Extension News from the West

Several Counties to recieve funding for Nutrition Program

The Department of Health and Human Services through the name SNAP Education has granted $1,381,964 to Mineral County Cooperative Extension with Staci Emm administering the program. The program was given through the healthy hunger free kids act of 2010, division partners with government and non- profit agencies providing nutrition education, in order to improve the likelihood of SNAP recipients and those eligible for benefits make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles. The program will be administered in Hawthorne, Schurz, Yerington, Smith Valley, Wadsworth and Owyhee Elementary Schools. The nutrition education program is called Veggie For Kids This education program focuses on the different Food Groups —especially knowledge of different fruits and vegetables. American Indian and Hispanic foods and culture are also presented. The objectives of this program are for children to recognize and try different fruits and vegetables. The program provides a series of 10 in-school nutrition lessons promoting adequate intake of vegetables and fruits, drinking water instead of soft drinks, daily physical activity, and hands-on gardening activities. Gardening activities will take place in a school garden.

Cooperative Extension and Rose Society January meeting

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and the South Valley Rose Society are collaborating and offering educational meetings throughout the winter. Free and open to the public, the January 22, 2015 meeting topic is Winter Pruning, Soil Amending and Fertilizing.

Join South Valley Rose Society Consulting Rosarians for a discussion on the different varieties of roses: Miniatures, Hybrid teas, Floribundas, Shrubs, and Old Garden Roses. The importance of amending soil and fertilizing in preparation for spring blooms will be stressed. Bring your gloves and pruners and any container rose you want to prune (optional).

All educational meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Lifelong Learning Center located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev. (I-215 and Windmill Lane). For more information, please email or call the Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555.

Ancient climate change

Washington State University Extension News - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 8:30am

Climate is always changing. That’s one truth that stands out from the record around the world of natural samples of Earth materials, of tree rings, ice layers, and so much more. But how much has past climate change influenced human affairs?

In anthropology it’s been relatively commonplace to look at the twists and turns of ancient human history and assign at least some major population collapses to climate change. It certainly stands to reason that climate stress may have impacted early human populations — the only real question is how often.

One collapse of an early human society that has often been linked to climate change happened at the end of the Bronze Age in northwestern Europe. Many archeologists have believed that a shift in climate to cold, wet conditions ushered in the end of the late Bronze Age, stifling its complex societies, so that a poorer culture with a smaller population started off the early Iron Age. But it looks like climate may not have been to blame for what befell humans at that time.

European researchers from the University of Bradford, the University of Leeds, the University of College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast are now making the case that the human population collapsed about a century earlier than the climate changed. Their work was recently published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Ian Armit of the University of Bradford was the lead author of the piece in PNAS.

“Our evidence shows definitively that the population decline in this period could not have been caused by climate change,” Armit told ScienceDaily because the climate change came later.

What, then, caused societies to fall apart in the late Bronze Age? That is less clear, but Armit speculates that economic changes were most likely the culprit. Bronze is made of copper and tin, relatively rare metals. Bronze Age societies had to trade with one another, over large distances, to supply themselves with the metals that make bronze. Controlling those trade routes led to the growth of complex societies dominated by a warrior elite, Armit said.

When more commonplace iron started to replace bronze as the metal from which implements and weapons were made, the trade networks fell apart. That in turn led to societal collapse. Thus, Armit argues, changing economics and all that went along with those changes may have led to the fall in population.

“Although climate change was not directly responsible for the collapse, it is likely that the poor climate conditions would have affected farming,” Armit is quoted as saying by ScienceDaily. “This would have been particularly difficult for vulnerable communities, preventing population recovery for several centuries.”

Skipping up to the present, this research does not say that the production of greenhouse gases won’t stress the environment — and human societies — in the remainder of this century. But the argument can be made that climate change wasn’t the reason for widespread population decrease as the Bronze Age was succeeded by the Iron Age in Europe.


Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.



Seas on Titan and your heating bill

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 12/23/2014 - 9:15am

Like most regions of the country, the area where I live suffered through colder than average temperatures in mid-November. If you pay for your heating bill month by month, you are now facing the sticker shock that results from those bitter times. Happy holidays.

