Extension News from the West

MSU Extension beef cattle specialists to host statewide veterinary feed directive meetings

Montana State University Extension News - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN Montana State University Extension beef cattle specialists will host summer meetings across Montana to help livestock producers understand...

CAHNRS Faculty Feature: Kim Kidwell

Washington State University Extension News - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 12:38pm

We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.

Kim Kidwell

Today we’re showcasing Kim Kidwell, CAHNRS executive associate dean and the associate dean of academic programs, as well as the founding Director of the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership. Here are her answers to a few questions:

 How did you pick this as a career?

I had an amazing instructor in an undergraduate general education course at the University of Illinois who was a corn geneticist. He was passionate, enthusiastic and highly engaged with the class, which intrigued me. I was shocked that someone could be that excited about corn genetics! I talked to him after class one day and ended up doing undergraduate research with him for 3 years. He helped me get into University of Wisconsin for graduate school, which was his alma mater.

I teach with passion and connection because of him: I know it matters how I show up for students. In fact, it can change lives – just like it did for me when he was my instructor.

What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?

Witnessing when students get it. I love to work with students to the point that they understand a concept, perhaps for the first time. It is exciting to watch them figure it out, and relate the information to something that is important to them, especially if the topic is challenging. It is fun to listen to students explain things correctly to each other and to apply what they are learning to solving problems.

Why do you love what you do?

Working with students gives me hope that the world will be better tomorrow than it is today. When students realize that they can make a difference, it gives them hope too. Life is full of challenges, and if students acquire the tools needed to overcome struggles, they develop resiliency skills that will serve them well throughout life. One of the most important things we support students with learning is what it takes for them to be resilient. No matter what the challenge is, they will have the confidence and willingness to persevere.

If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?

Be curious. Life is full of wonderments. If we are curious, we can learn so much about things we are unfamiliar with or don’t understand. Being curious allows people to overcome judgements, insecurities, prejudice, righteousness, and many other types of feelings and reactions that get in the way of learning and creating meaningful relationships with people. When you don’t understand why people do what they do, get curious about it to gain appreciation for a different perspective.

Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?

Enjoy the journey. As a society, we are results driven often to the point of our own demise. How you journey to the results is just as important as the outcome. In fact, if you let go of the expected outcome and mindfully enjoy the journey, sometimes you end up creating something that you didn’t even imagine was possible.

Meet Eureka County&#8217;s new Extension Educator

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension selects Extension Educator candidate

Gary McCuin, Extension Educator, Eureka County

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has selected Gary McCuin as Eureka County’s Extension Educator. He started his position on July 11, 2016. His focus will be on agriculture/natural resources and youth development programming.

In Eureka County, McCuin’s programs will focus on agriculture, natural resources and youth development. Primary agricultural programming will focus on water supply and conservation, control of noxious weed and pests, alternative crops and/or alternative production and marketing of existing forage based crops; natural resource programming will focus on riparian and rangeland health/resiliency based upon sustainable use and continued access to federal lands for multiple use activities; and socioeconomic issues centered on community development, children, youth and families. Continuation of the 4H program and expansion of project opportunities for local youth, with the assistance of the current 4-H program coordinator, will be emphasized.

McCuin received both his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and his Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from University of Nevada, Reno.

McCuin is a Native Nevadan, raised on Twin Springs and Currant Creek Ranches. He and his wife live in Eureka and enjoy the rural lifestyle, people and countryside offered by the area.

Family bingo night scheduled

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension 4-H program offers family activity

Let’s play bingo!

Bingo for the whole family! University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program is inviting you to a family night of bingo.

Join us on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. Parents, the children will pick your prize for you when you win. The fun will be held at the Cooperative Extension office at #1 Frankie St. in the back of the old courthouse.

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H began a century ago as an educational program for the nation’s rural youth. Today, 4-H meets the needs of and engages young people in positive youth development experiences. 4-H participants are all youth, ages 5 to 19, taking part in programs.

4-H is the largest out-of-school youth organization in the United States with over 7 million members. There are over 49,000 young people engaged in 4-H programs across the state of Nevada. The 4-H program promotes life skills development through an expanding number of delivery modes: 4-H community and project clubs, military and 4-H afterschool programs; special interest groups; school enrichment; faith-based; camping and more.

For more information about the bingo night or the 4-H program, email or call Carol Shilling at 482-6794 or (307)389-1704.

5th Annual Healthy Kids Festival ready to roll in September

It’s time to move with ‘All 4 Kids’

Healthy Kids Festival activity 2015

To celebrate Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids© Program and Clark County Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor the fifth annual Healthy Kids Festival (HKF) which will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

The free festival, open to young children and their families, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Whitney Recreation Center located at 5712 Missouri Ave., Las Vegas, Nev. Local community partners will come together to promote nutrition, physical activity, growing fruits and vegetables, healthy food tasting, music and dance instruction, BMI and health assessments, city/county recreation, sports and outdoor venues.

