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Wooster campus integration benefits Ohio State ATI

The integration of the Wooster campus has brought a number of benefits to the Ohio State ATI campus through access to Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) facilities, equipment, and personnel.

There are some significant signs of support around the Ohio State ATI campus, including, literally, signs – new ones in front of Skou and Halterman Halls and on the Grace Drake Agricultural Laboratory.  According to Rhonda Billman, assistant director for the Wooster campus, the new signage was purchased with funds not available to Ohio State ATI prior to the integration.

“Each of the college vice presidents was allocated a pool of funds to enhance facilities, equipment, or programs,” Billman explained. Other projects funded from this source include improvements to the Ohio State ATI Land Lab driveway and classroom, dairy classroom upgrades, and a new milking parlor. “Ohio State ATI has also been able to use OARDC carpenters and electricians, which in the past would have been outsourced, with a higher cost.”

Integrated planning has been a win-win for both campuses. For example, Ohio State ATI and OARDC farm personnel coordinated harvesting plans and rented equipment that benefited both organizations which spread the cost of this equipment over twice the acreage.  For example, OARDC rented a narrow row soybean planter and ATI rented a self-propelled sprayer that were used by both organizations to increase opportunities for student training. “In addition, when ‘all hands on deck’ were needed because of weather, we were able to combine farm staffs to get the work done,” said Billman.

Similar benefits have accrued to the maintenance and grounds operations through sharing of equipment, personnel, and purchasing of seed and chemicals for the entire campus.

“It’s truly gratifying to see the two entities working together, whether it’s sharing equipment or increased research opportunities for Ohio State ATI faculty,” Billman said.