Browse to research genes behind healthier vegetable oil

Headshot of John Browse
John Browse

John Browse, Regents’ Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Plant Sciences at Washington State University, will investigate new ways to breed canola for healthier vegetable oils as part of a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Saturated and trans-fats in vegetable oils are a major concern for the nation’s $7.5 billion vegetable oil industry, costing farmers more than $1 billion annually in lost market share.

Research by Browse, who is part of the WSU Institute of Biological Chemistry, will help increase health benefits of oils, and help farmers by providing oils that are preferred by the consumer.

His discoveries into genes that create more “good fats” in oil crops could effectively eliminate the production of trans-fats.

Lange helps broaden involvement as Phytochemical Society president

Head shot of Mark Lange
Mark Lange

Mark Lange, professor with the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Washington State University, is advancing his research field as the current president of the Phytochemical Society of North America.

Lange, who began his year-long term in 2017, is working as president for broader participation of members in their society, which promotes research on the chemistry and biochemistry of plants.

“I am honored to lead and help broaden the impacts of the Society,” he said. “Service and involvement with this extraordinary group of international researchers helps me and my WSU colleagues become better at what we do, and also gives a great sense of satisfaction and collaboration.”

Lange seeks to improve visibility of the society among the broader scientific community, and to increase involvement by colleagues in Canada and Mexico. This year, for the first time in more than 15 years, the society’s annual meeting will be held in Mexico and includes several invited speakers from Canada and Mexico.

As society president-elect, Lange has worked to help the society become an active member of the National Plant Systems Initiative (NPSI), which is aimed at addressing urgent scientific priorities of plant science research in climate change, agricultural sustainability and food security.

He started the formation of a “President’s Club” of former presidents, and invited scientists at all stages of their careers to become part of the society’s advisory committee. Lange is also part of an effort to improve the society’s website, once again with the goal to make the society more broad-based, welcoming and impactful.

Learn more about the Phytochemical Society of North America at

Record attendance, great feedback at 2018 WSU oilseed workshops

Denise Race (Croplan by Winfield) visits about canola variety choices with Andy Juris, Bickleton farmer
Denise Race (Croplan by Winfield) visits about canola variety choices with Andy Juris, Bickleton farmer

“This is a great program and great day of learning, the diversity and knowledge base of the presenters is A+.”

“Great workshop, well worth my time. I learned several things I didn’t expect to.”

These are just a few of the many positive responses from attendees about the recent WSU Oilseed Workshops.

For the third year in a row, attendance records were at an all-time high at the annual WSU-based Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) project events.

The full-day workshops were held in Hartline, Richland, and Colfax, Wash., with 317 individual attendees, 170 of whom were attending for the first time.

“I thought it was great seeing so many growers at all the workshops, and so many of them were new faces,” said Scot Hulbert, research lead for the WOCS project.

Scot Hulbert stands and talks to a gathering of canola growers and professionals.
WSU plant pathologist Scot Hulbert speaks to growers at Colfax.

The hands-on diagnostic sessions were popular with many attendees, along with combine settings, stand establishment strategies, and canola fertility management.

“The presentations were about everything from the (seed) bag to the bin – a great learning opportunity,” commented Mike Nestor, a field agronomist with Ag Enterprise in Wilbur.

Several growers who attended the Hartline workshop agreed it was “one of the best workshops we have ever been to.”

Dan Orchard, standing, talks about world markets in front of a slideshow screen.
Canadian agronomist Dan Orchard talks about world markets

Mike Stamm is the winter canola breeder at Kansas State University and spoke at two of the workshops. He praised the WSU-WOCS team for putting on such a well-run set of workshops.

“Pacific Northwest farmers have a thirst for knowledge, and that sure makes participating worthwhile,” said Stamm. “I always learn a lot from visiting with producers from outside the Great Plains.”

