In keeping with the Hatch Act of 1887 established in favor of US land-grant colleges, Washington State University has established 39 extension locations throughout the state. In addition to these, WSU maintains four research and extension centers (RECs) aka experiment stations in different geo-climatic locations of the state, each of which are engaged in strategic and applied research in crops and agricultural engineering pertinent to their locations. Although each of these RECs has an extensive directory of faculty, research associates, and technical staff, there is also a significant number of graduate students who play a key role working towards their advisors’ research and extension vision. There has always been a large and diverse international presence at all 4 RECs, which are committed to food security, technological innovation, and natural resource stewardship. Their combined efforts are helping WSU Extension move closer towards creating local agricultural communities that trust and benefit from the research being conducted at RECs.
For more information on WSU Extension centers and programs, see About Extension.
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A Brief History of WSU Extension
It’s hard to imagine farm life in Washington a century ago, a life devoid of conveniences we take for granted today. Farm families faced a multitude of challenges and had few places to turn to for help. Hungry for knowledge, thousands flocked to Farmer’s Institutes and demonstration trains staged by the Washington Experiment Station to hear about experiments at the state’s new land-grant college in Pullman.
It was soon apparent that there was a real need to apply new found facts to local conditions. In 1913, a year ahead of federal legislation authorizing the present extension system, the state authorized a Bureau of Farm Development headquartered at Washington State College and provided for the appointment and maintenance of agricultural experts across the state. Pioneer extension educators established a philosophy that’s still relevant today: “helping farmers to help themselves.”
To learn about how you can get involved with the WSU Extension program, see Extension is for Everyone!
The Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) was established in 1919 to service the agricultural research needs of the Yakima Valley and lower Columbia Basin. This REC specializes in grapevine, hop, and tree fruit pathology, horticulture, plant breeding, entomology, food science, and agriculture engineering. Furthermore, this REC accommodates a number of USDA-ARS scientists, one WSDA scientists, and the Clean Plant Center-Northwest (CPCNW). As of 2020, there are over 50 graduate students (Masters and PhD) at the Prosser IAREC making it the REC with the largest graduate student population. The Prosser Graduate Student Association (PGSA) was created at this REC to cater to graduate student needs and enrich the overall graduate student experience of students. The PGSA regularly organizes social and academic events as well as lends a much-needed ear to graduate student issues.
Currently, there are 3 GPSA Senators based at this REC: Arunabha Mitra (Plant Pathology Senator), Margaret McCoy (REC Senator), and Zongmei Gao (Biological Systems Engineering Senator).
See Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center for more information.
Mt Vernon NWREC
The Mt Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center (NWREC) is located in the Skagit Valley in northwestern Washington State and supports the surrounding five counties with research focusing on vegetable seed pathology, small fruit and vegetable horticulture, entomology, weed science, and plant breeding. As of 2020, there are 17 graduate students at this REC representing the CAHNRS departments of Plant Pathology, Horticulture, Entomology, and Crop and Soil Sciences.
Currently, there is one GPSA Senator based at the Mt Vernon NWREC: Huan Zhang (Horticulture Senator).
See Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center for more information.
The Puyallup Research and Extension Center was established in 1894 and for over a century has provided high quality research, extension, and education programs in western Washington State. This REC has an especially diverse array of research programs that include tree and ornamental plant pathology, urban horticulture, natural resource science, plant and insect diagnostics, ecotoxicology, integrated pest management, and a stormwater research program. In addition, the Puyallup REC also accommodates the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR). As of 2020, there are 13 graduate students at this REC, all pursuing research projects that address complex biological, ecological, and social issues.
See Puyallup Research and Extension Center for more information.
The Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (TFREC) was established in 1937. The research and educational programs of this REC have made a substantial impact on the growth and sustainability of the Washington tree fruit industry. Research programs at the TFREC focus on primarily tree fruit (apple, pear, cherry) pathology, entomology, horticulture, physiology, and soil biology. As of 2020, there are 14 graduate students at the TFREC.
There is currently one GPSA Senator based at the Wenatchee TFREC: Zara York (Horticulture Senator).
See Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center for more information.
REC-based WSU Library Resources
David Luftig, the WSU Agricultural Sciences Librarian, has developed a WSU Libraries resources page that is aimed at helping REC-based students with their library needs. This page contains lots of useful information about finding resources for your writing, help with thesis/dissertation formatting, online literature databases that have recently been made open access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more. Click below to be directed to the page.REC-based Library Resources
David is also readily available over email (email@example.com) as well as Zoom (by appointment). Click here to learn more on how to contact him and make Zoom appointments.