I heat my home with a natural gas furnace supplemented by a woodstove in the living room. It’s a small stove, really designed only for emergencies and for fires built for fun on a Sunday afternoon. In other words, it doesn’t heat the whole house, and it works only with constant tending. But during our cold snap, I built some fires in the woodstove to try to take the edge off the natural gas bill I was incurring. The woodstove is in the same room as the thermostat for the house, though, so heating with it caused the temperatures in the rest of the house to crash. Still, I was doing what I could to lessen what I would later owe the power company.

The main ingredient in natural gas is methane. It’s colorless and odorless, so utility companies add a “rotten egg” smell to it. That way, if there is a leak, your nose becomes aware of it and you can evacuate your home, then call 911.

Methane occurs elsewhere in the solar system besides the Earth. It’s abundant on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. On Titan, methane is a liquid because temperature there is almost 300 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Scientists have now plumbed the depths of three frigid seas of methane on Titan. An article online at sciencenews.org told me that the second largest of the seas, called Ligeia Mare, holds enough methane to fill Lake Michigan three times.

NASA’s Cassini probe reached the neighborhood of Saturn in 2004 and it’s still sending back data. The spacecraft was told to send radar pulses directed toward Titan’s seas. Results in some places included two sets of reflected energy. The first set of waves were from radar bouncing off the surface of the methane sea. The second, weaker, set of waves were from radar bouncing off the floor of the methane sea, under the surface. Together, these indicate the depth of the liquid methane.

The shallow parts of the sea are some 20 to 40 yards deep. In other parts of the Ligeia Mare, however, the methane is so deep no reflections from the bottom were detected, indicating places that are more than 200 yards deep.

It’s amazing to me what we are continuing to learn about our solar system — information ranging from data beamed back from a spacecraft landing on a comet to this information about Titan’s methane seas. I’m also amazed by what I owe the power company for methane I used in November — but I’m trying to keep some perspective about it.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.



Tree Care: Best Practices seminar and workshop in English

In an effort to educate the green industry and arborist community on tree care and best practices, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension presents the Annual Professional Tree Care Seminar and Workshop in English on January 23 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with early registration beginning at 6 a.m. This year, the emphasis will be urban tree care: Best Practices-Practical Landscape Management for Professionals. The seminar will be held at Cooperative Extension’s Lifelong Learning Center located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev.

Other topics covered include: Over, Under and Misused Plants in Southern Nevada; How Plants Grow — Basic Biology; Irrigation and Proper Watering; Appropriate Pruning of Grasses and Shrubs; Appropriate Pruning Tools and Safety; and Fundamental Diseases.

Afternoon, hands-on sessions are offered from 2—3:20 p.m. covering topics of choice: Reworking Small Topped Trees; Grass/Shrubs/Desert Plants; Pruning Woody Perennials; and Palm or Plant Identification.

Guest lecturers and speakers will be Russ Thompson, Sunkissed Horticulture Consultants; Angela O’Callaghan, Cooperative Extension; and Dennis Swartzel, private consultant.

The cost of the full day seminar which includes handouts, coffee, beverages, CEU’s and lunch is $25 if you pre-register and $30 at the door. Registration is available online at Eventbrite. For more information email Chelle Reed or call 702-257-5536.

EcoStar Pollution Prevention Award applicants and nominees sought

Montana State University Extension News - Tue, 12/23/2014 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN – Montana small businesses and non-profits from all arenas, including construction, hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, education, healthcare, etc., are encouraged...

Partners in Policymaking classes offered

Nevada Partners in Policymaking Class of 2014. Photo taken 9/20/14 by Jillian Rovetti, property of Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities.

Adults with developmental disabilities and parents who have young children with developmental disabilities are invited to attend

Partners in Policymaking is an innovative national model of leadership training for people with developmental disabilities, parents and family members, designed to teach the power of advocacy, and change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live and work. The program is designed to provide state-of-the-art knowledge about issues and policies related to disability, and to develop participant competencies to become more effective in influencing policy development at all levels. The overall intent is to achieve a productive partnership between people with developmental disabilities, parents, and family members, and those in position to make policy.

