$5 million gift funds research facility, ups state grain game

By Rachel Webber, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Phase-1-of-grain-research-facility-100PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington Grain Commission announced Wednesday a $5 million gift to expand facilities and advance grain research at Washington State University. Plant growth facilities are central to developing grain varieties through WSU’s plant breeding programs.

“When the Washington Grain Commission asked researchers at WSU what they felt the biggest limiting factor for moving their research forward was, they told us they needed more greenhouse space,” said Washington Grain Commission Chairman Steve Claassen. “This will be a huge benefit to Washington grain growers as they will be able to plant improved varieties of wheat and barley and they will be available sooner.”

Drawing of Phase 1 of the grain research facility.

The new facility will complement the existing 34,000-square-foot wheat research growth facility on the Pullman campus and provide WSU and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists with space and technology to conduct groundbreaking research. It will include innovative controlled environment growth rooms, greenhouse spaces and laboratories where plant scientists will address some of the biggest challenges in agriculture and climate.

“This state-of-the-art plant growth facility is a solid example of the close relationship that exists between the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences and the Washington Grain Commission that partnered to construct the facility, and USDA-ARS that funded the equipment necessary to conduct the research,” said Jim Moyer, director of the WSU Agricultural Research Center. “This is a unique partnership that supports the kind of cutting-edge, responsive research required by a billion-dollar grain industry.”

The initial phase is projected to construct 9,500 square feet of greenhouse space on two levels. This phase will also introduce 10,500 square feet of indoor space for research and equipment.

Phase 1 will be completed in 2015. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/1jrJz8u.

The Washington Grain Commission’s generous contribution will be counted within the $1 billion “Campaign For Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas.” To date, donors, businesses and organizations have committed more than $934.4 million to the Campaign for WSU to increase support for the university’s students, faculty, research and extension programs and to leverage the university’s impact across the state, nation and world. See http://bit.ly/XyjtL1.



Michael Kahn, associate director for the WSU Agricultural Research Center, 509-335-4563, kahn@wsu.edu