Unlike typical health fairs, each agency will provide interactive, hands-on experiences for children who visit their activity stations where a bingo-like game card is stamped. Donated prizes are used to promote completion of game cards given to children to encourage participation in all areas. Last year’s event presented childhood obesity awareness and prevention to almost 1000 attendees.

Reaching out and empowering families of young children is the key to successful, healthy living. Parents and families are invited to learn how to support and model positive and healthy eating habits, and to adopt physical activity in their young children’s daily routines.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Program is an initiative that begins with the child, the families and the school; then extends to the community, local and national government. Educating children at a young age will provide them with tools to make healthier choices and engage in active lifestyles throughout life.

Pre-registration is available online through Eventbrite.com. For more information about the Healthy Kids Festival, email or call 702-940-KIDS (5437).

CAHNRS Faculty Feature: Arron Carter

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 07/07/2016 - 9:39am

We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.

Arron Carter

Today we’re showcasing Arron Carter, professor and director of the WSU Winter Wheat Breeding program. Here are his answers to a few questions:

How did you pick this as a career?

I have always been interested in plants and sciences like biology and chemistry. So when I went to college, I enrolled in a Plant Science degree. I started working in a plant breeding program as an undergraduate and fell in love with it.

What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?

The interaction with the students and giving them a little piece of knowledge that I am passionate about. Most people don’t directly think plant breeding affects them, although it surrounds everything we eat. It’s fun to help them make that connection.

Why do you love what you do?

I love what I do for many reasons. There is a diversity of activities (fieldwork, greenhouse, molecular, etc). Also, I work with an interdisciplinary team, so I get to learn a little about multiple programs (cereal chemistry, plant pathology, weed science, soil science, statistics, etc). Probably the most important part is I get to make a product that I can see go into application in the farmer’s field and make a difference, not only to them, but the end consumer as well. It’s fun knowing that a cultivar you have developed is leading to a more sustainable environment and production system.

If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?

Try to get experience in the field you are interested in working in. Reach outside your comfort zone and take courses that will challenge you. This is really the only time you will get to take courses and gain this type of knowledge.

Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?

Interdisciplinary teams are becoming important in many disciplines. Learn how to communicate well on many subjects. Be passionate about what you do, but also be open to new perspectives and ideas.

Tree selection and care workshop

Desert Willow

Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension on Saturday, Aug. 20, for a one-day workshop on Gardening in Small Places: tree selection and care. The class runs from 8 a.m. to noon.

Trees are some of the largest, and can be some of the most expensive, plant material you’ll add to your landscape. When properly selected, placed, planted and cared for trees can be the focal point of your garden, however, if improperly placed, planted or cared for, trees can also be the most costly mistake you can make in your landscape.

Knowing what trees do best in the Mojave Desert is only part of the story: knowing where to put them, how to plant them and how to care for them can help you prevent some costly mistakes. Laura Eisenberg, formerly with the Nevada Division of Forestry, will explain how to pick a landscape tree and how to care for it so it will become the landscape centerpiece you knew it could be. Homeowners and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Class space is limited to 25 and pre-registration is required. To register for this class, held at the Lifelong Learning Center (8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev.), email Elaine Fagin or call 702-257-5573. Register online through Eventbrite.com.

The next Gardening in Small Places workshop dates are Sept. 10, Native plants; Oct. 22, Roses (new class); and Nov. 19, Growing fruit at home.

Green Times – July 2016

Washington State University Extension News - Wed, 07/06/2016 - 10:00am

Veterinary Feed Directive Workshop
July 7 in Monroe, WA. Information.

Pasture Management Workshop 
July 14 in Bainbridge Island, WA. Information.

WildBeeSense Biodiversity Project Training
July 8, 15, or 30 at six locations in Seattle.
July 23 in Woodinville, WA. Information.

Weed Management Techniques for Small-Scale Farms
July 27 in Mount Vernon, WA. Information.

WSU Eggert Family Organic Farm Field Day

Learn about undergraduate student research projects, carrot variety trials, and on-going farm development.
July 28 starting at 8 am in Pullman, WA.
Learn more about the farm at http://css.wsu.edu/organicfarm/

Pest Management for Small Organic Production Systems
August 10 in Mount Vernon, WA. Information.

Vineyard Care throughout the Seasons
July 16, Sept 17, Bow, WA. Information.

Save the Date: Climate Impacts to Water
Jan 25-26, 2017 in Stevenson, WA. Information. Horned larks by efforts to protect canola seedlings

Horned larks are turning up in droves near Lind, Wash. and decimating newly planted winter and spring canola fields despite multiple efforts to deter them.

Read More WSU provost wears bees to raise awareness of bees and research

Climate change impacts are covered in the new report prepared by by the Washington Water Research Center for the Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River.