Parents of children with developmental disabilities and adults with developmental disabilities are encouraged to apply. Applications are now being accepted and classes are once a month from January through August. Participants are expected to commit to attend all classes or complete make-up assignments. Dates of the monthly sessions include: January 17, February 28, March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 19 (class held in Reno), and August 15. All classes are from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM. Participants will receive a stipend to help with childcare and transportation costs.

Classes are held at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Lifelong Learning Center located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev. and are sponsored by the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities. For more information or to apply visit the Partners in Policymaking website.

This project is supported by the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities through grant funds from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families CFDS #93.630. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NGCDD or Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

Gardening in Small Places: pruning

Dr. Angela O’Callaghan assists a workshop participant with pruning techniques. Photo courtesy of Elaine Fagin

Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension on Saturday, January 24 for a workshop on Gardening in Small Places: pruning from 9 a.m. to noon. The class, taught by Dr. Angela O’Callaghan, is designed to show you how to make the most of your small space. Topics for pruning workshop cover pruning fruit trees, ornamentals and desert plants. Homeowners and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Class space is limited and pre-registration is required. There is a $25 fee for each class which includes class materials.

To register for the workshop held at the Lifelong Learning Center (8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev.), email or call Elaine Fagin at 702-257-5573. Online registration is available through Eventbrite.

Upcoming Gardening in Small Places workshop dates are February 14, vegetables, March 14, composting, April 4, irrigation, May 9, what’s bugging your garden and June 13, organic gardening.

Learn how to reduce the radon health risk

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers free test kits at public meetings statewide

January is National Radon Action Month, and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program is offering educational presentations at various locations across the state. Free test kits for homes will also be available at the presentations.

Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that comes from the ground. It accumulates in homes and can cause lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving, falls in the home, drowning or house fires.

Radon-caused lung cancer is preventable. A simple three-day test can determine if a house has a radon problem, and winter is an ideal time to test a home for radon. If radon problems are found, they can be fixed. Find out more and get a free test kit at a presentation in your community:

Scheduled presentations for Reno, Sparks, Carson, Incline Village and Douglas County are:

  • Jan. 4 — Downtown Reno Library, 301 S. Center St., Reno, at 2:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 6 — Sparks Library, 1125 12th St., Sparks, at 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 8 — Sierra View Library, 4001 S. Virginia St., Reno, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 13 — Washoe County Cooperative Extension, 4955 Energy Way, Reno, at 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 14 — South Valleys Library, 15650A Wedge Parkway, Reno, at 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 15 — Kahle Community Center, 236 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline, at 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 17 — Northwest Reno Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno, at 10 a.m.
  • Jan. 20 — Spanish Springs Library, 7100A Pyramid Lake Highway, Sparks, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 21 — North Valleys Library, 1075 N. Hills Blvd. #340, Reno, at 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 27 — Carson City Senior Center, 901 Beverly Drive, Carson City, at 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 29 — CVIC Hall, 1604 Esmeralda Ave., Minden, at 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 4 — Incline Village GID Public Works, 1220 Sweetwater Road, Incline Village, at 6 p.m.

Scheduled presentations for Las Vegas are:

  • Feb. 7 — West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd., at 10:30 a.m.
  • Feb. 7 — Spring Valley Library, 4280 S. Jones Blvd., at 3 p.m.,
  • Feb. 8 — Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, at 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 — Windmill Library, 7060 W. Windmill Lane, at 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 — Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road., at 6 p.m.

Scheduled presentations in other communities are:

  • Jan. 6 — Great Basin College, 1500 College Parkway, Health Science Building, Room 108, Elko, at noon
  • Jan. 7 — Churchill County Multi-purpose Building, 225 Sheckler Road, Fallon, at 1 p.m.
  • Jan. 12 — Pershing County Community Center, 820 Sixth St., Lovelock, at 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 26 — Grass Valley Community Center, 13295 Grass Valley Road, Winnemucca, at 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 10 — S. Nye County Cooperative Extension, 1651 E. Calvada Blvd., Pahrump, at 5:30 p.m.

For those who cannot attend a presentation, free radon test kits will also be available through Feb. 28 at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offices and partner offices statewide. In Nevada, one in four homes already tested have shown radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. According to experts, living in a home with radon concentrations at the action level poses as much risk of developing lung cancer as smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a program of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and is funded by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. Since the program began in 2007, more than 36,000 radon test kits have been distributed and more than 18,000 homes have been tested.

Cooperative Extension, the EPA and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health urge all Nevadans to get their homes tested for radon. For more information, visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website at www.RadonNV.com, call the Radon Hotline at 888-RADON10 (888-723-6610).

Nevada data indicates that 26 percent of homes tested in Nevada found radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. Map data is as of Sept. 30, 2013. See radon potential maps specific to each Nevada county.

WSU’s Voice of the Vine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Hard Cider, Blended Learning, Donors, and Board of Regents

Washington State University Extension News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 1:30pm
Award-winning research offers choices for improving Cabernet Sauvignon The winemaking team of Federico Casassa, Maria Mireles, James Harbertson, and Richard Larsen unload Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at the WSU research winery in Prosser.
Photo by Eileen Harbertson.

When it comes to more options for fine-tuning wines, innovative research by Washington State University and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates bridges the divide between the vineyard and the winery.

One recent research project focused on how maceration times and irrigation rates can affect the color, taste and mouthfeel of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The study won 2014 Best Enology Paper from the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture for outstanding content and substantial contribution to the winemaking field.

“This groundbreaking experiment was a noteworthy example of industry and academic cooperation,” said James Harbertson, WSU associate professor of enology. “The Chateau Ste. Michelle vineyard team was instrumental in helping us carry out a massive three-year experiment with grapes from one of their finest vineyards. Without their cooperation and help, this work would not have been possible.”

Approximately four tons of fruit were donated annually to produce 16 wines at the WSU research winery in Prosser. Analysis of the resulting wines showed that both maceration and irrigation practices can produce desirable differences, but extended maceration has a greater effect on sensory attributes than does varying irrigation rates.

Extending maceration packs more punch

The study showed that extended maceration produces wines with less fruit-based aromas and color saturation and also enhances bitterness and astringency.

Although bitterness and astringency are desirable qualities for Cabernet Sauvignon wine, a trained tasting panel found that not all characteristics associated with extended maceration times are positive. However, undesirable characteristics can be mitigated by blending with other wines to improve their aroma, color or mouthfeel.

The researchers found that winemakers can experiment with macerating grapes anywhere from the typical 10 days to a maximum of 30. But extending maceration beyond 30 days didn’t produce enough significant differences to be worth the effort.

Regulating irrigation concentrates tannins, pigments Ste. Michelle Wine Estates donated Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for research, from their Cold Creek Vineyard in Mattawa.
Photo by Federico Casassa.

The study also demonstrated how regulating irrigation rates and strategically restricting water can positively impact wine’s fruity aromas and increase color saturation, astringency and bitterness.

Replacing only a portion of the water lost to evaporation creates a moisture deficit that produces smaller grapes with more concentrated color and flavor.

The most effective irrigation plan in the study replaced only 25 percent of the water lost to evaporation during the early growth stage – from when fruit appears to when it stops growing larger and starts ripening. This was followed by 100 percent water replacement from fruit ripening to harvest, which produced smaller berries without sacrificing yield.

When used wisely, regulated deficit irrigation has the added benefit of conserving water in arid areas, such as Washington’s Columbia Basin.

Federico Casassa, the lead author on the research paper, received his doctoral degree in Food Science from WSU in 2013.

“Federico and our winemaking team — Richard Larsen, Maria Mireles, and Christopher Beaver — executed this project fantastically,” Harbertson said. “However, none of it would have been possible without our viticulture colleague Markus Keller and Chateau Ste. Michelle viticulturists Russell Smithyman and Bill Riley.”

Read the full paper online (free): Casassa, L. F. et al. 2013. Sensory Impact of Extended Maceration and Regulated Deficit Irrigation on Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon Wines. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 64:4.

