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CAHNRS News – April 23, 2010

Posted by | April 23, 2010

Integration in Action: Second in a Series

Big guns or boom carts? That is the choice agricultural producers in northwestern Washington were facing in deciding how to provide supplemental irrigation water to certain crops.

Big guns-on-reel irrigation systems are effective at supplying water to the crop, but aren’t very efficient. Because high pressures are used to propel the water long distances, it is highly vulnerable to wind drift and evaporation. In addition, the big -gun systems don’t distribute water uniformly.

Don McMoran, agricultural extension educator in Skagit County, listened to growers in his county and started looking for solutions.

Working with Extension irrigation specialist Troy Peters, he took the lead in designing and implementing a project to test which irrigation method provided the best coverage most economically. Using Skagit Valley potato fields, they evaluated two big-gun systems and two boom systems, measuring a variety of factors including how much water leaving the big-gun systems actually made it to the soil. Big-gun systems consist of a large water gun mounted on a cart that is reeled through a field; a boom system is similar but the “booms”, or supported pipes, are cantilevered over both sides of the cart and micro sprinklers are spaced along the length of the pipe to evenly distribute water over the soil.

McMoran and Peters’ research results were dramatic. They found that a boom system delivers more than 40 percent more usable irrigation water to the soil than a big gun. They also showed that the boom systems applied water in a more uniform way, which results in improved crop yields and quality for the growers. They were also able to show that growers operating with diesel pumps could pay for the upgrade to a boom in just a few years with energy savings alone. McMoran and Peters showed that farmers have the potential to save water, save energy, and make more money by converting from big guns to boom systems.

We are featuring both faculty members as the second in our series celebrating excellence in Extension-CAHNRS integration. Their work epitomizes integration in several important ways.

First, it shows that integration can happen regardless of where the individual faculty members are located. McMoran is in Skagit County; Peters is housed at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center at Prosser. And, yet, that distance did nothing to hamper their collaboration.

This project also emphasizes that departmental faculty based at the R&E centers have statewide, not just regional, responsibilities.

Finally, this work demonstrates the wider application of research. What McMoran and Peters accomplished in northwestern Washington adds to the irrigation knowledge base for the entire state, and actually, beyond state borders.

Happy Earth Day! WSU Breaks Ground on New Arboretum, Wildlife Center

The rain stopped. The sun shone. The drums beat, and even the hawks showed up for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Washington State University Arboretum and Wildlife Conservation Center Thursday afternoon, which also was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Approximately 80 people gathered to break ground on the new project and participate in a Native American blessing of the land it will encompass.

“It took many people working over many decades to get us where we are today,” said Rod Sayler, chairman of the Arboretum and Wildlife Conservation Center Committee. “It is a very good day for WSU.”

Phase 1 of the project focuses on creation of about two miles of trails on the property as well as construction of a “Gathering Circle”, a meeting place in the heart of the arboretum.

In 2007, President Floyd provided an opportunity for a 100-acre arboretum to be established on the eastern edge of the Pullman campus. WSU Capital Planning and Development coordinated a planning committee to develop a master plan for a site that has been managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for more than 60 years. The site and vision has expanded to 170 acres and includes facilities for grizzly bears and wild herbivores. It plans for a biodiversity center, an outdoor raptor amphitheater, trails and demonstration gardens as well as the Gathering Circle.

Dan Bernardo, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences – the academic home for the new center, credited WSU President Elson S. Floyd with helping to make its creation a reality. “Dr. Floyd understands the importance of a university having a space like this,” Bernardo said, “not only as a place for teaching, research and extension, but also for our community and state as a place to serve as a cornerstone for the visitor’s experience to WSU.”

Sam Penny, Nez Perce tribal chairman, said, “I applaud WSU for continuing to honor its origins as a land-grant university by providing a place for practical education.” He called the arboretum and wildlife conservation center project “a great educational tool.”

Penny noted that the land on which the project will be built is part of the tribe’s original home. He introduced tribal elder Horace Axtell, who sang a blessing of the land and asked “the Creator to take care of this Earth from now on.” The Spirit of the Renegade drum circle also performed.

Watch a video with highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony at

“Feeding the World” Panel Discussion to Air on KWSU May 9

CAHNRS was an active participant in WSU’s Common Reading Program, which focused on “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. Those activities culminated in January with “Feeding the World: A Washington Agriculture Community Conversation,” a panel discussion featuring industry leaders addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing agriculture locally and around the globe. KWSU-TV filmed that event, which attracted nearly 400 students, faculty, staff and members of the agriculture and food communities, for its “On Campus at WSU” series. It will air on channel 10 at 9 p.m., Thursday, May 6, and again at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 9. Excerpts from the program are available for viewing at

World-Renowned Cassava Biotechnologist Visits WSU

Dr. Claude Fauquet, director of the International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology, and member and principal investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, is one of the world’s leading cassava biotechnologists. He has dedicated his career to cassava improvement and to helping resource-poor farmers in African nations preserve and improve their livelihood.

