Workshop field trip to Waterman Farm

Ag Biotech Graduate Academy workshop participants recently toured Waterman Farm at The Ohio State University. The Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory, commonly referred to as Waterman, is home to a variety of agricultural research and community projects.

GrowNextGen industry leader Glen Mills, manager of the facility, led a tour of the grounds. The $35 million Controlled Environment Food Production Research Complex, with a state-of-the-art greenhouse, is currently under construction and will include expansion opportunities in phenotyping, vertical farming, and aquaponics.

OSU professors conduct research at Waterman to increase yield and solve problems facing agriculture today. Some current projects include growing dwarf apple trees and pawpaws, checking for alkaloids in wild tomatoes, and improving disease resistance in soybean varieties, among many others.

Dr. Jay Hollick talked about his research on epigenetic mechanisms of gene control, chromosome structure and function. He said he’d had no background in agriculture, but was inspired to enter the field by Barbara McClintock’s work while in freshman biology in college. One of the teachers in the workshop said this was encouraging to her, as many of her students were unaware of the opportunities for ag-related careers.

Waterman is also known for its community outreach programs such as the Garden of Hope, a program for cancer survivors to pick produce and learn how to prepare it, and Hope Grows, a project promoting healthy lifestyles for children through better nutrition and food awareness.

Interested in bringing your students on a tour? Contact Glen Mills through our leader page to set something up!