Phil Hamm will technically retire at the end of this month, but he won’t be leaving Oregon State University’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Hamm, a plant pathologist and the center’s superintendent, will drop to part time on April 1.

“I’ll be retired on April Fool’s Day, but it’s not a joke,” Hamm said Tuesday. “For the most part, folks won’t see much of a difference. I will continue to work, but I’ll be the director of this experiment station, not the superintendent.”

Hamm has served as HAREC superintendent for six years, and at his retirement, he will be less than two months away from marking 37 years with Oregon State University. After his retirement, he will continue as director with a contract with OSU for “the foreseeable future,” Hamm said, adding the agreement is designed to keep the plant pathology program operating at the Hermiston station.

“I’m doing it this way to protect the station as best I can. With economic cuts that the university has experienced, they would not be able to maintain (the plant pathologist) position,” Hamm said. “What I’m hoping to do with this semi-retirement is to maintain as much of that position as possible. We’ll still have an active plant pathology program. We have a lot of things still to do here.”

Since 1990, he has delivered more than 600 presentations in 15 states and several countries and reached more than 100,700 people, not including radio broadcasts. He is also the former chairman of the Hermiston School Board and a past president of the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.

Hamm said he plans to use his new free time to fish, travel with his wife, Linda, and work in their yard and garden.

“I’m not quitting my involvement in Hermiston. This is my town, and I’m looking forward to being more involved with the community,” he said. “I’ll never really retire. I’ll always be doing something.”

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