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.

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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.

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With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, CAHNRS is one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU.

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CAHNRS students are awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships annually.

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CAHNRS leads in discovery through its high-quality research programs. In 2014, CAHNRS received research funding exceeding $81.5M. This accounts for nearly 40% of all research funding received by WSU.  

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4-H Youth Development Program Associate Director (pdf)
Position # 124955



CAHNRS Academic Programs

Fall undergradsUndergraduate Studies

Check out what our academic departments and programs have to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

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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.

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Inspiring Teamwork - Arron Carter pic

Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter

It started with a car, a ’69 Corvette Stingray to be exact.

When Arron Carter, the director of the Washington State University Winter Wheat Breeding Program, was in high school his agricultural teacher had a ’69 Corvette Stingray. Every year this teacher would let his favorite senior take the car to senior prom. Carter had never taken an agriculture class before, but he knew he wanted to drive that car.

“Well, if I’m going to be the favorite senior,” Carter said to himself, “I’d better start taking some ag classes.”…

Read More: Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter

 










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.

Research Update

Washington State University’s screening continues to find no evidence of glyphosate herbicide resistance in Pacific Northwest wheat varieties

In each of the last three years (2014, 2015 and 2016), the field screening process has involved over 80 varieties, 2,000 advanced breeding lines and more than 35,000 individual plots from WSU cereal breeding and variety evaluation programs. Collectively, varieties included in these trials represent over 95 percent of the wheat acreage planted in Washington.

Featured Research

Want fries with that? Stealth potato virus threatens industry

Newly emerged viruses threaten the U.S. potato industry, including potatoes grown in Washington. Several newly evolved strains of the disease known as potato virus Y, or PVY, can render potatoes unmarketable and reduce crop yield. What’s worse is the new viruses are particularly difficult to detect with the naked eye.

Horned larks undeterred by efforts to protect canola seedlings

Horned larks are turning up in droves near Lind, Wash. and decimating newly planted winter and spring canola fields despite multiple efforts to deter them.

In search of the perfect steak

Imagine taking your first bite of a $40 rib-eye steak—only to chew on beef that’s as tough as shoe leather. Talk about disappointment! “A tough steak is not a pleasant experience,” says Frank Hendrix, a WSU Extension Educator and animal scientist.

Workshops to discuss changing water forecast for Columbia Basin

How changing water availability in the Columbia River Basin could affect people, farms and fish is the focus of a series of free public workshops in June. Scheduled for June 21, 22 and 23 in Richland, Wenatchee and Spokane, the workshops give a first look at the 2016 Columbia River Basin Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast.

After landslide, communities rewarded for resilience

Two years after the deadly landslide that devastated the Oso, Wash., area, the towns of Darrington and Arlington were announced April 27 as finalists in the America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition.

$11M funds food safety tech transfer to markets

WSU aims to meet growing demand for safe, high quality, additive-free packaged foods thanks to two recent investments in innovative food processing technology based on microwave energy.




Alumni & Friends

Welcome to alumni, friends, and supporters of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). You are a core part of our CAHNRS Coug family and have made major impacts in our college, communities, and throughout the world. We recognize only a handful of them here.

More than 9,000 alumni and friends contributed to our Campaign for WSU, the most ambitious fundraising effort in university history. The campaign concluded in 2015 with $215 million and endless amounts of impact. Here is a glimpse of what transpired in the Campaign.

Although the campaign concluded, momentum continues to make a difference in our land-grant mission and education. On-going investment in time and resources from our alumni and friends helps to advance our best programs, attract the most talented faculty, and support our brightest students.

There are so many ways to stay involved with CAHNRS. Share your news in the college’s magazine ReConnect. Get involved with student success or support our college as whole by making a gift to the CAHNRS Excellence Fund.

 

Contact Us

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







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

Lisa Johnson:
Assistant to the Dean
Hulbert 421C
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242
janowski@wsu.edu
509-335-3590







How many varieties of wheat has WSU developed?

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