More than 20 early-career scientists from the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, academic institutions and non-profits learned how to identify symptoms and detect viruses in the field, in a three-day course held this spring in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The course was funded by USAID’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management (IPM IL), managed by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Rayapati co-led the course with Amer Fayad, Associate Director of IPM IL at Virginia Tech.
Course participants came away with better knowledge to protect their crops.
Learn more about WSU efforts to stop the spread of plant diseases here.
Wheat scientist Tim Murray to chair Plant Pathology
PULLMAN, Wash. —Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist Tim Murray has been named chair of Washington State University’s plant pathology department.
Renowned for his research in wheat disease management and pathogen resistance, Murray’s appointment marks the second time that he has served as department chair.
Effective July 1, 2019, Murray succeeds Interim Department Chair Lori Carris.
“Tim Murray is an experienced leader and a highly respected scientist whose research has profoundly impacted wheat disease management in the state of Washington and far beyond,” said André-Denis Wright, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “We’re thankful to outgoing chair Lori Carris for her effective leadership and for raising the impact and standing of WSU Plant Pathology at the national and international levels, and to Tim for his willingness to carry the torch of leadership once again.”
Recent retirements mean that Murray will help lead the department in hiring new faculty. It’s an opportunity he looks forward to.
“It’s always exciting to bring in new faculty,” he said, “to be part of shaping the future of the department.”
The next few years could see as many as six new faculty hires, including a new potato pathologist.
“These positions are important to agriculture in our communities and in our state, and it’s a privilege to be part of the decision-making process as department chair,” Murray said.
A WSU alumnus and career-long Coug, Murray received his bachelor’s degree in plant science from the University of California, Davis in 1979, his master’s in plant pathology from WSU in 1980, and his doctorate in plant pathology from WSU in 1983. He joined the WSU faculty that same year and served as chair of the department of plant pathology from 2000-2008.
His research focuses on wheat diseases, pathogen resistance, and sustainable methods of disease management. He is a fellow and former president of the American Phytopathological Society.
WSU senior prepares for career in international agriculture with DC fellowship
By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs
Esther Rugoli did not want her summer to start off slow.
Between online classes and research with USDA wheat breeder Kimberly Garland-Campbell and molecular geneticist Camille Steber, the senior Agricultural Biotechnology major wanted to use her free time to develop professionally and further her investment in international agriculture.
Esther was one of the 12 students, and the only undergraduate student, selected from around the United States into the forum. This year’s conference theme, Resilience in Global Food Systems, accurately reflected Esther’s commitment to not only her own education but also her future career and current passions.
As a member of WSU’s chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences, Esther already understood the importance of diversity in both national and international agriculture, but wanted to learn more. This conference was one more step in that journey. The first two days of the trip were the National Conference itself and the latter two days consisted of tours for the AIARD Future Leaders. Both showcased the importance of international agriculture and the food supply.
“The food is going down, and the population is increasing. We have to talk about how to recover from the shock,” Esther said, describing the conference theme.
To solidify this theme, the Future Leaders Forum members visited a variety of companies in Washington D.C. that work in national and international food security.
Future goals from past experiences
From a young age, food security has been important to Esther. A native of Rwanda, she grew up on her family farm and her village faced food insecurity. The hunger problems she saw that plagued her friends and family inspired her to commit herself to solve the problem through plant breeding and genetics.
She came to WSU in 2016 with a set path in mind: Bachelor’s Degree, then Masters, then off to the workforce. This conference shook up those plans and opened her eyes to the vast horizon of possibilities.
“For me to get where I want to be, it’s not a straight line. That was a big takeaway from the forum: reaching where you want to reach doesn’t always mean it’s going to be straight, and sometimes doesn’t always go how you plan it,” Esther said. “But you have to fake it till you make it to reach where you want to reach.”
She was referencing a speaker at the forum that explained the importance of flexibility.
“As long as I want something, I will do anything to achieve that thing. And that requires endurance and persistence,” she said.
Helping where it’s needed
And where Esther wants to be is an African country, preferably Rwanda, working to improve plant genetics and breeding. She hopes to take crops that are already grown in Rwanda and modify them to contain more minerals and micronutrients. To achieve this, Esther is now considering the idea of pursuing a Master’s Degree in plant genetics or breeding and a Ph.D. in a policy-related field.
Esther is grateful for the opportunity to participate within an organization that emphasizes international agriculture and teaches resiliency even when the path isn’t straight. Esther advises any student who has an interest in international agriculture to apply for next year’s conference.
“It was really life-changing. I came back more energized, more focused, and more ambitious,” Esther said. She feels ready, more now than ever, to work for what she wants.
As an added bonus, the Future Leaders ran into Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) while exploring the streets of Washington D.C. He was surprised and pleased with what this group of young adults were doing while visiting the city. He asked the group to take a selfie with him, which they excitedly agreed to. His support only solidified Esther’s commitment to her newfound ambition.
Townsend, 4-institution team earns top score at Extension summit
Patricia Townsend, a WSU Extension specialist in renewable energy and green infrastructure, was honored this spring as part of a team of extension agents creating opportunities for sustainability and change.
Townsend took part in the eXtension Foundation’s Impact Collaborative Summit this spring, as part of the National Sustainability Summit team, representing Washington State University, the University of Florida, North Dakota State University, and Florida A&M University.
Her team received the top score for the national project category during the LaunchFest portion of the Summit, an opportunity for teams to pitch their projects and programs to a panel of Cooperative Extension leaders and external partners. The group, which includes Townsend, Jennison Kipp-Searcy, Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Linda Seals, Jennifer Taylor, Kimberly Davis, and David Ripplinger, received a $5,000 grant.
The team’s project, the National Sustainability Summit, is a meeting for Extension professionals, researchers, practitioners, and partners working on the urgent issues of climate, energy, water, food, land, and community engagement. The Summit provides tools and strategies to change behaviors, driving innovation in industry and research to improve community vitality and build resilient communities.
Team members are currently preparing for the launch of the summit in 2021, identifying and beginning conversations with partners, exploring innovative approaches, and inviting proposals for the next host community. They plan to attract new attendees, particularly from land grant and Hispanic-serving institutions, who will take ideas home to ensure that impacts are felt in all communities.
A research fellow with WSU Extension’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research & Extension, Townsend works with stakeholders throughout the Pacific Northwest on issues related to renewable energy, ecosystem services, sustainable urban systems, earth abundant materials, and green infrastructure.
Townsend leads outreach for Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest, which includes energy literacy, stakeholder research, and connecting poplar growers with market opportunities. Townsend is also conducting outreach with the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, or JCDREAM, a new WSU center focused on earth-abundant materials, which can be more sustainably harnessed than rare materials.
The fall Impact Collaborative Summit will be held October 15-17, 2019, in Atlanta, Ga.
Students, advisor travel to national conference
By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs
WSU students had an opportunity to learn about professional networking in the agricultural world, compete in national contests, and enjoy all that Overland Park, Kansas had to offer at last month’s Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) national conference.
MANRRS is a non-profit organization that “promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.” MANRRS is impacting students across the United States through countless opportunities including the annual MANRRS National Career Fair & Training Conference.
Colette Casavant, an academic coordinator and advisor in CAHNRS, and 10 WSU students attended the 34th annual MANRRS conference in Kansas where they gained skills for the professional world, participated in the career fair, and much more.
Senior Letty Trejo said the workshops that she attended and the chances to learn about post-graduation opportunities stood out to her and helped her the most throughout the event. For students interested in graduate school, there were opportunities to learn more about graduate programs and speak with graduate students during mixers and networking events throughout the week.
“My biggest takeaway from the National Conference was definitely all the new skills I got to learn,” said freshman Nicole Snyder. “I got the chance to attend the National Conference in conjunction with another conference for the NAAE (National Association of Agricultural Educators), which meant that I got to expand my professionalism in multiple ways. I was able to learn professionalism for my future classroom setting as well as in the industry setting.”
Grace Murekatete, who came to Pullman from Rwanda, said the National Conference, and MANRRS in general, is a great way to get to know a variety of people, both students and faculty.
MANRRS emphasizes the importance of professional connections while providing resources to help all students advance professionally and academically.
“You’re going to make some great connections that you’ll be able to hold on to during your college experience that will benefit you in the future,” said senior Adrian Lopez.
Overall, students had an incredible experience while at the conference. They look forward to the year to come and all the opportunities they will have the chance to take advantage of through this organization.
Best and brightest of CAHNRS honored at 2019 Faculty & Staff Awards
Helping peers, students and their world, ten individuals and a team of researchers and students were singled out for their exceptional contributions to the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, at the college’s Faculty and Staff Awards presentation, Tuesday, April 23, at Ensminger Pavilion.
