to help forest managers on public and private lands balance habitat conservation with timber land management.

Illustration by Brian Woodbridge

The project is possible because of an increase in funding for research in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University provided by the state Legislature in 2015 with broad support from the timber industry and conservation groups. “We are investing in this project because all interests want to know the breeding habitat requirements of the marbled murrelet, so that land management decisions in our productive coastal forests benefit from the best data and science available,” said Thomas Maness, dean of the college.

“Managing our forests is not just about producing timber. It’s also about habitat. We need to understand where these birds go to nest and the best way to protect this species while actively managing our forests to produce timber revenue that is vital to state and local economies.”

The project is managed through the Institute for Working Forest Landscapes at Oregon State and is a joint effort between researchers at the College of Forestry and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Agricultural Sciences. It aims to answer questions about how forests can be managed for both murrelets and timber. “Murrelets prefer mature, late-successional forests, but they may not be restricted to old growth,” said James Rivers, professor of animal ecology in the college and the lead scientist on the project.

“The goal of our project is to determine the murrelets’ requirements for nesting, to learn more about where the birds are located on the landscape and to understand the factors that influence nest success and their relationship to active forest management.”

The long-lived, dove-sized marbled murrelet spends most of its time in coastal waters dining on krill, other invertebrates and forage fish such as herring, anchovies, smelt and capelin. They nest in mature and old-growth forests and typically produce only one offspring per year, if the nest is successful.

Solitary Birds

Many seabird species, such as common murres, terns and gulls, tend to nest in colonies, but murrelets are comparatively solitary, nesting in the forest and sometimes within small groups. They typically lay their single egg high in a tree on a horizontal limb that is at least 4 inches in diameter, said Rivers.

Globally, marbled murrelets are one of the few seabirds that nest in this fashion. Scientists don’t know why the birds have evolved this particular habit. “The end goal for these birds is to be very secretive and quiet so predators don’t find their nests and they can produce young,” said Rivers.

Researchers monitor radio-tagged marbled murrelets on the Oregon coast (Photo courtesy of Kim Nelson)

“We know we have nesting habitat for murrelets throughout our coastal forests. But we don’t have large sample sizes of nests. If you look at data along the coast from California to Washington, central Oregon has the highest population based on surveys of birds at sea. The Siuslaw National Forest is in that area, and we think the birds may be going in there to nest.”

Only 75 nests have been documented in Oregon since OSU avian ecologist Kim Nelson, a scientist on the project, identified the first one in 1990. “I was on Marys Peak in 1985 when I heard a seabird and wondered what this bird is doing so far from the ocean,” said Nelson. She saw murrelets that year at some of her study sites in the Coast Range.

Three years later, she began a series of systematic murrelet surveys funded by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service. Progress was slow, since identifying the birds required people to be physically present at specific locations by dawn for extended periods of time and to listen for the birds’ smooth, high-pitched call. Nonetheless, they found more than 20 active nests and hundreds of occupied sites throughout the Oregon Coast Range.

Tree Climbers

In a project funded in the 1990s by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the National Council for the Advancement of Air and Stream Improvement, a forest-products industry research organization, Nelson and other scientists climbed about 5,000 trees in a search for murrelet nests. That study identified an additional 45 nests in Oregon and more in Washington, although most of those nests were not active. “Thus, there is limited information about whether those nests were successful and what factors played a role in any nesting failures that may have occurred,” said Rivers.

Researchers listen for signals from marbled murrelet tags. (Photo courtesy of Kim Nelson)

Along the West Coast, marbled murrelets have been found as far south as Baja California, where they winter, and as far north as the Aleutian Islands. Their populations have been declining by about 4 percent a year in Washington, Oregon and California.

In California, the birds are federally listed as threatened, primarily because of low recruitment of new individuals into the population. The Alaska population is not considered endangered, although population declines have been documented there as well.

The first known murrelet nest was found in the California redwoods in 1974. Based on studies of known nests in the listed range, scientists have found that Steller’s jays and other corvids, such as crows and ravens, are the main predators of murrelet nests.

The researchers aim to learn more about how human activities in the forest affect the risk that predators pose to murrelets. Little is known regarding the effects of logging, camping and the presence of garbage dumps on predator numbers and the chances that predators will find and depredate murrelet nests.

Other unknowns about the birds include how long they live (estimated to be 10 to 15 years), the juxtaposition of nesting to foraging areas and whether individual birds shift their primary feeding areas along the coast from one place to another.

Illustration by John Megahan

To answer such questions, members of the OSU research team have been capturing murrelets on the ocean, tagging the birds with miniature VHF radio transmitters and tracking where they go. Only adult birds with a “brood patch,” a spot with little or no feathers on the breast, are tagged. Such patches indicate that the bird is preparing to breed and incubate an egg.

