Skip to main content Skip to navigation

CAHNRS News – August 26. 2011

Posted by | August 26, 2011

1st Annual Ice Cream Social – THANK YOU!

Dan Bernardo would like to give a BIG thank you to all who were able to attend the ice cream social Wednesday afternoon! It was a grand time – we packed the Ensminger Pavilion and enjoyed delicious Ferdinand’s ice cream, listened to music, and played some entertaining games. It was wonderful to celebrate the beginning of this new academic year with so many faculty, staff, and graduate students. Dan extends his thanks to one and all for making the first annual ice cream social a rousing success a lot of fun! Here’s to another great year for CAHNRS and Extension! GO COUGS!

Shannon Neibergs Takes the Helm of the Western Center for Risk Management Education

We are pleased to announce Dr. Shannon Neibergs, Washington State University Extension Economist, as the new director of the Western Center for Risk Management Education.

Our August 2011 Newsletter features Shannon and his contributions in agriculture. A second article is devoted to Ag in Uncertain Times and how to utilize valuable presentation information contained in the webinar series to enrich your own presentations. The Ag in Uncertain Times content training site can be accessed from the newsletter article or

The newsletter available at

Organic No-Till Field Days in Puyallup & Mt. Vernon

Throughout the US, no-till production systems have worked well, saving thousands of acres of topsoil from erosion each year, but not without the aid of an herbicide to bring down the weeds each spring. Thanks to the work of organic researchers from coast to coast development of an effective organic no-till system is progressing.

Lucky for us, Washington State University Extension researchers have been working on adapting organic no-till to work on the ‘wetside’ of Washington over the past two years.

We invite you to join us at one or both of the 2011 No-Till Field Trials currently in progress. Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, 4 – 6 pm we will visit the WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center, 2606 West Pioneer, Puyallup; and Sept. 19, 2011, 4 – 6 pm we’ll visit the fields at the Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, 16650 State Route 536, Mt. Vernon.

There will be an on-farm demonstration of strip tilling (Puyallup only) along with a discussion of organic no-till management practices and techniques. Basic principles such as mechanical termination of cover crops and cover crop selection will be among the topics covered by WSU soil scientists and Extension educators Andy Bary, Craig Cogger, Andrew Corbin, Chris Benedict, and Doug Collins.

For successful Western Washington organic no-till production, unique challenges include cover crop variety selection, acquisition of specific equipment, and timing of cover crop termination. In addition, growers adopting reduced tillage will face particular challenges with certain perennial weeds.

No advance registration necessary. For more information on the Field Days, contact Andrew Corbin, or 425.357.6012.

Washington State University Extension engages people, organizations, and communities to advance knowledge, economic well-being, and quality of life by fostering inquiry, learning, and the application of research.

John Reganold Appointed to AGree Distinguished Research Committee

AGree, a new initiative to transform food and agricultural policy, unveiled the members of its research committee, which will provide expert advice on research and analysis needed to better understand food and agriculture systems in order to help AGree develop effective policy solutions. One of the members of the committee is John Reganold, regents professor of soil science and agroecology.

The research committee is composed of a diverse group of individuals and perspectives from the academic community who provide a wealth of scientific food and agriculture knowledge matched with a working understanding of federal policy and markets. The committee will guide the commissioning of analytical studies and thought pieces on AGree’s issues, as well as participate in and facilitate informative panels that lead to a better understanding across academic and policy fields.

AGree’s mission is to transform food and agriculture policy to address the tremendous challenges we face at home and abroad: feeding a growing population, enhancing environmental sustainability, and ensuring our farmers and rural communities have a bright future. The research committee is a core component of AGree’s strategy to improve our food and agriculture systems through policy changes that incorporate some of the brightest thinking and best data available.

The committee members were hand picked through a highly selective process, with each coming strongly recommended from their peers.

“Each member of the committee has a reputation for being a rigorous researcher with a penchant for seeking to answer tough questions and a commitment to integrative work,” said Deborah Atwood, executive director of AGree. “The co-chairs and I are thrilled to be bringing their efforts and experience together under AGree.”

Visit to view full bios and pictures of the all the members of the research committee.

Summer Fruit Festival Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Cooperation with WSU

At the Summer Fruit Festival on Saturday, Aug. 20, the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation (WWFRF) celebrated its 20th anniversary of cooperation with the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center (WSU Mount Vernon NWREC). The Fruit Festival program included sampling of fruits and fruit products, guided tours and field demonstrations in the 7-acre Demonstration Fruit Garden, and information booths by fruit-oriented businesses and groups, including the WSU Master Gardeners. Also featured was a schedule of speakers and panels discussing topics of interest to home orchardists and small farmers, beginning with an update of Spotted Wing Drosophila research by Bev Gerdeman, WSU Entomology. A panel discussion moderated by Kristan Johnson, WWFRF former president, debated the selection of the “Top 20” varieties for area home gardens. Panel participants were Bill Davis (Seattle Tree Fruit Society), Sam Benowitz (Raintree Nursery), Jim Gilbert (One Green World Nursery, Molalla, OR), and Bob Norton (WSU Professor Emeritus, Horticulture), Gary Moulton (former WSU Mount Vernon NWREC staff), and Jacky King (WSU Mount Vernon NWREC staff). Kristan Johnson also presented Norton, Moulton, and King with an award in recognition of their contribution to tree fruit horticulture in western WA. Afternoon program speakers were Chuck Best (Antles Pollen Supplies) and Bob Norton on use of commercial pollination technology, Jim Gilbert on unusual bush and vine fruits, Jacky King reviewed the past 30 years of tree fruit research at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, Sam Benowitz discussed the best tree fruit varieties for the Puget Sound region, and Graham Kerr (chef and author) demonstrated cooking with seasonal fruit. The Fruit Festival ended with a wine and cider tasting hosted by Drew Zimmerman at the nearby Tulip Valley Vineyard & Orchard. There were about 80 participants at the Festival, in addition to the speakers and groups represented.

