Leaders of three state commissions push for increased efficiency of research money

By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

Wheat organizations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington have taken steps to increase the efficiency of research across the region.

During the annual tri-state wheat commission meeting in Spokane, Wash., on Friday, Dec. 4, the Idaho Wheat Commission, the Oregon Wheat Commission and Washington Grain Commission decided to draft a joint letter to the deans of agriculture at Oregon State University, the University of Idaho and Washington State University.

The commissioners are seeking a way to combine research efforts between the three schools and share the results throughout the region.

Idaho Wheat Commissioner Joe Anderson said budget concerns have precipitated the discussion, but it should be done regardless.

"There's never going to be enough money to meet all the needs that are out there," he said.

Putting together integrated workgroups to focus on solving problems on a tri-state basis would increase efficiency, Anderson said.

There might be some duplication of programs to address differences around the region, he said.

"But there are instances where we need to be looking for sharing some programs," he said.

The commissions and experiment station directors would inventory where collaborative opportunities exist, Anderson said.

Oregon Wheat Commission Administrator Tana Simpson said the commission is willing to look at collaboration but has not yet discussed how to make that possible.

"We want to be as efficient with the dollars we have as we can be," she said.

There are concerns about the possible reduction in the number of researchers and specialists due to budget concerns, Simpson said.

Representatives of the three universities all responded favorably during the Spokane meeting, noting that the schools have collaborated before on other research projects for other commodities.

Ralph Cavalieri, WSU associate dean of agriculture, said the universities and commissions would have to work out intellectual property rights issues.

"It wouldn't be that serious; we'd just have to talk through it," Cavalieri said.

All three commissions will review the letter before it is mailed.

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