- Erika Holmes

Study reveals promise for expanding hard cider industry

A new study by researchers at Washington State University shows that mechanical harvesting of cider apples can provide labor and cost savings without affecting fruit, juice or cider quality.

The study, published in the journal HortTechnology in October, is one of several focused on cider apple production in Washington state. It was conducted in response to growing demand for hard cider apples in the state and nation.

Quenching a thirst

Hard cider consumption is trending steeply upward in the region surrounding food-conscious Seattle, and Washington is part of the nation’s hard cider revival. The amount of cider produced in the state tripled between 2007 and 2012.

An over-the-row small fruit harvester passes over cider apple trees at WSU Mount Vernon.
Photo by Carol Miles, WSU.

The rapid expansion means cider apple growers are hard pressed to keep pace with demand. Because cider apples are smaller than dessert apples – the kind we find in the grocery store for fresh eating – it takes longer to harvest them. In fact, harvest labor can account for nearly half of the annual costs of an orchard in full production.

Regions like the Skagit Valley in western Washington that don’t have large-scale commercial apple production lack experienced apple harvest crews.

“We simply don’t have a dedicated agricultural labor market in western Washington,” said horticulturalist Carol Miles, the lead author of the study. “High quality and affordable labor to hand-harvest cider apples is difficult to come by and costly.”

Miles leads one of a handful of cider apple research programs in the nation, at the WSU Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center.

Over-the-row harvesting

Mechanical harvest is a logical solution to the labor challenge – except for two complications. First, such a machine doesn’t exist for apples, which are generally grown in compact trellis systems, hand-picked and carefully handled to avoid bruising.

Bruising from mechanically harvesting cider apples did not affect fruit or juice quality. Photo by Carol Miles, WSU.

The other issue is that mechanical harvest is likely to damage fruit, but just what this means for the final product is unknown.

To address the first complication, Miles and her team used a mechanical raspberry harvesting machine to pick Brown Snout cider apples, a variety grown at the research center. The machine passes over fruit trees that are no higher than six feet, knocking the apples from trees onto a conveyer belt for collection by workers into tote bins.

Researchers assessed the level of damage to the trees and tested the fruit to see what impact, if any, bruising had on fruit and juice quality.

Olive harvester might be suitable

The two-year study showed that machine harvesting required as little as one quarter of the labor that hand harvesting required, resulting in an average cost savings of $324 per acre. Bruising did occur on all of the fruit, but it didn’t affect the quality of juice – whether the apples were processed immediately or cold-stored for two to four weeks before pressing.

Miles noted that modifications to the small fruit mechanical harvester could further improve efficiencies for apple harvest. She dreams of one day testing an olive harvester, which can pass over trees that are 10-12 feet tall – the common height for modern apple orchards.

If suitable equipment is available and affordable, then mechanical harvesting could be just what the industry needs to expand and keep up with demand for locally grown cider apples.

Learn more about cider research and education at WSU.

The paper in HortTechnology is: Yield, Labor and Fruit and Juice Quality Characteristics of Machine and Hand-harvested ‘Brown Snout’ Specialty Cider Apple. Carol A. Miles and Jaqueline King. HortTechnology October 2014 24:519-526.

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- Sylvia Kantor

Blended Learning student-made wines perfect for holidays A WSU Blended Learning 2013 Barbera or 2012 Syrah – both student-made wines – makes a great gift for the wine connoisseur on your list.
Photo by Erika Holmes, WSU.

Purchasing a bottle of Washington State University Blended Learning wine provides a taste of what today’s top-notch WSU wine science students are producing.

Viticulture and enology students recently released their second series of wines: a 2012 Syrah from vineyards in Walla Walla and Horse Heaven Hills and a 2013 Yakima Valley Barbera.

The earliest Blended Learning student-made wines are also available while supplies last. The first is a 2012 dry Riesling that received an “excellent” rating from Great Northwest Wine, an online platform covering wine reviews and news. The second wine in the series is a red blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

In partnership with commercial vineyards and wineries, students are deeply involved, from monitoring grape ripening and harvesting, through crush, fermentation, barreling, and the final blend decision, to create these special edition wines.