Along with Stamm, the other invited speaker, Dan Orchard, also received high marks. Orchard was a favorite presenter in several sessions, including how world markets relate to U.S. and Canadian canola markets, and how to reach a higher canola yield goal.

Presentations from the workshops are available at

Short course helps forest owners steward their lands, sustainably

winter forest trees covered by snow and sunlightTo help forest owners plan for their forests, WSU Extension Forestry and the Washington Department of Natural Resources host a series of weekly classes, March 19 to May 7 in Cle Elum, Wash.

In the Coached Planning Short Course, experts coach participants as they develop simple management plans for their forests.

Owners learn how to keep their forest healthy, enhance wildlife habitat, protect their land from wildfire, and harvest timber sustainably. Also covered are forest ecology and soils, fish and wildlife habitat, cultural resources, special forest products, forest recreation; and many other topics.

Course fee is $75 per person, family or land parcel. Participation is limited to 30 registrants on a first-come, first-served basis upon receipt of the registration and fee. Classes will be held weekly on Monday evenings from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the Cle Elum Ranger Station in Cle Elum, WA.

This course has not been held in Kittitas County for 20 years.

To learn more, call the WSU Extension office at (509) 667-6540. To download a brochure/ registration from the web, go to

‘Working Forests’ workshop helps owners protect their land

Man cutting a branch with chainsawWSU Extension’s Working Forests For Landowners Workshop is Saturday, March 24, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds Youth Building in Dayton, Wash.

Natural resources professionals will share fundamental information to help landowners set and achieve goals, protect the health and beauty of their forests, protect their financial investments, and reduce risk.

Forests can provide both a lifestyle and living, but that almost always requires “active management” – actions such as timber harvesting, tree planting, thinning, grazing, weed control, and other activities for improving wildlife habitat, controlling erosion, fire suppression and fuel treatment, and road and trail maintenance.

Active management creates healthy forests that resist tree-killing insect infestations, diseases and wildfire, and become good wildlife habitat.

Early-bird registration is $10 per person, or $20 per family by March 20, or $20 per person/$30 per family after March 20. Lunch can be purchased for an additional $10, to benefit the local Future Farmers of America, and must be purchased by March 20

To learn more, call WSU Extension at (509) 667-6540.

Information and registration is available at or at your local WSU Extension office.

Get fit, feel better with CAHNRS Evening Exercise classes

Head shot of Robert Yarbrough
Robert Yarbrough

CAHNRS Faculty/Staff Evening Exercise is held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Hulbert Room 27.

Held since 2015, the class is taught by CAHNRS staff member Robert Yarbrough a certified group fitness and Tai Chi instructor, , and is approved by the WSU Registrar’s Office, the WSU Office of Risk Management, and the Attorney General’s Office. All staff, faculty, and students are welcome, and drop-ins are encouraged. Classes are free to attend.

Staff Evening Exercise benefits those who spend most of their day sitting, or who suffer from mobility issues, who would like basic movement exercise options without the need to attend a fitness class at University Recreation or a gym.

A low-impact/low-cardio dance exercise, Zumba Gold, is held every Tuesday and Thursday. Routines, including swing, salsa, cha-cha, tango and folk movements, are easy to follow and designed for older populations.

A meditative movement class, Tai Chi for beginner and intermediate level, is held on Wednesdays. This class is aimed at those who wish to maintain and regain energy and balance, lower their blood pressure, or just feel better.

Governors discuss leadership, balance at Ruckleshaus Center joint luncheon

Picture of Gary Locke, Christine Gregoire and Slade Gorton, with a forum speaker, in front of a large screen showing host organizations.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, the William D. Ruckelshaus Center and the Slade Gorton International Policy Center featured former Washington State Governors Daniel Evans, Christine Gregoire, and Gary Locke, at their fifth annual joint luncheon.

The luncheon was titled “Statespersonship from the Governor’s Mansion: A New Role for the States,” featured a discussion moderated by Renee Radcliff Sinclair of TVW.