Now in its fourth year, the event recognizes the best and brightest of CAHNRS, said host André-Denis Wright, Dean of CAHNRS.
2019 Award winners include:
R.M. Wade Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence: Jim Durfey, Senior Instructor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and leader of the Agriculture Technology and Management Program.
Students in Agriculture Technology and Management, or AgTM, learn how to mesh precision agriculture, electronics and data skills with crop science, finance and real estate to run the farms of the future. As a senior instructor, Durfey teaches 20 or more credits worth of courses each academic year, while mentoring students in a variety of experiential and independent-learning situations. He is also the sole advisor of the approximately 100 students in the program, providing career guidance.
Team Interdisciplinary Award: Honey Bee Health Team; Steve Sheppard, Brandon Hopkins, Tim Lawrence, Susan Cobey, Jennifer Han, Nicholas Naeger, Erin O’Rourke.
Sheppard oversees a prestigious honey bee breeding program that enhances U.S. breeding stock by importing germplasm from bees’ native ranges, while Hopkins is a world leader in germplasm cryopreservation and the use of controlled atmosphere facilities for overwintering and disease treatment.
Lawrence’s Extension program focuses on the impacts of humans on pollinators, working with pesticide applicators, growers, and the public to reduce pesticide exposure and improve pollinator habitat. Cobey is a leading authority in instrumental insemination and controlled breeding in bee populations, while Han is leading work to develop a biological control agent against the Varroa mite, a devastating parasite.
Naeger spearheads research into treatments for honey bee viruses that have recently swept through U.S. bee populations. Finally, O’Rourke manages the bee diagnostic clinic, providing vital information to beekeepers as they manage the many threats facing bees.
Faculty Excellence in Research Award: Tom Marsh, Distinguished Professor, School of Economic Sciences, and Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.
Researching the economics of international trade, natural resources and global health, Marsh teaches doctoral courses in econometrics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member and part of the Board of Directors of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.
Excellence in Advising Award: Brenda Boyd, Associate Professor, Department of Human Development.
Specializing in early childhood education, Boyd has helped advance the professional status of those who teach our youngest learners for her entire career. She has directed Human Development’s Child Development Lab for 15 years, and serves as the Executive Director of the WSU Children’s Center. She also leads the Early Childhood Education certificate program, and is the academic advisor for all Human Development majors pursuing that certificate. Boyd is past president of the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children and of the Washington Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Council.
Early Career Excellence Award: Mike Pumphrey, Associate Professor, Crop and Soil Sciences; O.A. Vogel Endowed Chair of Spring Wheat Breeding and Genetics.
Developing resilient, high-quality spring wheat varieties for diverse Northwest production environments, Pumphrey has released eight wheat varieties since 2012, which account for approximately 60 percent of spring wheat production acres in Washington state. He has active research, funded by diverse sources, focused on genetic understanding and improvement of resistance to challenges such as stripe rust and Hessian fly, as well as stable falling numbers, improved wheat quality, and better understanding of yield-related traits. He currently teaches an undergraduate course in Crop Growth and Development, and a graduate course in Advanced Plant Breeding.
Land Grant Mission Award: Kate Evans, Professor, Department of Horticulture.
Evans has led WSU’s apple breeding program since 2008 and established an industry-funded pear rootstock breeding program in 2015. As a result of national and international collaborations, her apple program was the first to use DNA-informed seedling selection for fruit quality. The latest release from the apple program, Cosmic Crisp®, has an unprecedented level of industry adoption with more than 5 million trees destined for planting by spring 2019. Evans is chair of the U.S. Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee, leading the effort to assess U.S. plant breeding capacity and solve plant breeding problems.
Faculty Excellence in Extension Award: Doug Collins, Extension specialist soil scientist, Food Systems Program, WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center.
Collins focuses on managing and monitoring soil fertility on diverse organic vegetable farms, and evaluating soil quality in different vegetable cropping systems. He is interested in soil variability across landscapes, as well as biological indicators of soil quality, and currently serves on the organic advisory board for the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Administrative Professional Staff Excellence Award: Lisa Clyde, Administrative Manager, Department of Human Development.
Co-located at WSU Pullman, WSU Vancouver, and the WSU Global campuses, Human Development includes the WSU Children’s Center and the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership, and is the administrative department for the interdisciplinary Prevention Science Graduate Program. Clyde provides vital support for personnel searches, budgets, contracts, grants, property inventory, and more, as well as back up for graduate program coordination.
