Research, Technology Transfer Vital to Agriculture

Article excerpt

By Darrell Morrow Feature Editor Research, and technology transfer of that research, are still the top priority in improving the agricultural economy of Oklahoma, Dr. C.B.

Browning said Tuesday.

Browning, dean and director of the Division of Agriculture at Oklahoma State University, and members of his staff concentrated on that theme in presentations before the Oklahoma House of Representatives Agriculture Committee Monday at the State Capitol. The committee began hearings Monday that are scheduled to continue through Thursday on marketing of Oklahoma agricultural products and how to improve the state's agricultural economy.

Browning said the coupling of Oklahoma State University's research programs and its Extension Service for transfer of the research technology used throughout the history of land grant colleges is still the most appropriate method of helping agricultural producers improve their technology and efficiency. There is, however, an even greater need than ever before for increasing research.

"Applied research is where it's at. That is where it all starts. The best marketing program in the world won't get the job done if you don't have efficient production systems so that our farmers and ranchers can be the low-cost producers, at least be competitive with their neighbors in Texas, in Kansas, in Canada, in France _ their neighbors in this world marketplace where the competition is. That is what our applied research program is all about, has been and will continue to be," Browning said.

The major chances of improvement in the state's agricultural economy lies in improvements and higher efficiencies in production of the traditional crops and products.

"We can't stop trying to improve varieties of wheat. We can't stop trying to improve management systems, whether it is in livestock or crops.

We are looking at alternative enterprises, alternative systems and commodities. We are interested in things that for many people in Oklahoma are alternative today _ not for everyone _ but vegetables, fruits and catfish and goats, if you will. There is a niche for some of these alternatives," he said.

There also is a possibility of improving the agricultural economy with non-consumptive land uses such as wildlife management and aquatics production, which are being explored and promoted by two new area Extension Service specialists, Browning said. …