Fauquet was the student-invited distinguished speaker at the Department of Plant Pathology. Fauquet’s visit was organized by the plant pathology graduate students and included meetings with students, staff and faculty. During the two-day visit (March 29-30), Fauquet gave two seminars: “Intimate relationships between the host and geminiviruses and their satellites” and “Better Food for a Better World: Cassava Biotechnology”.

This annual event brings a distinguished scientist to WSU. Speakers are selected by the students, and from making the initial contact to invite him/her, to arranging the complete itinerary are done by the students. “This whole exercise offers students valuable professional development training and provides networking opportunities” said Hanu Pappu, chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. “This year our students pulled off a real coup by getting Dr. Fauquet visit WSU for two days” said Pappu.

Before assuming the directorship of ILTAB, Fauquet served as the co-director for this lab, along with Dr. Roger Beachy who recently assumed the position of Director of USDA’s NIFA. “Fauquet is one of those scientists who dedicated his career for improving the lives of people in Africa through his research on cassava” said Pappu. His lab is a magnet for students and scientists from all over the world. To date, Fauquet hosted and trained visiting scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and students from over 69 countries.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Workshop Series

Soft-fruit growers across the state are paying special attention to spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a new and damaging pest with potentially devastating economic consequences. Dr. Lynell Tanigoshi, WSU Mount Vernon Entomologist and small fruit specialist, is hosting a series of workshops to acquaint berry growers and other interested stakeholders with what we know so far about this pest. Topics will include SWD identification and life cycle, monitoring tools and methodologies, and emerging control recommendations. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for April 28 in Vancouver, April 30 in Mount Vernon, and May 6 in Puyallup. For more information, see the WSU Integrated Pest Management website at


Congratulation to the 2009-2010 CAHNRS Award Winners!
Faculty & Staff:

  • R.M. Wade Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching & Learning
    Lori Carris – Plant Pathology
  • Excellence in Advising
    Matthew Williams – Crop and Soil Sciences
  • Faculty Excellence in Research Award
    John Stark – Entomology
  • Faculty Excellence in Extension Award
    Douglas Walsh – Entomology
  • Individual Integrated Award
    William Pan – Crop and Soil Sciences
  • Administrative Professional Staff Excellence Award
    Mary Lou Bricker – Agricultural Research Center
  • Classified Technical Staff Excellence Award
    Susan Vogtman – Institute of Biological Chemistry
  • Classified Clerical/Fiscal Staff Excellence Award
    Jane Allenby – CAHNRS/WSU Extension Business and Finance Office


  • Alpha Zeta’s Arnold Knopf Outstanding Freshman Award
    Randi Hominda – Human Development
  • Outstanding Junior in Agriculture
    Casey Lawson – Animal Sciences
  • Outstanding Junior in Human Sciences
    Lauryn Ringwood – School of Economic Sciences
  • Aggie of the Year
    Derik LeFave – Crop and Soil Sciences, School of Economic Sciences
  • Family Consumer Scientist of the Year
    Mauricio Cifuentes-Soto – School of Economic Sciences
  • Outstanding Senior Awards:
    • Agricultural and Food Systems
      Thomas Courtright – Agricultural Technology and Production Management
      Kent Stokes – Agricultural Technology and Management
      Nicholas Prchal – Agricultural Business and Technology Systems
      Katesin Weathers – Agricultural Communications
      Dan Tedor – Agricultural Education
      Lauren Young – Organic Agriculture Systems
    • Animal Sciences
      Kelly Hollister – Animal Sciences
    • Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles
      Tamara Hall – Apparel Design
    • Crop and Soil Sciences
      Emily Rude – Soil Science
      Derik LeFave – Crop Science
    • Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
      Patrick Dorsing – Horticulture/Fruit & Vegetables
      Alan Dixon – Four Year Landscape Architecture
      Alex Mann – Five Year Landscape Architecture
    • Human Development
      Kathryn Slaybaugh – Human Development
    • Interior Design
      Craig Pfaff – Interior Design
      Heidi Craig – Interior Design
    • Natural Resource Sciences
      William Bedienet – Forestry
      Michael McClellan – Natural Resource Sciences
      Allison Hall-Mullen – Wildlife Ecology
    • School of Economic Sciences
      Derik LeFave – Agricultural Economics and Management
      Marat Shaimardanov – Economics
      Michael Johnson – Wall Street Journal
    • School of Food Science
      Maureen McFerson – Food Science
    • Undergraduate Research & Creative Projects Poster Fair Winners
      • Human Sciences
        1st place:
        Faith Henderson – Human Development
        2nd place:
        Elizabeth Sieverkropp – Economics
        3rd place: Jessica McCorkle – Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles
      • Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences
        1st place:
        Meghan Munter – Animal Sciences
        2nd place:
        Kala Fagan – Animal Sciences
        3rd place: Tyler Markwart – Crop & Soil Sciences
      • Superior Club Award
        Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Club
      • Battle of the AgHes Award
        Turf Management Club

