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field day

Joe DeFrancesco - Major Commitment to Minor Crops 

Joe DeFrancesco (left) accepts the Oregon
Blueberry Commission’s 2017 Industry Appreciation Award at the Oregon Blueberry Conference, January 16 in Salem.

Joe DeFrancesco served 30 years at Oregon State University before his retirement from full-time duty last fall, and served more than a decade as Oregon state liaison to the IR-4 Project, a project that serves pesticide registration needs of minor crops.

His participation in the federally funded IR-4 Project dates back even further to when, in the early 1990s, he and Bob McReynolds, a former OSU vegetable crops extension agent, started working with the project.

“The IR-4 Project had just started working with Oregon and was looking for people to do residue field trials,” DeFrancesco said. “Bob and I saw the need and did a couple of trials. Then they proposed we do more.”

Others at OSU did trials on a limited basis, DeFrancesco said, but only DeFrancesco and McReynolds contributed regularly to the project.

“Bob and I felt that it was good for Oregon growers, so we did it,” DeFrancesco said.
In the late 1990s, North Willamette Research and Extension Center, where McReynolds was housed, became an official IR-4 Research Center and the project began guaranteeing the center a certain amount of trials a year. McReynolds eventually took over as director of the IR-4 Research Center – in charge of writing grants and administering funds – while DeFrancesco concentrated on the field trials.

Jeff Jenkins, an agricultural chemist stationed on campus, was the state’s first liaison to the federal project. He handed the reins to DeFrancesco in 2006.

Eventually, McReynolds retired and DeFrancesco became director of the North Willamette IR-4 Research Center.

DeFrancesco received the IR-4 Project’s highest honor three years ago, winning the 2014 SOAR Award, an acronym for Service, Outreach, Altruism and Research.

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