Newsletter Article
June 1997

MycoWorld Institute

MycoWorld Institute is a new tax-exempt [501(c)3], non-profit corporation located in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Jerry Haugen, the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization (and writer of this article), recently presented the corporation's completed business plan to the South Central Oregon Regional Strategies Board. The Regional Strategies Board distributes grant and loan funds, generated by the Oregon State Lottery, to support their economic development strategies, which include agricultural diversification. They helped fund development of the Business Plan and creation of the corporation. Matching funds were provided by The Mushroom Company (publishers of this newsletter), Lloyd Jones Consulting and Greensprings Mushroom.

Haugen described how the Institute would focus on scientific research and educational activities to support the specialty mushroom industry as a viable economic development and agricultural diversification option. A key component of the plan is the development of a full-scale mushroom production facility that would provide the capability to perform continuous production level experiments and provide hands-on vocational education. He noted that one focus of the research is to reduce the costs associated with specialty mushroom production in the U.S. so that U.S. growers can compete effectively with imports from abroad. A second focus will be the development of production technologies for new species which will give growers some diversification options. The educational aspect, in cooperation with the local community college, will offer both entrepreneurial training and transfer of new mushroom farming technologies directly to students at the Institute. Seminars and publications will also be offered.

The Institute plans to develop several production oriented classes ranging from "Introduction to Mycology" to "Your Mushroom Business". Public interest coursework like "Mushroom Cookery" and "Mushroom Identification" will also be offered.

While the location of the Institute in Klamath Falls will favor the development of a local specialty mushroom industry, Haugen explained that the Institute and it's facility will be a world class operation. He said that there are Universities and other research and educational entities with interests in mushroom production scattered around the world, but none of them offer the combination of production level research and hands-on experience with exotic species that will be offered by MycoWorld Institute.

The Institute does plan to produce significant quantities of mushrooms, starting with shiitake, in support of its research and educational objectives. These mushrooms will be sold, but the Institute has devised a plan that will minimize competition with domestic growers and not significantly affect domestic markets. Haugen explained that this marketing component had to be carefully developed or it could have undermined the Institute's desire to support the domestic industry.

The Institute plans to develop research and education partnerships with other institutions and private firms. The business plan recognizes that these partnerships will hinge upon the ability of the Institute to prove its credibility and that will take some time. The first order of business for the six members of the Board of Directors is to put together a package of grants and loans that will allow construction and start-up of the Institute's facility. Naturally, your tax-deductible donation will be gratefully accepted.

Reach the Institute at:

MycoWorld Institute
P.O. Box 5065
Klamath Falls, OR 97601

or through The Mushroom Growers' Newsletter

More Info for the World-Wide-Web

From MycoWorld Institute's Promotional Brochure

MycoWorld Institute

Scientific and Educational Support for
Exotic Mushroom Cultivation, Economic Development
and Agricultural Diversification

MycoWorld Institute was formed in 1996 as a 501(c)3 non-profit, scientific and educational organization in the State of Oregon. It will provide the research and training needed to stabilize exotic mushroom cultivation as a viable agricultural diversification and economic development opportunity in rural areas.

With the financial assistance of the South Central Oregon Regional Strategies Board, the Institute completed a business plan in the spring of 1997. When fully implemented, MycoWorld Institute will be self-supporting and will offer:

Benefitting Rural Agricultural Communities

As small farms are collapsing into large-scale agribusiness empires, our rural communities are suffering with lost jobs, lost homesteads and lost opportunities. Exotic mushrooms, especially shiitake and oyster mushrooms, have been introduced as high valued crops in scattered locations across the U.S. High valued crops like these are intended to offer incomes which can keep farm families on their land. Yet, these efforts have had varied levels of success. Mushroom cultivation is simply a highly complex and scientifically demanding enterprise.

Most growers lack skills which are essential for successful and profitable mushroom cultivation. Marketing ability is a major problem area. The Institute will develop programs which address niche markets, direct sales, branded products and other avenues which take advantage of the special properties of mushrooms. Growers will be educated so they can understand and work with these markets. Development of secondary markets will further diversify sales opportunities.

MycoWorld Institute will address these issues head on. By showing existing and potential growers which species to grow (there are dozens), how to grow them and how to develop and support markets (fresh and processed) for them, the Institute will help these farmers become and remain profitable. These farmers and associated producers of secondary products will bring stability to an industry which offers new promise for our rural communities.

No other organization in the world can offer so much to the stability of rural America.

Making it Happen

The Board of Directors of MycoWorld Institute knows how to make it happen. The directors have developed a Business Plan which spells out the details. The Institute will become self supporting, but major assistance is needed to bring the Institute to life.

Facilites. Our location in Klamath Falls, Oregon offers easy access to the world via an International Airport. Land values are still low, but rising fast. Procuring a 5 to 10 acre parcel is the first step in making the Institute a reality. The Institute requires a 53,000 square foot facility to house the mushroom production area, certified kitchen, laboratory, classrooms and offices.

Cost. The Institute is seeking a total of $3.6 million in grants and loans to create the facility, equip it and bring it into full operation.

Support. The capital campaign is just beginning and seeks the support of foundations across the nation which share our enthusiasm for this project. This is a large project which appeals to broad interests including rural economic development, agricultural diversification, scientific research (mycology), science education, agricultural education, product development, job creation and more. While there are research institutions in the Netherlands, Japan, the U.S. and other countries, there is no other institution in the world which fully integrates research, product development, market development and vocational education to stabilize exotic mushroom cultivation as a viable agricultural diversification opportunity for rural areas.

All Donations are Tax Deductible

The People Behind the Idea

MycoWorld Institute is governed by six people who have volunteered, without compensation, to serve on the Board of Directors.

Reach the Institute at:

MycoWorld Institute
P.O. Box 5065
Klamath Falls, OR 97601

or through The Mushroom Growers' Newsletter