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CAHNRS News – June 14, 2013

Posted by struscott | June 13, 2013

Greetings, fellow CAHNRS colleagues!

I’ve had the honor of serving as interim CAHNRS dean for a full week now and have enjoyed every moment! I sincerely appreciate the support so many of you have expressed. When asked to serve in this capacity, I accepted enthusiastically. I have been very proud to be associated with CAHNRS since before it was CAHNRS! Our college is a leader within WSU, and also leads regionally and nationally because of the excellent work of its faculty, staff, and students. We have made great strides in every area – academic programs under the innovative and highly capable leadership of Executive Associate Dean Kim Kidwell; WSU Extension under new Director and Associate Dean Rich Koenig’s steady hand; and research with Jim Moyer at the helm as the new Director of the Agricultural Research Center and the Associate Dean for Research. It is both an honor and a pleasure to work with such a talented leadership team.

Please know that my overriding goal is to maintain our strong forward momentum. Standing still is the same as going backward, and I know that is not acceptable to either you or me. The coming year will be one of action and progress. I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to working with all of you.

My door is open, and you are always welcome to stop by.

Best regards,
Ron Mittelhammer
Interim Dean, CAHNRS

Join us for Tonie Fitzgerald’s retirement gathering, June 19

After 28 years of service to WSU Extension, Tonie Fitzgerald will be retiring at the end of June. Tonie has been the dedicated leader of the Master Gardener program for the last several years and her deep commitment has enriched their mission of enhancing natural resources, sustaining communities and improving the health and wellness of residents across the state of Washington.

Please join us in celebrating her time at WSU and wishing her well in her next adventure at a reception on Wednesday, June 19th at 3:00 pm. The reception will be in Hulbert Hall, Room 409. If you are unable to attend and would like to send cards and wishes, please mail them to WSU Extension, PO Box 646248, Pullman, WA 99164-6248.

Photo ID

tree coreThis man is reading a hundred years of history by examining a tree core, but his name is lost to our photo archive. Who is he? Where is he? Is he researching something in particular?

Need to see more detail? Just click the picture for a larger version.

WSU CAHNRS is seeking your help in cataloging its photo archive. We are scanning hundreds of old slides, negatives, and prints to put online. And we need your help to identify these images by telling us, as best you can:

  • the contents
  • the date
  • and the identity of the photographer

Don’t spare the detail; we want you to share everything you know about this image. Don’t know anything about this image, but still want to help? We have more archival images posted. View our historical images.

For the most recent additions, go to the last page and work backwards. Please reminisce about your connection to this photo by using the “Comments” field at Want us to let you know when we post new photos? Send an email to and we’ll add you to the list.


Rita Abi-Ghanem from the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences was invited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to attend the Agricultural Research Connections workshop, taking place this summer in Nairobi/Naivasha, Kenya. The goal of this workshop is to catalyze new international research partnerships among scientists with potential collaborations towards advancement of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Her immediate goals are to continue research and development work in sustainable agriculture and to help educate and enable people in developing nations to manage their lands more sustainably.

T. Randall Fortenbery, professor and Tom Mick Small Grains Endowed Chair of the Washington State University School of Economic Sciences, has been appointed chairman of the Agricultural Markets Advisory Committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, an independent federal agency which regulates commodity futures and option markets in the United States. During the two-year tenure of his appointment as head of the commission’s agricultural advisory panel, Fortenbery’s primary responsibility will be to represent the views and interests of a wide range of U.S. agricultural product consumers. Read the full story here.

Gerrit Hoogenboom, director of AgWeatherNet and professor of agrometeorology, recently returned from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan where he attended the “AgMIP-Pakistan Kickoff Workshop & International Seminar on Climate Change” June 4-6. WSU and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad have a long history of collaboration including the establishment of the university in Pakistan. A feature on the event at WSU’s involvement was recently published in Pakistan’s The Nation.

Mark Nelson, WSU-IAREC Plant Pathology, will be receiving the “International Order of the Hop Award” from the International Hop Growers Convention at the 2013 Congress to be held in Poperinge, Belgium.  The award charter outlines the procedure for award of the Order to all who have merited it by their services in the field of hop cultivation. The award of the Order of the Hop is designed to lead to further achievements and still greater advances in hop cultivation and protection.  Mark was nominated by the US hop industry and accepted as a recipient by the international group due to his record of research, outreach, and service excellence in the area of hop IPM.

Virginia Lohr has been invited by the Urban Landscapes unit of the City of Melbourne, Australia, to participate in a select meeting and consult on green infrastructure policy and knowledge related to adapting to climate change.

Sujeet Verma, final-year PhD student advised by Dr. Cameron Peace in the Department of Horticulture, received a Student Travel Grant of $500 to attend the 2013 American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference in Palm Desert, CA from July 22–25. He will be giving two talk, Genome-wide QTL analyses uncover SNP marker-based functional alleles for apple “fresh sensation” traits and QTL and QTL allele validation in apple. The first talk covers key aspects of Sujeet’s thesis work while the second talk will be on behalf of the apple research team of the multi-institution RosBREED project as part of an ASHS workshop called “RosBREED fruit quality QTLs: from publications to applications.”

The American Society of Animal Science is pleased to announce that a WSU animal scientist is the winner of the 2013 Western Section Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Kristen Johnson supports her students by teaching them about livestock and sharing her beef cattle research. Dr. Johnson will be honored June 20 at the Western Section, American Society of Animal Science meeting in Bozeman, MT.

Congratulations to the Spring 2013 Viticulture and Enology graduates.

Undergraduate students who graduated spring 2013:
Kyle Clifford – Asst Vineyard Manager, Gamache Vintners
Garrett Grover – Oasis Farms
Dave (Merf) Merfeld – Winemaker, Northstar Winery
Lora Morgan – Chateau Ste Michelle Winery
Brent Roberts – San Juan Vineyards for Summer / Harvest Intern at Hogue Winery for Fall
Scott Zediker – Tasting Room, Airfield Estates

Graduate students who graduated spring 2013:
Eileen Harbertson, MS – Working in lab at WSU IAREC with Markus Keller
Federico Casassa, Ph.D. – Returning to Argentina to work as a winemaker
Jesse Zuehlke, Ph.D. – Wants to get involved with scientific policy or regulatory work with some of the food industry trade associations or the FDA in Washington, DC
Lauren Schopp, MS – Returned to Colorado and wants to work in the food industry.

Upcoming Events

Summer Field Days

Anaerobic Digestion Field Day: Anaerobic digestion, a biological process of breaking down organic waste material, and a suite of new tools that add value to the process will be featured during a WSU field day on July 10 near Lynden, Wash. Researchers at Washington State University, working with commercial partners, have transformed an environmental concern in agriculture into an environmental, economic, and social solution. Further information see or contact Sylvia Kantor at

WSU Potato Field Day celebrates 50 years of Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot trials and a long-standing university partnership with the Washington State Potato Commission starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27. The event begins with tours around the seed lots and an annual seed lot report from Mark Pavek. Lunch will also be served. The Othello Research Farm is located at 1471 Cox Road, Othello.

Bioenergy Field Day: GreenWood Resources Boardman Tree Farm, USDA-ARS, and Washington State University are hosting a field day featuring bioenergy innovations on June 20. Attendees will learn about approaches to producing bioenergy feedstocks from intercropping system resources. The field day takes place at Boardman Tree Farm and begins at 9 a.m. Contact Steve Fransen, for more information.

WSU Organic Farm on the Mall

Fresh-picked organic produce from WSU’s Organic Farm will be offered for sale at a farm stand on WSU’s Terrell Mall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, running through early October. The farm accepts cash and checks only.

Winter Canola the Focus of Upcoming Tours

Croplan Genetics/Winfield Solutions cereal grain and canola Answer Plot® tour
June 27, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Carothers Rd. west of Pullman
Winfield Solutions established this long-term cropping systems trial in 2011-12, and it is the first Answer Plot® location in the Pacific Northwest, near Pullman. The test plots serve as an outdoor classroom to provide those attending with production results and help make planning decisions for their next crop. Please RSVP for the tour and lunch.
Contact: Beau Blachly, (509) 843-7334 or

University of Idaho Parker Farm Field Day
Tuesday, July 9, 8:00 a.m., Parker Farm, Moscow, Idaho.
The PSES Department at University of Idaho is hosting a field day that will include tours of canola, mustard and rapeseed research trials as well as other agricultural research. The field day concludes with a hosted lunch at noon.

The Write Side

Whatever topic you are writing about for the citizens of Washington State, The Write Side brings you tips from experienced editors in CAHNRS. Check out the latest post featuring Washington State Magazine science writer Eric Sorensen in “The Complex Process of Simplification” (

Recent News Releases 

May 11- WSU scientists make genomes available for research 

June 6- WSU researchers preparing bee semen bank

June 3- Dogs help improve moods among teens in treatment 

In eNews

The June 5 On Solid Ground has stories about the honey bee sperm bank repository, vegetable grafting in Nicaragua, and the newly named Lyon barley.

The June 12 issue of Green Times features stories about saving bees, fire-resistant plants, and anaerobic digestion (and some great new videos).  

Stay tuned for next week’s On Solid Ground on June 19 and the June 26 Voice of the Vine.

Facebook“LIKE” us on Facebook!  Our School of Food Science now has an official page on Facebook, so be sure to “like” the page to stay updated on activities here. Also, be sure to invite your Food Science friends and alums to like the page too! You can find the page here:

Check out the latest on the CAHNRS Facebook page: 


CAHNRS News is archived at