At first glance, you’d think there’s little in common between the landscapes of Burns and Union, the two locations of OSU’s Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center. The Union station, established in 1901 as the first branch of Oregon’s Agricultural Experiment Station, is nestled at the edge of the pine-forested Blue Mountains. Burns, 150 miles to the south, is at the heart of Oregon’s high desert.
But the two ecoregions share two things in common: cattle ranching and public land ownership. In Union, OSU researchers work closely with the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy to find ways in which cattle can coexist with native fish, birds, and other wildlife within critical natural systems. In Burns, OSU researchers share offices with the USDA Agricultural Research Services and work closely with the Bureau of Land Management and ranchers who graze cattle on BLM allotments across the sagebrush and grasslands of the high desert. Both locations produce distinct work supporting healthy cows in healthy ecosystems.