Skip to main content Skip to navigation

CAHNRS News – October 2, 2009

Posted by | October 2, 2009

WSU Researchers Win $15 Million in USDA Specialty Crop Research Grants

CAHNRS and WSU Extension research teams have been awarded more than $15 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants aimed at specialty crops such as tree fruit, wine grapes and potatoes. They will receive nearly a third of the $47.3 million awarded nationally, which places them among the top recipients in the country. USDA started its Specialty Crop Research Initiative in 2008 to target research funding to “specialty crops,” which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops. Designated research funds have not previously been available for these crops, unlike the long-established programs for commodity crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. Last year, WSU received $3.3 million, or about 12 percent of the total awarded. This year, WSU scientists — working in interdisciplinary teams — will receive $15.3 million, either through direct grants or as subcontractors on projects led by other institutions. The research teams will study a wide variety of topics, from the most basic science at the cellular level to applied best practices which solve problems growers face in the orchard and field.

The press conference announcing the grants was widely attended by media. So far, the story has been reported in the following media:

Jacoby Assumes New Responsibilities as WSU IAREC Director

Following the retirement of long-time director Bob Stevens, Pete W. Jacoby, associate dean in CAHNRS, assumed his new responsibilities as director of WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center Oct. 1.

CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo announced Jacoby’s appointment last month in light of Stevens’ pending retirement. Since that time, Jacoby and Stevens have worked together to make the transition as smooth as possible. “I appreciate the work both Pete and Bob, as well as the IAREC faculty and staff, put in to make sure nothing was overlooked in the changing of the guard,” Bernardo said.

Jacoby, who joined WSU as an associate dean in 1997, served as acting director of WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center at Mount Vernon from late 2007 to early this year. He also served as agricultural program director for WSU Extension during that time before resuming his associate dean duties. Prior to coming to WSU, he served as director of research at the West Central Research and Extension Center and District Extension Director for the University of Nebraska; held several positions at the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center; and was an assistant professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources and state natural resources specialist at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service.

“I am looking forward to serving CAHNRS and IAREC in this assignment,” Jacoby said. “I feel comfortable in assuming this leadership role and in assisting IAREC faculty members and staff continue their legacy of excellence.” He will continue to live in Pullman.

Join the “Food for Thought” Conversation

This year’s WSU Common Reading program focuses on all aspects of what we eat and where our food comes from. “Chew on This” is an interactive blog that offers you and/or your students a chance to weigh in with your opinions and see others’ thoughts about a variety of topics ranging from your personal food traditions to the best ways to feed the world. So, take a big bite and enjoy! You can find “Chew on This” at

AFS/IPS Academic Coordinator Candidates Interviewing Oct. 6 – 7

Three candidates for the position of academic coordinator for the college’s new Agricultural and Food Systems and Integrated Plant Sciences will be interviewing on campus Oct. 6 – 7. Each candidate will have an open session to visit with interested faculty and staff. The schedule for those open sessions is:

  • Glen Galindo, 9:30 – 10:20 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, Hulbert Hall, Room 223
  • Amy Sharp, 2 – 2:50 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, Hulbert Hall Room 409
  • Cynthia Selde, 2 – 2:50 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7, Hulbert Hall Room 223

Taste Garbanzos, Wednesdays through the End of October

Come to a garbanzo bean taste panel. Stop by FSHN Room 146, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Wednesday until the end of October. Taste garbanzo beans and tell us which sample you prefer. For 10 minutes of your time and your opinion of the product, you will receive a gift certificate to Ferdinand’s Creamery. Attend all panels and collect Ferdinand’s certificates toward the purchase of ice cream, cheese, espresso drinks, or smoked sausage. See you there!

Apple Panelists Wanted

Come participate in an apple panel and get trained to characterize apples based on their sensory properties. The project involves a series of training sessions, followed by apple evaluations. A time commitment of 3 sessions per week is required: 1 hour per session for 4 weeks (between October 14 and November 6), between 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Following training, there will be two days of final evaluations on Nov. 10 and 12 (2 sessions of 1/2 hour each). To show our appreciation for your involvement, you will be rewarded with a small, non-monetary incentive at the close of each training session and a WSU product at the completion of the final evaluations.

We would like you to be involved, but please carefully consider the time commitment. It is critical that you attend each of the training sessions in order to gain the expertise needed for the final apple evaluations. To summarize your involvement, training involves 3 hours per week for 4 weeks (a total of approximately 12 hours). The formal evaluations require two, 30-minute sessions over the last week.

Please let me know if you would like to participate by sending an e-mail to Nissa Moldestad (School of Food Science graduate student) at Also, don’t hesitate to e-mail Nissa if you have questions or concerns about the project.

Master Gardener Volunteer Conference Report

WSU Pullman was the setting for the annual state WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Conference, Sept 24 – 26. Over 200 volunteers from all over the state (and a few from the University of Idaho) attended for advanced education credits.

Dean Dan Bernardo welcomed the volunteers and Extension faculty and staff involved with the MG volunteer program and said that during the 3-day conference they would be hearing from some of the finest WSU faculty. Assoc. Dean Linda Kirk Fox opened the conference Friday morning, citing the important work that volunteers do in extending research-based education through their community projects and gave closing remarks on Saturday afternoon.

CAHNRS faculty who taught during the conference included Ginny Lohr, Hanu Pappu, Jack Rogers, Jolie Kaytes, Tim Paulitz, Cathy Perillo, Rich Zack, Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, and Lori Carris. Extension Faculty who taught included Jim Lindstrom, Ann Hennings, Carol Mack, Chris Hilgert, Tonie Fitzgerald and Doreen Hauser Lindstrom.

Tonie Fitzgerald, WSU Ext. Master Gardener Program Leader, said her intent was to feature WSU’s world-class faculty at the conference. She said volunteers were very pleased with the sessions they attended and left with a stronger commitment to research-based teaching in their own communities.

Fruit Sales Continue

Fruit sales will continue at the WSU Tukey Horticulture Orchard on Airport Road outside of Pullman October 1 and 2. Friday hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See our website for more details:

LA Club Brings Back Brian Lin for Graphic Workshop

Brian Lin will teach his famous graphic workshop Nov. 6-7 at the Ensminger Pavilion. For more information and to register for the workshop, please visit


Don Elfving, professor and horticulturist at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, has been invited to the University of Bologna to give an invited presentation on research in branching and defoliation of nursery fruit trees and to give a series of invited lectures to students in the Faculty of Agriculture’s International Master’s degree program. Don has been in Bologna lecturing all this week, September 28 through October 2.

Bill Pan is part of a $200,000 project that will develop a full plan and proposal to the National Institute for Agriculture for a Long Term Agricultural Project (LTAP) focusing on the sustainability of non-irrigated cereal production systems in the Inland Pacific Northwest (IPNW). The region’s unique climatic conditions and potential long term productivity merit a concentrated effort to ensure sustainability of its soil resource. Scientists and Extension educators from the University of Idaho, Washington State University and Oregon State University, in partnership with Agricultural Research Service scientists, and the region’s agricultural industry, are committed to developing a coordinated effort to enlist expertise in all agricultural related disciplines and the extensive infrastructure of our institutions, and to ensure science with the broadest relevance to regional agricultural sustainability is conducted and communicated effectively. During the planning project we will refine the scientific framework for the long-term project, especially focusing on empirically based GIS-based maps of the agroecological zones in the region. We will develop an innovative extension education plan that includes approaches for integrating the SAS-LTAP activities into K-12, undergraduate and graduate education. We will enhance integration of our physical research infrastructure, including networks of grower cooperators and our cyber-infrastructure to allow unprecedented integration and of our legacy data and anticipated future data concerning sustainability of the agricultural soil resource of the region. The project will culminate in a proposal to establish a multimillion-dollar, decade-long LTAP in the IPNW that will become part of a network of similar centers to be established throughout the USA by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.