The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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John Talbott Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

June 29, 2015


“Sun Grant, Making a Positive Impact on the World”  June 29, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Talbott discusses his upbringing in rural Wyoming, his early exposure to the state's energy industry, and his undergraduate years at the University of Wyoming. From there he outlines his years working for Wyoming Game and Fish, his private consulting business providing conflict mediation services, his experiences as a graduate student at Virginia Tech, and his activities as project manager at the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership. In recounting his tenure at Big Sky, Talbott provides a detailed overview of the practice, possibilities and hindrances governing underground carbon sequestration.

Next, Talbott reflects on his move to Oregon State University and his leadership of the Sun Grant Western Regional Center. He shares the history of Sun Grant at OSU in the years that preceded his arrival and details the specifics of several projects that Sun Grant has supported through its grant allocations. In particular, Talbott notes promising research on biofuels, life cycle analysis, and bioproduct conversion processes that have been conducted by OSU scientists, among others.

As the session nears its end, Talbott shares his perspective on the future direction of Sun Grant, making note of the program's participation in the Department of Energy's "Billion Ton Study" as well as its interest in boosting rural economies through biomass projects. He also speaks of his appointment as assistant director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, the work that he has conducted in this capacity, and the significant impact that Experiment Stations have made on the agricultural sector in Oregon. The interview concludes with notes on family and an expression of pride in the culture that Talbott sees as prevailing at OSU.