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Batson Awarded Fellowship

Alex BatsonIn recognition of scholastic achievements, leadership, and future promise in your field, WSU Mt. Vernon has awarded Alex Batson the Seed Production Pathology and Seed Health Fellowship for the current fall semester.  The fellowship is funded from a donation by Richard and Marcia Morrison.  Richard spent 35 years as a plant pathologist in the seed industry.

As a student at WSU, Alex is studying effector genes in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae, the causal agent of Fusarium wilt of spinach, in Lindsey du Toit’s program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. He started as a time-slip employee in this program in spring 2017, and enrolled as an MS student in fall semester of 2017.  Congratulations!

Provost’s Featured Faculty Member Recognition – Kiwamu Tanaka

Provost Dan Bernardo was delighted to recognize Kiwamu Tanaka as a Provost Featured Faculty Member for the Sept. 29 football game agaiKiwamu Tanakanst Utah.

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WSU research helps breed better-tasting sweet corn in $7.3 million grant

Lindsey du Toit, vegetable seed pathologist at Washington State University’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Lindsey J. du ToitCenter at Mount Vernon, is a co-primary investigator on a $7.3 million, four-year grant to find the genetic traits that will make sweet corn taste better, last longer and grow better across the nation.

The project is funded by the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, led by scientists at the University of Florida, and includes research at Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the USDA.

Demand for fresh market and frozen corn is increasing, and breeders need to be able to provide the best sweet corn seed possible as part of federal campaigns to encourage Americans to eat enough vegetables.

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$5.6 million for specialty crop research protecting grapes, onions from pests and diseases

From CAHNRS News

Two national research teams led by scientists at Washington State University will protect valuable U.S. grape, onion and garlic crops from devastating and fast-adapting pests and diseases, thanks to more than $5 million in Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.Hanu Pappu

Researching sustainable defenses, Hanu Pappu, the Chuey Endowed Chair and Samuel H. Smith Distinguished Professor in the WSU Department of Plant Pathology, received $3.29 million to study and stop serious pests and diseases harming onions and garlic.

Developing high-tech solutions, Michelle Moyer, associate professor with the WSU Viticulture & Enology program, received an initial $2.4 million to launch a national effort to understand and combat fungicide resistance threatening the $5 billion wine, table grape and raisin crop.

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Lindsey du Toit named distinguished professor

By Scott Weybright,
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Acknowledging her world-renowned reputation in service to agriculture, Washington State University named plant pathologist Lindsey J. du ToitLindsey du Toit as the recipient of the Alfred Christianson Distinguished Professorship in Vegetable Seed Science.

The award provides extra funding that du Toit can apply to pivotal crop seed research projects as needed.

“We hope this endowment will continue to support graduate student studies and the resolution of complex crop production issues in the many years to come,” said Ken Christianson, Alfred’s son.

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WSU scientists experimenting with paper mill waste to fight soil disease

From The Spokesman-Review
Article by Will Campbell

ROCKFORD – Washington State University professor Tim Murray (pictured) drove a white truck across a farm field where the winter wheat and rye look sick.Tim Murray

Murray scooped a cup of dirt and used a pH meter to test it. The meter revealed what has become alarming to farmers: The soil was as acidic as a cup of black coffee.

Soil acidification is killing crops at a slow but increasing rate in some places in Eastern Washington. It’s a long-term problem that’s caused by adding nitrogen to the soil to increase crop yield. Acidification causes compounds such as aluminum sulfate to form, which is deadly to crops. In the short term, farmers can’t justify the costs of traditional solutions like spreading limestone on the soil because it costs too much to transport.

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WSU scientists clone virus to help stop overwhelming grape disease

By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

PROSSER, Wash. – A new discovery by Washington State University scientists could help grape growers roll back a devastating virus that withers vines and shrivels harvests.

Naidu Rayapati and his former student Sridhar Jarugula
(from left) Sridhar Jarugula and Naidu Rayapati

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The Creation of a ‘Working’ Academy

Jim Cook

Dr. Jim Cook discusses establishing the Washington State Academy of Sciences in the recent newsletter.

USDA Multistate Research Project Recognized

Managing Onion Pests and Diseases (W-2008 | 2012-2017)

This project won the 2018 Western Region Excellence in Multistate Research Award in recognition of the project members’ outstanding collaboration and impacts. This is a team award with members from WSU (Tim Waters, Lindsey du Toit, and Hanu Pappu), Cornell, University of Georgia, Penn. State University, Colorado State University, NMSU, OSU, and Utah State University

Story in CAHNRS News.

PLP 525 Graduate Students at Washington State University Visit the State Capitol to Learn about Agricultural Public Policy

PLP 525 students at WA State Capitol BuildingOn June 13th, 13 graduate students at Washington State University (WSU) visited the State Capitol in Olympia, WA, to learn about agricultural public policy as part of the curriculum for PLP 525 (Field Plant Pathology and Mycology). The course, organized by Dr. Lindsey du Toit, Professor of Plant Pathology, focuses on providing students with direct exposure to diverse careers in plant pathology. The Capitol visit was part of two weeks of travel for the summer course. At the Capitol, students met with specialists with diverse careers in public policy that encompass aspects of agricultural policy: Dr. Derek Stanford, Washington State Representative; Kelly McLain, Natural Resource Scientist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture; Robert Duff, Senior Policy Advisor to Washington State Governer Jay Inslee; and Aaron Wasser, Communication Director of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The visit and discussions were coordinated and mediated by Kate Baber, a specialist in Public Health Policy and the daughter of Dr. Debra Inglis, WSU Professor of Plant Pathology. The students reviewed how Washington State government is organized and public policy created, about legislative committees such as the House and Senate Agricultural Committees, the role of the state legislature in shaping agricultural policy, how policy makers engage with the research community, how scientists can engage in the public policy process and effectively educate lawmakers about agricultural science issues, how to communicate science to a broad audience, and career paths in state government. As part of the course assignment, each student contacted their local representative to convey information about an important agricultural or educational issue. Students taking the course included Alex Batson, Vishnutej Ellur, David Enicks, Christine Jade Ermita, Billie Espejo, Lederson Ganan Betancur, Cedric Habiyaremye, Emmi Klarer, Olga Kozhar, Elliot Marston, Kaitlin Miller, Ryan Solemslie, and Carmen Swannack.