Brown Asks Ag Secretary for Assistance Rebuilding Research and Development Center at OSU-Wooster Campus

Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center (OARDC) Partially Destroyed in Tornado

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter this week to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to help rebuild the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) on the Ohio State University’s Wooster campus, which was partially destroyed by a tornado in mid-September.

“The OARDC has been a crucial link between agricultural producers and world-class researchers and scientists, [and] is a cornerstone of economic development for the region,” Brown wrote in the letter.  “A recent study showed that OARDC annually contributes more than $142 million to the Ohio economy and generates more than 1,576 jobs in the state.”

“Following the tornado, nearly every building on the campus sustained damage.   While most buildings have considerable roof damage, three buildings and seven greenhouses were completely destroyed,” Brown continued. “This past October, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited OARDC and surveyed the extensive damage.  After inspecting the grounds, Deputy Secretary Merrigan reiterated the need to restore the facilities so that research activities could resume…Bringing these critical resources back to full capacity is critical for Ohio and for the advancement of agricultural research.”

In early September, Brown toured OARDC and held a roundtable with dairy farmers at the center. Brown brought U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Farm & Foreign Agriculture Service Michael Scuse with him to OARDC. Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years.

The full text of the letter to Secretary Vilsack is below.

The Honorable Tom Vilsack

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Thanks for all you do for small towns and rural communities across our nation, in particular my state of Ohio.  I write today to call your attention to a storm that has had serious consequences for Ohio’s agricultural community and rural economy.  On September 16, 2010 the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) on the Ohio State University’s Wooster campus was severely damaged by a tornado.   Over the past five months, the University and local community have surveyed and tabulated the destruction; now I am requesting that USDA provide all possible assistance in restoring the damaged buildings at OARDC.

As you know, the OARDC has a long-standing partnership with Ohio’s agriculture community and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.  This public-private partnership has been a model of agricultural and economic development that capitalizes on Ohio’s strength in agricultural production and science. Since 1892, the OARDC has been a crucial link between agricultural producers and world-class researchers and scientists. From the development of advanced bio-based products and energy to food safety solutions to new partnerships with industry, the OARDC is a cornerstone of economic development for the region.  A recent study showed that OARDC annually contributes more than $142 million to the Ohio economy and generates more than 1,576 jobs in the state.  

Following the tornado, nearly every building on the campus sustained damage.   While most buildings have considerable roof damage, three buildings and seven greenhouses were completely destroyed.  One such building served as the primary location for the Agricultural Research Service’s Engineering Fabrication Unit and Department of Agricultural Engineering.  This past October, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited OARDC and surveyed the extensive damage.  After inspecting the grounds, Deputy Secretary Merrigan reiterated the need to restore the facilities so that research activities could resume.

I urge you to continue working with the University and local community and to invest in restoring the OARDC and the Engineering Laboratory.  Bringing these critical resources back to full capacity is critical for Ohio and for the advancement of agricultural research.

Thank you for your leadership and for your consideration of this urgent request.

Sincerely,

Sherrod Brown

United States Senator

CC: USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

###

Press Contact

(202) 224-3978