Last Thursday was the start of field day season with the Lind Dryland Research Station Field Day. Lind, Washington is known for two things. First, it is the site of an annual combine demolition derby — a must see if you have not been to this event. Unfortunately, you will have to wait another year, as it was held on June 9. (But you can still watch a video featuring the heavy combine action on YouTube.) Second, Lind is home to the driest agricultural research center in the world. Farming around Lind is not for the faint of heart or the novice farmer, as producers in the region must find ways to make use of every ounce of the nine inches of annual rainfall.
Lind is probably my favorite field day. Producers in the region have really taken ownership of the station and place a high value on the research going on in the site. Significant changes to production systems in the region have occurred over the past several decades, and many are a direct result of innovations coming out of the station. To get a sense of what producers are up against and how science helps them reap profits from the drylands, checkout this video. In addition, the region’s producers have contributed several hundred thousand dollars to an endowment to help operate the station, with a lead gift from the estate of the beloved “Uncle Ed” Heineman.
The field day was a great showcase of the many fine programs and faculty WSU and our USDA-ARS partners have in place to serve the needs of eastern Washington dryland wheat farmers. Particularly gratifying was seeing the impact of the research of faculty hired over the last six years — Scot Hulbert, Aaron Carter, Mike Pumphrey, Stephen Guy, and Ian Burke to name a few. This week, we added another weapon to the arsenal, with the announcement that Drew Lyon, a weed science professor from the University of Nebraska, has agreed to fill our newly created endowed chair in dryland weeds management.