College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

WSU’s On Solid Ground – Tree Fruit, Spuds, Don’t Drift, Water Econ 101 – Feb. 13, 2013

WSU’s Big Ideas Campaign Continues to Flourish for Fruit

cherry-st-graphicCherry and stone fruit growers throughout the state have agreed to make a $5 million investment over the next eight years at WSU research and extension centers in Prosser and Wenatchee. This builds on a similar measure voted on by apple and pear growers in 2011 to galvanize cooperation between industry and WSU in response to the university’s historic fundraising effort launched in December 2010.

“The close partnership between Washington’s tree fruit industry and Washington State University continues to be transformational,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “Working together for more than a century, we have helped to make Washington a world leader in tree fruit production. The assessment by cherry and stone fruit growers, in combination with the $27 million investment in WSU made by apple and pear growers in 2011, helps to ensure that our partnership in progress continues for an even brighter future for our state. We are extremely grateful for the industry’s confidence and investment in WSU.”

Washington State Department of Agriculture officials certified the election results Monday, Feb. 4. This substantial financial commitment comes at a time when the state’s $46 billion food and agriculture industry continues to increase its contribution to the state’s economy. Annually, the Washington tree fruit industry accounts for more than $7 billion of economic impact, with more than a third of that derived from exports.

Read the rest of the story by Brian Clark on the WSU ag news site:

WSU Potato Sprout Inhibitor Discovery Goes Commercial

spudsConsumers will soon be able to leave potatoes in their pantries a good deal longer thanks to the development of technology discovered by WSU scientists in 2005 that is now approved by the FDA and registered with the EPA to keep tubers from sprouting. Canadian and European registrations have also been filed.

The agricultural products company American Vanguard Corporation licensed the patented application of organic compounds to postharvest potatoes from WSU and conducted seven years of testing via AMVAC Chemical Corporation. The commercial version of the sprout inhibitor is called SmartBlock, which the EPA classifies as a biopesticide.

SmartBlock represents a breakthrough approach in the treatment of postharvest potatoes because it offers safe, comprehensive, long-term storage control that growers and processors can easily apply using existing equipment. AMVAC will begin marketing SmartBlock in the United States immediately.

Rick Knowles, scientist and chair of the Department of Horticulture, and Lisa Knowles, assistant research professor of horticulture, are responsible for the research leading up to SmartBlock. They found that one application of a naturally-occurring food additive to potatoes after harvest inhibited sprouting from two to three months, and two to three applications lasted more than a year. Applications also left little residue.

Economic Impacts

About half of the 9.4 billion pounds of potatoes grown in Washington each year are stored to provide a continuing supply to fresh markets and processing plants. Most varieties begin to sprout about three months after harvest. Because the excess growth hastens deterioration and reduces overall quality, growers and processors in the Pacific Northwest spend an estimated $9 million annually to inhibit sprouting of stored potatoes, said Knowles.

The new technology provides an alternative to other compounds currently used for the same purpose, and is thus expected to facilitate expansion of fresh and processed product exports, particularly to markets with strict chemical residue limits.

WSU economists recently found that the Washington potato industry contributes $4.6 billion and 23,500 jobs to the state. Anson Fatland, director of WSU Intellectual Property, said “We are very pleased to have partnered with AMVAC on the SmartBlock technology. As a result of this very productive and collaborative research relationship, additional intellectual property was developed which resulted in worldwide patent protection.”

According to Dan Bernardo, WSU’s vice president for agriculture and extension and dean of CAHNRS, “This success exemplifies the high quality research being carried out by CAHNRS faculty that has significant impact on Washington potatoes.”

–Brian Clark

Avoid Herbicide Drift

Grape showing continued 2,4-D injury the year AFTER exposure. Vines can show injury for several years due to one exposure. Photo: Jay W. Pscheidt, Oregon State Univeristy, from the PNW Plant Disease Handbook,
Grape showing continued 2,4-D injury the year AFTER exposure. Vines can show injury for several years due to one exposure. Photo: Jay W. Pscheidt, Oregon State Univeristy, from the PNW Plant Disease Handbook,

Herbicide applicators are responsible for managing and controlling off-target drift. As spring–-and one of the two times of year when drift is most likely to occur-–approaches, WSU Extension educators are offering recommendations about how to avoid what can be critical damage to nearby crops, ornamental plants, humans, fish, wildlife, and water resources. Grapes, blueberries, caneberries, and nursery crops are especially sensitive to several herbicides used in agronomic crops, pasture, rangelands, forests, and rights-of-way.

