WSU/UI Conservationist Dies

PULLMAN, Wash. — Roger J. Veseth (pronounced (VEE-seth), 51, a prominent conservation tillage specialist for Washington State University and the University of Idaho, died today at the Latah Health Nursing Center, Moscow.

Roger J. Veseth
Roger J. Veseth. Click image for a larger version.

Veseth suffered a severe neck injury in a sledding accident with his children in March 2003. He had continued to consult with colleagues on organization of a major conference scheduled for January 2004.

He had served as the Washington State University and University of Idaho extension conservation tillage specialist since 1987.

He promoted conservation farming technology in eastern Washington and in Idaho, using information generated by the tri-state STEEP project and related programs. The acronym stands for Solutions to Environmental and Economic Problems.

Bill Pan, chair, WSU crop and soils department, said Veseth was the key extension educator in the direct seed movement in conservation.

“Roger was the lead extension educator at the forefront of a revolution in agriculture that we’re seeing in Washington and Idaho, in which dryland farmers are shifting from time-honored traditional practices of tillage to a system that reduces or eliminates tillage,” Pan said.

Veseth was the principal organizer for the STEEP annual conference, which evolved into the widely popular Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference.

“Attendance was impressive,” Pan said. “Conference attendance grew from about 100 people to 860 growers. In his role as an extension educator, Roger served as the principle liaison between the research community and agricultural industry. He provided our department and WSU with calm, effective leadership and collegiality that will be greatly missed.”

Veseth also was the principle extension educator on the Columbia Plateau Wind Erosion/Air Quality Project. He was born in Malta, Montana, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Montana State University.

He is survived by his wife, Claire, and four children, of Moscow.

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