Winter 2020

Volume XI, Issue 1

From the Dean

At the start of a new decade, I find myself reflecting upon the great accomplishments we’ve been able to make in research, teaching and outreach.

This past year alone, the majority of the most highly cited global researchers noted by Clarivate Analytics in the state came from the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU: Brett Tyler, Markus Kleber, Joey Spatafora, and Vaughn Walton. Our Fisheries and Wildlife department won the Online Learning Consortium’s prestigious John R. Bourne Outstanding Online Program Award – one of only two programs in the nation to do so. And our outreach and Extension programs continue to invest in local communities across the entire state in all 36 counties and 14 experiment stations.

Last month, we honored 19 faculty and staff members that exemplify our great work. I hope you take the time to review their contributions included in this issue of The Source.

While reflecting on the past certainly creates a great sense of pride, it also inspires me to think about the opportunities ahead.

We’ve identified four key areas of strength in agricultural competitiveness and resilience, markets and access in food and health innovations, working and natural landscapes, and marine conservation and food systems. The opportunity ahead is to look for more ways to collaborate and advance our collective impact across these areas of strength. As we focus on that effort and look to drive advances in our three core land-grant mission areas, all of us have a role to play in that future. Thank you for continuing to be an important part of the College of Agricultural Science’s community and our collective mission to make tomorrow better.

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

Recent News

Microplastics Research at Oregon State University

OSU researchers to use $3.3 million NSF grant to study impacts of tiny plastics on aquatic life

Microplastics are large-scale plastics that have broken down to a size that can only be seen under a microscope. Nanoplastics are so small that they can only be seen under an electron microscope. The amount of plastic entering the marine environment continues to increase annually and it is estimated that in 2010 alone, up to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic ended up as marine litter.

Little is known about how plastic particles are being ingested and accumulating in aquatic organisms, said Stacey Harper, an OSU environmental toxicologist who is the lead principal investigator on the grant.

Space laser tracks Earth’s biggest migration via the seas

“What the lidar from space allowed us to do is sample these migrating animals on a global scale every 16 days for 10 years,” said Mike Behrenfeld, the lead for the study and a senior research scientist and professor of Botany and Plant Pathology. 

Western Innovator: Researcher seeks sustainability

Chad Higgins, associate professor of ecological and biological engineering at Oregon State University and director of the Nexus of Energy, Water and Agriculture Laboratory, is aiming to build a research farm called the Staterra Center to experiment with sustainable farming technology.

Researchers identify successful biological control for destructive fruit fly

Biological control is the use of beneficial insects to manage other insects, which means using less pesticides. A tiny wasp (Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae) being studied by Vaughn Walton, professor and Extension entomologist, and colleagues at OSU, could help stop spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii).

Easy prey: The largest bears in the world use small streams to fatten up on salmon

Using a foraging model based on the Wood River basin in southwest Alaska, a study team led by Oregon State University determined that while small-stream habitats have only about 20% of the available salmon in the watershed, they provide 50% of bear consumption of salmon.

Watermelon supplements found to benefit obese mice: Study (Nutra Ingredients)

“Even though the two groups of mice were eating the same amount of fat and sugar, that consumption of 1.5 servings of watermelon flesh or 2% of high-fiber rind or skin products had significant effects,” said study c-author Neil Shay, professor of food science.

Carcass Of Giant Blue Whale Off Oregon Coast Brought To Surface For Study

In a whale of a tale, the Marine Mammal Institute has recovered a rare blue whale carcass for cleaning and eventual display at the Hatfield MarineScience Center.

OSU hemp center gets $2.5 million in federal funds (Gazette-Times)

Oregon State University has reeled in some more research funding that it will use to support its new Global Hemp Information Center.

Why The Nassau Grouper Is A Conservation ‘Success Story

The Grouper Moon Project is a partnership between the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (CI-DOE), scientists at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Oregon State University, and the citizen conservation group Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). Together, the project works to protect and conserve the Islands’ Nassau grouper.