Last spring, researchers succeeded in capturing and tagging 61 birds. “That was a huge success. We weren’t even sure we’d be able to capture birds on the open ocean,” said Rivers.

Other research methods include the use of infrared cameras to watch nests 24/7, drone-mounted cameras to search for nests in the forest canopy and a customized audio recorder that can record murrelet calls and help researchers document inland movements.

When the birds are stressed by a lack of food, they have been known to forgo reproduction and not lay any eggs, said Nelson. This year, some of the birds that were captured on the central Oregon coast have been tracked to areas south of Cape Blanco where foraging conditions may be better.

Long-term studies such as this enable scientists to understand how birds adjust to unpredictable ocean conditions, which can influence murrelet behavior from year to year. “We will be able to document rare conditions that might not be detected by a typical two- to three-year study,” said Rivers. “Those conditions might have important consequences for the population.”

Other scientists on the project include Dan Roby, ornithologist in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. In the College of Forestry, participating researchers include Matt Betts, associate professor and specialist in landscape ecology; Joe Northrup, postdoctoral scientist; and Cheryl Horton and Lindsay Adrean, faculty research assistants.

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The post Home from the Sea appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Exploring your property’s past: a trip back in time

Tree Topics - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 5:51pm

By Amy Grotta,  OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

Old basins found at the Matteson Forest probably belonged to a dairy farmer in the mid-20th century.

Ah, November. The wet and the darkness set in and we feel like turning on the teapot and bundling up. For woodland owners, winter lends an opportunity to catch up on indoor projects: accounting, taxes, and maybe updating or writing a management plan.

Another indoor activity that I guarantee will be more interesting than any of the above is researching and putting together a history of your woodland. It may mean digging through old family files or recording the memories of an elder relative, if your property has been in the family for a while. For those with a newer relationship to their land, it may mean a lot of online research. Either way, it can be a revealing and rewarding process; and by documenting what you learn you will gain a richer connection to  your woodland and ensure this history is not lost to future generations.

Not all woodland owners are history buffs, but fortunately Pat Wheeler, a Benton County Master Woodland Manager, is one of them. After painstakingly researching the history of her own property, she not only shared many of the online resources she used with her Extension agent, but also volunteered (or was arm-twisted?) to write up a history of the Cameron Tract (an OSU Research Forest in Benton County).

Once I learned about Pat’s efforts, I became very intrigued and immediately saw an opportunity to put together a similar document for the Matteson Forest. The donor, Marion Matteson, bequeathed the property to OSU in the his will, and we never had an opportunity to meet him or learn much about his relationship to the property (he had no children). We obtained some information about recent management activity from a distant cousin, and we knew from old aerial photographs and some remnants of foundations and machinery that there had once been a couple of homesteads on the property. But that was about it.

So, armed with Pat’s resource list, I set to work. And soon I was in far deeper than I anticipated. It turns out that the Matteson ancestors came over on the Oregon Trail, and were among the first white settlers in the Gaston area, so there was a lot of history to discover. I found myself examining census records from the 1860’s, cemetery inventories, and land patent records, all available online.  I checked out a book about the history of Gaston from my library, and even made a trip to the Pacific University historical archives to look at the proceedings of a 1973 symposium related to the construction of Scoggins Dam.

Eventually I was able to piece together as much as I could into a cohesive, semi-complete story, which I then sent to the distant cousin for fact checking. I learned that what is now the Matteson Forest had been parts of three separate land claims dating to the 1870’s. Over the next century these ownerships changed hands many times, from homesteaders and land speculators, to bank foreclosure during the Depression, to loggers and small farmers.

1909 ownership map of the Matteson Forest vicinity. Source: www.historicmapworks.com

Meanwhile the Mattesons who had come on the Oregon Trail staked claims elsewhere in the area, including where the town of Gaston is now situated. Eventually one branch of the family, Marion Matteson’s grandparents, operated a dairy farm on the Scoggins Valley flats. When the Scoggins Dam was built and farmers were bought out to make way for the reservoir, Marion Matteson and his brother started buying property upslope (including the current Matteson Forest) and transitioned from dairy to timber.

The history of the Matteson Tract will be included in the management plan for the property, which is currently in development. Having knowledge of the property’s past gives me and others involved with managing the Matteson Tract a new lens with which to view the land and frame our management decisions. We can deduce, for example, that the oldest timber stands on the property are second-growth, having regenerated naturally after early owners cleared the merchantable timber. These areas may have subsequently seen light use by the early homesteaders, perhaps for livestock ranging and firewood. On the other hand, the areas now occupied by medium-aged Douglas-fir plantations had been in pasture for decades. A rambling apple tree in a small clearing dates back to the earliest known homestead on the property, and may be 100 years old.

