Make no mistake. Agriculture is a top priority of Washington State University, according to WSU President Elson Floyd.
The new president reestablished the institution’s commitment to one of the state’s largest industries at the Spillman Farm field day here. More than 100 wheat growers, legislators and researchers braved the heat to attend the bi-annual event.
“Agriculture is vitally important to Washington State University,” Floyd said. “That is my promise. That is my pledge. That is my commitment to you.”
Floyd said that, in his opinion, “We have allowed that commitment to slip over time….We can’t be all things to all people, but agriculture will be a top priority.”
Economic development also makes the top priority list, he said.
“This university already is a major economic catalyst for this community and this state,” he said. “Now, we are going to start quantifying and expanding that.” The president mentioned his recent appointment of John C. Gardner as vice president for economic development and extension.
Floyd reaffirmed the role of WSU Extension and its offices in every county in the state. “Extension has been buried too deep in the organization,” he said. “Every county in the state has an Extension office, and we’re going to use that the best way we can. The land-grant university has a responsibility to do everything possible to improve the quality of life for Washingtonians.”