PASCO, Wash. — Two Washington State University educators, one a longtime 4-H volunteer, the other a grower-serving Extension specialist, were welcomed into the Mid-Columbia Agriculture Hall of Fame this winter by the Pasco Chamber of Commerce. Hall of Fame members are recognized for their noteworthy achievements, expertise, and legacy of impactful results.
One honoree at the Jan. 18, 2024, ceremony was Regional Vegetable Specialist Tim Waters of WSU Extension. He received the Rising Star Award, which recognizes demonstrated commitment to the future of agriculture.
“Receiving this award has allowed me to reflect on my career, and I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for my colleagues who helped me get here,” Waters said. “They make me better every day.”
In a typical week, Waters consults with specialty crop growers in Benton and Franklin Counties about problems they are encountering with their potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, and other vegetables.
“When I receive a call from a grower, it’s because they are experiencing an issue,” Waters said. “I’m able to get science-based discoveries from WSU researchers and partner institutions into the hands of the growers who need them to resolve a problem.”
Agriculture is the primary economic driver in the Columbia Basin. High-value crops grown in Benton and Franklin Counties feed people nationally and worldwide.
“I see the value in my work and its impacts firsthand,” Waters said. “It’s fulfilling to see that we’re helping make people’s lives better.”
Tina Bush was also honored at the 2024 awards ceremony for her work to advance agriculture through education. She is the 15th person to receive the Agriculture Advisor Award since the Mid-Columbia Agriculture Hall of Fame began in 2000.
All four of Bush’s children and her three grandchildren have participated in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). During her three decades of service as a 4-H advisor, she has seen the impacts of her work.
“I’m very proud of our club,” she said. “I love seeing these kids succeed and this club flourish.”
Club youth in Benton and Franklin Counties learn advanced animal care through record keeping and documentation. They are also taught to create a budget related to their animals. Keeping track of all expenditures is a critical piece of the learning process.
During fair season, youth members get the opportunity to show off the results of their hard work. Their accomplishments often have them beaming as they leave the barns.
“I enjoy watching the 4-H and FFA youth learn and grow while working on these projects,” Bush said. “They gain knowledge and skills they will use for the rest of their lives. That’s what it’s all about.”