Washington Stone Fruit Industry Earmarks $5 Million For Research

Western Ag Vignettes

Fund will supplement Washington State studies for cherries, other crops.

Published on: March 12, 2013

We are now engaged in a magnificent transition from dependence upon government budget funds for our farm research to an era of industry funding.

Western Farmer-Stockman has  tracked this change in our magazine, website and here in blogs, recognizing those who have made  the decision to post long-term research funding actions that guarantee a science-based cutting edge advantage for our industry.

Without research, we will fall behind our competitors and fade as the world’s leading agricultural nation. Without Washington’s tree fruit industry, the state would lose $7 billion in economic impact.

The latest such industry funding decision comes from the Washington stone fruit industry which will raise $5 million for Washington State University research over the next eight years. That’s certainly music to the ears of researchers challenged for support funding, and a symphony of promise for the growers, packers, shippers and  rest who comprise this pivotal ag enterprise.

This support comes in the wake of similar multi-year industry research dollars promised to WSU by apple and pear growers.

The decisions to underwrite research emerge as a credit to those in the industry who approved such action. It will cost them: $4 a ton for cherry growers, and $1 a ton for other stone fruit growers.

I’d like to tip my hat to the stone fruit and cherry growers who passed this decision, even if they decided to reject a similar measure in 2011 under the auspices of the Washington State Fruit Commission.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~Good idea to try again.

As Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission Chairman Jim Doornink puts it: “This investment builds on the strategic road map outlined by the industry and WSU.”

Good to see industry rise to the cause of research. All those new ideas generated by WSU for growers appear to have made an impression, for they’re saying “send us more.”

WSU is getting good returns on its “The Campaign For Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas” effort targeting a $1 billion contribution bulls eye.

The state’s tree fruit sector has contributed $32 million toward that goal, which has already garnered $758 million to increase support of WSU students, faculty, and research/extension programs.

Not bad for a program launched in 2010.

Private donors, businesses contributions and organization funds have helped achieve that level.

What is needed now is good monitoring by the ag industry to assure the kind of research WSU conducts will indeed directly help improve production economics and bring new ideas for helping the environment. Special advisory committees established as part of these fundings must do their job to guarantee a sharp focus on ag’s most necessary study areas.

A word must also be said for the university fund hunters who collaborated with industry  to solicit these new dollars in a world where researchers and administrators are now as much marketers as they are scientists.

In the end, the enhancement of industry sponsorship of public research will spur not only a continued flow of new technology and ideas, but a closer relationship between the researchers and industry.