Read More Green blacktop fights polluted water runoff

To save paradise, John Stark paved a parking lot. Next he hopes to do it to a highway. Read More 2016 Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast

Climate change impacts are covered in the new report prepared by by the Washington Water Research Center for the Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River.

Read More International spotlight on Juming Tang

The global research journal, International Innovation, spotlighted WSU Regents Professor Juming Tang and his research on microwave-assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) and pasteurization (MAPS) systems.

Read More

MSU Extension releases updated information on cattle grazing leases

Montana State University Extension News - Tue, 07/05/2016 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN Montana State University Extension specialists have released updated information on cattle grazing leases.</p> <p>The new four-page MontGuide, Grazing Leases, defines...

Distinguished Teaching Award for Animal Sciences’ Kris Johnson

Washington State University Extension News - Mon, 07/04/2016 - 9:19am

Kris Johnson, professor and interim chair of the WSU Department of Animal Sciences, will receive the Distinguished Teaching Award this month from the American Society of Animal Science.

Kris Johnson

Johnson, a respected teacher, student advisor and researcher in ruminant nutrition, has worked at WSU for 26 years. She currently teaches Animal Sciences Orientation to freshmen, Beef Production and Ruminant Nutrition.

Johnson was nominated by Animal Sciences faculty for the award, which recognizes teachers who motivate and stimulate undergraduate and graduate students in animal sciences.

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Johnson, who thanked her colleagues for their support. “It is probably the highest teaching honor one can win in my field and the list of past winners is incredible!”

Johnson enjoys working with her students.

“It is rewarding to show students they can solve problems, and then allow them to practice and develop their abilities to think creatively,” she said.

ASAS judges gauge candidates’ vision, attitude, and mastery of the subject and the impression they make on students.

Other considerations include their ability to translate research into practice, service to agriculture and industry, and their activities beyond regular teaching, such as research and extension, service on committees, advising clubs and counseling students, and training and placement. Letters from students and published materials are also weighed.

Johnson will receive the award, which includes a monetary award, at the society’s joint annual meeting, July 19-23 in Salt Lake City.

Learn more about ASAS at https://www.asas.org/home.

Kris Johnson, current Chair of the Department of Animal Sciences, visits with students at the 2015 CAHNRS Fall Fest.

Large-scale spring canola trials showcase options for farmers

Washington State University Extension News - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 3:45pm
Representatives from several canola seed companies as well as WSU’s Aaron Esser, Dennis Roe, and Karen Sowers presented information about spring varieties during the WSU Wilke Farm Field Day June 23.

The WSU-based Washington State Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) project has partnered with Viterra, Inc., to conduct large-scale spring canola variety trials at three locations in eastern Washington.

Emtman Brothers Farms, east of Fairfield, Wash.; Eriksen Farm, west of St. John; and the WSU Wilke Research and Extension Farm at Davenport are hosting the trials with a range of soil types, soil pH, rainfall, and elevation between the farms.

There are six canola varieties entered in the trial: Bayer CropScience LL140P, Caldbeck Consulting NCC101S, Croplan by Winfield HyCLASS 930, Dow Nexera 2020CL, BrettYoung 5535CL, and Spectrum Crop Development ‘Early One.’ The varieties represent the options available to growers, depending on specific needs for residual herbicide tolerance, weed control, or a change in herbicide chemistry.

Plots range in size from 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, and are replicated four times at each farm.

Nearly 60 people attended the WOCS spring canola tour at St. John June 8. Dennis Roe, WSU and Nate Clemens, Croplan by Winfield, discuss varieties with one group on the tour.

WOCS project team members, including Aaron Esser, Adams County Extension Director;  Crop and Soil Sciences Professor and Extension Specialist Bill Pan; Crop and Soil Sciences faculty member Dennis Roe; and Karen Sowers, research associate in Crop and Soil Sciences, are gathering data throughout the season, including plant population, days to flowering, yield, weed and pest pressure, and oil content and quality.

Tours of the variety trials were held in June at all three large-scale spring canola variety sites and attendees were treated to readily apparent differences in flowering, plant height, weed control, and height between the varieties.

Darrell Kilgore with WSU CAHNRS Communications will be gathering aerial and ground video and photo footage at the three locations in early July to develop into a video about the project.

Students manage and milk their own herd to ready for dairy careers

Washington State University Extension News - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 11:13am

Not many college students spend their free time milking Holsteins. Lindsey Richmond is one of the lucky few.

Richmond, a senior in the Department of Animal Sciences at Washington State University, works several days a week at WSU’s Knott Dairy Farm as part of a select learning group: The Cooperative University Dairy Students or CUDS.

CUDS president and WSU senior Lindsey Richmond takes care of new calves at the Knott Dairy Center.

