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Note from the editor

Note from the editor header image
Thoughts from editor Peg Herring

Innovation.

That’s the specialty of the man on the cover. He’s Mark Daeschel, a microbiologist with Oregon’s Agricultural Experiment Station, and a wizard at fighting food-borne pathogens using leftovers that other people might overlook. That’s leftover chardonnay he’s revamped as a disinfectant. He’s also used raisins, crab shells, even water in various ways to thwart microbes that would do people harm. His innovations make use of natural ingredients, adding new value to agricultural odds and ends and creating new markets for overlooked products.

Such innovation fuels research at the experiment station. There are lots of examples.

“To keep relevant, we have to be innovative and responsive,” said Clint Jacks. He’s superintendent of the branch station in central Oregon, where research and extension are helping to develop new crops and new strategies in response to rapid changes that challenge the region’s agriculture and natural resources.

Rapid change demands rapid response throughout the experiment station. When the sudden oak death pathogen appeared in Oregon, a team of OSU researchers responded quickly. Their collaboration with federal researchers has helped state agencies contain the disease and kept this elusive pathogen from shackling Oregon’s nursery industry.

In another example, innovation and responsiveness among OSU researchers have opened new markets for Oregon grass seed. Taking the time to respond to the Chinese way of doing business has helped sow the seeds for expanding exports of Oregon grass seed to China.

Innovation and collaboration are watchwords for the Institute for Natural Resources at OSU and its new director. She’s building bridges, connecting OSU research with decision-making across the state.

And an innovative science education program connects rural Oregon schools with OSU graduate and undergraduate fellows. The lessons focus on genetics and biotechnology, beginning with the recreation of the structure of DNA and its ability to describe the immense variety of life.

That’s innovation.