When it comes to researching Verticillium wilt, Oregon State University Extension Plant Pathologist Jeremiah Dung is no rookie. Dung has been researching Verticillium wilt for a decade now, having started in April 2007 in a program with Washington State University Extension Plant Pathologist Dennis Johnson studying Verticillium wilt in potatoes and mint.
Dung today is involved in studying Verticillium wilt for the mint industry out of the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Madras.
Central Oregon is home to about 700 acres of mint production and, Dung said, walking those fields and other production fields in Central Oregon is invaluable to his research.
“It is nice to be able to work in the lab, but also get out in the field,” Dung said. “That field work really helps me to get out and talk with the growers, talk with the stakeholders, learn what the problems are that current year and also just learn more about the cropping systems and how folks do things in the area: the different cultural practices, the economics of production here, all of those things that you really have to get your boots on the ground to learn about and get up to speed on.”
Dung said he also enjoys working in the lab. “I enjoy writing and analyzing data and trying to draw conclusions or explanations from the data, and trying to fill in the gaps of knowledge that we currently have, and also extend that out to what is the next question,” Dung said.
Dung, who received his doctorate from WSU in 2012, started at the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center in 2014 after spending two years working out of the Hermiston, Oregon Agricultural Research and Extension Center, where he worked under Phil Hamm on researching ergot in grasses grown for seed.
In Madras, Dung is continuing his work on ergot, given that the area is home to Kentucky bluegrass production, a grass seed species wherein ergot can be problematic, as well as working on bacterial blight in carrot seed production, white rot in garlic grown for seed and the Verticillium wilt research he is doing in mint.
Dung employs two full-time faculty research assistants year-round and an undergraduate student part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer.