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WSU Mount Vernon NWREC Adds Vegetable Horticulturist

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Washington State University vegetable horticulturist Carol Miles will join the faculty of the Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. Miles, who is currently stationed at the WSU Vancouver Research and Extension Unit, will relocate to the Mount Vernon facility early next summer.

Miles will continue to support the vegetable industries statewide with applied research on fresh market production, including organic crop production, alternative crops, and soil and fertility management. Her research and extension programs also will address problems associated with product marketing, post harvest handling and shipping.

Dan Bernardo, Dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences said that the relocation won’t change the focus of Miles’ research and extension programs.

“Dr. Miles will continue her statewide program focusing on alternative crops and organic vegetable production, but her new location will provide a wider array of collaboration opportunities with other researchers as well as state- of-the-art research facilities,” Bernardo said.

“I’m particularly pleased that research on organic production is specified among my responsibilities,” Miles said. “The organic vegetable sector continues to grow rapidly and more research will help growers to take advantage of the expanding market.”

The Mount Vernon NWREC has five acres of certified organic research land, and Miles also will be working with local growers to establish on-farm trials.

“My focus is on researching and developing vegetable production systems that are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable,” Miles said.

The addition of Miles to the NWREC faculty means area growers will have access to a more integrated and more diverse research and extension team, according to NWREC interim director Debra Inglis.

“We added a small fruit horticulturist last year, an entomologist this year and will have the benefit of Carol’s horticultural expertise next year,” Inglis said. “We’ll be adding a BIOAg specialist next year to work on new product development. It’s a significant expansion of our capabilities and an excellent complement to the work we already do in plant and seed pathology, weed science and fruit production.”

Work is nearing completion on an $8 million renovation and expansion of the NWREC facilities, including a new state-of-the-art Agricultural Research and Technology Building that is already in service.