OARDC Impacts

OARDC is a premier institution committed to safe, healthy, and affordable food and agricultural products; sustainable food and agricultural systems; strong rural and urban communities; stewardship of natural resources and the environment; keeping Ohio positioned favorably in a global economy.

 

With agriculture as Ohio’s No. 1 industry, helping farmers, growers and producers stay efficient and productive is an important goal for researchers at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Stopping pests — diseases, insects or weeds — is one way Ohio State scientists are continually working to help Ohio farmers increase crop yields and profitability while producing safe, healthy foods and food products.

The environment touches us in many ways: trees in yards, crops in fields, lakes and streams, and so on. Conserving those resources — growing and nurturing them — while also supporting their use by people are goals of The Ohio State University. Ohio State works on what Teddy Roosevelt called “the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us;” and Ohio State specialists share what they learn with the citizens, industries and institutions of Ohio.

Americans spend $3 trillion annually, or an average of more than $9,500 per person, on health care. But a healthy lifestyle — and an environment that promotes healthy living — can significantly reduce the illnesses and frailties that eventually require medical care. In addition, research can provide insights into novel ways to fight new threats such as Zika virus and the age-old menace of cancer. The Ohio State University has the knowledge and expertise to tackle such issues.

Hunger statistics never fail to alarm. In 2014, one in seven U.S. households was food insecure, and Ohio was even worse at one in six households. Families with children are hardest hit. Globally, authorities estimate 11 percent of the world population — nearly 800 million people — are malnourished, and they foresee mass unrest unless farmers find a way to produce 60 percent more food by 2050. Faculty at The Ohio State University tackle the issue from multiple angles by focusing on maximizing efficiencies in food production, examining how to keep food safe, and taking the lead on reducing the billions of pounds of food wasted annually.

As part of The Ohio State University, Ohio State University Extension works with Ohioans young and old to provide job training, workforce skills and education to help residents statewide attain new jobs, retain current jobs or prepare for professional licensing requirements. From offering 4-H leadership and job skills programs to teaching agriculture in urban centers to helping farmers and pesticide applicators meet educational requirements for new licenses or recertifications, the goal is the same: keep Ohioans working.

We need honeybees and other pollinators for the successful growth of about one-third of U.S. food crops. But hard winters, habitat loss, unintended pesticide impacts and other environmental factors have these friends of ours under siege, both in Ohio and around the world. Protecting the state’s pollinators — and in the process, securing farmers’ income and food production — is among the key work being done by The Ohio State University.

Hands-on learning was at the center of A.B. Graham’s first boys’ and girls’ agricultural club in Springfield, Ohio, in 1902. Youngsters planted seeds in experimental plots, tested the soil, and identified weeds and insects. They studied scientific theory and presented findings to their peers. Today, nearly 290,000 young Ohioans participate in 4-H clubs; camps; and school-enrichment, after-school, and special-interest programs. All are provided with ample opportunities for experiential learning. At the same time, by addressing real-world challenges, The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences prepares students to successfully progress into worthwhile careers.

Experts say soluble phosphorus runoff from farms is one of several contributors to the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other bodies of water in recent years. Researchers at The Ohio State University are working to solve this problem and improve Ohio’s water quality by helping farmers continue to achieve high levels of productivity while reducing input usage and cost. The key is to keep more fertilizer in the soil where crops can use it and to apply only what is needed for growing crops.