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CapitalPress.com
April 15, 2016
People & Places
OSU researcher targets weeds
Carol Mallory-Smith
studies herbicides,
but finds herself
in middle of GMO
arguments, too
Western
Innovator
Capital Press
Carol Mallory-
Smith
Occupation: Weed science
professor at Oregon State
University
Education: Ph.D. in plant
science from the University
of Idaho in 1990, bachelor
of science in plant protection
from the University of Idaho
in 1986
Mateusz Perkowski/Capital Press
Carol Mallory-Smith, a weed science professor at Oregon State University, studies herbicides that can
be used on specialty crops in the Northwest and in recent years has also been drawn into some of the
controversies over genetic engineering.
time, the genetic tolerance
becomes more widespread
and reduces the herbicide’s
power.
That process can occur
faster than anticipated, as
Mallory-Smith found out
while studying for her doc-
torate, when she identified
one of the first weeds resis-
tant to the sulfonylurea class
of herbicides.
The prickly lettuce was
discovered in a field where
the University of Idaho had
conducted research for years.
As it turned out, a high muta-
tion rate allowed the weed to
overcome the chemical’s en-
zyme-inhibiting properties.
“It was unexpected. The
chemistry was really new,”
she said.
Herbicide resistance has
become an even more prom-
inent issue in agriculture due
to its association with genetic
engineering.
Major commodity crops,
including corn, soybeans
and cotton, have often been
genetically modified to with-
stand herbicides such as gly-
phosate.
The technology makes
killing weeds easier with-
out hurting crops, but the
increased reliance on herbi-
cides has also caused more
weeds to develop resistance.
Mallory-Smith considers
herself an “agnostic” when
it comes to genetic engineer-
ing, but thinks herbicide-re-
sistant crops could have been
managed more carefully.
The agricultural industry
embraced the technology, be-
lieving it would “solve all our
problems,” without relying
enough on tactics that would
slow the adaptation of weeds,
she said. “Now we’re sort of
back where we started.”
The phenomenon of ge-
netically engineered crops
spurring herbicide resistance
in weeds is primarily occur-
ring in the Midwest, where
commodity crops are grown.
However, that fact has
hardly insulated Mallo-
ry-Smith from the controver-
sies surrounding biotechnol-
ogy.
Her involvement in the
2013 discovery of biotech
wheat growing unauthorized
in an Eastern Oregon field
was a notable episode that at-
tracted global attention.
When a farmer realized
that some of his volunteer
wheat wasn’t dying after be-
ing sprayed with glyphosate,
he brought samples to OSU
for analysis.
Mallory-Smith believed
there was “no way” the her-
bicide-resistant wheat was
a genetically engineered by
Monsanto, since research and
development of that cultivar
had been halted a decade ear-
lier.
“It made no sense that it
would be,” she said.
DNA testing of the wheat
revealed that it was, in fact,
the Monsanto variety, which
had never been deregulated
by USDA.
Its source was never dis-
covered, but the finding did
temporarily disrupt Asian ex-
port markets and resulted in a
class action lawsuit by farm-
ers that Monsanto eventually
settled for $2.7 million.
Mallory-Smith was also
drawn into a long-running
dispute over glyphosate-re-
sistant sugar beets, which
were the subject of several
lawsuits by biotech critics
before the USDA ultimately
deregulated them in 2012.
The plaintiffs bolstered
their request for an injunction
against the crop with a writ-
ten declaration from Mallo-
ry-Smith stating that viable
roots of the transgenic variety
had been found in compost
mix. The incident was cited
as an example of the difficulty
containing the crop.
Monsanto also relied on
Mallory-Smith in its argu-
ments against an injunction
with a declaration in which
she supported the company’s
safeguards for growing the
crop while USDA studied its
environmental impacts.
It’s painful to watch such
conflicts erupt within agricul-
ture, Mallory-Smith said. Her
philosophy is to approach
such disputes as forthrightly
as possible.
“Sometimes it’s going to
be fine, sometimes people are
going to be upset with you,”
she said.
Currently, Mallory-Smith
is studying a subject that’s
touchy among farmers and
seed companies in Oregon’s
Willamette Valley: canola
production.
When state lawmakers im-
posed a moratorium on most
canola production in the re-
gion, they also directed OSU
to conduct a three-year study
on weed, disease and pest
Age: 67
Hometown: Albany, Ore.
Family: Husband, Robert,
four grown children and 12
grandchildren
risks posed by the crop.
Specialty seed companies
fear such problems will in-
crease if it becomes preva-
lent, but the possibility of ge-
netically engineered canola
cross-pollinating with related
vegetable species has also
cast a shadow over the crop.
For now, Mallory-Smith
remains tight-lipped about
the results of her study, but
the controversy is likely to
flare up again when her re-
port is released in late 2017.
But not all of her work
takes place in the spotlight.
A key part of Mallo-
ry-Smith’s job is evaluating
herbicides for safety and ef-
ficacy in specialty crops that
are grown in the Northwest.
Chemical companies con-
duct such analysis for major
commodity crops, but it’s not
economically justifiable for
them to examine crops grown
on small acreage.
Mallory-Smith and other
scientists conduct supple-
mentary studies so minor
crops can be included on the
federal label for the herbi-
cides.
Though she’s surprised
by some of the controversies
that have erupted during her
career, Mallory-Smith said
weed science has generally
lived up to her expectations.
“It’s been the perfect job.
Most days,” she said.
Ag Fest petting zoo expands to fill livestock pavilion
By JAN JACKSON
Oregon Ag Fest
For the Capital Press
TURNER, Ore. — An esti-
mated 20,000 people will visit
Nosey’s Neighborhood Petting
Zoo during this year’s Oregon
Ag Fest.
At the petting zoo, visitors
will see and learn more about
the species and breeds of farm
animals than ever before.
The petting zoo, popular
with children and adults, has
expanded this year thanks to
Cascade High School FFA se-
niors Austin and Collin Brill,
Cascade FFA adviser Becky
Bates and Ag Fest board mem-
ber and petting zoo chairman
Craig Anderson.
The annual event takes
place April 23-24 at the Oregon
State Fairgrounds in Salem.
“I’ve been teaching at Cas-
cade High School for 10 years
and our FFA has taken the lead
on the petting zoo every year
since I’ve been here,” Bates
said. “Austin and Collin Brill
led their fellow FFA chapter
Calendar
When: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, April 23, and 10:30
a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday, April 24
Where: Oregon State Fair-
grounds
Online: www.oragfest.com
Admission: Children 12 and
under are free; $9 for ages 13
and up
Parking: Free
Jan Jackson/For the Capital Press
Going over every detail of Ag Fest’s biggest petting zoo to date
are, from left, Austin Brill, Cascade High School FFA Adviser Becky
Bates, Collin Brill and Ag Fest Petting Zoo Chair Craig Anderson.
members and a host of other
members from neighboring
schools in putting it together
and we’ve exceeded our expec-
tations. It is definitely going to
be the best petting zoo yet.”
The twin brothers have
worked their way up to being
principals in the planning pro-
cess.They also breed and raise
market and show pigs, which
they will bring to the event.
Sponsored by:
To submit an event go to the
Community Events calendar on the
home page of our website at www.
capitalpress.com and click on “Sub-
mit an Event.” Calendar items can
also be mailed to Capital Press, 1400
Broadway St. NE, Salem, OR 97301.
Saturday, April 16
Oregon Women for Agriculture
Auction & Dinner, 5-9 p.m. The or-
ganization’s 29th annual fundraiser,
themed “Oregon Agriculture A to Z,”
Established 1928
Board of directors
Mike Forrester ..........................President
Steve Forrester
Kathryn Brown
Sid Freeman .................. Outside director
Mike Omeg .................... Outside director
Corporate officer
John Perry
Chief operating officer
By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI
CORVALLIS, Ore. — In
the world of weed control,
Carol Mallory-Smith be-
lieves what’s old is becoming
new again.
During her lifetime, the
Oregon State University
weed science professor has
seen agriculture’s approach
to battling weeds come full
circle.
Farmers such as Mallo-
ry-Smith’s father didn’t have
access to the multitude of
herbicides available today,
which meant they had to till
weeds or suppress them with
cover crops.
The popularity of those
methods receded with the
rise of chemical solutions,
but with increased weed re-
sistance to herbicides, Mallo-
ry-Smith expects farmers will
again be employing them.
Herbicides will remain
an important part of modern
farming, but growers will
likely use them more strate-
gically in conjunction with
non-chemical controls to en-
sure they stay effective, she
said.
“It will be looking at the
old techniques with a brand
new eye,” Mallory-Smith
said.
The advent of herbicides
has been revolutionary, al-
lowing growers to kill weeds
more quickly and thus cul-
tivate a greater number of
acres, making crop produc-
tion more efficient, she said.
