12 CapitalPress.com November 17, 2017 ‘We’re trying to do it without a government solution’ STUDY from Page 1 It’s likely the agency will assem- ble an advisory committee that in- cludes representatives of the canola and specialty seed industries who will try to hammer out an agreement, said Kathy Hadley, a canola farmer from Rickreall, Ore. Hadley said she hopes canola can be grown on at least 5,000 acres a year, which would allow a local oil- seed facility — Willamette Biomass Processors — to invest in producing food-grade vegetable oil. “There’s certainly a demand for that,” she said. The specialty seed industry wants to find a way to coexist with cano- la producers without further inter- vention from lawmakers, said Greg Loberg, public relations chairman for WVSSA. “We’re trying to do it without a government solution, but with a pri- vate solution,” Loberg said. The association is willing to in- clude canola farmers as affiliate members for a reduced fee, permit- ting them to join in a map “pinning” system designed to maintain isola- tion distances and avoid cross-polli- nation among species, he said. Growers of turnip and radish seed can already participate in the sys- tem, but canola growers do not since they’re currently regulated by ODA, Loberg said. While the pinning system can preserve genetic purity, pest and dis- ease problems would become worse if the total Brassica acreage contin- ues to grow, he said. “We’re going to have to coexist but there is going to have to be some kind of limit,” Loberg said. “There will be impacts if a practical limit is exceeded.” It’s true that increased Brassi- ca production could aggravate pest and disease issues, but radish seed is already widely grown in the Wil- lamette Valley without any cap on acreage, Hadley said. “A Brassica is a Brassica. It’s not necessarily right to talk limits about one species and not other ones,” she said. “I feel like things need to be fair across the board for Brassicas, not picking and choos- ing one crop over another.” Radish and turnip farmers can voluntarily pin their fields on WVS- SA’s map, but they’re not required to participate, said Anna Scharf, whose family farms near Perrydale, Ore. The Willamette Valley Oilseed Producers Association, which rep- resents canola growers, plans to dis- cuss the possibilities for coexistence with its board and membership by the end of the year, Scharf said. “Until then, I’m very reluctant to say we want X and we want Y,” she said. No graduate program, but school doesn’t shy away from ag research CLASS from Page 1 positions in the industry, and his program aims to win over new recruits early in their col- lege careers. “At our department, we have one of the highest rates of students who have a job at graduation because the demand is so high,” Hansen said. “The problem is we don’t attract enough students into our program to meet de- mand.” Though BYU-Idaho doesn’t have a graduate pro- gram, the school doesn’t shy away from agricultural research. Hansen said most clients who contract with the RBDC — the Idaho Wheat Commission, the Idaho Oil- seeds Commission, J.R. Sim- plot Co., Monsanto, Agrium, Bayer Crop Sciences, BASF, DuPont and Mosaic, to name a few — also appreciate the chance to help groom the next generation of agricultural pro- fessionals. Chris Humphreys, an agronomy and agricultur- al technology professor, has good luck recruiting mechan- ical engineering students into the agricultural program. He said mechanical engineering is a rigorous program with high turnover, and “rather than seeing them walk away, we’re trying to find off-roads for these students.” Humphreys has also no- ticed more agricultural stu- dents with no farming or ranching background are en- rolling. According to USDA, U.S. colleges produce 35,400 graduates per year to fill roughly 58,000 annual job openings requiring bachelor’s or advanced degrees in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and the environ- ment. Growth at RBDC BYU-Idaho, owned and operated by The Church of Je- sus Christ of Latter-day Saints, originated in 1888 as an el- ementary school serving 59 students in a log cabin, called Bannock Stake Academy. The curriculum was expanded to include high school courses two years later, and the name was changed to Rick’s Acade- my in 1903. College courses were add- ed in 1915, and the institution became Rick’s College in 1923, retaining only college courses. In 2001, Rick’s Col- lege became BYU-Idaho, and now boasts an enrollment of 19,000, and is projected to grow to 22,000 students with- in the next few years, Hansen said. BYU-Idaho’s Hillview Farm is self-sufficient, sup- ported by the sales of com- modities such as wheat, alfalfa and potatoes. “The primary goal of the farm is to give students ap- plied experience that prepares them for the field of agricul- ture,” Hansen said. Farm revenue covers wag- es for student workers — the farm is available to about 100 students in the agronomy pro- Courtesy of Nels Hansen Brad Davis, left, presents during the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America undergraduate symposium at the organizations’ annual convention this year in Tampa, Fla. gram and 200 horticulture stu- dents, who raise vegetables for sale at area farmers’ markets. The university also seeks applicants each spring for more intensive “mentored stu- dent research.” The student scientists are paid for the work but receive no course credit. RBDC handles the money and works with clients, who typ- ically approach it with their research needs. Sometimes, however, RBDC and its men- tors pitch ideas to industry. Much of the research is conducted at Hillview Farm, involving BYU-Idaho facul- ty mentors. RBDC also has its own outside staff of ex- pert mentors that supervises BYU-Idaho students’ off-cam- pus research. RBDC Director of Agri- culture Kurt Harman said the organization handles about 35 research projects per year, covering food science, animal science, plant science and ag- ricultural business. Harman said RBDC’s goal is to double its student-led research within the next 18 months, and to tri- ple its program within three to four years. He said RBDC will soon make a push to hire ad- ditional expert mentors, attract volunteer mentors or reach arrangements with clients willing to supply new mentors to aid in the program’s