Limited quantities: Get yours before they’re gone!

Blended Learning can be shipped to California, Oregon or Washington and purchased in the Tri-Cities area by contacting Debbie Schwenson at 509-372-7224 or schwenso@wsu.edu.

You can also purchase these student-made wines at the WSU Brelsford Visitor Center in Pullman; the WSU Connections stores in Spokane, Everett and Seattle; the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser; and The Wine Alley in Renton.

All proceeds from Blended Learning wine sales directly benefit student learning and research projects in the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program.

- Erika Holmes

Tis the season: WSU donors enhance student learning Albert Ravenholt Research & Teaching Vineyard expanded A dedicated, knowledgeable advisory committee of wine industry leaders donated time and materials to expand the Albert Ravenholt Research and Teaching Vineyard on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.
Pictured (L to R): Jerry Harris of Ewing Irrigation; Derek Way of Sagemoor Vineyards; Jason Schlagel of Wahluke Wine Company; and Servando Rodriguez of Sagemoor Vineyards. Not pictured: Tom Waliser of Waliser Vineyards.
Photo by Erika Holmes, WSU.

Recent donations have allowed expansion of the Albert Ravenholt Research and Teaching Vineyard to two acres. Located on the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus, the vineyard complements the nearby WSU Wine Science Center, scheduled to open spring 2015.

Since 2007, undergraduate and graduate students have worked in the vineyard, conducting hands-on experiments and learning vineyard tasks. Students and instructors are fully responsible for tending the wine grape varieties grown there, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Riesling and Syrah.

“The Research and Teaching Vineyard aids my teaching by offering students outdoor, hands-on experience in a vineyard,” said Gretchen Graber, a graduate student who teaches undergraduate courses and also uses the vineyard for research.

WSU Extension staff will also hold educational seminars for wine industry members in the vineyard.

Members of the public and university staff gathered Dec. 4 to thank the vineyard advisory committee consisting of Roger Gamache, Jason Schlagel, Tom Waliser, and Derek Way, as well as local businesses that generously donated vineyard equipment and grapevines.

Donors include Cresline Plastic Pipe Co., Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Products, Fresno Valves & Castings, Gamache Vintners, Inland Desert Nursery, Jain Irrigation Systems, Linde Vineyard Supply, Nelson Irrigation, Quiedan Company, Rain Bird Corp., Sagemoor Vineyards, Waliser Winery & Vineyard, and Wilson Orchard and Vineyard Supply.

Read more and share this story.

Photo by Erika Holmes, WSU. Riding and hauling in style

The Washington State University viticulture and enology program is grateful to be able to haul grapes, wine, and equipment with a Chevy Silverado 4×4 donated by Hall Chevrolet-Buick in Prosser.

The truck has a leased value of $6,000 per year.

Gov. Inslee reappoints Ted Baseler to WSU Board of Regents

Ted Baseler, Washington State University alumnus, CEO of Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and a leader in the Washington wine industry for more than 25 years, has been reappointed to his second full term on the WSU Board of Regents. His reappointment runs through Sept. 30, 2020.

Read more and share this story.

Voice of the Vine
Each issue of Voice of the Vine brings you stories about viticulture and enology and WSU researchers, students, and alumni working in Washington’s world-class wine industry. Subscribe here.

Green Times
If you are interested in WSU research and education about organic agriculture and sustainable food systems, check out Green TimesSubscribe here.

On Solid Ground
On Solid Ground features news and information about ways WSU researchers, students, and alumni support Washington agriculture and natural resources. Subscribe here.

WSU’s Green Times: Happy Holidays!

Washington State University Extension News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:05am
Happy Holidays!

From the CAHNRS Communications Team that brings you Green Times, we wish you a joyful holiday season and Happy New Year.

Green Times will return in January 2015!

Sylvia, Scott, and Therese
Go Cougs!

Enjoy these CAHNRS newsletters.

Green Times
If you are interested in WSU research and education about organic agriculture and sustainable food systems, check out Green Times. Subscribe here.

