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Mint Oil, Ag Initiative, Ensminger Pavilion

Posted by | April 25, 2007

Did You Know?

Washington is the nation’s number one producer of peppermint and spearmint oil, with a 2005 value of over $44 million. Peppermint has anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-tumor properties, is a strong antioxidant, and has some anti-allergenic potential. (Sources: USDA/ARS)

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 Initiative Update: A Message from Dan Bernardo

Thanks to the support of Washington’s agricultural industry, the state legislature has funded $6 million of the $10.8 million requested in the Industry-based Unified Agriculture Initiative. The 2007 legislative session adjourned Sunday. We’re still sorting through the implications of the 2007-2009 biennial budget, but it appears to be a good first step toward fiscal sustainability for our research and extension enterprises.

The appropriation includes partial funding for two competitive grant pools, including one in “biologically intensive” agriculture. It also provides for new faculty and staff positions in several priority areas within the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. Many decisions will need to be made concerning how these funds will be allocated across the various priorities included in the Initiative. We will be working with industry in the coming months to gain their input concerning priorities for these funds.

In addition, the “Fueling Washington” with Bioproducts initiative received $4 million of the total $5.6 million request to help build a comprehensive research program to generate fuels from plants grown and processed in the state. A portion of the appropriation will be used to fund fie state researchers to complete a 10-person team at WSU tri-cities. In addition, WSU received $800,000 to analyze options for market incentives to encourage biofuels production.

And finally, lawmakers approved full funding for construction of the new Life Sciences building, which is scheduled to open in fall 2008 on the Pullman campus. They also provided approximately $821,000 in new money for maintenance and operation of that new facility.

The economic importance of Washington’s agricultural industry depends on WSU’s research and extension to ensure its profitability and sustainability in the 21st century. I’ll be collaborating diligently with industry professionals to make sure WSU continues to provide the cutting-edge science and practical knowledge that makes agriculture in Washington a world-class enterprise.

For more information about the state budget and WSU, please visit:

Where the Beef Is

For 70 years, the Old Livestock Pavilion on WSU’s Pullman campus was an anchor of the university’s agricultural research and extension activities. The pavilion witnessed Livestock Feeder Days, Land Grant Day dances, summer theatre, even archeology students practicing excavation techniques in its dirt floor. But it was the thousands of animal science students who trained for their profession there that saved the old building from demolition.

In 2002, animal scientist Everett Martin and his students persuaded university administration to renovate the historical building instead of tearing it down. They were successful and, last week, the Old Livestock Pavilion was officially rededicated as the M.E. and Audrey Ensminger Pavilion.

Mrs. Ensminger made a $250,000 donation that helped secure the future of the pavilion. Her husband, M.E. Ensminger, was chair of WSU’s animal science department for twenty years beginning in World War Two. Ensminger’s expertise and energy helped secure the world-class reputation of animal, and especially cattle, science at WSU. While animal science educational facilities have been modernized and relocated, it’s fitting that the old pavilion be dedicated to the Ensmingers as a reminder of WSU’s long and successful history of contributions to Washington’s cattle industry.

Restoration work of the pavilion continues. To find out how you can help, please contact the CAHNRS Alumni and Development team:

Top: The Ensminger Pavilion today. Bottom: A livestock judging event in the 1960s; Bing Crosby, wearing a black hat, is on the right; Crosby’s sons briefly attended WSU. For more Ensminger Pavilion history, please visit: