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New Oregon Liaison to IR-4 a 'Great Fit for the Job' 

Greg O’Neill, a former research biologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) who has worked in pesticide registrations and related research for the past 23 years, has taken over as Oregon State Liaison to the national IR-4 Project.

O’Neill, who started at Oregon State University’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in April, replaces Joe DeFrancesco, who has stayed on in a half-time basis to help with the transition.

DeFrancesco described O’Neill’s skill set as perfect for the job.

“Greg is very aware of what we do in the field and what we do paper-work wise to get products registered,” DeFrancesco said. “He also has experience as a contract researcher, putting out field trials, and has worked for a chemical company.

“Greg also has a friendly, easy-going personality, which helps him interact with growers and researchers,” DeFrancesco said. “I think he is a great fit for the job.”

O’Neill said he worked extensively with minor crop pesticide registrations while working for the former Zeneca Agro, as a contract researcher, and most recently at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

During his 13 years at AAFC, O’Neill served as Study Director, where he was responsible for supervising field and laboratory experiments to develop data packages for pesticide registration submissions to regulatory agencies, including to the U.S. EPA and the Canadian equivalent, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

O’Neill also collaborated with U.S. researchers while at AAFC to design experiments to generate data for regulatory submissions with the goal of registering products in both countries concurrently. The coordination helped level the playing field between Canadian and U.S. producers and expanded market potential for growers selling their commodities, as well as helped facilitate the removal of trade barriers.

As Oregon State Liaison to the IR-4 Project, O’Neill and his team are conducting trials for residue data submissions to EPA, coordinating research priorities for the Oregon IR-4 Project staff and providing a voice for Oregon minor crop uses at the project’s annual Priority Setting Workshop, held this year in Denver, September 20-21.

Having DeFrancesco around to help in the transition has been invaluable, O’Neill said. “I am very fortunate to be in this situation, to kind of do a mind-meld with Joe,” he said. “I think that has been beneficial to the whole program, just to help keep the whole system moving forward.”

Asked why he was interested in this opportunity with Oregon State University, O’Neill said, “Definitely the crop diversity in Oregon was a big drawing card, as was getting back into the field and connecting directly with growers.”

Among his initial observations, O’Neill said research “is approached a little differently here. Right now I am just observing what is going on here, adapting to these methods, and suggesting some changes based on my experience and what I have seen at other research organizations.”

The outreach responsibilities in his new position also represent a change from his former position. “I’ve been to many field days, making myself visible, while getting to know the players, their management needs and pest challenges,” he said.

“Luckily for me, Oregon is well organized with the commissions,” he said. “That makes it easier to connect with the various commodity groups.”


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