On Solid Ground
On Solid Ground features news and information about ways WSU researchers, students, and alumni support Washington agriculture and natural resources. Subscribe here.

Voice of the Vine
Each issue of Voice of the Vine brings you stories about viticulture and enology and WSU researchers, students, and alumni working in Washington’s world-class wine industry. Subscribe here.

MSU Extension will hold Farm Bill meetings in 20 Montana communities

Montana State University Extension News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, will hold meetings...

Keeping warm with gold fever

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 1:06pm

I own a couple of small gold nuggets. They came from the Round Mountain gold mine in Nevada, which I visited a few years ago. A tour of the open-pit mine was crowned by a visit to their foundry where the molten metal was poured into gold bars. Those bars are what’s called doré gold, that is, it’s the metal as it comes out of the ground with minor impurities in it like silver. The doré bars are then transported to a refinery where pure gold can be separated from other metals. I got to heft one of the doré bars, and I can attest that gold is, indeed, remarkably dense.

A mega-gold nugget found in California was in the news recently. It was large enough to about fill a human hand and weighed just over 6 pounds. That’s about 75 troy ounces. It was dubbed the “Butte Nugget” because it was found last summer in Butte County, supposedly on public land. The nugget sold for about $400,000 to a buyer who chose to remain anonymous.

News reports — sketchy because of the secrecy of the discovery and sale — said the nugget was found with a metal detector. When the detector indicated an extremely strong signal, the operator thought he had likely found a piece of pipe or a horseshoe. Happily, he had the good sense to dig down about a foot into the soil where the nugget lay.

Gold occurs in the Earth in two main forms: as lode gold or as placer gold. Lode gold is found in veins, usually made of quartz, that cut across rocks. You may recognize the word “lode” as part of the famous idea of the Mother Lode, the mythical deep and rich vein thought to be that from which other smaller veins branch off. If you find the Mother Lode, your financial problems are over.

When gold veins occur at the surface of the Earth they are broken down, or weathered, by water. The quartz in the veins crumbles into quartz pebbles and sand. The gold is liberated from the vein material, falling out as loose nuggets or small gold grains that can be as fine as sand. Because gold is dense and doesn’t react with water under most conditions, loose gold can accumulate and form what’s known as placer gold ore. In streams, placer gold is found where running water slows down and the gold settles out: on the inside bend of turns in streams and behind boulders.

Patience, a good metal detector, and lots of luck can clearly still lead to stupendous gold nugget finds. Like winning the lottery, dreaming of mega-nuggets keeps hope alive even in the dark days of December. Writing about this subject makes me think that, as I sit by the fire in my woodstove one evening this week, I’ll get out my little gold nuggets to remind myself of longer days and outdoor activities we can look forward to in the New Year.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.


Join a 5K Run/1 Mile Fun Walk &#8212; First of the New Year

Runners in the 2013 Chefs for Kids 5K Run/1 Mile Fun Walk. Photo courtesy of Susan Lednicky.

Make plans now to ring in the New Year with the largest chef’s run ever done! The Chefs for Kids 5K Run/1 Mile Fun Walk is scheduled for Saturday, January 17, 2015. Each runner/walker receives a Chefs for Kids T-shirt, goodie bag and a free pancake breakfast! There will also be a raffle. The start time is 9 a.m. at Wayne Bunker Family Park (7351 West Alexander Road, Las Vegas, Nev.).

Las Vegas Track Club (LVTC) will provide race bibs and computerized timing. Trophies will be awarded in the 5K for the top three overall male and female, plaques for the top three (50+) male and female, certificates for the top three male and female in each category. Age categories begin at 12 and under through 80+.

Participant fees are: adults, $25 for 5K/$20 for Fun Walk; children 12 and under $20; and groups of 10 or more $20 per runner. Race day fee is $35. Online registration is available at Active.com or you can mail checks payable to LVTC at P.O. Box 30134, Las Vegas, Nev. Packet pick-up is available at The Red Rock Running Company (7350 W. Cheyenne Ave., Las Vegas, Nev.) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, January 16 or on race day from 8-8:45 a.m.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sandi Boyer at 702-460-1852.