CUDS members raise, milk and manage about 35 dairy cows, in a full-time operation that demands four daily shifts. In the summer, with fewer students in Pullman, Richmond takes on extra shifts, milking the herd and keeping cows and calves healthy. Milk from the student herd goes to the WSU Creamery for cheese and ice cream.

Richmond, a first-generation college student from Mukilteo, came late to farming.

“I fell into it—I didn’t grow up around agriculture at all,” she said.

Out of high school, Richmond knew she wanted to work with large animals. Zoology seemed a possible fit, but she ended up pursuing animal science at WSU. After taking

introductory dairy classes, Richmond was drawn into the practical science of cows and milk. Two years ago, she decided to join CUDS.

“Because I didn’t grow up around agriculture, the learning curve was steep,” Richmond said. “But I was always out here at the farm, learning new things and getting involved. Now, I want to be part of the dairy industry.”

Richmond is part of the WSU Dairy Challenge Team, traveling across the country for practical knowledge competitions. Elected president of CUDS by her peers, Richmond is also president of the WSU Pre-Veterinary Club.

She admits that it can be a challenge to balance studies and activities. But CUDS’ hands-on experience is well worth it to her.

“It’s fresh air, work, and animals who enjoy your company,” Richmond said. “We have a small herd, and you get to know the cows’ and calves’ personalities really well.” Cows with names like Duchess and Ruby love to get scratches and are curious what their handlers are up to.

CUDS members make management decisions by parliamentary procedure and majority vote, acting as a team.

Each of CUDS’ 13 members are assigned a chair position for areas such as finance, nutrition and milk quality. These roles let members gain deeper knowledge of dairy management.

Chairs must educate their fellow members and work on projects to improve herd performance and management plans. At an annual review every November, CUDS members present their work to a panel of industry professionals, who share feedback to help inform the next year’s goals.

“You make connections in the industry, and learn a lot of management skills,” Richmond said. “Everybody comes from a different background and has their own ideas. You have to be open-minded, be able to lead and to step back. Learning to balance that will be helpful for my future career.”

After graduation, Richmond plans to study reproductive physiology in graduate school, then earn her doctorate of veterinary medicine. She is also conducting research for an honors thesis under Animal Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Martin Maquivar.

CUDS has given Richmond a greater appreciation for dairy industry.

“I see the work that goes into milk,” she said. “We need hardworking people in dairy.

“It’s taught me where my food comes from,” Richmond added.

• Learn more about CUDS here.

• Learn more about Animal Sciences at WSU here.

Extension helps new beekeepers care for vital pollinators

Washington State University Extension News - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 8:43am

Apprentice beekeeper Bethe Bowman never thought she would care so deeply about the humble honey bee. Taking beekeeping classes through Washington State University Extension, she installed two buzzing backyard hives, each containing roughly 30,000 bees, this spring.

“I got them because they’re important for pollination,” she said. “But my biggest discovery was that I fell in love with bees. I didn’t know an insect could make you feel that way.”

100 new beekeepers each year

WSU Extension supports beekeeping courses in partnership with local beekeepers’ associations, helping people take their first steps as apiarists.

Bethe Bowman, an apprentice beekeeper who learned apiculture with help from WSU Extension and her local keepers’ association, tends to her Spokane hives. (Photos by Seth Truscott, WSU CAHNRS)

“We’re graduating more than 100 beginners each year,” said Joan Nolan, an extension master gardener and a beekeeper for more than 40 years who organizes the classes with Spokane’s Inland Empire Beekeepers Association (IEBA).

Interest in beekeeping has been growing, said IEBA member Matthew Liere. He takes part in the association’s mentor program for new keepers, including Bowman.

“Once you get into beekeeping, your view gets a lot bigger,” Liere said. “You see all of the relationships that bees are part of. Without bees, our whole landscape could change.”

Pollinators threatened

“Honey bees are in peril,” said Nolan.

Colony collapse disorder has affected large numbers of beehives throughout the United States and around the world, with 25 to 60 percent of hives lost each winter since 2006. There’s no obvious single cause, but entomologists suspect pathogens, parasites and latent pesticides may all play a role.

“Colony collapse disorder has made people aware of the plight of the honey bee and its importance for our food, gardens and flowers,” said Nolan.

WSU researchers are working to help honey bees survive. They bring new discoveries to the attention of beekeepers’ associations and are campaigning for a state-of-the-art research center to advance bee science.

A healthy hive

Before inspecting her hives on a warm June morning, Bowman carefully laid out her equipment, including a burlap-burning smoker that calms the bees, before gently opening the lid and easing out frames filled with comb.

“I’m looking for my queen,” she explained. “I’m looking for brood and eggs, and I’m making sure that nothing’s there that I don’t want.”

Parasites and predators, including tracheal mites and the invasive varroa mite, can wreak havoc on beehives. So far this spring, though, her new hives are healthy.

