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Newkirk to Head WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center

PULLMAN, Wash. — Jon Newkirk will become director of the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center on October 4.

His appointment was announced today (July 26) by R. James Cook, interim dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.

“Jon brings a proven track record as a team-builder and leader to the position,” Cook said.”We are delighted to have him on board to help us advance the missions of the college, Extension and the wider university on the west side of the state.”

Newkirk has served as director of the WSU Western Center for Risk Management Education since 2001. The center funds education projects in 13 western states to help farm and ranch families manage financial risk.

The center also provides leadership for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers and Fishermen program.

Newkirk has been a member of the WSU Extension faculty for 14 years serving as chair of WSU’s Spokane County Extension office from 1990 to 1995 and chair of WSU’s Adams County Extension office from 1995 to 2001.

Before coming to WSU, Newkirk worked as director of federal relations and executive assistant for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, as a community resource organizer in upstate New York, as a registered lobbyist with the U.S. Congress, and in refugee relief and international development in Southeast Asia.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree from George Fox College in Newberg, Ore., and a master’s of arts and doctorate in agricultural economics from WSU.

Newkirk will oversee the work of about 125 faculty, staff and graduate students at the Puyallup center.

The center was established in1894 as an agricultural experiment station for Washington State University. The facility has developed into a major scientific research and extension center in western Washington. The center’s work looks largely at the urban-rural interface of agriculture and focuses on enhancing water quality, urban horticulture, the master gardener program, small farms and plant and soil sciences. It also serves as the administrative home of the state 4-H program.

The position of director has been vacant for more than two years.

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