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Science of Soil: KBREC welcomes new agronomist

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KBREC welcomes new agronomist

Biswanath Dari, who goes by “Dari,” started as assistant professor and agronomist for Oregon State University at Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center (KBREC) on Jan. 6.

Biswanath Dari, who goes by “Dari,” knelt down in a winter wheat field adjacent to the Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center on Wednesday to feel the dirt between his fingers.

Soil health is a big part of his educational background and what he’ll continue to research in his role as agronomist and assistant professor at Oregon State University, stationed at KBREC in Klamath Falls.

Interim KBREC Director and agronomist Brian Charlton is excited to enlist Dari to help farmers with issues related to cereal grains, forage crops and irrigation.

Dari will create crop-specific advisory boards and meet with stakeholders on some of the production limitations they have. Dari also said he’s interested in developing strategies to help farmers maximize their cropping during years with less available water.

Field research

Seeking grant funding to conduct field research projects to help farmers find solutions to issues that arise with their crops also tops the list of things Dari will tackle in the new role.

“I will be happy to answer any question farmers have,” Dari said. “My door is always open.

“I will be listening and try to help them as much as I can,” he added.

Dari started in his new role on Jan. 6, coming to Klamath Falls from University of Idaho in Aberdeen, Idaho, where he spent two and a half years working on post-doctoral research. He earned his Ph.D in soil and water sciences from the University of Florida in 2017.

Dari said Klamath Falls is very similar to Aberdeen in climate and soil, as well as elevation and irrigation practices.

He plans to focus on helping farmers solve issues with wheat, barley, most oats, and triticale, and forage crops such as alfalfa.

KBREC welcomes new agronomist

Biswanath Dari, who goes by "Dari," kneels down in a field adjacent to Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center on Wednesday. Dari started as an assistant professor and agronomist with Oregon State University and stationed at KBREC.

Soil fertility

Dari plans to also work with soil specialists on the KBREC campus to explore solutions to soil fertility issues.

The sandy, black and nutrient-rich, and sodium layered soil are also prime research topics to explore in order to maximize use for crops.

“As an agronomist and soil scientist, you need to know the soil type, the weather and climate and how it helps a crop, ” Dari said.

“The (soil) nutrients can help farmers grow better crops,” he added.

His roots in agriculture run deep as he started as a boy working the fields with his father and siblings in Calcutta, India. Dari grew up knowing the importance of hard work in a middle class family that made a living growing winter peas and winter beans, potatoes and rice.

“In India, we have that proverb, value each piece of rice, because you earn it, you grew it,” Dari said.

“All these things tie together to make me a person who can work for the farmers, with the farmers, and just for them.”

Growers, crops

Charlton said Dari brings a personable demeanor to the position, where he’ll be a resource to local farmers and their crops.

“He just seems very enthusiastic to build a career and make a difference in agriculture,” Charlton said.

“He’ll probably interface extensively with whatever future hemp work we continue to do and other alternative crops as they arise,” he added.

To learn more about Dari’s educational background and work, visit https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Biswanath_Dari.

Dari and be reached at b.dari@oregonstate.edu and by phone at 541-883-4590.