First Dean’s Excellence Scholarship winner breaks down barriers to education
Shima Bibi is a pioneer and a scientist. From rural Pakistan to Washington State University, she is pursuing her passion for discovery, working to improve global health and help girls in her home country reach their potential.
The first recipient of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences Dean’s Excellence Scholarship, Bibi will earn her doctorate in food science this fall. She is the first woman in her family and her home village to earn a PhD.
Read more here.
new Ag Tech, Production Management Program
Faculty, staff and students can help envision what WSU’s new Agriculture Technology & Production Management program will look like, at a conversation and visioning session, 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 27, at Ensminger Pavilion.
Agricultural industry members, alumni, students, and the college are helping build a strategic vision for the AgTM program for the next 20 years. Facilitated by Ray Ledgerwood, WSU Ag Mechanization alum, input will help the college build on success to make AgTM a premier program in preparing students for the agriculture industry.
Register by June 20. Learn more here.
WSU-led study focuses on global picture of biodiversity, agroecosystems
An international team of scientists led by Washington State University has found that insects and other arthropods crucial to the global food supply are boosted by diversified farming systems.
The study, led by WSU post-doctoral researcher Elinor Lichtenberg and published recently in Global Change Biology, demonstrates the vital interconnection between arthropods that promote the growth of food and the habitat that lures them.
Sixty-four scientists, including WSU entomologist David Crowder, reviewed more than three decades of research examining whether certain farming practices alter arthropod populations in agricultural fields.
Read the paper here.
Training planned for positive Indian parenting facilitators
WSU Extension hosts a Positive Indian Parenting Facilitator Training session, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 20-22, in Spokane.
Facilitators help train parents to explore the values and attitudes expressed in traditional American Indian child-rearing practices and apply them to modern parenting. Extension will bring in a trainer from the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) for the sessions.
Training, lunches and refreshments are free, thanks to funding from the Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery. Attendees are responsible for their own transportation, lodging and meals outside of the training.
Seating is limited to 30 participants; pre-registration is required. Contact Kayla Wells-Moses, FCS Educator with WSU Colville Reservation Extension, (509) 634-2306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oilseed field tours highlight
large-scale winter canola trials
Faculty from the Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) project, as well as University of Idaho faculty, WSU grad students, industry, and first-time and experienced canola growers all shared information about winter canola production at tours in late May near Odessa, St. John and Ralston.
With funding from Viterra, Inc., the WOCS team established large-scale variety trials at each location, so attendees were able to learn about weed control options, yield potential, shatter resistance, and other traits. Phosphorus nutrition, cropping systems and residue management, and UI and WSU variety trials were featured specifically on the irrigated Odessa tour.
Additional topics on the tours included tips about fertilizer placement and canola seedling growth, nitrogen timing and rate, canola marketing, canola diseases and pests, blackleg scouting, dual-purpose winter canola, and the formation of a regional Canola Association.
Participating WOCS faculty members included Rachel Bomberger, Bill Schillinger, Karen Sowers and Haiying Tao.
Tentative dates for tours of the large-scale spring canola variety trials are June 21 at Walla Walla, June 27 at Almira, and June 29 at Fairfield. Updates will be posted on the WOCS website and on their Facebook page.
Extension, WSU Metro Center
to host Nat’l Urban Conference
WSU Extension will host the 2019 National Urban Extension Conference in Seattle. The conference has not visited the West since 1996.
The WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension will be the local host in collaboration with the National Urban Extension Leaders.
The Metro Center welcomes individuals to join the planning committee to showcase CAHNRS’ work and impact in metropolitan communities across the state. To get involved, send an email to Metro.Center@wsu.edu with ‘NUEC19’ as the subject.
The conference is slated for May 14, 2019. Learn more here.
New video looks at spring canola
WSU’s Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) project collaborated with the CAHNRS Communications video team to produce a new video, “Spring Canola Production in Eastern Washington.”
Three growers who hosted the WOCS 2016 large-scale spring canola variety trials were interviewed for the video, and there is also drone footage of the plots at each location. The video can be found on the WSU CAHNRS YouTube channel.
A companion video, “Canola Production and Research in Washington State,” was published in 2014 and features more detailed information about the WOCS project.
Kirchhoff paper sheds light on photosynthesis
Helmut Kirchhoff, associate professor at the Institute of Biological Chemistry, shares how light and environment influence plant photosynthesis in the journal “Trends in Plant Science.”
The new paper, “Sublocalization of cytochrome b6f complexes in photosynthetic membranes,” examines the relationship between structure and function in photosynthetic membranes that plants use to convert sunlight into chemical energy, ultimately fueling all life on our planet.
“Photosynthetic membranes have an intricate structure divided in strictly stacked and unstacked regions,” said Kirchhoff. “For a long time, no one knew where cytochrome b6f complexes were found in these membranes. Their exact location controls vital functions of photosynthesis. Our paper presents a conclusive hypothesis on how these complexes of protein are distributed, and how this distribution is controlled by light.”
CTLL session helps faculty lift students to success
Director Denise Yost and Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership faculty members Mary Kay Patton, Anna Whitehall and Caitlin Bletscher led an intensive faculty training session on WSU’s Transformational Change Initiative grant, May 23 and 24 at WSU Tri-Cities.
The two-day event helped 25 faculty members from WSU Tri-Cities and Vancouver learn to implement the faculty development portion of the grant, called LIFT—Learn. Inspire. Foster. Transform. LIFT fellows from these campuses as well as the Pullman campus will begin classroom implementations this fall.
Learn more about the Transformational Change Initiative, which helps faculty support graduates who are positioned for lifelong success, here.
Awards and Grants
Bread Lab, Steve Lyon land ‘Washingtonian of the Day’ award
For helping farmers and bakers get their hands on western Washington’s first original wheat variety, WSU Bread Lab’s Steve Lyon was named “Washingtonian of the Day.”
A senior scientific assistant at the Skagit Valley-based research center, Lyon won the informal honor from Jay Inslee during the Washington governor’s May 15 Bread Lab tour. Lyon shared samples of bread baked from a new hard red winter wheat variety, dubbed Skagit 1109, while also sharing details with Inslee on what makes 1109 special.
“At the Bread Lab, we take wheat all the way from seed to the final product—the loaf of bread,” said Lyon. “We send our new varieties to farmers and bakers and let them decide which ones they like best. It’s all about that end use.”
Read more here.
John Deere Gold Award
for CPAAS’ Qin Zhang
Qin Zhang, professor and director of the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, has won the John Deere Gold Medal Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
The award honors achievement in engineering for improved manipulation, use and conservation of soil and water, and application of a new concept or product that advances the development of agriculture. Zhang will receive the award at the Society’s Annual International Meeting, Wednesday, July 19, in Spokane, Wash.
Zhang has pioneered technologies, such as tractor auto-steering and targeted sprayer technologies, that have transformed the agriculture industry. Auto-steering, for example, has been praised as the most effective precision technology by many farmers for reducing overlap and eliminating skips, cutting costs on labor, fertilizer, and fuel.
Ag Association awards for Kerr, Higginbotham,
McMoran, Carter, Murray and Wohleb
Susan Kerr, Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist, led CAHNRS recipients earning awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Kerr was a regional award winner for Audio Recording for “Getting Started with Sheep and Goats—Building a Herd or Flock”; a national finalist in the Fact Sheet category for the same project; and a national finalist for: Published Photo & Caption for her cover photo of Oregon Small Farm News, Vol. XI No. 4, Fall 2016; Team Newsletter for the Oregon Small Farms Newsletter; and Publication for “West Nile Virus: Protect Your Horses from West Nile Virus.” Her WSU co-authors on this publication were Todd Murray and Dave Pehling. Kerr worked with multiple Oregon State University collaborators on her audio recording, fact sheet, and newsletter projects.
Ryan Higginbotham, assistant professor and director of the WSU Cereal Variety Testing Program, was a national finalist for Feature Story, for “Elect the best varieties for you…and the industry.”
He was also a region winner for Bound Book, for the title “Cereal Variety Performance Trials 2016,” and for Web Site/Online Content, for the variety selection site at WSU Wheat and Small Grains.
Don McMoran, Skagit County Extension director, was a state winner for Extension Education Poster Presentation, with the option to advance to nationals, for “WSU Water Irrigation System Efficiency (WISE).” He was also a state winner for Search for Excellence in Forestry & Natural Resources, for the WISE project, and for Search for Excellence in Young, Beginning, or Small Farmers/Ranchers, for “Skagit Young Farmer Group.”
Paul Carter, regional Extension agronomist in agriculture and precision farming, was a state winner for Applied Research Poster Presentation, with the option to advance to nationals. His entry was “Amending Soils for Sustainable Dryland Wheat Production in the Inland Pacific Northwest.”
Todd Murray, director of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Program Unit, was a state winner for Search for Excellence in Consumer & Commercial Horticulture, for “Exotic Pest Detection and Outreach.”
Carrie Wohleb, Regional Vegetable Crops Specialist, was a national finalist for Individual Newsletter, for “WSU Potato Pest Alert.”
Congrats to Gray, Lane
for Ag Agents awards
Sheila Gray, director of Lewis County Extension, is the recipient of the 2017 National Association of County Agricultural Agents’ Distinguished Service Award for Washington State.
The award honors professionals with more than 10 years of service in cooperative Extension who show excellence in their field.
Gray has been with WSU Extension for 22 years. She is a member of the state and national agents’ associations.
Gray joins Trevor Lane, Ferry County Extension director, who will also travel to the NACAA conference this July in Salt Lake City to receive his Achievement Award (see May issue).
Tree Fruit team wins national award for website
The WSU Extension Tree Fruit team, led by Karen Lewis, is the recipient of a national Extension materials award from the American Society for Horticultural Science, for their WSU Tree Fruit website.
The award will be presented on Friday, September 22, at the 2017 ASHS Annual Conference in Wailoloa, Hawaii. Team members include Rob Blakey, Tianna DuPont, David Granatstein, Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel, Wendy Jones, Karen Lewis, Jim McFerson, Ines Hanrahan, Tory Schmidt and Tom Auvil. Lee Kalcsits and Danial Bleile were also involved in the project, which was made possible by support from the WSU Tree Fruit Endowment.
The WSU website was chosen for this national award out of more than twenty entries from land-grant universities across the United States.
Learn more about the society here.
Extension pub by Musacchi, Whiting gains national award
A regional publication, “Cherry Training Systems,” by contributors Stefano Musacchi and Matt Whiting, researchers in the Department of Horticulture, was selected by the American Society for Horticultural Sciences to receive the national Extension division materials award.
The publication, PNW 667, also included authors Lynn Long of Oregon State University and Greg Lang of Michigan State University.
Read the publication here.
Foresters receive awards from natural resource association
Two Extension faculty members won awards this year from the Association of Natural Resource Professionals for their efforts connecting with small forest landowners.
Kevin Zobrist, associate professor and Extension Forester, received a Silver Award with Oregon State’s Lauren Grand for their project, “Property Ownership and Land-Use History for your Forest Stewardship Plan.” This series offers step-by-step instructions for completing an ownership and land-use history, explaining how to use records websites for King, Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties.
Zobrist also received a Bronze Award with Grand for their project, “Reducing Fire Risk to your Western Washington Home in the Woods.”
Andy Perleberg, WSU Regional Extension Specialist and Forestry Team Leader, received the silver award for a series of aricles for the Woodland Fish and Wildlife Group. Authors sharing this award include Nicole Strong, Richard Zabel, Ken Bevis, Steve Gibbs, Tami Miketa, Brad Siemens, Susan Barnes, Jimmy Taylor, Misty Seabolt, Fran Cafferata Coe, Julie Woodward, Dana Sanchez, Carri Gaines, Michael Ahr, Jim James, Rhidian Morgan, Jennifer Weikel, Ryan Gordon, Nicole Ahr, Candice Polisky, Dominic Bachman, and Rod Pfeifle.
A series of “how-to” publications that help small forest owners in the Pacific Northwest, more than 20 of these titles cover fish and wildlife habitat, management considerations and practical advice for landowners. View them at www.woodlandfishandwildife.com.
Entomologists gain grants for legume, fruit, mint projects
Researchers with the Department of Entomology won more than $650,000 in funding for legume, tree fruit and mint research.
• Assistant Professor Dave Crowder received a $474,850 grant from USDA-NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to explore mechanisms in plant-virus-herbivore interactions in legume crops.
• Vince Jones, professor at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, received a $73,242 grant from the Washington State Tree Fruit Commission for development and validation of a precision pollination model. He also received a $66,378 grant from the commission to develop and validate models for tree fruit.
• Extension Entomologist Doug Walsh received five grants totaling $44,511 from the Washington Mint Commission for projects studying mint.