Brandon Knodel wraps year as Butch T. Coug
Brandon Knodel, senior in Agricultural Tech and Production Management, was revealed as the 2016-17 Butch T. Coug on Sunday, Feb. 26, during the WSU-University of Washington men’s basketball game at Beasley Coliseum. Knodel, a CAHNRS Ambassador from Lind, Wash., spent a year as the WSU mascot, keeping his identity secret from all but a handful of people until the big moment at halftime, when he took his mask off, and was joined by the 2017-2018 Butch mascot.
Read a profile of Knodel here.
Yost, Patton launch LIFT Faculty Fellows
Denise Yost, Director, CAHNRS’ Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership (CTLL), and Mary Kay Patton, clinical assistant professor in CTLL, launched the LIFT Faculty Fellows Program in February.
LIFT, which stands for Learn, Inspire, Foster, Transform, is a faculty development training program that is part of the larger Transformational Change Initiative at WSU. LIFT helps instructors use teaching methods that improve students’ engagement, connection, and learning, decrease course withdrawal and fail rates, and increase retention. Yost is a co-principal investigator on the initiative with Laura Hill, Human Development chair, and Samantha Swindell, clinical professor in the Department of Psychology.
The next cohort launches this fall. Upcoming workshops begin March 20. To learn more, visit the CTLL homepage.
A symphony of soil signals
in wheat science: March 21
This month, USDA and WSU scientists unveil a new high-tech tool that reveals secrets in the soil for healthier wheat.
On Tuesday, March 21, researchers in the Wheat Health Genetics and Quality Research Unit will cut the ribbon for a new, advanced mass spectrometry system. The instrument detects and identifies molecules based on their mass, allowing the team of university and USDA-Agricultural Research Service scientists, for the first time, to study the metabolome of wheat—millions of tiny compounds involved in the symbiosis of wheat, soil and microbes. Read more here.
Report highlights work to turn wood waste into jet fuel
Research at WSU to turn wood waste into jet fuel was highlighted in the latest National Institute of Food and Agriculture Annual Report, published March 3 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Last fall, Alaska Airlines flew the first commercial flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C., powered in part, by a new renewable fuel made of wood waste. The flight capped a five-year, $39.6 million research and education project, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), led by Washington State University. The research is funded by NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Read more on page 6 of the report, found here, or online at https://nifa.usda.gov/agriculture-and-food-research-initiative.
Symposium to explore spirit of ag innovation
Students and faculty can share the spirit of innovation at the Pioneering Ideas in Agriculture symposium, Friday, March 27, at the WSU CUE in Pullman.
At this, the first DuPont Pioneer Plant Science Symposium Series to be held at WSU, graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, staff, industry representatives and the public will hear from speakers at the forefront of agricultural start-up companies and build connections between universities, industry, and farms.
Admission is free, and includes a light breakfast, lunch, breaks and a social mixer. Learn more on Facebook.
Faster drop for a new crop
A startup called Phytelligence, founded by Amit Dhingra, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture, and a group of his graduate students, is using innovative technology to deliver millions of new fruit and nut trees to farmers, faster.
Phytelligence saves 50 to 100 gallons of water for every tree they produce, and also uses its genomics expertise to guarantee rootstocks are true to type.
Read more in WSU Magazine.
Plant Pathology students host visiting lecturer
Graduate students in the Department of Plant Pathology hosted Erica Goss, assistant professor with the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Florida, for their Distinguished Lecture Series, Monday, March 6.
Goss spoke on “Population Genetics and Genomics of Plant Pathogen Emergence.” More than 60 people attended the talk at Johnson Hall.
shares oilseed research, changes
The annual meeting of the WSU-based Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) Project was held Thursday, Feb. 23, at Pullman. Research and Extension reports were presented by all WOCS faculty and students, along with the latest findings from their oilseed projects that range from fallow weed control to canola variety trials.
Jim Moyer, CAHNRS Associate Dean of Research, spoke about the importance of state-funded projects such as WOCS and connecting to extramural funding. Crop and Soil Sciences Chair Rich Koenig announced that after 10 years of leading the WOCS team, Professor Bill Pan will be handing the reins over to Professor and Plant Pathology Chair Scot Hulbert to lead the research side, with Karen Sowers continuing to lead the outreach effort. The afternoon was devoted to gathering input from the 20 invited producers, industry, and the oilseed team from University of Idaho to help shape future WOCS endeavors based largely on collaborative projects. Presentations from the meeting are posted on the WOCS website.
