By Heidi Happonen
Since 1985, Oregon State University’s land-grant agricultural college has provided an opportunity to pursue select OSU agricultural degrees in eastern Oregon. To achieve that, OSU created a partnership with Eastern Oregon University (EOU) to provide collaborative educational opportunities
OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences has recently announced a renewed vision for that collaboration between the Eastern Oregon Agriculture and Natural Resource Program and the Eastern Oregon Agriculture Research Center—Union Experiment Station. This expanded partnership will emphasize experiential learning for students in La Grande.
“It makes sense to expand experiential learning in rangeland sciences where majority of Oregon rangeland ecosystems and animal production systems exist,” said Penny Diebel, the director of the Eastern Oregon Agriculture and Natural Resource Program. “As we further expand opportunities at the Union Station, it will benefit both La Grande and Corvallis students.”
One component of that expansion will be the appointment of a new associate director of the Union Experiment Station. Working under the current director based in Burns, David Bohnert, this new position will take on the administration of the facility and will work with academic programs to implement experiential learning and undergraduate research opportunities. A second position will also be filled for a rangeland scientist who will have both research and teaching responsibilities at the station and on EOU’s campus.
According to Diebel, bringing back active research at the Union station will not only improve student learning opportunities but will directly benefit the local agricultural community that relies upon insights derived from research conducted at OSU’s 14 experiment station locations.
A recent economic analysis conducted by both Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, showed that the value of agriculture in Oregon is more than $43 billion and accounts for over 531,000 jobs—demonstrating that food and fiber production remains a vital component of Oregon’s future.
“We are looking forward to expanding upon our collaborative history,” added Diebel. “It underscores our shared commitment to supporting sustainable agricultural communities across Oregon and speaks to the importance of ag in the state.”