Carol Anelli, associate professor of entomology, is the recipient of the 2010 Library Excellence Award. She has worked with the WSU libraries in a variety of ways, including teaching collaboratively with librarians as well as requiring students to use WSU’s excellent library resources. The award is presented annually to a non-library WSU faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries. For a list of past recipients:

Congratulations to School of Food Science College Bowl Team members Matthew Allan; Mikaela Easter; Hilary Herak; Maureen McFerson; Nissa Moldestad and team captain Sean Moran. On April 3, the team went undefeated to win the Pacific West Regional Competition! The scores of the matches were:

  • Fresno State 0 – WSU 50
  • Oregon State 12 – WSU 38
  • Fresno State 4 – WSU12
  • Oregon State 26 – WSU 28

Wish the team luck as they diligently prepare for Nationals at the IFT National Convention in Chicago, July 17-22.

Faculty and staff in the college of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences earned seven awards from the WSU University College for excellence in teaching and assessment.

  • Mary Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of University College, presented the honors at the University College Awards Ceremony on April 13.
  • Instructor Becky Dueben won the Eric W. Bell Learning Communities Excellence Award, for the series of hunger banquets she and the students in her Human Development 205, “Communications in Human Relations,” class conducted on the Pullman campus fall semester 2009. The banquets attracted approximately 1,000 participants and were used to demonstrate the inequity of food distribution around the globe.
  • Kim Kidwell, professor and associate dean for academic programs in CAHNRS, who won the Common Reading Excellence Award for her use of Michael Pollen’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” in Agricultural and Food Systems 101 class. She used the book as the basic framework for the course. She invited representatives from a variety of agriculture industries and academic disciplines to speak each week during fall semester 2009 and opened those sessions to the WSU community at large.
  • Kidwell also won Assessment Leadership Awards for her work assessing outcomes for CAHNRS, for the Agricultural and Food Sciences program and the Integrated Plant Sciences program.
  • Professor Richard Knowles, chair of the Department of Horticultural and Landscape Architecture, won an Assessment Leadership Award for assessing outcomes in the Landscape Architecture program.
  • Professor John Turpin, chair of the Department of Interior Design at WSU Spokane, also won an Assessment Leadership Award.
  • Senior instructor James Durfey received a WSU Distinguished Teaching award for non-tenure track instructors. He teaches agricultural technology and management in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Washington State University Extension educator Tim Smith has been named Apple Citizen of the Year by the tree fruit industry of north central Washington. He was presented with the award within a week of receiving the prestigious Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement from WSU for his dedication to helping Washington growers. Apple Blossom Queen Margaret Robinson presented the award to Smith during a recent reception. “I was flabbergasted,” Smith said. “I had no idea why the Apple Blossom Queen was walking into the room. I thought we were celebrating the faculty excellence award I had received, but it was a surprise.” Smith will ride in the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Grand Parade on May 1. For more information, please visit

“Ag in Uncertain Times,” a series of 90-minute webinars, will be honored in July at the Western Extension Directors Association meeting in Tucson. Jon Newkirk, director of the Washington State University Center for Risk Management Education in Spokane, developed the series in collaboration with a team of experts from throughout the western United States. The team members are Duane Griffith, Montana State; John Hewlitt, University of Wyoming; Jeff Tranel, Colorado State University; Ramiro Lobo, University of California Cooperative Extension; Trent Teegerstrom, University of Arizona; and John Nelson, WSU Western Center for Risk Management Education. The Awards of Excellence are given annually to individuals or multi-discipline teams for single- or multi-state programs. The Western Region Program Leadership Committee administers the program on behalf of the WEDA. For more information on the WSU Center for Risk Management Education, please visit

Washington State University scientist and extension enologist Jim Harbertson is the lead author of a paper that has won the 2009 Best Paper in Enology Award from the American Society of Enology and Viticulture. Harbertson’s coauthors on the award-winning paper are Maria S. Mireles, research technician, Prosser; Eric Harwood, USDA soil conservationist, Prosser; Karen M. Weller, scientific assistant, Prosser; and Carolyn Ross, assistant professor and sensory analyst, Dept. of Food Science, Pullman. For more information, please visit and, for a version of the story with more historical background, please see Voice of the Vine at