College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Smart Bark, Straw Value, Wild Side

Smart Bark Could Mitigate Environmental Bite

Washington Technology Center has awarded $99,778 in research and technology development funding based on a proposal from WSU’s Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory in collaboration with Plant Care Technologies Corporation.

Plant Care Technologies Corporation, a start-up nursery bioproducts company located in Pullman, is partnered with the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory to study the commercial feasibility of using heat-treated waste-wood products as an alternative to traditional plant-growing media.

Washington’s sawmill industry produces 1.3 million tons of bark residues annually. Some of this forest industry byproduct is converted to a lesser-value material or used as fuel to produce steam or heat. Most is discarded as waste, creating both disposal costs and potential environmental issues.

In this Phase I project, WSU’s assistant research professor and Extension specialist Vikram Yadama and associate professor of horticulture and landscape architecture Rita Hummel plan to help Plant Care Technologies Corporation determine the feasibility of turning this bark waste material into a nutrient-supplying horticultural growing medium. The team plans to conduct a thorough analysis of the effects of thermal treatment on bark’s absorption, retention and controlled release of nutrients, herbicides and pesticides. This project is a first step in turning wood waste into a valuable commercial product for the plant materials and horticultural industries.

“This award from the Washington Technology Center underscores the pride we have in WSU and its well-earned reputation for innovative research,” said state Rep. Joe Schmick (R-Colfax), whose legislative district includes WSU’s Pullman campus. “The concepts and discoveries emerging from the partnership between the Wood Materials and Engineering Lab and Plant Care Technologies have great potential for economic development and environmental benefit.”

More information about the Research and Technology Development grants program is available at http://www.watechcenter.org/re/rtd.

Smart bark technology funded for plant care

Smart bark technology funded for plant care


Straw Residue Too Valuable to Harvest for Biofuels Production

Palouse wheat growers should think twice before harvesting crop residue for cellulosic ethanol production, says Ann Kennedy, a USDA-Agricultural Research Service soil scientist based in Pullman.

“In the more than 100 years that we have been cultivating soils in the Palouse, we have lost about half of the original organic matter,” she said. “Organic matter provides nutrients crops need; it holds water and contributes to aggregation.”

Ideally, according to Kennedy, the soils in this part of the Palouse should have about 3.5 percent organic content. In most fields, she said, it is closer to 2 percent.

“A lot of people think residue is part of organic matter,” she said, “but that is not correct. Organic matter is well-decomposed plant material and microbes. It is black and rich and gives soil its dark color.”

Tillage may mix the soil and residue too well, in essence over-feeding the microbes. The microbes will consume the incorporated residue too quickly and release most of it into the air as carbon dioxide.

“It is like going to an all-you-can-eat restaurant every day and eating too much,” she said. “You cannot adequately metabolize all the food you ate. Cultivated soil is like a ‘pig out’ for microbes. We need to constantly replenish organic matter.”

Ann Kennedy, USDA-Agricultural Research Service soil scientist

Ann Kennedy, USDA-Agricultural Research Service soil scientist


Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Snohomish County is rich with natural resources: diverse forests, wild rivers, tranquil streams, and abundant fish and wildlife. An upcoming Washington State University Snohomish County Extension field day offers kids and parents a chance to learn about the natural wonders all around and about exploring, enjoying, and protecting these treasures for future generations.

The Natural Resources Field Day will be held on Wednesday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at McCollum Park, 600 – 128th Street S.E. in south Everett. This free event is open to kids of all ages and their families and is being held in partnership with the Snohomish County Parks Department, Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, and the Stillaguamish Tribe.

Kids will have the opportunity to visit different stations to learn about forest ecology, watersheds, bugs, native plants (including ones you can eat), and how to become a Junior Stream-Keeper. Each resource station will allow kids to learn about specific natural resources in a fun, hands-on way. (Note to parents: This may involve getting dirty.)

“This is a rare opportunity for kids to experience real, hands-on, outdoor education,” said Snohomish County 4-H Natural Resources Program Coordinator Gabrielle Roesch. “If your kids like animals, exploring the outdoors, poking at creepy-crawlies, and learning how to be environmental stewards, they’ll have a great time. It is a perfect opportunity to get them outdoors to explore and learn in a safe and fun environment.”

For additional details and registration information, contact Gabrielle Roesch at (425) 357-6011 or gabrielle90@wsu.edu.

Kids have the chance to learn about forest ecology, watersheds, bugs, native plants (including ones you can eat), and how to become a Junior Stream-Keeper. Warning! This may involve getting dirty.

Kids have the chance to learn about forest ecology, watersheds, bugs, native plants (including ones you can eat), and how to become a Junior Stream-Keeper. Warning! This may involve getting dirty. Above: Snohomish River. Photo by Julie Allen/American Farmland.

CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.

FACTS

Opportunity

CAHNRS has 39 student clubs and organizations to enhance student experiences and opportunities.


Students

Fall undergradsUndergraduate Studies

Check out every department and program CAHNRS has to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

Grad student dogGraduate Studies

Students have a variety of options to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. Many of these have very specific background requirements, so we suggest exploring the individual programs for academic guidelines.

CTLLCenter for
Transformational
Learning & Leadership

The CTLL is a student, faculty, alumni and industry partner collaboration for high quality learning and leadership beyond the classroom.