OSU hires extension beef specialist

Oregon State University has hired Juliana Ranches as its new extension beef specialist in Burns, Ore. She started in January at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns, where she succeeds Reinaldo Cooke. Ranches is an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences.

OSU's Goddik to lead food science and tech department

Lisbeth Goddik became head of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University, in February. Lisbeth has served as interim department head since January 2019 and succeeded Robert McGorrin, who returned to the faculty after 19 years as department head.

RancHER, A field day for women in agriculture.

According to the USDA, the number of female principal operators (having primary responsibility for the day-to-day decisions of the operation) has increased significantly from 25 years ago when less than 5% were women. The recent analysis conducted by the USDA shows that women are the principal operators of about 256,000 farms and ranches or approximately 14% of the total in the United States of America...

Announcing the Oregon IPM Center!

Big changes are happening for the Integrated Plant Protection Center at Oregon State University. In addition to expanding to include more programs, the IPPC is getting a fresh new name: Oregon IPM Center! The new moniker reflects the mission of the center to promote and discover new ways of thinking in sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management statewide and beyond.

Agricultural Research Foundation awards $714,000 to 46 investigators through Competitive Grants program

For nearly three decades, the Agricultural Research Foundation has sponsored a Competitive Grants program.  For the 2020-2022 funding cycle, 97 proposals were submitted and 46 were selected for funding.  Sixtyone of the proposals were from new investigators and 34 of those were funded....

Whisky Knows Her Toys

Monique Udell, who studies dog behavior and cognition at Oregon State University, and who was not involved in the study, said that it’s hard to draw general conclusions from one dog. But, she said, “this study is an important reminder that animals are often learning from us even outside of formal training sessions.”

Food in 2030: More plant-based meat & seafood, 3D printed dishes

Things have to change so humans and our planet are healthier, says Oregon State University food innovator David Stone.

OSU Update

Oregon State University's 15th President

National higher education leader named OSU’s next president

F. King Alexander, a prominent national advocate for public higher education and the president and chancellor of Louisiana State University, has been appointed Oregon State University’s next president.

President Ed Ray will step down at the end of the current academic year after nearly two decades on the job.

Carnegie Foundation again bestows coveted 'Community Engagement' designation on OSU

Oregon State University has been awarded its second Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, a designation that acknowledges the strength of OSU’s commitment to community engagement and engaged scholarship among Oregonians statewide. 

Faculty excellence helps OSU earn another top-5 national ranking for online education

For the third time in six years, Oregon State University is ranked as one of America’s five best providers of online education by U.S. News & World Report.

Oregon State tied for fourth nationally in producing faculty Fulbright Scholars this year

Eight Oregon State faculty members were named Fulbright scholars for 2019-20, qualifying OSU as a “top producing” university, according to the program. Only 21 universities nationally in the research institution category received that recognition. To be considered “top producing” a university must have a minimum of six faculty scholars.

Agricultural Research Foundation announces changes

The Agricultural Research Foundation (ARF) has welcomed Dan Arp as the new Executive Director. Arp started his new role in serving OSU on Jan. 1. The Foundation is also extending thanks to Russ Karow for his five years of leadership to the Foundation. Karow was able to implement changes and upgrades and ARF are appreciative for all he did. More information on the Agricultural Research Foundation can be found on their website.

OSU president calls for increased attention to mental health, basic needs for students

Approaching the close of a 17-year tenure as Oregon State University’s president, Edward J. Ray today called on the state of Oregon, the federal government and Oregonians to help address college students’ mental health and basic needs and reduce the tuition burden that students and their families pay for college. (see also KXL, Gazette-Times, KTVZ, KOIN)

