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Oregon's farmers and ranchers are estimated to have grossed a record $4.9 billion in 2008, marking six consecutive years of sales growth, according to a report by Oregon State University. The figure is a 1.2 percent increase from a revised $4.8 billion in 2007. Of the 84 individual commodities listed in the report, 27 showed decreases in preliminary sales estimates when compared with revised 2007 numbers. Cattle were at the top of the sales list with $664 million.
Oregon State University has hired a recently graduated animal scientist from the University of Florida to conduct research on beef cattle and help address ranchers' needs. Reinaldo Cooke, who started in January, is based at OSU's Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns. His appointment means OSU now has two statewide Extension beef specialists. Cooke plans to focus his research on the reproductive performance of cows and heifers.
Gardening help is available at most Extension offices from home horticulture experts and Master Gardeners, who are trained to answer questions.
Oregon State University has hired Ramesh Sagili, an entomologist from Texas A&M University, to study the health of Oregon's honeybees. He will begin his position as an assistant research professor in the department of horticulture on Feb. 27. His appointment means that OSU now has its first honeybee expert on its faculty since Michael Burgett retired in 2002. Sagili's position was created at the request of Oregon agricultural groups worried about the health and supply of honeybees. The funding for his salary comes from $215,000 approved in 2008 by the state legislature's Emergency Board. That money will also support a faculty research and extension assistant to aid Sagili.
Patrick Proden, a former country director for the Peace Corps in Tanzania, is the new head of the Oregon State University Extension Service's operations in Multnomah and Washington counties. He is also the administrator of Extension's 4-H program in both counties. Proden manages a staff of about two dozen people and hundreds of volunteers. His priorities include forming partnerships with other organizations, securing funding for Extension's programs, forming advisory groups of local citizens, and making sure that Extension is meeting the changing needs of the metro area.
New lambs will begin arriving at Oregon State University's Sheep Center in early February, and the public is invited to view them Feb. 9–March13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and weekends.