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Sustainability, Distance Students, Coddling Moth, BIOAg

Posted by | October 24, 2007

Sustainability Fair at WSU

Beginning at 11 a.m., October 25, Washington State University hosts the first annual WSU Sustainability Fair. The fair is co-sponsored by numerous organizations, including the WSU Sustainability Club, the WSU Roots and Shoots Club, the WSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and the WSU BIOAg Program. The fair continues through the evening of October 26. The public is invited and all events are free of charge. The WSU Sustainability Fair is a two-day event featuring a wide range of activities, from a panel discussion on the obstacles and benefits of campus sustainability at WSU to free food and live music by the acclaimed biofuel-powered rock act, the Tracy Lyons Band.

For more information, please visit:

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.

From a Distance: WSU Learning Center Means Degrees, Employment

For Felipe Castillo and Francisco Sarmiento, the opportunity to earn a Washington State University degree from a distance is making all the difference.

Both men have taken advantage of WSU’s North Central Washington Learning Center located on the Wenatchee Valley College campus. It is one of 10 learning centers operated by WSU Extension.

“Felipe and Francisco are perfect examples of how our distance degree and learning center programs can work,” said Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “Our partnership with WSU Extension and WVC has provided opportunity for a number of students now making great contributions to the agricultural industry.”

Castillo, a native of Stockton, Calif., first came to Wenatchee as a child with his migrant worker parents. “I attended Wenatchee Valley College where I earned an associate degree in technical science,” he said. I’ve also been working for almost eight years for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission while attending Washington State University.” He is closing in on earning a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from WSU, but has never set foot on the Pullman campus. His courses have been taught at the WSU North Central Washington Learning Center.

Sarmiento came to Wenatchee from Michoacán, Mexico, in the 1980s “chasing the American dream. While enrolled in the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education certificate program at WVC, I realized that education is, indeed, the key to success,” Sarmiento said. “I enjoyed school so much that I decided to pursue higher levels of education. I focused on agriculture, which is my passion, and I continued at WVC to earn my associate in technical science degree in tree fruit production.

“It all made sense, and I knew right then that WSU was my next step,” he continued. “One of the key factors to pursuing my degree from WSU was the opportunity to take the entire program at Wenatchee Valley College through the WHETS system. I immensely appreciate that opportunity, and forever will.”

For more information about WSU’s Learning Centers, please visit:

Francisco Sarmiento, CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo and Felipe Castillo

L-R: Francisco Sarmiento, CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo, and Felipe Castillo

Looking for Larvae in All the Right Places

It has been four years since the Taiwanese government reopened its multi-million-dollar market to Washington apples, thanks to codling moth protocols developed by WSU entomologists Vince Jones and Jay Brunner.

Taiwan refused to accept shipments of Washington apples, or any apple from the United States, in 2003 after finding just three live codling moth larvae. Jones and Brunner partnered to develop the first-ever in-orchard protocol for sampling for the proverbial “worm in the apple” to weed out high risk orchards. Traditionally, that screening hadn’t occurred until the fruit was received at the warehouse.

“It is just a new first step in a series of steps that allows a grower to ship to Taiwan,” Brunner explained.

Fruit industry exporters estimated that closure of the Taiwan market in 2003 to have cost the Washington apple industry $25 million in reduced slaes and lower domestic prices. Since Washington’s tree fruit industry adopted the new protocol, shipments to Taiwan have been “clean” enough to keep trade flowing. “Since the protocol was implemented, sampling revealed no more than two live larvae per year in 2004, 2005 and 2006,” Brunner said.

Mark Willett from the Northwestern Horticultural Association currently is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant quarantine officials to encourage Taiwan to completely eliminate the requirement for market closure in the work plan. That position is based on a recently completely risk assessment, which calculated that the low level of codling moth interceptions under the current protocol do not present a measurable risk of the bug’s establishment and spread in Taiwan.

For more information on tree fruit pest research, please visit:

Coddling moth and the damage it causes

An adult coddling moth and the unappetizing damage it causes.

First Year BIOAg Funding Produces Valuable Results

The first direct legislative funding for biologically intensive and organic agriculture research, education and outreach for Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) has yielded significant outcomes.

The Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources fosters approaches to agriculture and natural resource stewardship that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsive through research, extension and academic programs.

Of the $225,000 appropriated for grants, 13 projects were selected in six priority areas for research. These areas – livestock, nutrient management, alternative crops and bioenergy; and bioproducts, food quality, economics, and demonstration farms – were chosen in an effort to explore ways to improve the sustainability of Washington agriculture.

For a more detailed version of this article by Betsy Fradd, please visit: WSU Agriculture –

Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources