CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences said goodbye to seven long-time Department of Crop and Soil Science personnel in a celebration Dec. 12 that drew researchers, crop consultants, farmers and university administrators.
The celebration included a recognition ceremony during which participants honored long-time OSU Extension personnel Bill Young, Glenn Fisher and John Hart, as well as Department of Soil Science personnel Ann Corey, John Baham, Barbara Reed and former department head Russ Karow.
All are retiring from the university in the coming weeks or have recently retired.
Fisher, Hart, Karow and Young, particularly, were well known among Oregon farmers, who utilized their research to improve crop management practices.
New Crop and Soil Science Department head Jay Noller said research conducted by Fisher, an entomologist, was vital in helping farmers battle slugs and insect pests that increased after field burning was phased out in the Willamette Valley.
As for Young, Noller said: “Bill is one of those names that comes up around the world.” In a meeting in France, Noller said a scientist asked him if he knew Bill Young after learning Noller was from OSU.
Noller also read a letter from the International Herbage Seed Group thanking Young for his research and group participation.
Bill Brewer, executive director of the Oregon Potato Commission, was among several to offer comments about Karow. “There is a difference between how growers speak and how the university speaks,” Brewer said, “and Russ understands both languages.
“He has done a wonderful job being part of our industry,” Brewer said.
Noller said the department is in the process of locating a new extension soil specialist to replace Hart and is looking for a new soil landscape scientist to backfill his previous position.
Noller, a soil landscape scientist, replaced Karow as department head earlier this fall.
The department doesn’t have an immediate plans to fill Young’s extension seed specialist position.
“That is still out in the future,” Noller said.
As for replacing the 230 years of institutional memory that were on hand Dec. 12, Noller said that will be impossible.
“We are saddened by the loss,” he said, “but they’ve accomplished so much, they deserve a break.”
Steve Gapp, a consultant for Crop Production Services, may have put the participants’ sentiment best when in addressing the audience, he said: “Myself, and the farmers we work with, are the ones who have been the recipients of the work these people have done.
“Thank you again on behalf of the industry for all your hard work,” Gapp said.