WSU weed specialists advise that appropriate equipment setup, including the choice of droplet size and nozzle type, is necessary for safe and efficient application of herbicides. Other important considerations are weather conditions, cutoff dates, and formulations.

Read the rest of this story by WSU Extension weed scientist Drew Lyon and ag news writer Brian Clark at There you’ll also find a short audio clip available to use as a PSA.

Got Water?

irrigWSU Extension economists understand that water issues can be contentious in arid regions such as central Washington. That’s why our experts wrote Understanding the Relationship between Water Price, Value, and Cost, a factsheet to bring you up to speed on common-–yet frequently misunderstood-–terms used to talk about water management.

Clearly communicating about the economics of water is dependent on adequate explanation and distinction between key words such as price, value, and cost. These terms are typically used to differentiate concepts within public policy forums for water reallocation, but non-economists (including producers as well as consumers) tend to use them interchangeably. Confusion over meanings can generate arguments and create unnecessary misinterpretations. This WSU Extension factsheet explains the differences and connections between price, value, and cost in the context of water, and when each concept is relevant and when it is not. The discussion includes the relevance of water rights.

Download your free copy of FS110E at the WSU Extension Online Bookstore:

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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.



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


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.  


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


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


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.

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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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Learning & Leadership

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


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.

Featured Research

sliced pear

Research for specialty crops boosted by $1.7 million

More than $1.7 million was awarded to Washington State University for specialty crop research including berries, potatoes, grapes, tree fruit, onions, carrots and Christmas trees.
Western bluebird with cricket. Photo by flickr user Kevin Cole.

Weighing the benefits, risks of wild birds on organic farms

Washington State University researchers will help organic growers protect human health by assessing the risks and benefits of wild birds on organic farms. Researchers received nearly $2 million from the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative to conduct the study.
Moyer Testimony 9.29.15

VIDEO: Jim Moyer testifies on specialty crop research before House Agriculture Committee

Jim Moyer, associate dean of research for CAHNRS and director of the Agricultural Research Center at WSU, presented specialty crop research innovations in Washington, D.C. this fall.
Winter Wheat May 2014 by McFarland

‘A quiet crisis’: The rise of acidic soil in Washington

Gary Wegner first noticed the problem in 1991, when a field on his family’s farm west of Spokane produced one-fourth the usual amount of wheat. Lab tests revealed a surprising result: the soil had become acidic.

Study: Small railroads important but costly to upgrade

More than half of Washington’s short-line rail miles aren’t up to modern standards, according to a recent study by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State University Freight Policy Transportation Institute.
A grizzly bear with her cubs at the WSU bear center.

Single hair shows researchers what a bear has been eating

By looking at a single hair, U.S. and Canadian researchers can get a good idea of a grizzly bear’s diet over several months.


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.

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Alumni & Friends

What are you thankful for?

This holiday season, we know who we are thankful for—YOU!
Our family, friends, supporters, and alumni are so important to CAHNRS.
We have created a video that helps explain why.

You were an integral part in helping us complete the successful
Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas.
Over 9,700 donors contributed more than $250 million to CAHNRS,
a quarter of the WSU Campaign goal of $1 billion.
Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And for that, we thank you.

Your friends in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Contact Us

CAHNRS Alumni & Development
PO Box 646228
Pullman, WA 99164-6228
PH: 509-335-2243

Faculty & Staff

Important Dates and Deadlines

August 24, 2015

  • Tenure and Promotion Documents need to be submitted to the Dean’s Office

September 10, 2015

  • Fall Festival


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

Lisa Johnson:
Assistant to the Dean
Hulbert 421C
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242

How many varieties of wheat has WSU developed?



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