Fifty percent of the registration goes to Chefs for Kids, Inc. Chefs for Kids is a 501(c)3 joint venture of the American Culinary Federation Chefs of Las Vegas and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. The Chefs for Kids program works to eliminate malnutrition and hunger in children through education and awareness. Chefs teamed up with nutrition educators who developed nutrition curricula for first and second grade children. The curricula use age-appropriate techniques and bilingual materials, providing students with the essential knowledge necessary to adopt healthful eating habits. Educators teach students how to choose healthy foods, develop active lifestyles and use good food safety skills, such as proper hand-washing. Educators also reach out to the families of the children through the use of informational parent letters and attendance at Parent Night activities at the schools. The Chefs for Kids program has reached more than 49,600 students in its 24 year history.

Cattlemen&#8217;s Update provides latest information for ranchers Jan. 5 &#8212; 9

Educational programs to be held throughout the state, hosted by University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency; and other local sponsors will host the 2015 Cattlemen’s Update at locations across Nevada with daily educational programs Jan. 5 — 9, 2015.

The Cattlemen’s Update provides cattle producers with current information about important management practices and issues that may affect the efficiency, productivity, profitability and sustainability of their businesses. Each day during the week, the program is held at a different location in the state, where experts discuss pertinent topics with participants. Cooperative Extension Dean Mark Walker and College of Agriculture Dean Bill Payne will open the sessions with a discussion of research and educational needs for the Nevada livestock industry. Each session will be three hours. The cost is $20 per ranch per location attended, with lunch or dinner served. Registration is at the door, and includes the meal and the "Red Book" tracking guide for cattlemen for each participant.

Topics to be discussed this year include:

  • Digital Brand Inspection
  • Potential Forages in Northern Nevada
  • Alternative Feeds for Cattle During Drought
  • Improving Hay Yield Through Distribution Uniformity
  • Cheatgrass Fuels Reduction at a Landscape Scale
  • Animal Health/Disease
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Livestock Forage Program
  • Beef Quality Assurance
  • Scours and Scour Prevention
  • Risk Management Agency Crop and Livestock Insurance Program
  • Update from Local Veterinarians

Dates, Registration Times and Locations (Programs begin 30 minutes after registration time.):

  • Jan. 5, 10 a.m., Reno, lunch provided
    Washoe County Cooperative Extension Office, 4955 Energy Way
    This session only will also be offered via interactive video at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offices in Logandale, Caliente, Tonopah, Lovelock and Eureka.
  • Jan. 5, 6 p.m., Fallon, dinner provided
    Fallon Convention Center, 100 Campus Way
  • Jan. 6, 9:30 a.m., Wellington, lunch provided
    Smith Valley Community Hall, 2783 State Route 208
  • Jan. 7, 6 p.m., Ely, dinner provided
    White Pine Convention Center, 150 Sixth St.
  • Jan. 8, 12:30 p.m., Elko, dinner provided
    Great Basin College Solarium, 1500 College Parkway
  • Jan. 9, 10:30 a.m., Winnemucca, lunch provided
    Winnemucca Events Center, 1098 Fairgrounds Road

Financial support for the Cattlemen’s Update was provided by many local sponsors throughout the state and by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency. For more information, contact Staci Emm at 775-945-3444 or emms@unce.unr.edu.

Parent/child literacy class scheduled in January

Children participating in the Family Storyteller program at the Whitney Ranch Recreation Center model their Chef’s Hat after reading the "The Wolf’s Chicken Stew" book.

Parents and children will participate in reading and language activities

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is offering a parent/child interactive literacy series at the Whitney Ranch Recreation Center this winter. Family Storyteller is a six week program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the early literacy development of their children. The class meets each Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Parents and their children will participate in reading and language activities together. Session II begins on January 13 and ends on February 17.

Whitney Ranch Recreation Center is located at 1575 Galleria Drive, Henderson, Nev. Register for the 6-week series online at the City of Henderson or at the information desk at the center, 702-267-5850.

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