I admit I spent far too many hours developing this property history – once you’ve gone down the rabbit trail, it’s hard to pull yourself back out. But I consider it time well spent. On a personal note, I have been facing some serious health issues and this was the perfect project to distract me from reality for a while.  Perhaps you or another member of your woodland family are also in need of a distraction this winter. If so, I encourage you to dig into your own property history and record it for others in the future. You can find our resource list for getting started, along with the Cameron and Matteson Tract examples, on the Oregon Forest Management Planning website.

The post Exploring your property’s past: a trip back in time appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU gets two NOAA aquaculture grants to help oyster industry and marine fish hatcheries

Breaking Waves - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 1:21pm


by Tiffany Woods

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded scientists at Oregon State University two aquaculture grants that aim to make oysters safer to eat and help hatcheries feed certain marine fish more efficiently.

Oysters filter water in a depuration tank, thus expelling potential contaminants from their tissues. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum)

The first project, funded at $150,000, aims to reduce bacteria known as Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters without altering their texture and consistency. Researchers plan to add naturally occurring marine probiotics, which are live or freeze-dried microbial supplements, to the seawater in depuration tanks. Depuration tanks are where oysters are sometimes held to flush out contaminants that may be in their tissues. Researchers have already isolated various marine probiotics that inhibit the growth of pathogens.

The researchers also aim to develop a dipstick containing antibodies to quickly screen adult oysters for V. parahaemolyticus. The idea is that people would not need special training or equipment to use this diagnostic tool.

Researchers aim to use marine probiotics to decrease bacteria in oysters. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum)

The leader of this two-year project is Shelby Walker, the director of Oregon Sea Grant, although the actual research will be conducted by the lab of Claudia Hase, a professor with OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Partners include mAbDx, an immunodiagnostics company in Eugene, Ore.; and Reed Mariculture near San Francisco.

The other grant, worth $629,000, aims to improve the nutritional value of live prey fed to California halibut, California yellowtail and southern flounder. When they’re still in their larval stage, farmed saltwater fish are typically fed tiny rotifers and brine shrimp. However, these organisms are less nutritious than copepods, which are the natural prey of many marine fish in the wild. Given this, the researchers plan to feed rotifers and brine shrimp vitamin C and taurine, an amino acid. To make sure these nutrients don’t dissolve in the seawater, the researchers will encapsulate them in bubble-like liposomes, which can have impermeable membranes.

Oregon State University’s Chris Langdon received a grant to make prey that are fed to certain farmed fish more nutritious. (Photo by Stephen Ward)

The researchers plan to:

  • determine the optimal concentrations that should be used for taurine and vitamin C,
  • evaluate how these nutrients affect the growth, survival and stress resistance of the fish,
  • develop methods to produce the liposomes on a larger scale instead of just at the laboratory level,
  • study how long-term storage affects how the liposomes retain the nutrients, and
  • determine how much it would cost to produce and store liposomes and how many liposomes would be needed to feed a certain amount of prey.

Walker will lead the three-year project, but the research will be conducted by the lab of Chris Langdon, a professor with OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and well as by staff at the subcontracted Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego. Partners include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Reed Mariculture. Bill Hanshumaker, a marine educator with Oregon Sea Grant Extension, will be involved with outreach activities.

Oregon Sea Grant will administer the funding for both projects. They are part of 32 grants totaling $9.3 million awarded by NOAA last week to further develop the nation’s marine aquaculture industry.

“This country, with its abundant coastline, should not have to import billions of pounds of seafood each year,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These grants will promote aquaculture projects that will help us reduce our trade deficit in this key industry.”

All projects include public-private partnerships and will be led by university-based Sea Grant programs.

“Industry is working alongside researchers on each of these projects, which will help expand businesses, create new jobs and provide economic benefits to coastal communities,” said Jonathan Pennock, the director of NOAA Sea Grant.

NOAA received 126 proposals requesting about $58 million in federal funds.

The post OSU gets two NOAA aquaculture grants to help oyster industry and marine fish hatcheries appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Florence

Breaking Waves - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 9:13am


About 250 people attended Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which was held this year in Florence on Oct. 28.

Sarah Seabrook (left) explains her research to Leigh Torres during the State of the Coast conference. (Photo: Tiffany Woods)

That figure includes 40 speakers, 35 students who explained their research in a poster session, and eight exhibiting artists, said Jamie Doyle, an Oregon Sea Grant faculty member who helped organize the event. The students came from Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon.

Rick Spinrad, a former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a former vice president for research at OSU, gave the keynote address.

To see photos, visit Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

The post ‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Florence appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!


endless pasta


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.


Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 8:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs