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CAHNRS News – February 12, 2010

Posted by | February 12, 2010

Budget News

Elimination of Agricultural Research Funds: Bad Public Policy, Bad Economics
At a time when the state most needs to support its primary and reliable economic engines, a movement is afoot in Olympia which would cripple one of the state’s most economically important industries — agriculture.

An anomaly in the language surrounding use of federal stimulus funds to prop up higher education potentially leaves the $26 million in funds allocated by the state for research vulnerable to state cuts; $21 million of that allocation is to the WSU Agricultural Research Center. The WSU Agricultural Research Center (ARC) serves as the primary research and development arm for the state’s agricultural industry. It suffices to say that both the short- and long-term economic consequences of a decision to eliminate some or all of the state allocation to the ARC would be catastrophic. Read more about this issue in Dean Bernardo’s blog at

We Are All Advocates for Higher Education
Given the current economic climate, we can no longer assume that the voters or politicians recognize the value to society in general and to them as individuals of investing in higher education.

Today, and for the foreseeable future, an essential activity for all of us is to make visible the benefits to the state and its citizens that accrue from our research, teaching and extension activities. If we do not tell our story, it will not be heard. Especially as employees of a land-grant university, we have a responsibility to be articulate about what we do and why it is important. (Please note, however, that there also are strict restrictions on lobbying state and federal lawmakers.) Our traditional approach to explaining our programs must become more strategic and omnipresent. Read more about education advocacy in Dean Bernardo’s blog at

Learn More
CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications offers trainings and other services to help you become a better advocate. Learn about upcoming training by visiting Contact the Marketing, News, and Educational Communications staff through their Web site at

“Working Effectively with the Media” Workshop, March 3 in Pullman

Join us for a day-long seminar on how to work more effectively with newspaper, radio and television reporters. Be ready when they call; make the most of your time with them. This workshop is designed for all CAHNRS and WSU Extension faculty that works with the media. Led by professionals in CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications unit, this session will help you better understand how the commercial media works and how to best tell the story of your work during an interview. We will be taping interviews with all participants, so you can see firsthand how you look/perform on camera. Enrollment is on a first-come, first served basis and will be capped at 15. Participants will be asked to provide a brief summary of their work or research by Feb. 24. A boxed lunch will be served. Please register by accessing this link: More information is available by contacting Kathy Barnard or Brian Clark, CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications, 509-335-2243.

WSU Organic Farm, Master Gardeners Offer Organic Gardening Intensive Course

Washington State University Extension Master Gardeners and the WSU Organic Farm are joining forces to offer an intensive, multi-week course in organic gardening, covering everything from composting to garden planning as well as organic pest control and fertilization.

“Organic Gardening Intensive” begins Feb. 20 and run through May 8. The program will include four Saturday sessions that run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and five Wednesday sessions that run from 1 to 4 p.m. Altogether, participants will receive 35 hours of instruction from WSU faculty, researchers and area farmers. The classes will be held in greenhouses on the Pullman campus as well as at the WSU Organic Farm.

Costs of the training vary. Current Master Gardeners will pay $100. Participants willing to give 20 hours of volunteer service at the WSU Organic Farm following the training will pay $150. All other participants will pay $250. Applications are available at

Opportunity for Students to Study Ag in France; Deadline is Feb. 15

Students can earn 6 credits while studying French and European ag practices at L’Ecole d’Ingenieurs de Purpan. No previous knowledge of the French language is required. Courses include Survival French, European agriculture and animal production methods, food processing, and viticulture and enology. Learn more:

International Travel Opportunity for Your Students; Deadline is Feb. 15

Please make sure your students know about the International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership program. The Grains Foundation and the National FFA Organization are now accepting applications for the I-CAL program. The 12 undergrad students for this year’s I-CAL mission will journey to Malaysia and Taiwan from May 16-28, 2010. The I-CAL program is intended for students who wish to continue their future education and career path in agriculture. Learn more and apply for the program:

