Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson

Following a national search, Oregon State University has named Brian Pearson as the next permanent director of the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hood River, according to a news release from the university.

Pearson currently serves as an associate professor with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center. He holds a doctorate in environmental horticulture from the University of Florida. 

With more than 20 years in the land grant university system, he has developed a thorough understanding of how each agricultural production factor influences plant growth and development in specialty crops, according to the release.

Pearson will begin work Dec. 31, taking over from Stuart Reitz, interim director since January 2022. The last permanent director was Steve Castagnoli, who retired in 2021.

Oregon ranks third in the nation for sweet cherry production and second in the nation for pear production, according to the release. The Mid-Columbia region, also called the Columbia Gorge, is the largest production area in the state for both crops, with around 13,000 acres of cherry orchards and about 12,000 acres of pears.

—by Ross Courtney