Yields and crop quality
improved, particularly with
the availability of selective
herbicides that were able
to target broadleaf or grass
weeds while minimizing the
harm to desirable plants.
“It changed agricul-
ture dramatically,” Mallo-
ry-Smith said.
Unfortunately,
weeds
have demonstrated the ability
to fight back.
When weed populations
are repeatedly sprayed with
a chemical, some hardy in-
dividuals will withstand the
substance and then pass that
trait to their progeny. Over
Capital Press
will take place at the Linn County
Fair & Expo Center, 3700 Knox
Butte Road E in Albany, Ore. Cost:
$40 per person. http://owaonline.
org/owa-auction-2016/
Goat healthcare and nutrition
and packgoat seminar, 9:30 a.m.-
3 p.m. Edelweiss Acres, Olympia,
Wash. $25 per person; $7.50 for
4-H members. Go to the website,
http://edelweissacresobers.com/, or
call 360-742-8310.
“We focused on expanding
the variety of animals this year
and we are pleased with our suc-
cess,” Collin said.
Growers will bring bottle
lambs, kid goats, rabbits, cow-
calf pairs, “and we have meat,
milk and fiber animals to show
and explain their differences,”
he said.
Visitors will also see Here-
ford, milking short horns, Sim-
mental, Jersey, brown Swiss and
Holstein cattle as well Duroc,
Yorkshire and Hampshire/York-
shire-cross pigs.
The sheep breeds will in-
clude Montadale, Hampshire,
Suffolk, Southdown and black-
face crosses rather than the less
common ones raised just for
fiber.
“In addition to all the people
it takes to set up and take down
pens, lay down and refresh straw
and keep it all policed through-
out the two days, we will have
FFA students in official dress
at every pen ready to help with
the petting process, tell people
what they are seeing and answer
questions,” he said.
The advanced agriculture
students have written all the
information that goes on the
pen signs, and other classes
have made displays that will be
placed around the pavilion, he
said.
In addition to the petting zoo,
about 25 hands-on activities will
be available, plus pony rides, toy
tractor races, farm equipment
displays, a craft and garden dis-
play and family entertainment.
A ranch breakfast will be
served 8:30–10:30 a.m. Satur-
day only, The cost is $6 each;
children under 3 years old are
free. Proceeds benefit 4-H
youth programs.
Asked if they had any ad-
vice for attending Ag Fest, Aus-
tin Brill said, “Wear comfort-
able shoes, wash your hands at
the washing stations before and
after you pet the animals and
come early because once you
get here you will want to stay
all day.”
GASES / WELDING / SAFETY / FIRE
20 Northwest Locations
Holistic Land Planning, 9 a.m.-5
p.m. Create the ideal land plan for
your ranch. What is the ideal lay-
out of your fences? Where should
infrastructure be located to facilitate
animal handling and movement?
Kittitas Valley Event Center, 901 E.
Seventh Ave., Ellensburg, Wash.
Cost: $227 until April 2. www.root-
sofresilience.org
International Fair of Agricultural
Technologies Conference and Ex-
hibition, FEXPO Agricola Central,
Talca, Chile
Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider
Fest, noon-7 p.m., 3315 Stadelman
Drive, Hood River, Ore. http://ho-
odriver.org/cider-fest/
Sunday, April 17
Holistic Land Planning, 9 a.m.-
5 p.m. This is the continuation of
a workshop that began Saturday.
Create the ideal land plan for your
ranch. Kittitas Valley Event Center,
901 E. Seventh Ave., Ellensburg,
Wash. Cost: $227 until April 2. www.
rootsofresilience.org
Tuesday, April 19
Idaho Range Livestock Sympo-
sium. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. American Le-
gion Hall, Marsing, 208-896-4104.
A one-day traveling program and
networking event packed with infor-
mation on industry relevant topics, for
producers and rangeland managers.
Capital Press Managers
Mike O’Brien .............................Publisher
Joe Beach ..................................... Editor
Elizabeth Yutzie Sell .... Advertising Director
Carl Sampson ................Managing Editor
Barbara Nipp ......... Production Manager
Samantha McLaren .... Circulation Manager
Entire contents copyright © 2016
EO Media Group
dba Capital Press
An independent newspaper
published every Friday.
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Index
California ................................ 9
Dairy .................................... 13
Idaho ...................................... 8
Livestock ............................. 13
Markets ............................... 16
Opinion .................................. 6
Oregon ................................ 10
Washington ..........................11
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