Awards and Accolades

2020 OSU Distinguished Professors

Professor David Williams is the Linus Pauling Institute Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Cancer Prevention in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of toxicology and is known for outstanding research that has advanced our understanding of enzymes that prompt the detoxification of most foreign chemicals. He has established a diverse and well-funded research program and directed a number of NIH-funded programs and Centers at OSU, including the Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center, the Toxicology Training Program and the OSU Superfund Research Program. Over the past 30 years, Professor Williams has secured more than $40 million in research funding from NIH and other agencies. Professor Williams also is a highly respected teacher and mentor of undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

Distinguished Professor David Williams
Public lecture May 4, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Memorial Union Horizon Room (49)

Oregon State’s fisheries and wildlife online program earns national award

OSU’s fisheries and wildlife sciences bachelor’s program won the Online Learning Consortium’s John R. Bourne Outstanding Online Program Award at a conference in Orlando, Florida.

Congratulations to Silvia Rondon for receiving the Entomological Society of America Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management

2019-20 CAS Faculty and Staff Award Recipients

We are pleased to announce our 2019-20 College of Agricultural Sciences Award Recipients. We recognized and celebrated their accomplishments at the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Faculty and Staff Awards luncheon at noon on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

Reaching Out

Improved propagation techniques assist olive growers in Oregon

OSU Extension's improved propagation techniques assist olive growers in Oregon. Learn more about their work and other impacts in YOUR community at

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom

This is the 13th year that Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom hosted the statewide Agricultural Literacy Project which improves both the literacy of Oregon’s young readers and their knowledge of agriculture. Each year a new agriculturally-themed book is chosen with a lesson plan developed based on themes in the book. Then trained volunteers visit classrooms, read the featured book and lead the associated activity with the students reinforcing the message of the book. This year’s featured book is The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca.

One Smalle Ladleful: Poetry of Hunger

For those of us who have never been hungry, the trends are hard to believe. More and more of our friends, cousins, co-workers, team mates and so many others experience hunger. Within our communities, states, the U.S. and around the world, hunger continues to undercut the future of all too many...


In December, undergraduate and current reigning Miss Rodeo Oregon, Taylor Ann Skramstad competed for Miss Rodeo America, a pageant specifically for women in agriculture! Taylor is a senior in the College and from Umapine, OR.

Research suggests solar energy production and agriculture can get along (OPB)

OSU master’s degree student Maggie Graham has been studying the effectiveness of purposefully planting pollinator habitat in and around solar arrays.

New Oregon Farm Bureau president leads diverse family operation (Capital Press)

Barb Iverson graduated from Oregon State University in 1982 with a degree in horticulture.

CAS Ambassadors at The 2020 World Ag Expo

Five CAS Ambassadors were able to attend the 2020 World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA in February. The Ambassador team interacted with hundreds of prospective students of all ages, family members, ag educators, and OSU alumni. Ambassador team members also had the chance to take part in workshops and talks on topics ranging from “Are Cattle the Culprits”, “Crop Management”, “Enhancing Wine Appreciation”, “Integrated Pest Management”, “Mental Health Wellness & Farm Stress”, “The Future of Fertigation”, and more.

Emily Carlson was selected as a 2020 USDA Future Leader

One of our own, Emily Carlson, a PhD student in the Department, was selected as a 2020 USDA Future Leader. She returned from Washington, DC, where she hung out with our Secretary of Agriculture. Read her great and wonderful essay that she won her this honor - very short and really gets to the point of how we need to talk to stakeholders about pollinator issues. Managing farms to enhance agricultural and environmental resiliency

Leadership Academy-Bridging the Gap Between Aspirations and Access

The College of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Academy prepares students to effectively lead themselves and others by providing critical leadership perspectives from academic and industry professionals through yearlong coursework, experiential learning, and mentoring relationships. Since its inception in 2011, the Academy has enjoyed tremendous growth.

Ford Family Scholars Recognized

On February 19th a reception was held celebrating The Ford Family Foundation scholars at Oregon State University. 13 of these scholars were from the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Dates to Know

CAS Ag Industry Tour, April 24-26

Ag & Natural Resource Day, May 4 from 11am-3pm on the quad

Art About Agriculture

Art of Growth

Strand Gallery
January 17-March 19, 2020

Art of Growth presents a selection of permanent collection acquisitions and gifts spanning the 37-year history of the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Art About Agriculture program.  A visual celebration of agricultural production and enjoyment.

