Dean Coon Says OSU Looking For a Trio of Forage Related ProfsThu, 06 Nov 2014 17:29:24 CST
Oklahoma State University is putting a greater emphasis on foraging systems. OSU is in the process of hiring three faculty positions focused on foraging systems but the positions are in three different departments with natural resource ecology management, plant and soil sciences and animal science. OSU Vice President, Dean and Director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dr. Thomas Coon said these positions will take a systems perspective.
"It's one thing to grow the forage crop, it's another to make sure its got the nutrition in it that the animal needs and that you are able to manage the herd density so that the plant can regrow," Coon said.
OSU will be hiring a forage crop specialist, a grazing nutrition specialist and a range management specialist. Coon said the goal is to have the three faculty members working together on research projects using their disciplinary specialization.
"We want them to bring that expertise to the broader issue of how do we manage pastures and our grasslands in order to make the most of them for producing livestock," Coon said.
The concept will help producers be even more successful with cutting edge research based information. The increased attention on forage management started with OSU Interim Dean and Vice President for Agriculture Dr. Mike Woods, along with Dr. Jonathan Edelson, Dr. James Trapp and Dr. Cynda Clary. Coon said he loved the idea of having faculty members working on a common theme. He said one of OSU's challenges is making sure they have the resources that will reward the group of individuals for working together.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Dr. Coon recently. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
It's also an exciting time for OSU's Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. Coon commended Director Dr. Roy Escoubas for getting the entire center focused on serving the industry from start-ups to established businesses. Recently the advisory board provided more than $1 million as a lead gift to create an OSU food safety program. Coon said the new food safety option will be likely be approved next year and students will begin enrolling in the fall of 2015.
Water will also be an important area of focus for the land grant institution. Coon said OSU researchers are working with irrigation systems, water transport systems, physiologists are working on plant physiology to understand how stress impacts plant development, along with addressing water policy. With multiple uses for water for recreation, agriculture, municipal use, waste treatment, among others Coon said the challenge is to keep from spending time fighting over water in the court room rather developing solutions.
"Let's find a balance so we are serving all of those needs by doing it in a way that's using new technology, using new policies that reward people for conserving behavior," Coon said.
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