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 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.
Consumers 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.
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.”
Avoid Herbicide Drift
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 http://bit.ly/driftprevention. There you’ll also find a short audio clip available to use as a PSA.
WSU 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.
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.
Rotating cover crops in tulip fields shows promise for fighting disease in the economically important flower bulb, according to early research findings at the Washington State University research center in Mount Vernon.
You generally don’t find livestock among the hills in the Palouse region of eastern Washington where grain is grown. But wheat farmers Eric and Sheryl Zakarison are changing that – and making a profit.
The watermelon crop has declined dramatically in Washington because of disease. But Washington State University researchers are developing a solution that involves grafting watermelon plants onto squash and other vine plant rootstocks. “We’ve lost about ...
Gender and personality matter in how people cope with physical and mental illness, according to a paper by a Washington State University scientist and colleagues at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Men ...
The Rock Doc is a nationally syndicated newspaper column written by Dr. Kirsten Peters, covering many scientific and research related topics in a upbeat and entertaining fashion. Dr. Peter’s humor and anecdotes help to bring these stories to a public audience by showing how they affect everyday life. The most recent articles are linked below.
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.
Being a CAHNRS Coug is about having a life-changing experience and having fun along the way. With an endless array of subjects to study, students can explore a variety of topics until they focus on that area that truly excites them. We include ample opportunities to learn outside the classroom, because we not only believe it’s a better way to learn, it makes for a more meaningful and enjoyable college experience.
The Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership makes it possible for students to secure that job-landing internship, experience another culture in the southern hemisphere, unlock their leadership potential through seminars and workshops, and find a mentor to coach them through their academic experience.
CAHNRS knows how to throw a party, and there is not greater time to celebrate than when our students return to campus. Free food (including Ferdinand’s Ice Cream), swag from each of our student clubs, activities, and a drawing for $1,000 scholarships—its all part of our annual Fall Festival. And we just don’t limit the event to our CAHNRS majors, we welcome everyone across campus to learn more about what our college offers.
CAHNRS Office of Research
Agricultural Research Center
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.
Pullman, Wash. – You generally don’t find livestock among the hills of the Palouse region of eastern Washington where grain is grown. But wheat farmers Eric and Sheryl Zakarison are changing that – and making a profit.
On 100 of their 1,300 family owned acres, they are experimenting with a rather unconventional scheme for the region – growing wheat, peas, perennial grasses like alfalfa and sheep in a tightly integrated system. MORE
The watermelon crop has declined dramatically in Washington because of disease. But Washington State University researchers are developing a solution that involves grafting watermelon plants onto squash and other vine plant rootstocks.
“We’ve lost about a third of our state’s watermelon production over the last 10 years because of Verticillium wilt,” said Carol Miles, a professor of vegetable horticulture at the WSU Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon. “Growers have switched to other crops that are less susceptible.” MORE
Gender and personality matter in how people cope with physical and mental illness, according to a paper by a Washington State University scientist and colleagues at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Men are less affected by a single-symptom illness than women, but are more affected when more than one symptom is present. The number of symptoms doesn’t change how women are affected, according to Robert Rosenman, WSU professor in the Department of Economic Sciences. MORE
PULLMAN, Wash. – Researchers know that adding natural buffers to the farm landscape can stop soil from vanishing. Now a scientist at Washington State University has found that more buffers are better, both for pleasing the eye and slowing erosion.
Linda Klein, a recent doctoral graduate in WSU’s School of the Environment, worked with six other researchers at the university, plus one at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Moscow (Idaho) Forestry Sciences Laboratory, to explore the role that buffers – strips or clumps of shrubs, trees and natural vegetation – play in the landscape and in people’s visual preferences.
Klein surveyed Whitman County residents to see if conservation features made for more scenic fields and valleys. She found that Palouse residents prefer more nature with their wheat fields.MORE
By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
In the world’s driest rainfed wheat region, Washington State University researchers have identified summer fallow management practices that can make all the difference for farmers, water and soil conservation, and air quality.
Wheat growers in the Horse Heaven Hills of south-central Washington farm with an average of 6-8 inches of rain a year. Wind erosion has caused blowing dust that exceeded federal air quality standards 20 times in the past 10 years. MORE
Hulbert Hall 403 PO Box 646240 Pullman, WA 99164-6240 PH: 509-335-4563 FAX: 509-335-6751 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click to see the many ways
that WSU Extension benefits
your community and the state.
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.
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.