Assistance Available for E-learning to Angel Transfer

Over the last few months, a large number of WSU faculty have successfully transferred their Elearning courses to Angel. For those faculty who have not transferred their Elearning courses and require assistance in transferring their Elearning course to Angel, time is running short. The last day to request transfer assistance is March 1, 2010. If faculty require assistance in transferring courses, they can contact the Center for Distance and Professional Education at 509-335-3557 or visit

Chinese Delegation’s Visit to the Department of Plant Pathology

A Chinese delegation, consisting of Drs. Jun Guo, Dejun Han, Qinmei Han, Xiaoping Hu, Rong Zhang, and Wenming Zheng from Northwest A&F University, Yangling Shaanxi, visited the WSU Pullman campus and the plant pathology department on Jan. 21 and 22. The delegation was hosted by Dr. Xianming Chen, research plant pathologist and adjunct professor in the department. During their visit, the Chinese delegation had meetings with Dr. Hanu Pappu, department chair; Dan Skinner, ARS research leader; and members of the WSU Office of International Programs. The Chinese scientists participated, along with lab members of Drs. Chen and Scot Hulbert, in an all-day workshop on stripe rust research. Xiaoping Hu and Wenming Zheng presented research on epidemiology, disease management, population structure, and genome of stripe rust in China. Scot Hulbert, Dipak Sharma-Poudyal, Peng Cheng, Anmin Wan, Meinan Wang, and Xianming Chen presented their research on stripe rust. The visit was part of an international collaboration project on plant pathology of Northwest A&F University, in which Xianming Chen, Scot Hulbert and Chang-Lin Xiao in the department and more than 10 scientists from Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have been participating as international collaborators.

WSU’s 10th Annual Cougar Quest Summer Camp

Young people can gain academic motivation and discover new interests through participation in WSU’s Cougar Quest summer camp, a simulated six-day college encounter intended to be a fun adventure in experiential learning for children entering grades 7-12. Through a variety of workshops, participants can gain knowledge about college majors and career options. Workshops include cheese making with Michael Costello, interior design, fashion illustration, economics and many more. For more information, visit, or read a WSU Today feature at


Dr. Gary Grove, professor of plant pathology and based at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, has won the American Phytopathological Society Excellence in Extension Award. Grove will be recognized at a special ceremony during the annual meeting of the APS in Nashville this August. Grove is a world leader in the development of cutting-edge information delivery approaches to get stakeholders information when and where they need it. Before the Web, he was one of the first to establish electronic bulletin boards to facilitate communication among stakeholders and extension/research personnel. As technology changed, he developed downloadable videos for hand-held devices and developed databases and compatible Web pages that allowed growers to view information on pesticide recommendations, labels, and resistance management while in the field. In two years as the director of the AgWeatherNetwork, he established a network of 133 weather stations throughout Washington that provides real-time weather and forecast data and various pest models and disease forecasts. The Web site receives 400,000 visits per month and uses text messaging and synthetic voice technology to deliver weather and pest alerts. His extension and research efforts have provided unique insights in pathogen biology and disease epidemiology in irrigated perennial agriculture and resulted in a 60 percent decrease in fungicide use in Washington vineyards and cherry orchards.

Timothy J. Smith, WSU Extension educator for Chelan County, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement. He has dedicated his career to helping Washington agricultural producers. For more than 35 years, his applied research, outreach programs and industry leadership have been crucial to building a thriving tree fruit industry. His innovative projects have effected important, industry-wide changes for tree fruit growers. Smith’s influence goes beyond the state, to the nation and world. He has lectured to help growers in other countries address critical issues. He developed the “Cougarblight” model for predicting fireblight outbreaks – a worldwide scourge of apple and pear trees.

Congratulations to Landon Keirsey and Federico Casassa, whose presentation on cofermentation won first place in the undergraduate division post competition at the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers annual meeting last week in Kennewick. Keirsey, a viticulture and enology major, is advised by Prosser IAREC-based enologist Jim Harbertson. Keirsey has been using the research winery in Prosser to conduct his experiments on cofermentation. Casassa is a food science major. For more information on his research, see the Aug. 2009 issue of Voice of the Vine: