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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OSU Extension Specialists Exploring Greenhouse Technology in Israel

March 7, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University Extension horticulture and green industry specialists, along with other Ohio industry professionals, will explore new technologies, ideas and opportunities with Israel through the Ohio Green Industry Technological and Trade Mission.


The weeklong trip, taking place in mid-March, is sponsored by the Cleveland-based Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative of The Negev Foundation and OSU Extension. The mission is part of the foundation's ongoing efforts to enhance Ohio-Israel agro-trade relations. Its one-year program with OSU Extension is designed to bring Israeli agriculture experts to Ohio and send OSU Extension specialists to Israel to train and be trained in their areas of interest and expertise.

"Since Ohio has adopted many Israeli production techniques that are currently being used in Ohio commercial horticulture industries, such as drip irrigation, high tunnels, low tunnels, plastic mulches and greenhouse technology, I am using this study tour opportunity to view research and production in Israel," said Brad Bergefurd, an OSU Extension horticulturist with OSU South Centers at Piketon. "I want to see what new techniques are being used there and to bring back ideas of what can be researched by Ohio State University for future adoption by Ohio growers."

Bergefurd joins several other OSU Extension specialists on the trip including Denise Ellsworth, horticulture educator for Summit County; Joe Boggs, horticulturist for Hamilton County; Jim Chatfield; horticulturist for the OSU Extension Center at Wooster; Robin Stephenson, agriculture and natural resources specialist for Adams County; and Beth Fausey, director of the OSU Extension's Agricultural Business Enhancement Center in Toledo.

The trip offers participants the chance to visit with Israeli Extension service and agricultural specialists, farmers, agricultural community leaders and industry representatives.

Members will participate in tours focused on various agricultural sectors including: flower production, vegetable production, greenhouses, fresh herbs, nurseries, packing houses, irrigation and desert agriculture. They will also participate in workshops involving computerized greenhouses, plasticulture, future trends in niche produce and flowers and marketing.

"One of my interests is in the concept of local foods. I hope to bring back practical ideas that can be adapted for Ohio growers as they look to extend the season, conserve resources, and grow healthy produce," said Ellsworth. "As a teacher and practitioner of Integrated Pest Management, I'm also interested to see firsthand how Israeli growers and researchers use beneficial insects and other biological controls to manage pest problems. While Ohio and Israeli growing conditions and crop species differ, many of the concepts and growing principles in our systems are similar, providing many opportunities to exchange ideas and practices."

The group traveling to Israel hope to create opportunities for collaboration and trade between Ohio and the Middle East country.

"I'm a believer in the cultural and academic benefits of international exchange (this will be the 10th foreign county I've visited), so I'm particularly excited to be involved in this trip," said Ellsworth.

For more information about trip or about agricultural economic opportunities in Israel, contact Sarah Horowitz of The Negev Foundation at (216) 691-9997 or e-mail

Candace Pollock
Brad Bergefurd, Denise Ellsworth