Bowman, who co-owns a sustainably focused Italian restaurant in the Browne’s Addition neighborhood of Spokane, sees herself as a steward of the earth.

“Bees work so hard for us,” she said. “We have a responsibility to the bee.”

Resources for getting involved

For prospective bee stewards, Bowman’s advice is to get connected.

“Beekeepers’ associations can be found all over the world,” she said. “They are your mentors.”

Extension courses are another great way to begin the beekeepers’ journey: “I’ve been so lucky that WSU finds bees important enough to do this,” Bowman said.

More information about bee research at WSU can be found at http://bees.wsu.edu.

Find out about beekeeping classes through WSU Spokane County Extension at http://ext100.wsu.edu/spokane/2015/07/22/basic-beekeeping/.

Resources and information about bees through WSU Extension can be found at http://extension.wsu.edu/snohomish/garden/gardening-resources/bees-and-beekeeping/.

Learn about the Inland Empire Beekeepers Association at http://inlandempirebeekeepersassociation.com/.

Learn about the Washington State Beekeepers Association at https://wasba.org/.

CAHNRS Faculty Feature: Martin Maquivar

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 2:21pm

We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.

Today we’re showcasing Martin Maquivar, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. Here are his answers to a few questions:

Martin Maquivar

How did you pick this as a career?

I studied for my Doctor in Veterinary Medicine in Mexico. While in my second semester I had my “click” moment, when I took a class with one of the most awarded teachers at the Vet School, Dr. Carlos Galina. I was exposed to cows! As part of my academic formation I had the opportunity to be his teaching assistant and get involved with instruction of his students. He helped me to develop my teaching style. Also during my graduate studies I was a teaching assistant for several classes that shaped my desire to have a career that blends teaching students and research. Finally, I had the opportunity to work and study with people from different parts of the world that invested their time in my training. Now I want to pay it forward.

What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?

There is a famous phrase that my teachers always said: I am happy if I can reach just one of you. I do not like that, I want to reach 99.9% of my students. I want them to find the “click” moment. That moment they realized… yes, this is for me; this is going to be my life.

I do not have enough words to show my appreciation to every professor that helped me and taught me something (even the bad things), because thanks to them I am here, doing something I love. I hope someday my students remember me the same way I remember my former teachers.

Becoming a good teacher is an arduous process that requires time, effort and the ability to learn from failures. What I love about college students is they teach me to be better at what I do.

Why do you love what you do?

Here at WSU I have the opportunity to do things that I love the most, work with cows, work with great people at the university and learn. Every day that I go to the classroom or to a lab is a new opportunity to learn something new, to make a difference and possibly change someone’s life—just as many teachers that I was lucky enough to work with changed mine. I love the idea that perhaps one of my students will be the next president of WSU or the next CEO of a big company or the discoverer of a new therapy to cure a disease.

 If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?

  • Be responsible with your time, your mind, your body and your actions. While in school, reach your equilibrium, have fun with this phase of your life, learn from your actions and mistakes, and never stop learning. Seek help when something is wrong or you do not feel right, there are a lot of people that are standing by you.
  • Go to class and be present—you never know when an amazing opportunity will arise. Be there and be ready. Commit yourself to your dreams, no matter what the outcome will be.
  • You are here at WSU because you are building your future; create that strong future with good friends, family, knowledge; create the person/professional you want to be, now.

Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?

As master Yoda says: “Still much to learn you have.”

DJI, WSU to partner on ag drone research, education

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:02am

PULLMAN, Wash. – DJI, the world’s leading commercial drone manufacturer, and Washington State University Tuesday announced their intention to partner on research and use of unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture.
DJI and WSU will jointly develop methods to improve agriculture with unmanned aerial systems, making farms more efficient, reducing waste, protecting the environment and increasing crop yields. This is DJI’s first comprehensive partnership with a U.S. university.

“We are excited to collaborate with WSU, and recognize their vast experience in aerospace and agricultural applications,” said Romeo Durscher, DJI director of education. “Letting educators, students and researchers work with our hardware and create applications through our software development kit (SDK) will lead to new inventions and better utilization of our platforms and help a variety of people and industries, from farmers to field workers to consumers.”

  The Agras MG-1 agriculture drone

“Given our state’s long history in aerospace innovation and our vast agricultural resources, WSU is well positioned to bridge the gap between these two industries,” said Alex Pietsch, WSU associate vice president for corporate relations. “We are excited to partner with DJI to help bring their transformative technologies to the field and farm.”

“DJI is poised to provide cutting-edge technology in the agricultural industry,” said Asif Chaudhry, WSU vice president for international programs. “This partnership expands WSU’s broad international presence and provides a pathway to being a leader in smart systems and sustainable resources research.”

WSU’s Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), based in Prosser, Wash., will lead the effort. CPAAS provides the vast agricultural community in the Pacific Northwest with the latest technology for increased farming efficiency and environmentally friendly production.

“CPAAS is focused on high-impact research outcomes,” said Qin Zhang, CPAAS director. “Our facilities, students and faculty offer DJI significant development capabilities and a unique testing ground.”

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Guongdong, China, DJI is the market leader in easy-to-fly unmanned aerial vehicles and aerial photography systems. In 2015, the company released its first drone developed specifically for agriculture, the DJI Agras MG-1.

With WSU’s history of developing technology solutions for agriculture, the diverse nature of Washington agriculture, and DJI’s developing agricultural drone technology, the two partners are pursuing research collaborations that include:

  • Precision agriculture: crop stress monitoring, aerial imaging and precision spraying;
  • Automated UAS platform development and testing for crop loss management, such as bird deterrence and rainwater removal from cherry canopies;
  • Rapid field phenotyping (aerial imaging) of new crop breeding lines; and
  • Development and evaluation of next generation unmanned aerial systems for agricultural use.

DJI will also study starting a “Global Research Challenge” at WSU, enlisting students and faculty to find solutions to real world technological problems.

About DJI

DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing innovative drone and camera technology for commercial and recreational use. DJI was founded and is run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight-control technology and camera stabilization. The company is dedicated to making aerial photography and filmmaking equipment and platforms more reliable and easier to use for creators and innovators around the world. DJI’s global operations currently span North America, Europe and Asia, and its revolutionary products and solutions have been chosen by customers in over 100 countries; for applications in film, advertising, construction, fire fighting, farming, and many other industries.

For more information, visit the website: www.dji.com

Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DJI

Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DJIGlobal

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/DJI


Adam Lisberg, DJI Corporate Communications Director, North America, adam.lisberg@dji.com

Robert Strenge, Assistant Director, WSU News, rstrenge@wsu.edu

How do these big, boxy creatures with flat feet run so fast?

Washington State University Extension News - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 9:42am

Looks are deceiving. . .

Grizzly bears have been clocked running up to 35 miles per hour. The top human speed ever recorded is 27.8 mph.

Grizzly bears may look like lumbering giants but they’re surprisingly fast and agile. While their average walking pace is similar to that of humans, their top running speed is on par with lions. Clocked in the wild at speeds of 30-35 mph, they pack a lot of muscle mass within that bulky physique. Have you ever noticed the hump on a grizzly’s upper back? It’s a protruding shoulder blade topped with muscle mass that powers their forelimbs for running and digging.

Writing about the speed of grizzlies in his 1925 book “Lives of Game Animals,” naturalist and wildlife artist Ernest Thompson Seton had this to say:

“Those who form their idea of a bear’s speed from watching a hulking, slouching prisoner, are sure to be amazed at the real thing. For 50 or 100 yards a Grizzly can go faster than any horse. In view of this, it will be seen how absurd it is for any man to think that he may escape from a Grizzly by simply running.”

Q&A: WSU animal scientist helps Northwest dairies

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 4:03pm
Researching improvements to help dairy farmers, WSU animal scientist Joe Harrison, left, holds a vial of phosphorus-based fertilizer derived from manure (WSU Photo).

On the farm and in the lab, Joe Harrison works to improve the Northwest’s dairy industry.

As an animal scientist and Extension specialist at Washington State University’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center, he helps develop better nutrition for dairy cows, improve milk production and shrink dairy farming’s environmental footprint.

Below, he answers questions about how WSU dairy science betters the industry.

How long have you done dairy research?

My entire career. I grew up on a 10-acre hobby farm. My parents raised cows. I did my graduate work at Ohio State with an emphasis on dairy science. I’ve been at WSU for 31 years.

What issues are you working to solve?

We’re doing our best to improve cow nutrition and look for efficiencies. We also need to find ways to assist producers to manage their manure and have minimal impact on the environment.

When we feed cows better, we get more milk production. Some feed improvements can mean a smaller environmental impact. We’ve found that when we do a better job of meeting nutritional requirements for cows, they give more milk, so farmers have better efficiency.

What are you doing to lower environmental impacts?

My major focus is capturing excess phosphorus from manure in a form that’s easily transported from the farm to where it’s needed, including as fertilizer for crops. I also evaluate regulations, read documents and provide feedback and professional judgment on the science behind regulation.

What’s something that might surprise people about the work you do?

Ideas start at WSU, but a lot of what we do gets translated through advisors in the industry. We may discover something at WSU’s Knott Dairy Farm or the west side of the state that gets implemented through a company in the Midwest. By the time it gets here, producers might never know it actually originated at WSU.

What makes WSU’s dairy program special?

It’s not so much our size as the quality of the educational experience that a student gets at WSU. One of the unique things we have is CUDS.

In Cooperative of University Dairy Students, or CUDS, students work together to feed, milk and breed their own herd of dairy cow. They’re in charge of monitoring herd health, vaccinations, and a variety of management treatments.

