Proud past and future: Historical marker dedicated at OARDC


WOOSTER, Ohio – The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center celebrated its past and looked to the future as it dedicated an Ohio Historical Marker July 18 during the BioHio open house in Wooster.

The marker commemorates the center’s founding in 1882 as the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, a milestone chosen by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission as one of the top 10 agricultural events in Ohio’s history.

The brown-and-golden sign, double sided and of cast aluminum, will be located near the Nault Pavilion on OARDC’s Wooster campus.

An identical one will be erected on Ohio State’s Columbus campus.

The center is the research arm of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Proud achievements. The statewide marker program, administered by the Ohio Historical Society, aims to honor local history and teach Ohioans about their state.

“We’ve had not only a proud past, we have a proud future as well,” said OARDC director Steve Slack.

Among the center’s achievements, Slack said, are the world’s first crop-dusting tests in 1921 and discovering the nature of phytophthora root rot in soybeans and breeding new varieties that resist it.

The center also spurred Ohio’s tomato industry, now in the top 10 nationally and revived the state’s wine industry, now worth $70 million a year.

The center boasts the world’s longest continuously maintained no-till research plots.

Keeps on working. Current and future efforts include the development of a new, high-protein soybean variety that led to the construction of a new processing plant in Ohio and 300 new jobs in that plant.

The center will also continue to aid the state’s growing “green industries,” which now earn $3 billion a year; and continue to pioneer better food-safety methods.

One such technology being studied is pulsed electric field (PEF) technology, which uses electrical currents to sterilize processed foods and improve their taste and safety.

“We’re truly in an era of agricultural advancement,” Slack said.

“A lot of the things we do now will affect the lives of Ohioans in the future. They will complement the quality of life in the state.”


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