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Economic Outlook Conference, Ostrom, Sustainability Certificate

Posted by | November 28, 2007

Economic Outlook Conference

Energy and agriculture will be the focus of the first annual Washington State University Economic Issues and Outlook Conference scheduled Dec. 6-7 at the Red Lion Inn at Pasco.

“The agriculture and energy sectors are operating in unprecedented economic conditions and experiencing record commodity prices,” said Tom Marsh, associate professor in WSU’s School of Economic Sciences. “We have assembled an outstanding panel of speakers to discuss issues of particular interest to people in the Tri-Cities and eastern Washington.”

A wide array of topics to be covered at the conference by WSU faculty, as well as government and industry speakers, includes biofuels policy design, biofuel feedstocks, risk and biofuels, bioenergy and the environment, livestock outlook, wheat and grain outlook, water issues, dairy farm growth, tree fruit outlook, wine marketing, transportation, economics of health, the farm bill and crop insurance.

Registration is $125. The registration fee includes all sessions, lunch and dinner, social hour, poster showing and a copy of the conference proceedings on CD. Contact Laci Graciano at (509) 335-1173 for more information. For a complete list of speakers, or to register online, please visit:

Nick Piggott and John Gardner are just two of the speakers at the first annual WSU Economic Issues and Outlook Conference.

Nick Piggott (top) and John Gardner are just two of the speakers at the first annual WSU Economic Issues and Outlook Conference. John Gardner’s economic development blog is located at

Ostrom Wins Western Regional Excellence in Extension Award

WSU associate professor Marcia “Marcy” Ostrom has been named the recipient of the 2007 Western Regional Excellence in Extension Award. Ostrom is the director of the WSU Small Farms Program that she established in 2000 and a member of the Community and Rural Sociology Department.

The honor is one of five regional awards and one national award given annually by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Ostrom received the award at NASULGC’s annual conference in New York City on Nov. 11.

“In seven years, Marcy has built the WSU Small Farms Program from the ground up into a model for engaging small producers and previously underserved groups,” said Linda Kirk Fox, associate vice president and dean of WSU Extension. “She has brought together a statewide team of campus and county-based faculty, agency representatives and community partners to address issues of small farm viability and community food systems.”

Ostrom’s Small Farms Team includes bi-lingual Hmong and Latino outreach specialists who adapt educational programs for diverse cultures.

Hmong refugees from Laos are a growing immigrant group that relies heavily on income from farmers markets. Latino farm owners constitute the fastest growing sector of new farmers in Washington state.

For more information on the Small Farms Team, visit:

To watch a video interview with Hispanic farmer Hilario Alvarez, visit:

Marcia Ostrom

Marcia Ostrom

WSU Creates Certificate in Sustainable Ag

The WSU Graduate School will offer a certificate in sustainable agriculture to graduate students who want to research the viability of the environment in relation to food production. Faculty and student groups together supported the proposed certificate in an effort to improve the university’s agricultural program options.

“We had a lot of requests from graduate students who wanted more programs in sustainable agriculture,” said Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Biologically-Intensive Agriculture and Organic Farming coordinator and contributor to the development of the program.

The certificate is intended to improve the interdisciplinary aspect of agricultural research at the university while providing a background in environmental science and issues. Students who participate in the program will gain a broad background in the study of environmental health and the processes and policies of agriculture.

“Sustainable agriculture focuses on using resources efficiently,” said Catherine Perillo, clinical assistant professor of crop and soil sciences.

The goal is to meet the agricultural goals of the present without jeopardizing the environmental needs of the future, Perillo said. The certificate program is open to all WSU graduate students from any field. Eligibility for the certificate requires students meet the prerequisites of the courses needed for the certificate.

“Students really need to start learning about the impacts of industrial agriculture,” education graduate student Kristen Koenig said. “There needs to be more emphasis on how we can make it more sustainable.”

Adapted from an article by Daily Evergreen reporter Mike Brambley. For more information about WSU’s research, outreach and education in sustainable agriculture, visit:

Scenes from the 2007 WSU Organic Farm Field Day

Scenes from the 2007 WSU Organic Farm Field Day. Top photo: Kathy Barnard; bottom photo: Brian Clark.