Awards and Grants
Rodriguez, Garza earn Employee Excellence awards
Josue (Josh) Rodriguez and Raul (Rudy) Garza, farmers in the Department of Horticulture’s Columbia Basin research center in Othello, will receive 2016-17 President’s Employee Excellence Awards at the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 31, part of Washington State University’s annual Showcase celebration of faculty, staff and student achievement.
Rodriguez and Garza support the WSU potato research program, dealing with faculty engaged in research and supervising graduate students. When they work inside, it is in a bare-bones facility with no heat or air conditioning. But their work is typically done outside, in the Columbia Basin, where July temperatures can hit 100 degrees and where spring and fall rains whip sideways. Under their supervision, every aspect of the field season from planting to harvest runs smoothly.
Read more about the awards here.
honors Chi’s apparel work
Whether it’s exploring ways to “upcycle” cotton waste into valuable fibers or promoting adoption of biodegradable plastic mulch for farmers, Ting Chi is leading the way to a sustainable future for the textile and apparel industry. Now, Chi, an associate professor in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University, is garnering national recognition for his industry-changing efforts.
Chi was selected in February to receive the Mid-Career Excellence Award from the International Textile and Apparel Association, the main academic organization for textile and apparel faculty in higher education. He will be recognized at the ITAA Annual Meeting this November in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Ord to help support parents, kids with health, nutrition
Gina Ord, Yakima County Extension Director and Health & Nutrition Extension Educator, was awarded a $2,206 contract with Children’s Village of Yakima to support parents of children with special needs through health and nutrition.
Ord will teach self-care, stress management, and nutrition skills to parents of children with newly-diagnosed disabilities or complex medical conditions as part of Children’s Village’s Parent to Parent program. She will also link parents to resources offered through WSU Extension. The award is part of a $40,000 Strengthening Families Washington Group-Based Parenting and Family Support grant awarded to Children’s Village through the Washington State Department of Early Learning.
Grants help fund water, insect controls, pollinator research
More than $200,000 in grants received by WSU entomologists this winter help peas and tree fruit, pollinators and stormwater science.
• Professor and entomologist Elizabeth Beers received $2,000 from Arysta Life Science to support insect controls in tree fruit.
• Associate entomologist Doug Walsh earned a $27,375 grant from the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council to evaluate combinations of commercial inoculants and root health promoters on nodulation, root diseases, nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and yield of popular green dry pea cultivars.
• John Stark, director of the Washington Stormwater Center, received a $25,000 grant from the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife for work on the biological effectiveness of green stormwater infrastructure.
• Stark and research associate Tanyalee Erwin received a $95,000 grant from WSU Foundation and Boeing for work on “The Total Picture: Translating stormwater science into actions and implementation for business and industry.”
• Assistant professor David Crowder and doctoral scholar Elias Bloom received $93,232 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture for work on “Polycultures and pollinators: Does crop diversity promote pollination services by wild bees?”
Gardens that help families: Master Gardeners honor Pasco Lowe’s volunteers
When volunteers from the Pasco Lowe’s store built and installed nearly 100 community garden beds to help feed local families, the WSU Master Gardeners of Benton and Franklin Counties wanted to salute their efforts. On February 19, Master Gardeners presented Lowe’s staff with their 2016 Volunteer of the Year award.
More than 45 Lowe’s Heroes volunteers from the Pasco store contributed time, funds and supplies to build and install eight new food gardens over the past three years for the Master Gardeners’ Food Garden Team. These gardens contained 99 raised beds, all constructed in the Pasco store by Lowe’s Heroes. The eight new gardens support more than 100 low-income families and 200 children.
Bill Dixon, WSU Master Gardener and chair of the Food Garden Committee, estimates that each new garden bed can produce up to 100 pounds of fresh vegetables per year, saving Pasco-area families a combined $20,000 annually.
Scholars rack up wins at Winegrowers Poster contest
WSU students and professionals swept the Washington Winegrowers Association Poster competition, held in January.
Undergraduate winners were Ashley Boren in first place with “Virus and Nematode Management in Grapevine for Replant Preparation,” and Corydon Funk in second with an “Analysis of Statistical Relationships Between Bioclimatic Indices and Wine Grape Harvest Qualities.”
Graduate winners included Margaret McCoy, with “Analysis of Statistical Relationships Between Bioclimatic Indices and Wine Grape Harvest Qualities,” followed by Ben-Ming Chang and Caroline Merrell.
Professional winners included Lynn Mills, with “The WSU Cold Hardiness Program: Providing Grape Growers with Critical Temperatures and a Predicition Model during Winter.” Sridhar Jarugula and Prashant Swamy took second and third place.
See all winners and their poster topics here.