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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

Weed Scientist Known for Helping Others is New WSU Crop and Soil Science Chair

Solving problems and helping people is what led Drew Lyon into his career. This Washington State University weed scientist also loves figuring out how plants work.

“Every weed is different, and it’s fascinating to learn how some of these plants adapt to survive,” said Lyon, WSU’s Endowed Chair in Small Grains Extension and Research, Weed Science. “I enjoy figuring out how we can manage those plants to make sure growers aren’t hurt economically by their presence.”

2021 Field Day Abstracts

The 2021 Field Day Abstracts are now available to download. Check out the latest in research from Washington State University, Oregon State University, and University of Idaho!

Koenig Named CAHNRS Interim Dean

Rich Koenig has been named interim dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, effective July 1, following an open, internal search.  He will assume the position of acting dean on June 7.

Koenig joined WSU as an associate professor in 2003 and has served as chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences since 2017, his second four-year term in that role. From 2012 to 2019, Koenig was the associate dean for CAHNRS and director of WSU Extension. He also served as interim chair of the Department of Horticulture from 2017 to 2019.

Northwest Farm Credit Services Donates $2 Million to Support WSU Research and Students

PULLMAN, Wash. –Students, bees, wine, and multiple agricultural research and outreach programs will benefit from a recent $2 million donation by Northwest Farm Credit Services to Washington State University.

“From its very founding, WSU has stood side-by-side with Washington’s agriculture industry—the state’s largest—to bring agricultural innovation and technology across the state,” said WSU president Kirk Schulz. “WSU is proud to partner with Northwest Farm Credit Services in a shared commitment to advance the teaching, research, and applied outreach with the agriculture industry that benefits each of us every day.”

Grant Aims to Improve Nutrition in Quinoa

Washington State University received a grant allowing researchers to study the nutritional value of quinoa at every level, from the soil through nutrient benefits to people.

Scientists from WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil SciencesSchool of Food Science, and the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will work on the project, called Enhancing Human Health and Nutrition from Soil to Society, thanks to a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant provided by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR). Lundberg Family Farms and WSU provided matching funds and Ardent MillsBrabender CWB and Seattle Food Tech/Rebellyous Foods provided additional support for a total $2,044,872 research investment.

Demand Grows for WSU Graduates in Agriculture, Sustainability

Washington State University students developing skills in agricultural sciences can look forward to strong career prospects over the next five years.

WSU graduates in agricultural technology, organic and sustainable agriculture, and agricultural education have been in demand for several years running. Now, the latest employment outlook report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, developed by scientists at Purdue University and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), predicts that opportunities for new college graduates with expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and the environment will continue to grow.

A New Home for Collaborative Agricultural Research

Washington State University will celebrate the opening of the new Plant Sciences Building, a state-of-the-art home on the Pullman campus for collaborative research supporting regional and global agriculture.

The new facility will be virtually dedicated through a commemorative video to be released on Nov. 16, 2020. Featuring university and college leaders, students, and agricultural and legislative partners, the video can be viewed via the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) website.

WSU Creates New Endowed Chair in Soil Health to Support Potato Agriculture

PULLMAN, Wash. -Launching new research in support of Washington potato growers, Washington State University is partnering with industry leaders to study healthier, more sustainable and productive soils.

Backed by a more-than-$3 million fund created by potato growers, processors, and suppliers, WSU’s newly created Distinguished Endowed Chair in Soil Health for Potato Cropping Systems will address priorities in irrigated agriculture, including the need to better understand and protect the soil we rely on to grow potatoes, a critical part of our global food supply.  A national search for a top scientist will begin this year.

WSU‑PNNL Distinguished Graduate Research Program Provides Real‑World Experience

Katherine Naasko’s interest in how climate affects soil led her to move from Michigan out West to join the graduate program in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University.

“I do not regret moving across the country as I have been gifted a tremendous amount of support,” Naasko said. When the opportunity of the WSU-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Distinguished Graduate Research Program (DGRP) presented itself to Naasko, she knew it was the next step in her education.

WSU Research Helps Turn Pennycress from a Weed to Bioenergy Seed Crop

Named for its coin-shaped, oil-rich seedpods, pennycress has colonized much of the globe as a common weed. But those oily seeds, unsuitable for human consumption, are an ideal crop for biodiesel and jet fuels.

This fall, researchers at Washington State University are taking a closer look at the genetics and physiology of pennycress, as part of a multi-institutional, $12.9 million research project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and led by Illinois State University scientist John Sedbrook.

Their five-year goal: to help develop a winter cover crop that can thrive in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Corn Belt, and beyond.

Karen Sanguinet, a crop physiologist and molecular geneticist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, leads a $1.29 million subsidiary project at WSU, along with soil microbiologist Tarah Sullivan and extension agronomist Isaac Madsen.

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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.