Administrative Professional Technical Staff Excellence Award: Ronald Nugen, Senior Scientific Assistant, Institute of Biological Chemistry.
Nugen is responsible for designing, maintaining and repairing research instruments within the Institute. His education and experience, combined with self-motivation, intelligence, creativity and safety consciousness make him an important team member for the Institute. Hired by Facilities Operations in 1997, and earning his bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering while employed there, he holds a pilot’s license and a low-voltage electrician’s license.
Classified Clerical Fiscal Staff Excellence Award: Andrew Lewis, Fiscal Specialist, WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center.
Lewis provides fiscal administrative support to the faculty, staff and students of Puyallup, Mount Vernon NWREC and CSANR. Drew also participates in the Collegiality Initiative, as well as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, advancing university efforts to embrace its diversity and promote a culture of inclusion for all Puyallup students, faculty, administration and staff.
Classified Technical Staff Excellence Award: Tonia Green, lab manager and research intern, WSU-UI School of Food Science.
Green has supported research in crop and soil science, and currently in the School of Food Science. Green currently works with Associate Professor Meijun Zhu, supporting the work of many graduate-level students, visiting scholars and scientists from around the world. The lab covers a wide range of food safety issues, including apple post-harvest processing and storage.
Through gleaning, twin Clallam Extension volunteers help community access healthy foods
Sharah Truett, volunteer Gleaning Coordinator with Clallam Extension, wrote the story featuring twin sisters Dianna Sarto and Deborah Harrison, who glean fruits and vegetables through Extension.
Gleaning refers to the harvesting of extra or left-over crops from gardens, orchards and farms. Gleaners help ensure everyone has access to food.
As shared in Truett’s story, Sarto and Harrison began gleaning about four years ago.
“We leap at any opportunity that comes along to partake of homegrown fruits and veggies,” Harrison said. “The taste is so much better.
“The WSU Extension Gleaning Program is kind of like a fruit and veggie classified service,” states Truett. “It links up volunteer pickers with homeowners who have leftover produce in their yard and don’t want to see it go to waste,” Truett added.
Her program includes about 100 active gleaners, many of them seniors, but people of any age are welcome.
Once they’ve picked the food, gleaners keep about half of their harvest, but donate the rest to those in need, through city and Tribe food banks, senior centers and elementary schools.
Gleaning “has awakened me to the changing seasons and the natural cycles of life and especially the generosity of the land and the people who live here,” Sarto says in the story.
Truett’s story shares the experience and benefits of her program, and appears in Lifelong Journey, Peninsula Daily News’ senior publication. You can read it here.
Learn more about Clallam County Extension’s gleaming program here.
Extension Emeritus Don Hanley named Forester of the Year
Honored for more than 30 years of service to the people and forests of Washington, emeritus Washington State University Extension Forester Don Hanley is the newest Forester of the Year.
Chosen by the Washington State Society of American Foresters this spring, Hanley is an educator and guide to forest owners, professionals and residents, helping Washingtonians steward, protect and pass on their natural resources.
“My 30-plus years as an Extension forester gave me the wisdom and experience to help Washington forest owners and professional foresters achieve their goals, and help society get the most from our forests,” said Hanley.
Hanley, of Kirkland, Wash., began his WSU career in 1983, and was based on the campus of the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Retiring in 2009, Hanley continues to volunteer regularly with the WSU Extension Forestry team. He gives guest lectures at field days, checks on Extension’s living snow fence near Davenport, authors and reviews Extension bulletins, and helps mentor Extension faculty members.
Hanley is an active member of the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) and the Society of American Foresters (SAF), and travels regularly, camping in forest ecosystems throughout the western U.S.
The Forester of the Year Award recognizes a member for outstanding contributions to their communities and society through the advancement of forestry. Selections are made by a committee of the five previous award winners.
“This award was unexpected, and it’s humbling to know that over the years, others have benefited from my professional and volunteer activities,” Hanley said. “It makes me feel great.”
As an Extension forester, Hanley offers clear, unbiased information to Washingtonians about why our forests are important to all of us. He also shares guidance and ideas to help landowners and managers achieve their goals.
He hopes his Forester of the Year recognition brings to light important work that the small team of Extension foresters do every day, improving the lives and livelihoods of more than 200,000 forest landowners in Washington.
Each week, we showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Rachel DeMiero, a senior from Shelton, Wash.
