Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center has hired a new agronomist to focus on helping farmers in the Basin with cereal grains, forage crops, and irrigation.
Biswanath Dari, who goes by “Dari,” started at KBREC on Jan. 6 as an assistant professor and agronomist for Oregon State University.
Dari will create crop-specific advisory boards and meet with stakeholders on some of their production limitations. He’s also interested in developing strategies to help farmers maximize their cropping during years with less available water.
“He’ll probably interface extensively with whatever future hemp work we continue to do and other alternative crops as they arise,” Brian Charlton, interim executive director at KBREC, said.
Charlton said Dari also brings a personable demeanor to the position, where he’ll be a resource to local farmers and their crops.
“He just seems very enthusiastic to build a career and make a difference in agriculture,” Charlton said.
Seeking grant funding to conduct field research projects to help farmers find solutions to issues that arise with their crops also tops the list of things Dari will tackle in the new role.
“I will be happy to answer any question farmers have,” Dari said. “My door is always open.
“I will be listening and try to help them as much as I can,” he added.
Dari comes to Klamath Falls from University of Idaho in Aberdeen, Idaho, where he spent two and a half years working on post-doctoral research. He earned his Ph.D. in soil and water sciences from the University of Florida in 2017.
Dari said Klamath Falls is very similar to Aberdeen in climate and soil, as well as elevation and irrigation practices.
He plans to focus on helping farmers solve issues with wheat, barley, most oats, and triticale, and forage crops such as alfalfa.
Dari plans to also work with soil specialists on the KBREC campus to explore solutions to soil fertility issues.
The sandy, black and nutrient-rich, and sodium layered soils are also prime research topics to explore in order to maximize use for crops.
“As an agronomist and soil scientist, you need to know the soil type, the weather and climate and how it helps a crop, ” Dari said.
“The (soil) nutrients can help farmers grow better crops,” he added.
His roots in agriculture run deep as he started as a boy working the fields with his father and siblings in Calcutta, India. Dari grew up knowing the importance of hard work in a middle class family that made a living growing winter peas and winter beans, potatoes and rice.
“In India, we have that proverb, ‘value each piece of rice, because you earn it, you grew it,’” Dari said.
“All these things tie together to make me a person who can work for the farmers, with the farmers, and just for them.”