CAHNRS Office of Research

Agricultural Research Center

Mission Statement

The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.

Featured Research

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

A new study by researchers at Washington State University shows that mechanical harvesting of cider apples can provide labor and cost savings without affecting fruit, juice, or cider quality.
The study, published in the journal HortTechnology in October, is one of several studies focused on cider apple production in Washington State. It was conducted in response to growing demand for hard cider apples in the state and the nation…MORE

SubsurfaceIrrigationWSU wins national award for water-saving research

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Water scarcity – one of the toughest challenges predicted for the 21st century – is being addressed by Washington State University. As part of a multistate research program, WSU is among 19 land-grant universities honored recently for their efforts to help farmers irrigate their land more efficiently, especially during droughts and water shortages.
“A safe, reliable supply of water is inextricably linked to food security,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture…MORE

Apples-USDA-ARS-350An apple a day could keep obesity away

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples – specifically, Granny Smith apples – may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in October’s print edition of the journal Food Chemistry. “We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties,” said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study’s lead researcher. “Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity.” MORE

Cooper-500New “magnifying glass” helps spot delinquency risks

By Rebecca E. Phillips, University Communications

PULLMAN, Wash. – Drug abuse, acts of rampage – what’s really the matter with kids today? While there are many places to lay blame – family, attitude, peers, school, community – a new study shows that those risks vary in intensity from kid to kid and can be identified.

Scientists at Washington State University and Pennsylvania State University have found a way to spot the adolescents most susceptible to specific risk factors for delinquency MORE

Beef-cattle-from-iStock-photos-500Food labels can reduce environmental impacts of livestock production

 “It’s important to know that small changes on the consumer side can help, and in fact may be necessary, to achieve big results in a production system,” said Robin White, lead researcher of a Washington State University study appearing in the journal Food Policy. MORE





Extension

With 39 locations throughout the state, WSU Extension is the front door to the University. Extension builds the capacity of individual, organization, businesses and communities, empowering them to find solutions for local issues and to improve their quality of life. Extension collaborates with communities to create a culture of life-long learning and is recognized for its accessible, learner-centered, relevant, high-quality, unbiased educational programs.

MudflatImpact: Burrowing Shrimp and Invasive Eelgrass

Shellfish production in Washington is a $60 million a year industry. Several major pests plague this industry, resulting in major crop loss. One of the most important pests is subterranean burrowing shrimp. These shrimp bioturbate (stir up) the sediment, causing the oysters to sink and die. For the past 60 years the industry has been using the insecticide Sevin to control this pest, but due to lawsuits its use was phased out in 2012. Without alternative control for shrimp, tens of millions of dollars in annual crop revenue will be lost and the industry will quickly lose its economic viability in southwestern Washington.

PoultryFarmImpact: The National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified agriculture as the leading contributor of pollutants to the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. These reports often do not separate animal agriculture from other agricultural enterprises, but they do note that pathogens, nutrients, and oxygen-depleting substances associated with manure are three of the top five pollutants. Some emerging issues related to manure management include: endocrine disruptors (hormones), pharmaceuticals (antimicrobials), and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Adopting farm practices that minimize the environmental impact is important for food safety.

BiosolidsImpact: Biosolids and Compost

Biosolids are the solids produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Composts are made from a variety of organic materials, including both urban and agriculture sources such as yard trimmings, biosolids, storm debris, food waste or manure, and food processing residues. While these materials have traditionally been viewed as waste, they can play a valuable role as soil amendments in urban and agricultural settings. They provide nutrients and organic matter and they sequester carbon, thereby conserving resources, restoring soils, and combating climate change.

Alumni & Friends

The WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) Office of Alumni & Friends is a service unit dedicated to promoting philanthropic support for the college’s research, teaching, and extension programs.

CAHNRS seeks $190 million through the Campaign for WSU. This unprecedented fundraising goal is managed through the CAHNRS Office of Alumni and Friends. If you would like to learn more about the CAHNRS’s fundraising priorities, please explore our website or meet the team.

Funding Priorities

Through the Campaign for Washington State University, CAHNRS and WSU Extension will play a major role in defining answers to complex issues through truly big ideas—feeding the world, powering the planet, and ensuring the health and well-being of children, families, and communities. See below to learn more about how we are addressing these issues in our strategic and on-going  initiatives and development of world-class students.

Wine_grapes03
Wine
renaissance
Organics
lentils
Pulse Crops
Mary Kay Patton
Learning & Leadership (CTLL)
WA38-RFP-1
Tree Fruit
wheat-detail
Grain
AMDT
AMDT

CAHNRS Alumni & Friends
PO Box 646228
Pullman, WA 99164-6228
PH: 509-335-2243
alumni.friends@wsu.edu

 



Faculty & Staff

Important Dates and Deadlines

Space Inventory Updates

-Due to the Dean’s Office December 1, 2014

Professional and Retraining Leave Guidelines

-Due to the Dean’s Office December 22, 2014

A-Z Index of Faculty and Staff Resources:

  • Click letters to sort alphabetically
  • Click individual items to view or download

Contact Dean’s Office:
Hulbert 421
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242
deans.cahnrs@wsu.edu
509-335-4561

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