OARDC branches renamed, now called ‘agricultural research stations’


WOOSTER, Ohio – The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) renamed eight of its 10 outlying branches to better reflect the work they do and the regions they serve.

The branches, located from near Lake Erie to the Ohio River and from western Clark County to eastern Noble County, are now “agricultural research stations.”

Staying the same. The names of the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed – a USDA-Agricultural Research Service facility managed by OARDC – and the Pomerene Forest Laboratory, both in Coshocton County, are staying the same.

The sites are used by OARDC scientists for studies requiring specific soil types, climatic conditions and/or geographic locations.

Reviews. The change was spurred by a recent review of OARDC’s 10 outlying branches by a team of faculty, administrators and stakeholders.

“This is one of the 18 recommendations from the review aimed at improving and enhancing the image and infrastructure of the branches,” said Dave Benfield, OARDC associate director and the chair of the review committee.

“We heard comments that the term ‘branch’ does not adequately describe to the general public what goes on at these facilities,” said Ken Scaife, assistant to the OARDC director for farm operations and the supervisor of the stations.

“The review team recommended that a more descriptive name was needed.”

“The name change better reflects the actual function of these stations and should help stakeholders and local communities alike to more closely identify with each station’s purpose,” said OARDC Director Steve Slack.

From other states. “We evaluated names across the country that other state experiment stations use for their outlying research farms,” Scaife said.

“We found that other states that have a similar organizational structure as OARDC’s call their outlying units ‘research centers’ or ‘research stations.'”

“Station” was chosen over “center” to avoid confusion with OARDC – “the Center” – itself, Scaife explained.

Local research. OARDC, part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is the organization responsible for agricultural and related research in Ohio.

OARDC-supported scientists are based on the center’s main campus in Wooster and on the Ohio State campus in Columbus.

Each of the stations has a manager and technical staff who help carry out the experiments there and care for the land and the buildings.

Typically, the scientists and the station personnel work with area farmers to determine local research needs; to tackle regional crops and conditions – for example, clay soils at the Northwest station, grapes at Ashtabula; and to field test new equipment and cultural practices.

“Many of the stations also have woodlots, forests and streams that are valuable in supporting projects for natural resources research,” Scaife said.

OARDC stations, research areas

* Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station

Former Grape Research Branch, Kingsville, Ashtabula County

25 acres

Grape cultivar evaluations, culture and adaptation of new grape cultivars, rootstock-scion interactions, vineyard establishment, vine training systems, disease control and management.

* Eastern Agricultural Research Station

Former Eastern Ohio Resource Development Center, Belle Valley, Noble County

2,093 acres, comprised of the 728-acre Unit 1, which includes the operations base, and the 1,325-acre Unit 2 of partially reclaimed, donated stripmine land

Beef efficiency, sheep production, extended-season grazing, timber production, stripmine reclamation, forage production and use.

* Jackson Agricultural Research Station

Former Jackson Branch, Jackson, Jackson County

502 acres

Grass and legume variety trials, early weaning of calves, control of estrus synchronization in mature beef cows, evaluation of extended-season grazing systems.

* Muck Crops Agricultural Research Station

Former Muck Crops Branch, Celeryville, Huron County

15 acres

Insect control in fresh-market vegetables; weed control in lettuce, parsley and other crops; evaluation of dry onion, radish, red leaf lettuce, romaine, endive and parsley cultivars; integrated pest management; plant nutrition; control of root and foliar diseases of onion, radish and pepper.

* North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, Coshocton County

1,047 acres

Beef cattle nutrition, effects of crop culture and livestock on water quality, conservation tillage in corn and soybeans, water quality as affected by alternative nitrogen and herbicide applications in row crops.

* North Central Agricultural Research Station

Former Vegetable Crops Branch, Fremont, Sandusky County

105 acres

Tomato cultivar development; tomato peeling efficiency; integrated pest management; wheat breeding and development; variety evaluations of pickling cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, sweet corn and potatoes; cultural studies with fertilizers, insecticides, integrated pest management and growth regulators on a range of vegetable crops.

* Northwest Agricultural Research Station

Former Northwestern Branch, Custar, Wood County

247 acres

Herbicide-tolerant corn and soybeans; insect resistance and variety trials; wheat variety and management; corn, wheat and soybean diseases; public soybean breeding and development; food-grade corn hybrid evaluations; narrow-row corn culture; soil compaction; sub-irrigation and drainage; long-term tillage and crop rotation.

* Pomerene Forest Laboratory, Coshocton County

227 acres

Christmas tree production, selection and breeding of forest trees, use of legumes as a nitrogen source in forest plantings.

* Southern Agricultural Research Station

Former Southern Branch, Ripley, Brown County

275 acres

Wheat and oat variety evaluations, burley tobacco variety evaluations, intensive grazing, apple rootstocks, forage species and management.

* Western Agricultural Research Station

Former Western Branch, South Charleston, Clark County

428 acres

Mulch tillage and weed management; relationship of crop yield to crop and soil nutrient content; winter wheat breeding and evaluation; alfalfa variety trials; corn, wheat and soybean performance tests; long-term tillage and crop rotation; spring oat variety trials; soil erosion and crop productivity; herbicide evaluations; corn insecticide evaluation and corn rootworm damage prediction; nutrition, management and genetic selection for swine productivity.


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