What does the future of the dairy industry look like?

We have lots of opportunities to increase milk production, whether it’s more milk per cow, or more cows. Right now, the cost of production versus the price of milk is a real challenge. Some producers are struggling to stay in business, and a lot of it comes down to world market prices. There is a lot of product shipped to the world. In Washington, however, cow numbers are stable. Dairy producers in the Northwest have always been progressive and adaptive, and I think we will continue to see a stable dairy industry in Washington.

What’s kept you doing this for 31 years?

What gets me up every morning is the discovery process. That’s what I enjoy most: trying to find new information, asking questions as a biologist, and discovering what’s going on.


Contact: Joe Harrison, Animal Scientist and Extension Specialist, WSU Puyallup, (253) 445-4638, jhharrison@wsu.edu

International Spotlight on Juming Tang

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 06/21/2016 - 2:58pm
WSU Regents Professor Juming Tang serving up the results of new food safety technology.

WSU Regents Professor Juming Tang is well-versed in moving discoveries developed in the lab to the marketplace. Recently, the global research journal International Innovation featured the technologies he developed through years of basic research that could revolutionize pre-packaged food. The feature also included a Q&A that gives insight into the process of getting new technologies to the public.

Check out the interview below, and learn the history of research and development that led to the technology here: A microwaveable future: improving sterilisation and pasteurisation.

Feeling the heat

(reprinted from International Innovation with permission)

For over two decades, Professor Juming Tang has been conducting research using microwave and radio frequency energy for food safety applications. Here, he discusses the transformative technology that he has created, and the difficulties in maintaining a steady funding stream

How did you become interested in researching microwave heating?

Microwave heating is very unique compared with other heating methods. My interest started when I was teaching an undergraduate introductory food technology course in Canada in 1993. I started the research programme on microwave heating after joining Washington State University (WSU) in 1995 as a faculty member.

Specifically, what makes food safety an interesting and dynamic area to work in?

Research into food safety affects the industry as a whole, as well as having an impact on the lives of the general public. Such research will always be necessary, and this allows me to consistently secure funding from different agencies in order to sustain and expand my research programme.

It typically takes about 15 to 20 years to bring novel transformative technologies from concept to commercialisation, and sustainable funding is required to bridge knowledge gaps and overcome technical and regulatory hurdles.

Can you outline the core aims of your research?

First of all, we aim to develop engineering design concepts that apply the unique advantages of volumetric microwave heating to inactivate bacterial and viral pathogens in pre-packaged foods. The designs can be scaled up for industrial applications. Following this, we aim to build pilot-scale systems so that we can prove the concepts and demonstrate to industry the advantages of these new technologies compared with conventional technologies, and the feasibility for commercial implementation.

Ultimately, of course, we want to develop scientific bases and build effective tools for system design, production process development, regulatory acceptance and industrial application.

We also want to support technology transfer by licensing patents for commercialisation, providing educational programmes for the food industry, and educating new generations of scientists and engineers.

What are the unique challenges that your team has overcome in developing the technologies for commercialisation?

We had to address three main technical issues: 1) designing efficient microwave systems to provide stable and relative uniform heating patterns in foods; 2) visualising heating patterns and locating cold spots in foods and measuring cold spot temperatures in moving packages; 3) validating microbial safety of the processed foods for regulatory filing. We developed and patented a single-mode 915 MHz cavity design based on 3D computer simulation and mock-up testing. We developed an effective chemical marker method to determine and validate heating patterns, and developed a protocol for food safety validation using microbial surrogates for the targeted food pathogens.

How has your research contributed to the advancement of microwave-assisted thermal sterilisation (MATS) and pasteurisation (MAPS) systems?

Mine is the only laboratory in the world responsible for the development of MATS and MAPS from concepts to pilot-scale systems. We patented system design and temperature measurement methods, and WSU has licensed these to 915 Labs for commercialisation.

What value will your microwave technologies and processing methods bring to consumers?

We expect these technologies will provide consumers with a better standard of living through the delivery of a wide range of ready-to-eat chilled or shelf-stable meals that are safe, convenient, nutritious and available at affordable prices.

By incorporating shelf-life and nutritional information through smart phones in retail and at home, consumers will enjoy a better quality of life and also reduce their food waste.

Have you faced any obstacles while conducting your research? How have you addressed these issues?

As I mentioned, securing sustainable funding to support focused research programmes in food technology is very important – and it has been a challenge.

We have managed to maintain this research programme by obtaining competitive grants and conducting contract work with food companies. Since 2011, the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has increased funding opportunities to support breakthrough technology developments for food safety. We were able to secure two large grants from NIFA.

Our research requires high-quality space for installation and operation of pilot-scale systems, as well as infrastructures for hygiene food preparation, packaging processing, storage and tasting, and hands-on training of industrial personnel for technology transfer. Thankfully, the University worked hard to incrementally improve food processing pilot plants and support facilities in order to accommodate our expanded needs.