The former governors reflected on their views and personal experiences in governing the state, and how the balance of power and leadership between state governments and the federal government may be changing.

The event can be viewed on the Ruckelshaus Center site or the TVW website.

The Ruckleshaus Center is a joint effort of WSU Extension and the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

2018 WSU oilseed workshops in full swing

A field of bright yellow canola grows at St. John, Wash.
Canola grows at St. John, Wash. WSU researchers have begun their 2018 workshops across the region, sharing information and advances.

The WSU-based Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems project hosts its annual canola/oilseed workshops in January, with the first one already in the books at Hartline on Jan. 22.

At Hartline, more than 120 producers, crop consultants, university faculty and students, and agency representatives learned about all aspects of oilseed production and marketing.

Hands-on diagnostic sessions with live canola plants, demonstrations of harvest loss and stand establishment, and posters about current Northwest university oilseed research were among the many tools used to educate attendees.

Faculty, staff and students involved in the workshops from CAHNRS include Rachel Bomberger, Ian Burke, Dave Crowder, Aaron Esser, Scot Hulbert, Isaac Madsen, Rachel Olsson, Michael Neff, Tim Paulitz, Marissa Porter, Dennis Roe, Bill Schillinger, Karen Sowers, Haiying Tao, Dale Whaley, and Rachel Zuger.

Two more workshops will be held this week at Richland on Jan. 24 and Colfax on Jan 25. Registration is available at the door for $25.

Registration and other information is available at For more information, contact Karen Sowers,, 808-283-7013.

Producers elected to new Pacific NW Canola Association

Producers and industry professionals check out canola specimens at a 2017 WOCS field day.

The recently formed Pacific Northwest Canola Association, which is supported by the WSU-based Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems Project, has elected 10 producer members from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington to its board of directors.

Board members include Tim Dillin of Bonners Ferry, Idaho; Dale Flikkema of Belgrade, Mont.; Ray Mosman of Nezperce, Idaho; Don Nagy of Sunburst, Mont.; Randy Perkins of Athena, Ore.; Douglas Poole of Mansfield, Wash.; Anna Scharf of Amity, Ore.; Dennis Swinger of Lind, Wash.; Jon Walters of Walla Walla, Wash.; and Kyle Wasson of Whitewater, Mont.
Crop and Soil Sciences Extension & Outreach Specialist Karen Sowers has led the effort to found the association with assistance from Oregon canola producer Anna Scharf.

The association will create a united effort from Pacific Northwest canola growers, universities, agriculture industry and agencies to address legislative needs, generate additional canola research funding, and advance the region’s canola industry.

Registration is currently open for 2018 WOCS oilseed workshops. Learn more about the Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems Project at

Wells-Moses wins national awards for parenting, financial literacy, food preservation

Kayla Wells-Moses accepts a national award at the 2017 NEAFCS conference.
Kayla Wells-Moses, right, accepts a national award at the 2017 NEAFCS conference.

Kayla Wells-Moses, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator with Colville Reservation WSU Extension, received three national awards at the 2017 National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) conference, held Oct. 16-19 in Omaha, Neb.

“I have a passion for education, and it is an honor to have my hard work recognized at the national level,” Wells-Moses said.

She received a first place National Human Development/Family Relationship Award. Established in 2012, this award recognizes effective educational programs in the field, and honors Wells-Moses’ Positive Indian Parenting program. She was invited to present a poster at the Showcase of Excellence during the NEAFCS Annual Session.

Wells-Moses won a second place National Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award, recognizing her Fundamentals of Financial Literacy program.

Additionally, she received a second place National Educational Publications Communications Award for her publication, “Making Jams, Jellies and Fruit Spreads.”

Wells-Moses teaches food safety and food preservation for youth and adults; Positive Indian Parenting classes that reinforce cultural teachings and traditional child-rearing values; and financial fitness, including educating youths about checking accounts, savings accounts and budgeting.

Learn more about Colville Reservation WSU Extension here.