Speaking at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's annual conference recently Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro said agriculture -- and the science that supports it -- is "the heart of Ohio's economic growth prospects."
Petro, who was recently appointed by Gov. John Kasich to oversee the state's public colleges and universities, met with OARDC faculty to learn about current research projects -- including public-private partnerships to generate clean energy from waste and composite materials from plant-based fibers; innovative techniques to produce Salmonella-free eggs; and research that can save wheat farmers $1 billion a year in disease-related crop losses.
"I've known of the great reputation that Ohio State has in agriculture. I know of Ohio's role in agriculture nationally. But I didn't about many of the remarkable things OARDC is doing," Petro said. "To learn about agriculture, what it's probably one of the most important components of Ohio's economic future, is pretty remarkable for me. And I thank all of you for your role within the agricultural community. It is amazing what is being done on the science side of it. Agriculture is a great science."
Petro also spoke about the importance of the Center of Excellence in Agriculture, Food Production and Bioproducts -- which was established by the Board of Regents a year ago to capitalize on the state's diverse agriculture industry and scientific innovations. The center is based at Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) -- of which OARDC is the research arm.
"You are celebrating your first anniversary as a center of excellence," Petro stated. "And when I think of what I've learned today, and what that means to agriculture, and what agriculture means to Ohio, it's only appropriate that this occasion is one of celebration."
Caroline Whitacre, head of Ohio State's Office of Research, also saluted the Center of Excellence in Agriculture, Food Production and Bioproducts and underscored its importance to the university, the state, the country and beyond. "Ohio State is now second in the country in industry-sponsored research, and CFAES is a big part of it," she said. "This center of excellence provides the academic foundation for a second green revolution."