Gallery open hours:

  • Tuesdays from 11:30am - 1:00pm, or by appointment: 541-737-5534 /
  • Third Thursdays (Corvallis Art Walk) from 3:30pm - 5:00pm
  • OSU Gallery Walk, February 4 from 4:00pm - 7:00pm

Art of Work

Benton County Museum
January 17-February 29, 2020

Art of Work is a collaborative exhibition featuring art from the permanent collections of both Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ Art About Agriculture program and Benton County Historical Society.  The artwork chosen for the exhibition represent industries such as gardening, farming, cattle production, timber management, mining, scientific research, boat building, shipping and fishing.

Museum hours: 

  • Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00am - 4:30pm / 541-929-6230

Faculty Spotlights

Rock star turned OSU soil scientist talks dirt to students

OSU Senior Instructor James Cassidy didn't go to college until he was 30

When it comes time for class registration at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences there is one course in particular, with one scientist in particular, that always attracts an audience. The course is so popular that students across 40 different majors make time in their schedules for it.

Seeking wholeness

Robyn Leigh Tanguay is an internationally recognized scholar whose work on zebrafish models has advanced the world’s understanding of how chemicals impact the biological development of humans. In 2011, she was named an Oregon State University Distinguished Professor, the university’s highest honor. And she is invited regularly to speak to regulators and private companies about biosafety in commercial development. But until this December, Tanguay’s colleagues knew her as Robert, a name and a gender identity that she says never truly fit. Now, she's announcing her transition to her department and making it official.


See below for a variety of newsletter put out by students, faculty, and others in the College of Agricultural Sciences

Upcoming Events

Vine to Wine

Soil to Seed

CAS Student News

OSU Today

Do you receive OSU Today in your inbox? The daily e-mail newsletter keeps subscribers up to date on everything happening at Oregon State University, including the Newport and Bend campuses. The newsletter features:

  • where OSU is featured in the news media
  • events or program opportunities
  • news and features involving OSU faculty, staff and academic programs
  • newsletters and notices
  • employee information and job postings
  • traffic and maintenance notices
  • weather updates

OSU Today is available to anyone, including community members, students, faculty and staff. Join nearly 14,000 other subscribers and subscribe today.

You can submit an event or news item to be included. Submission Guidelines

April 24-26 - CAS Ag Industry Tour

May 4 - Ag & Natural Resource Day from 11am-3pm on the quad.

May 6 - Entries are due for Oregon students in grades K-6 are invited to submit original artwork about Oregon agriculture for the annual Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Calendar Art Contest.

Summer of 2020 - RancHER Field Day will be held in the at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC – Burns, OR).

Each year, College of Agricultural Sciences students and staff from a variety of different departments, student clubs and organizations visit classrooms. Sign up to read to a classroom and spread agricultural literacy! You can also contact us at 541-737-8629 or email!

Friends and Alumni

ER Jackman Friends and Alumni

As an undergraduate student I was blessed to receive honors scholarships through the ER Jackman Friends and Alumni funds (ERJFA).  Clayton and Loree Fox, were my gracious donors and pen pals for many years during and after college.  They shared with me their love of agriculture, stories of their farming community in Imbler, Oregon and deep desire to help students succeed academically.  The funding received was greatly appreciated and truly helped me stay enrolled by easing my financial burdens.  Moreover, the hand-written letters of personal encouragement from both Clayton and Loree inspired me to give back to students.

In Memoriam

Chad Finn - December 17, 2019 (Capital Press)

One of Finn’s closest collaborators, Bernadine Strik, extension berry crops specialist for Oregon State University, described Finn as “the kind of colleague you dream about — one who is very passionate about his job, hard-working, giving, fair, innovative and productive.”

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.