WSU shares organic expertise at tilth conference

tilth-logo-130YAKIMA, Wash. – Bees, trees, high hoops, weeds and goat meat are just a few of the topics Washington State University researchers and educators will discuss at the state tilth producers conference Nov. 8 -11 at the Yakima Convention Center.

A symposium 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday will feature discussion of sustainable small-scale livestock and poultry production with speakers from the WSU small farms program and the organic agriculture community. Jan Busboom, WSU extension meat specialist, will discuss what makes lamb and goat meat safe, healthy and appetizing.

Concurrently, WSU researchers Jeremy Cowan and Kyle Craig will provide expert information on high hoops that can help extend the growing season. Friday afternoon will feature a high tunnel (greenhouse) tour of Yakima-area farms.

Among other WSU speakers at the conference will be:

• Researchers Rick Boydston, who will present on managing weeds in organic vegetable production, and Sandra Wayman, who will focus on weed management in no-till systems.

• Cinda Williams, a Cultivating Success team member in partnership with WSU at University of Idaho, who will discuss mentorship and educational curricula for learning about farms.

• Michael Bush, extension specialist, who will provide tips and strategies for reducing pests in organic tree fruit and berries.

• Researchers Kevin Murphy, who will present information and opportunities for growing quinoa in the Pacific Northwest, and Stephen Bishop, who will discuss integrating honey bees into farm operations.

Keynote speaker David Mas Masumoto and his daughter Nikiko Masumoto will share their farming philosophies and family ties to farming.

The conference also serves as an opportunity to make connections and network over organic meals, wine tasting and a gathering with “organic elders” to discuss the next generations of growers and new farmers’ roles as leaders in agriculture. David Granatstein, WSU sustainable agriculture specialist who attended the first tilth conference in 1974, will contribute to the “organic elders” session.

For more information about the small farms program at WSU, visit To learn more about organics at WSU, see

For a schedule of events at the conference, visit



Rachel Webber, WSU CAHNRS communications, 509-335-0837,