Crop and Soil Sciences

The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University serves the Land Grant tradition by offering nationally competitive undergraduate and graduate education programs, conducting fundamental and applied plant and soil research, and extending the science of our disciplines to serve the public.


CSS News & Updates

Organic Ag Major Expands to Western Washington
EVERETT, Wash. – Western Washington residents now have the option to earn a Washington State University degree in organic agriculture—in their own back yard.
Starting with the spring 2018 semester, WSU will offer an organic ag major at the WSU Everett campus.
“There are a lot of people who have families, jobs, or other factors that keep them from moving across the state to eastern Washington,” said John Reganold, WSU Regents professor of Soil Science & Agroecology. “This allows them to get their degree without moving, and to learn from our world-class teachers and researchers.”
WSU Alum Awarded for Career Working to End Hunger and Malnutrition
Thomas Lumpkin wants to feed the world.

A simple premise, but an incredibly challenging goal. One that set Lumpkin on a career path which produced new agricultural innovations and led to international leadership positions.

In November, Washington State University honored Lumpkin and his career with an Alumni Achievement Award, the highest award given out by the WSU Alumni Association. Fewer than 550 people have received this award since its inception in 1970, from a pool of over 250,000 WSU alums.

Seeds of Knowledge: Researchers Explore Genetic Secrets of Plant Growth
Her only tools a wooden toothpick and her own steady hands, Shelby Westenskow maneuvers a reddish-brown seed, smaller than a grain of sand, into place on a circular dish of clear, sticky gel.

“It’s getting down to basics — just me, a toothpick, and a seed,” said Westenskow, a doctoral student researcher in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University.

Western Innovator: Giving Canola Farmers a Voice
RICHLAND, Wash. — Every time Karen Sowers drives to Pullman from the Tri-Cities and sees the same fields planted in wheat, she wishes she could talk to the farmers about the benefits of raising canola.

An Washington State University Extension and outreach specialist in oilseeds, Sowers wants to make canola a staple for growers, not something they just think about when wheat prices are down.

Using canola as a possible rotation crop helps farmers deal with residual herbicides, weeds, improve water filtration and breaks up disease cycles, she said.

Plant for the Future
Somewhere in the dryland wilds of eastern Washington, Michael Neff and his wife stop the car.

“I’ve always wanted to hike these dunes,” he says to her. “I could not believe the grasses that were stabilizing those dunes!” Neff says later. He refuses to identify where, exactly, the dunes in question are located. “It’s those little pockets of diversity that we need to identify and preserve,” he explains, almost—but not quite—apologetic.

Trained as a botanist and now a professor of molecular biology at Washington State University, Neff expands on why this is important: “If we’re going to be resilient in the face of climate change—or whatever the world is going to throw at us—we need those genetic resources.”

Pacific Northwest Canola Association Begins First Steps
Canola acreage in Washington, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest has reached record levels this year, and interest from producers who have never grown the crop before continues to increase.

The Northwest is the only canola production region in the U.S. without a canola association, so a concerted effort to form one began earlier this year during WSU Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems workshops.

This is an image of the logo for ARCS.

WSU Ag Programs Highly Ranked in the World

US News and World Report places WSU at #36 for Best Global Universities for Agriculture Sciences. For more information, go to the US News list. QS World University Rankings for Agriculture and Forestry places WSU at #45 worldwide. For more information, go to the CS Worldwide list.