Soil, Water, and Forage Analytical Lab continues to serve during pandemic
Monday, December 21, 2020
Farmers, homeowners, and researchers all relied upon the Oklahoma State University Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory staff to provide accurate sample analysis amidst the closing of campus due to COVID-19 in the spring of 2020.
“In mid-March, the Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory was deemed mission critical,” said Dr. Hailin Zhang, laboratory director and OSU Cooperative Extension nutrient management specialist. “We knew soil samples still needed to be analyzed, so we took the steps to ensure we could still serve our clientele and keep our staff safe.”
With personal protective equipment upgrades, an updated work schedule, and a smaller staff the SWFAL team went to work, Zhang said.
“There was a time in the beginning when we were having difficulty finding enough personal protective equipment,” Zhang said. “We would like to extend thanks to Dr. Coon for taking the time to ensure we had adequate equipment which allowed us to serve the state of Oklahoma.”
The SWFAL team serves all 77 counties in Oklahoma, distributing thousands of soil sample results monthly.
“We did see a small slowdown in the number of samples that came in,” Zhang said. “Our goal was to turn samples around as quickly as normal.”
Aside from turning samples out quickly, Dr. Zhang and his team wanted to give Oklahoma farmers, homeowners, and researchers a chance to continue life as normal as so much change had occurred.
“We wanted to give people the opportunity to continue life as normal,” Zhang said. “And we want people to know that we are still here for them.”
SWFAL provides valuable information that helps lab users to protect and utilize their soil, water, animal manure, and forage resources efficiently and effectively. If you have questions about the services offered by the lab or how to submit samples, please contact your local cooperative extension office.