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Lentils, Ag Priority, Cattle Monitoring, New Food

Posted by | July 18, 2007

It’s a Fact

In recent years, Washington growers produced on average over 100 million pounds of lentils per year. Lentil cultivation in Turkey and Iraq dates back over 11,000 years. Of the lentils grown in eastern Washington, about 25 percent are consumed domestically, with the rest exported to all areas of the world.

On Solid Ground is a weekly, electronic newsletter for the friends and stakeholders of the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), WSU Extension and the WSU Agricultural Research Center.

Ag Is Top Priority for New WSU President

Make no mistake. Agriculture is a top priority of Washington State University, according to WSU President Elson S. Floyd.

The new president reestablished the institution’s commitment to one of the state’s largest industries at the Spillman Farm field day held in Pullman today. More than 100 wheat growers, legislators and researchers braved the heat to attend the bi-annual event.

“Agriculture is vitally important to Washington State University,” Floyd said. “That is my promise. That is my pledge. That is my commitment to you.”

The new president said that, in his opinion, “We have allowed that commitment to slip over time….We can’t be all things to all people, but agriculture will be a top priority.”

For more information, please visit WSU Agriculture:

WSU President Elson Floyd talks to growers and others at the 2007 Spillman Farm field day.

WSU Scientist Studying Dairy Emissions

For the next 24 months, Pius Ndegwa, a scientist and extension specialist in WSU’s biological systems engineering department, will be monitoring the air at a typical Washington dairy.

The biological systems engineer’s work is part of a $14.6 million national study led by Purdue University to measure levels of gases and airborne pollutants emitted from poultry, swine and dairy confinement facilities. Researchers at seven universities are collaborating with Purdue to collect data at 20 study sites in eight states.

“Right now, nobody is really sure of how much pollutants these facilities are emitting,” Ndegwa said. “This is the first major, comprehensive study that will be able to provide that information.”

The collected data will be useful in developing tools for estimating emissions of the pollutants, Ndegwa said, and help establish infrastructure to test emission-abatement strategies.

“There are a lot of things that need to happen if the animal industry is to be sustainable,” Ndegwa said. “I am glad to be involved in this kind of a project. It’s quite comprehensive, and hopefully, we’ll find the answers that everybody is looking for.”

Top: Washington State University engineer Pius Ndegwa, foreground, and Hoong-Soo Joo, a postdoctoral research associate, inspect equipment in a mobile lab that is monitoring air pollutants at a typical Washington dairy.

Students Competitive with New Food

Who would have known you’d need classes in statistics to make ice cream? A team of WSU student food scientists spent an entire year of extracurricular time studying data trends and much more to become one of six finalists in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association Product Development Competition to be held in Chicago on July 29-30.

The competition gives students opportunities to network for job offers at one of the largest trade shows in the nation. Each year, over 20,000 people attend the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting, giving great visibility to the students’ products and the chance that a company may want to buy the rights for them from WSU.

Their creation, “Naturaleza’s Delights,” is a unique combination of all-natural, lowfat, probiotic ice cream packaged as a single-serve sundae. Their flavors are distinctive too — Gourmet Rose and Chai Tea — each served with a complementary container of low-fat toppings.

“The experience has been a lot of fun and challenging,” said team member Jennifer Brown, a graduate student in food science. “We had to incorporate everything we learned in undergraduate and graduate school and put it into one project.”

For more information, read the WSU Today story by Becky Phillips:

Top: The food product development team confers about their ice cream recipe. The team’s faculty advisor, associate professor of food science Stephanie Clark, in red, looks on. Bottom: Team members display their finished product.