February Freeze

Group of students holding award plaques
The WSU meat judging team shows ribbons and plaques from their championship wins at the National Western Stock Show, held Jan. 15, 2023, in Denver, Colo. Read more about their accomplishment on WSU Insider.

I saw perhaps the best sunset I have ever seen! Google Maps sent me the back way to Kennewick last week, and I was on WA-127 as sunset approached. The expanse of view and the colors were spectacular. I would have pulled over for a photo, but it was quite hazy. Air pollution does make for the most vibrant sunsets. These hills might be growing on me—and not just the hills.

I enjoyed meeting with faculty in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles last week. I met a few new people while at the potato and dryland wheat producer conferences and saw many new faces during a call with Master Gardener volunteers. Good conversations all around. I enjoyed learning about programs through faculty presentations, and our volunteers are impressive in their skills and commitment to the Master Gardener program! This week includes several meetings with candidates for various faculty positions. It is great to see the caliber of candidates our postings attract!

No week is ever just fun. Because of the budget realities, the chairs and directors meeting was a tough conversation. We agree that this upcoming reduction to all core funds, coupled with an anticipated partially funded mass salary increase, will be painful for CAHNRS.

Our college is not alone. The “death by a thousand papercuts” approach won’t work forever. It is time to look beyond incremental change. What exactly this means we do not yet know. At some point in the near future, difficult, transformative change is imperative. For this year, it sounds like the “across the board” approach is the path. Many more meetings are to be had. What we know at this point is the information that has been shared across the system. As a CAHNRS plan develops, we will share it with everyone.

Things are warming up this week after a chilly weekend. The weather is crazy everywhere! The WSU meat judging team was met with frigid temperatures at their competition in Fort Worth. Despite the cold, they did well once again. Congratulations to Blake Foraker and the team!

Seeing the flooding in California, and recognizing the impact on so many familiar places, including my former neighborhood, is difficult despite knowing the positive impact on reservoir balances. If there is ever a year to see Yosemite Falls, it is this spring. I am eager to hear how things go for Punxsutawney Phil later this week.