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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


'Proud Past, Proud Future': OARDC Dedicates Historical Marker

July 18, 2003

WOOSTER, Ohio -- The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) celebrated its past and looked to the future as it dedicated an Ohio Historical Marker July 18 during the BioHio open house in Wooster. The marker commemorates the center's founding in 1882 as the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, a milestone chosen by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission as one of the top 10 agricultural events in Ohio?s history. The brown-and-golden sign, double sided and of cast aluminum, will be located near the Nault Pavilion on OARDC's Wooster campus. An identical one will be erected on Ohio State's Columbus campus. OARDC is the research arm of the university's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The statewide marker program, administered by the Ohio Historical Society, aims to honor local history and teach Ohioans about their state. "We've had not only a proud past, we have a proud future as well," said OARDC Director Steve Slack in his remarks at the ceremony. Among OARDC's achievements, Slack said, are the world's first crop-dusting tests in 1921; discovering the nature of phytophthora root rot in soybeans and breeding new varieties that resist it; spurring Ohio's tomato industry, now in the top 10 nationally; reviving the state's wine industry, now worth $70 million a year; and caring for and studying the world's longest continuously maintained no-till research plots. Current and future efforts, he said, include the development of a new, high-protein soybean variety that led to the construction of a new processing plant in Ohio and 300 new jobs in that plant; continuing to aid the state's growing "green industries," which now earn $3 billion a year; and continuing to pioneer better food-safety methods, such as pulsed electric field (PEF) technology, which uses electrical currents to sterilize processed foods and improve their taste and safety. "We're truly in an era of agricultural advancement," Slack said. "A lot of the things we do now will affect the lives of Ohioans in the future. They will complement the quality of life in the state." Also speaking were Rebecca Rader, OARDC development officer, Kathy Fernandez, site manager of the Historical Society's Zoar Village, and Phil Ross of the Bicentennial Commission. Among the 50 people attending were Bobby Moser, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and Sen. Ron Amstutz, whose district, the 22nd, includes Wooster. Ross said other agricultural events to be recognized this summer include the founding of 4-H (also part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences), rural electrification, the establishment of the Ohio State Fair, the rise of county agricultural societies, and the clearing, draining and subsequent farming of northwestern Ohio's Great Black Swamp. BioHio, held on OARDC's Wooster campus and the neighboring grounds of the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), runs through Sunday. Admission is free. Details are at, or call (330) 263-3700. - 30 - Editor: Photographs of the plaque and the ceremony are available from OARDC Photographer Ken Chamberlain, (330) 263-3779.

Kurt Knebusch
Steve Slack