Visual Language of Ice and Rock on the Frozen Continent Spring Academic Showcase Exhibit

While rock hunting across Antarctica last winter, WSU geochemist Jeff Vervoort was captivated by how the landscape revealed dramatic stories of merging glaciers, tortured ice, wind-sculpted snow, and glacial debris. But where he saw a language of science, Kathleen Ryan, an assistant professor of Interior Design, saw a language of aesthetic elements and principles, of curved lines, shapes, rhythm, and movement. The result was their interdisciplinary, husband-wife exhibit in spring’s Academic Showcase: Visual Language of Ice and Rock on the Frozen Continent. Learn more and view a slideshow of samples from the exhibit at


Dr. Lindsey du Toit, associate professor in the department plant pathology and based at the Northwest Washington Research and Extension Center in Mt. Vernon has been reappointed to the Alfred Christianson Endowed Professorship for another four-year term. The endowment was established by the family of Alfred Christianson, founder of the Alf Christianson Seed Company, to “attract and retain a world-renowned scholar and practitioner with special expertise in vegetable seed science.” The Alf Christianson Seed Company was founded in 1926 in Mount Vernon, initially producing and selling cabbage seed and expanding over the years into the production of spinach, carrot, radish, turnip and other vegetable and herb seed. Northwestern Washington is one of the world’s leading areas for vegetable seed production. The endowment provides ongoing funding in support of du Toit’s vegetable seed pathology research program.

Dr. Dennis A. Johnson, professor of plant pathology, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Division of the American Phytopathological Society. He was recognized with this award during the Society’s meeting held earlier this month in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Dr. David Weller, research leader, and supervisory plant pathologist, USDA-ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit, and adjunct professor in the plant pathology department, and Ms. Kathleen Parker, ARS program assistant, have won the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award in Diversity for their STEM outreach program, “Pumping-Up the Math and Science Pipeline: Grade School to College.” Dr. Weller’s group is being recognized “for developing innovative outreach programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to enhance the education of and provide research training for underserved youth from reservation and other rural communities.” For the past five years, Weller and Parker have recruited teams of scientists, faculty, staff and students from WSU, USDA-ARS, and Bellevue College, as well as local health professionals, to volunteer many hours to the Pipeline Program. CAHNRS faculty have been especially active in providing novel STEM educational opportunities to Washington’s underserved elementary and high school students. The Secretary of Agriculture and the leadership of the REE Mission Area and ARS agency will formally recognize Weller and Parker on Sept. 14.

A research article co-authored by Xiaonan Lu, school of food science / school of molecular biosciences, on the potential use of garlic-derived compounds as a food preservative, was published in the August 2011 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. More information and a PDF of the article, titled “Investigating Antibacterial Effects of Garlic (Allium sativum) Concentrate and Garlic-Derived Organosulfur Compounds on Campylobacter jejuni by Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, and Electron Microscopy”, can be found at

Karen Sowers, an associate in research in the department of crop and soil sciences, won second place in the U.S. Canola Digest’s photo contest “Lights, Camera, Canola.” Her photo will be featured in the digest’s September/October issue. Sowers is a collaborator on the Statewide Biofuels Cropping Systems Research & Extension Project.

Brigitta Jozefowski, program assistant at WSU Spokane, received an Honors Student Award for being in the top 10% GPA in her masters degree in Public Administration Program at Eastern Washington University. Brigitta is pursuing this degree while working as a Program Assistant for WSU’s Professional Development and Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Programs. She has completed half of the required credits for the masters degree program.

Jake Blauer, PhD graduate student (MPS Program) working in the Knowles lab, recently won first place in the Frank L. Haynes Graduate Student Research Competition for best oral presentation at the 95th annual meetings of the Potato Association of America, Wilmington, NC. The reference for his presentation was: Changes in Ascorbate Content of Developing Tubers Relative to Transcription of Genes in the Smirnoff-Wheeler Pathway. Blauer, Jacob M., A. Dhingra, G.N.M. Kumar, and N.R. Knowles. Washington State University, Dept. of Hort. & Landscape Arch.

Kathleen Ryan, assistant professor in interior design, was part of a project that received a Moscow Historic Preservation Commission Orchid Award for restoration of the historic Swedish Lutheran church building in Moscow.

Jeremiah Dung, Ph.D. student in the Department of Plant Pathology,won first pPlace in APS Pacific Division’s recent graduate student paper competition held during the APS/IPPC meeting in Honolulu. The recognition included a certificate and cash award. Dung has won several awards of distinction and recognition for his graduate research: he has placed first (2010), second (2009) and third (2008) in the American Phytopathological Society Pacific Division’s student paper competitions, and has been awarded three competitive APS travel awards.  In 2008, he was the recipient of the F.D. Heald Scholarship from the Department of Plant Pathology and the J. De Weerd Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Potato Research from the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.