expan- sion. “We have the students. We have the industry. We just need to get organized,” Harman said. The students BYU-Idaho students are al- ways among the top perform- ers in an annual competition ranking undergraduate re- search projects, hosted during the annual meeting of the American Society of Agron- omy, Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. Of the five BYU-Idaho students who pre- BYU-Idaho An applied plant science class at BYU-Idaho, where undergraduate students participate in research projects for outside companies. Courtesy of Colton Thurgood During the phosphorus adsorption study, a photospectrometer is used to determine the amount of phosphorus in solution. sented their research posters at the late-October conference in Tampa, Fla., three placed in the top three in their divisions. Wilcox, who was raised on a cattle ranch in Redmond, Ore., took second place in the agron- omy division. As an under- graduate studying agricultural business, Wilcox is following closely in the footsteps of his grandfather, Dennis Wilson, a former DuPont agronomist. Wilcox has enjoyed collaborat- ing through his research with his grandfather’s former col- leagues and competitors. BYU-Idaho senior Brad Da- vis, of Kingsport, Tenn., took second place among 22 par- ticipants in the competition’s soil fertility and plant nutrition category. His research involved testing the effectiveness of hu- mic acid-based products made by his client, J.R. Simplot, to prevent phosphorus from bind- ing with calcium in soil. After five months of testing soil re- actions in a laboratory, Davis concluded at least one of the products would provide grow- ers with a good return on their investment. While pursuing his bach- elor’s degree, Davis said he’s participated in about 10 agri- cultural research projects, in- cluding four that received fund- ing from industry partners. “Our program is probably one of the most student-driven programs in the country,” Davis said. “I don’t know of any other program that allows undergrad- uate students to do the things they’re doing at BYU-Idaho.” The clients BYU-Idaho faculty mem- bers have a heavy course load and seldom have time to get the research they facilitate pub- lished in scientific journals. Nonetheless, research findings are widely disseminated. Cli- ents often publicize the data or provide support for students to present their findings at confer- ences. Most of the program’s graduates become agronomists or farm managers, and about 10 percent go on to graduate school. Hansen, the department chairman, believes the opportu- nity BYU-Idaho students have to learn in real-world circum- stances enables them to “hit the ground running, and it sets them apart.” “I have a degree in agrono- my, and I think I was out in the field two times the entire time I went through that degree,” Hansen said. Humphreys typically asks students he’s mentoring to help teach classes, and recruit class- mates to help with labor and data-gathering. “There’s a certain aspect of learning you have to do before you teach,” Humphreys said. The Idaho Oilseeds Com- mission started contracting with BYU-Idaho on mustard research this season to provide data in the region where most of the crop’s production occurs. “We can have field days and have our growers come to those field days and review the work they’re doing,” said Bill Mead- ows, owner of Mountain States Oilseeds in American Falls. University of Idaho Exten- sion Cereals Pathologist Juliet Marshall, who conducts UI’s cereal variety trials, is work- ing with Humphreys on winter wheat variety trials BYU-Idaho students planted this fall at Hill- view Farm. Cathy Wilson, the Idaho Wheat Commission’s direc- tor of research collaboration, said her organization helped the BYU-Idaho program buy a combine last fall. The com- mission is also supporting the variety trials and has contribut- ed toward a seeding-rate study and trials on fungicide and her- bicide application timing. Wilson said applica- tion-timing research “wasn’t novel,” but the commission supported it based on its stra- tegic objective to “raise the next generation of agricultur- al professionals.” Students who lead re- search for the commission must submit a report docu- menting what they learned and present their findings at a national conference. “A lot of people through- out the industry are approach- ing retirement, and we need that next generation to fill those positions,” Wilson said. “We’re trying everything we can to encourage students to pursue agriculture.” La Nina doesn’t always lead to cold and wet Northwest winters REPORT from Page 1 La Nina tilts the odds in favor of below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation across the northern tier of the U.S. For the southern tier, the reverse is true. La Nina doesn’t always lead to cold and wet Northwest winters, but does portend the greater accumu- lation of snow to supply water for summer irrigation. “It certainly gives us the pos- sibility of a wetter winter,” Idaho State Climatologist Russell Qualls said. Qualls said that snowfall was heavy in recent years when ocean temperatures were warm enough to create strong La Nina condi- tions. This La Nina is expected to be weak, but snow totals have been above average even in those years. La Nina conditions are now similar to one year ago, according to NOAA, An ample snowpack last winter got Washington irrigators through a record-hot August. Washington’s snowpack drought in the winter of 2014-15 was during an El Nino, a warming of ocean temperatures. The Climate Prediction Cen- ter planned to issue a new three- month forecast Nov. 16. The Oc- tober long-range forecast called for precipitation and tempera- tures to be average for most of the Northwest through the end of January. Northwest basins have an un- usually large amount of snow for this time of year, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Snowpacks in many ba- sins in Oregon, Idaho and Wash- ington were double or triple of normal for mid-November. According to NOAA, a substan- tial amount of cooler-than-aver- age water below the surface of the tropical Pacific could have an af- fect for months, extending La Nina into the spring. Sea-surface temperatures stayed cool in October, resisting atmo- spheric forces that normally have a warming effect, according to cli- matologists.