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Alumni, partners explore new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm

Group photo inside barn under construction.
CAHNRS alumnus and grass seed producer Orlin Reinbold and colleagues joined CAHNRS Dean André-Denis Wright, WSU scientists and staff in touring the future new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm east of campus. The new farm will help WSU researchers develop hardier, more valuable grasses.

CAHNRS Dean André-Denis Wright, Professor Michael Neff, and scientists and students in Washington State University’s grass breeding and management program welcomed alumni and grass seed industry partners on Oct. 8, 2019, to the new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm.

Located next to the USDA Plant Materials Center east of the Pullman campus, this new five-acre, 18-plot facility is slated for completion in November 2019. Relocating and upgrading a prior farm on Fairway Road that had to move due to commercial development, it provides a venue for scientists and students to create more efficient, desirable grass varieties.

Visitors included Orlin Reinbold, a 1973 graduate of WSU’s College of Agriculture and longtime grass seed producer.

Visitors examine grass, seedlings atop a worktable.For three generations, his family’s business, Landmark Turf & Native Seed, has helped farmers save their land from erosion and protect the environment. Reinbold’s grass has adorned the Mile High Stadium, major league ballfields, and the fairways and greens of the U.S. Open and the LPGA.

Reinbold continues his family’s legacy by supporting WSU’s efforts to breed new landscaping grasses and explore resources in the 80-year-old seed vaults on campus. He works closely with Neff, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and leader of the WSU grass seed program.

While the new facility is the same size as the prior farm, when complete it will include a new multipurpose building with office space, shop, and storage garage.

Fundraising efforts are underway to support a new endowed chair for the program, and will eventually add additional space and research faculty.

Learn more about the new facility here.

Group photo outside, in construction area