Where do you see your work heading in the future?

As the food industry starts to embrace and adopt the technologies we have been working on, we will need to research scientific and technological issues emerging from industrial production practices and consumer feedback.

An area of great interest that we have not been able to address is how we could take full advantage of the new technologies (short heating time and high sensory quality of the products) to directly bring health benefits to consumers. We are extremely interested in collaborating with leading laboratories in human nutritional sciences and related organisations. We hope to systematically study the influence of nutritional retention and reduced salt requirements in the prepared meals using MATS and MAPS, in order to address diabetic and obesity problems in school programmes.

Two WSU wheat scientists named Vogel Endowed Chairs

Washington State University Extension News - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 1:07pm
Arron Carter, WSU winter wheat breeder, and Mike Pumphrey, spring wheat breeder, are new co-recipients of the O.A. Vogel Endowed Chair in Wheat Breeding and Genetics.

Washington State University’s two leading wheat breeders will advance the state’s $1 billion wheat industry as co-recipients of the O.A. Vogel Endowed Chair in Wheat Breeding and Genetics.

Arron Carter, director of the WSU winter wheat breeding and genetics program, and Michael Pumphrey, director of the spring wheat breeding and genetics program, were named to the Vogel Chair today by Kim Kidwell, executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. Carter and Pumphrey are both associate professors in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Funded by the Washington Grain Commission, the joint endowment supports Carter and Pumphrey’s work to solve emerging issues and breed better wheat for Washington growers.

The preeminent honor in wheat breeding, the Vogel Endowed Chair was created by the Washington Grain Commission in 1998 to advance the legacy of Orville A. Vogel. A USDA wheat breeder and agronomist, Vogel led development at WSU of the first commercially successful semi-dwarf wheat varieties, paving the way for the “Green Revolution” of increased global wheat production in the mid-20th century.

Kulvinder Gill, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, was named the first Vogel Endowed Chair in 2002 and held the position until 2014.

Carter was hired as WSU’s winter wheat breeder in 2009. He learned the basics of plant breeding as an undergraduate and master’s student at the University of Idaho, and received his doctorate in crop science at WSU in 2009.

Pumphrey, who succeeded Kidwell as WSU’s spring wheat breeder, came to Pullman in 2010 from Kansas State University, where he was an adjunct professor and USDA research geneticist.

Collaborating closely with breeders, scientists, growers and consumers, both Carter and Pumphrey have worked to develop stress- and disease-resistant, high-yielding, high-quality wheat varieties tailored for production in the Northwest’s diverse environments.

In the last seven years, they have released more than a dozen new cultivars, including Jasper, WSU’s 100th variety, a soft white winter wheat named for WSU’s first wheat breeder, William Jasper Spillman.

“Dr. Vogel was a hero to the wheat industry, and was beloved by growers throughout the region,” Kidwell said. “Arron and Mike share Dr. Vogel’s commitment to making great discoveries that support farming. His legacy lives on through the contributions they are making to sustaining wheat production in the Pacific Northwest.”

“As someone who has worked with Arron and Mike for the last seven years, I am thrilled that WSU has selected them as co-holders of the Vogel Chair,” said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission. “Their dedication to the Washington wheat industry has made a real difference, and the funding that the Vogel Chair provides will help them continue to make a difference for farmers in the decades ahead.”

• Donations to the O.A. Vogel Endowed Chair in Wheat Breeding and Genetics can be made here.

• Learn more about wheat variety research at WSU here.

Why do our researchers sometimes wear sunglasses when they work with the grizzly bears?

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 1:26pm

Over the years, WSU researchers have found that grizzly bears are predominantly right-handed and can close gates. Now, it turns out, they may also read facial expressions.

Sometimes WSU researchers wear sunglasses so they don’t tip-off the bears during a test.

We can’t ask grizzly bears if they are enjoying a certain activity. That’s why we study their behaviors. Well, it turns out that they might be studying our behaviors as well.

A WSU doctoral student analyzing how grizzly bears interact with her – and whether they seemed to enjoy it — made a surprising discovery.  Several months into the animal enrichment study, she realized that some of the grizzly bears would watch her face each time she held up a flash card for them to identify. If the bears swatted a paw at the correct card, they received a reward. But instead of looking at the card through the chain-link fence, they began to look at her.

Were they reading her facial cues on how to respond? To answer that question, she began wearing sunglasses each time she help up flash cards. Guess what? The bears focused their eyes on the card instead of her face.

By understanding what grizzly bears enjoy doing and how they communicate, the hope is that we can help them and other captive animals lead happy, healthy lives. So if you happen to notice one of our researchers wearing sunglasses when the sun isn’t out, you’ll know it’s because our bears have eagle eyes.