Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources

Organic Agriculture


Washington State University has a solid history of involvement with organic farming. One of the first organic studies was done by David Holland and Stephen Kraten during the 1970s energy crisis to see whether organic grain production might be less energy intensive. Bob Papendick, a USDA-ARS researcher based at WSU Pullman, led the USDA Study Team on Organic Farming, as directed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Their “Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming” was published in 1980. In 1981, Lloyd Elliott and Dave Bezdicek organized the first organic farming symposium at the American Society of Agronomy national meetings, which led to the publication of ‘Organic Farming: Current Technology and Its Role in a Sustainable Agriculture,’ available from the American Society of Agronomy as an ASA Special Publication.

Current Status

Today, Washington State University continues to play a key role in organic research and education. In 2002, the CSANR published a survey of organic research and education at WSU that identified almost 50 faculty and staff who were involved in organic research and education projects. Also in 2002, the CSANR received federal funding for its Organic Research and Education program. In 2003, an organic working group was formed at WSU with the purpose of increasing research, networking and outreach opportunities and impacts.

WSU Organic Land

WSU Vancouver Research and Extension Unit was the site of the first certified organic land at WSU. Dr. Carol Miles and Martin Nicholson certified 3 acres for mixed vegetable production land in 2001.

WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee has 100 acres certified organic apples currently managed for production which are to be replanted for research purposes as funds become available. Certified prior to 2002.

WSU Spillman Farm in Pullman has 11 ½ acres of certified organic land that is used for the organic wheat breeding program managed by Dr. Steve Jones with the assistance of graduate student Kevin Murphy. Certified in 2002.

WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center has 6 acres certified transition to organic vegetable land, managed by Craig Cogger, Marcy Ostrom, and Andy Bary. Certified in 2002

Organic Farm at Tukey Orchard in Pullman is 3 acres of certified organic land that is used to teach the class Practicum in Organic Agriculture (Soils 480) and for a CSA. The Organic Farm is managed by Brad Jaeckel with the assistance of Dr. John Reganold in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Growing new farmers: WSU launches organic teaching farm. Certified in 2004.

WSU Mt Vernon Research and Extension Center has 5 acres of vegetable land that was certified organic in 2006 and 2.6 acres managed organically but not certified. In addition 2 acres of wine grapes will be established as transition to organic. Managed by Carol Miles.

CSANR, Washington State University, 7612 Pioneer Way,Puyallup, WA 98371-4998 USA, 253-445-4626, Contact Us