Strengthening the Seafood Industry
Oregon has some of the world’s finest seafood, supported by research that helps keep it fresh, safe and abundant. Oregon State researchers developed a process that kills stomach flu-causing bacteria lurking in raw shellfish by subjecting oysters in the shell to very high pressure. Food technologists also developed a thin, edible protective film that can be used to coat fish fillets to keep them fresh much longer. And Oregon State’s Jae Park helped pioneer ways to process low-value fish into surimi, a high-value seafood product that can be made to imitate crab and scallops, helping revitalize fisheries in Oregon and beyond. Since 1993, the Seafood Laboratory has hosted the Surimi School to demonstrate new processing techniques for what has become a major international
commodity with an annual value of $2.2 billion.
Launching New Food Business
Oregon State launched the Oregon Open Campus initiative in 2010 to address the unique
educational and economic development needs of communities statewide. And it’s
already producing results. In Tillamook County, Oregon Open Campus is helping turn
ideas into locally made products and profitable new businesses through its Recipe to
Market program. Over the four-month class, entrepreneurs learn safe food production
techniques, including a full-day session at the Food Innovation Center in Portland where
their products are tested in a laboratory setting. They also receive one-on-one help with
developing a business plan, brand and marketing campaign. To date, seven participants
have completed the course, and three new businesses have been launched. One of these
success stories is Jan Skelton, owner of More Than A Cracker. Her products can be found at the Tillamook Cheese factory.
Collaborating on Marine Reserves
Oregon State oceanographers, marine biologists and Sea Grant Extension agents have
spent at least a decade studying whether marine reserves can help protect biodiversity,
habitats and fish populations in Oregon’s coastal waters. Along with assessing scientific
data, they’ve also recognized the need to get buy-in from local fishermen and other
stakeholders. In Port Orford, with a pilot reserve planned at nearby Redfish Rocks,
Oregon Sea Grant has studied the socioeconomic impacts of marine reserves and served
as a neutral resource for community dialogue. In sometimes contentious meetings,
commercial and recreational fishermen, conservationists, scientists and local leaders
all had the opportunity to have their perspectives considered, with the intent to find a
balance that preserves both ocean ecosystems and a way of life for coastal communities.
Through respect and collaboration, they did.
Protecting a Small Berry with a Big Impact
Cranberries may be small, but their impact is not. Cranberry juice helps maintain
urinary tract health, and cranberries contribute $10 million to the Oregon economy.
But for growers along the southern coast, frost is an unpredictable killer. When frost
threatens, they must turn on sprinklers at just the right time and temperature so ice
forms quickly into a protective coating over the fragile cranberry buds. If the timing is
off or the temperature changes, the entire crop can be lost in less than an hour. To take
the guesswork out of frost control, OSU Extension horticulturists are testing frost units
— small, sensor-filled metal boxes set at varying temperatures and placed over vines
and berries, then checked daily. By examining the buds for damage, researchers can
determine at what temperatures and at what bud stages irrigation is needed to protect
Monitoring Dairy Cow Health
Milk is Oregon’s official state beverage and its second-largest agricultural commodity,
with dairy farmers grossing $523.9 million in sales in 2011. The state’s dairy industry
contributes more than $1 billion to Oregon’s economy each year from its approximately
350 dairy farms and 120,000 dairy cows. Oregon State researchers are visiting 50 of those farms to examine the impact organic and conventional management practices have on cows’ health. They collect milk samples, count bacteria and screen for common infectious diseases, with the aim to find correlations between management practices, incidences of diseases and the amount of milk produced. Researchers can then use the data to develop recommendations for keeping dairy cows healthy while optimizing income and the quality of the milk.