One of my favorite traditions as a Cougar is being able to participate in the Fight Song at any and every WSU event. It’s an amazing experience to be standing amongst your fellow Cougs and all sing the Fight Song together. I can remember my first year at WSU and not knowing any of the words. I hummed along appreciating all the people singing around me! Now, I know it like any of my favorite songs; the lyrics forever imprinted in my mind. It’s that feeling of camaraderie with complete strangers. For one moment, while the song plays, you are all Cougar fans together.
Favorite CAHNRS Commodity:
It is no secret: I am a late night snacker and my go to for a late-night treat is the Ferdinand’s Grabber. I’m pretty sure they are only found in Pullman and I am probably their best customer. If Ferdinand’s ever stopped making these, I honestly don’t know what I would do when I get hungry at midnight. While every flavor is delicious, the mint chip is my favorite!
Why be a CAHNRS Coug?
The community within CAHNRS is unlike any other on campus. The moment I switched over to Human Development, I knew I had found my place and home at WSU. Everyone is very supportive and helpful. Being a CAHNRS Coug to me means making connections with your fellow students. Whether I am trying to grow personally or professionally, there are a group of people from CAHNRS right there to help me along the way. WSU, as a whole, is a big community, but within CAHNRS, we have our own family.
Best Student Experience:
Some of my best experiences as a student have been within the classes I have had the opportunity to take. WSU has some of the best professors and I am grateful that I get to learn from these wonderful educators. Having a professor that wants to see their students succeed and wants to be involved, makes a class so much more exciting and engaging, not to mention easier to learn in!
CAHNRS Taught Me:
The commitment that all the CAHNRS professionals have given to me has prepared me for whatever post-graduation brings my way. I have learned so many skills and concepts during my time as a CAHNRS student, and I am extremely appreciative. Being able to take certain concepts and apply them to real life scenarios is something I am proud of and I have CAHNRS to thank for that. This has been more than just sitting in a classroom trying to shove endless information in my head; it was a journey that taught me real-life lessons that have prepared me for the next step in life.
New from Extension Publications: Protecting tree fruit, gardens and communities
WSU Extension scientists work with Northwest growers, gardeners, and communities, sharing discoveries that protect tree fruit crops, build community consensus, and garden successfully and sustainably.
Timeless Traditions: Conducting Council Circles in a Modern World (FS320E), by Mike Wallace, WSU Regional Specialist for youth and families, shares how communities and groups can benefit from council circles, long been valued by indigenous cultures as the practice for building community and consensus.
Use of Protective Netting in Washington State Apple Production (TB60E), a guide by Giverson Mupambi, postdoctoral researcher with WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension, WSU Horticulture scientists Stefano Musacchi and Sara Serra, former WSU scientist Des Layne, and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission scientists Tory Schmidt and Ines Hanrahan.
Phytophthora Crown, Collar and Root Rot of Apple and Cherry (FS322E), by WSU Tree Fruit Extension Specialist Tianna DuPont, Cal-Poly researcher Shashika Hewavitharana, and USDA-ARS plant pathologist Mark Mazzola. Learn about three different strategies to control damaging diseases.
Do Black Walnut Trees Have Allelopathic Effects on Other Plants? (FS325E, Home Garden Series), by Extension Horticulturist Linda Chalker-Scott. Learn about current research into whether black walnut harms other plants, and discuss the practical significance of gardening in the presence of black walnut trees.
The 2019 Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington (EB0419), outlining controls orchard insect, disease, and weed pests in Washington state. Contributors include Tianna DuPont, Elizabeth H. Beers, Louis Nottingham, Gary Grove, Achour Amiri, Catherine Daniels, Tory Schmidt, Joel Kangiser, Michael Klaus, Lagene Taylor, Gerald Steffen, and Wendy Jones.
Cornmeal and corn gluten meal applications in gardens and landscapes (FS326E, Home Garden Series). Linda Chalker-Scott reviews whether cornmeal and corn gluten meal have legal, practical uses in home gardens and landscapes.
Unmanned Aerial Systems in Agriculture: Part 3, (FS321E), by Lav Khot, Assistant Professor, WSU Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems; Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel, WSU Regional Extension Specialist, and Jianfeng Zhou, Agricultural Systems Management, University of Missouri. Learn about mid-sized Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones, in agriculture and what they can do for your crop production.
A guide to Apple Replant Disease (FS323E), by Hewavitharana, Dupont and Mazzola. Learn about the symptoms, cause and management of a disease that costs growers thousands of dollars in lost productivity.