October 4, 2022
The Washington legislators’ agriculture tour was in Skagit County today, and the group of about 40 state representatives and their staffers started the morning at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. The morning agenda was from 8-10:30 and included an overview of Washington agriculture by Derek Sandison, WSDA Director. There were several presentations by county groups on ag land preservation, irrigation dikes and levees, and WSU Extension (Don McMoran, WSU Skagit County Extension Director).
NWREC Director Carol Miles introduced the center and let the group know about our 2 infrastructure projects: Plant Growth Facility (half funding received, other half pending CAHNRS Foundation meetings with donors) and Small Fruit Molecular Lab and Teaching Building (funding request pending). Also, we are seeking funding for our new Weed Science position that we are funding for the first 3 years through a collaboration between WSU NWREC and crop commissions. Five of our faculty (Carol, Lindsey, Lisa, Gabe, and Chakradhar) presented a 5 min overview of their program. We provided flyers for our 8 faculty plus the USDA program co-located at NWREC.
All speakers emphasized the collaboration and partnership among grower-stakeholders, WSU, WSDA, county programs, federal grants, etc. Also, all speakers emphasized a need for infrastructure investment and growing costs of maintenance. It was a very bright and positive picture that was provided to the participants, and they left feeling very good about western Washington agriculture.
After the participants left for the first field visit of the day, Carol gave WSDA Director Derek Sandison a brief tour of the greenhouses and showed him one of her projects that is funded by a WSDA Nursery grant, Propagating and Establishing Tea Plants for Nursery Producers (this is Srijana’s Ph.D. project). Director Sandison was very impressed with our center, and the quality and scope of the work carried out by all of our programs. This reflects well on everyone and speaks to how well-organized and productive everyone is. A special thanks to our front office and GA staff for printing our handouts and for organizing the meeting room, and cleaning it all up again when everyone left.
Director, Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center
Professor, Department of Horticulture
Washington State University
16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon, WA 98273