WENATCHEE, Wash. — Washington State University is offering $5 Starbucks or Amazon gift e-cards to the first 200 people to complete an online survey about the type of information to provide the tree fruit industry on a new website.
“Ultimately, the goal is to create, to the extent possible, a one stop shop for the grower to get all the information he needs to manage his orchard,” said Desmond Layne, professor of pomology, endowed chair and tree fruit Extension program leader at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee.
The site will be designed primarily to serve growers and affiliated industry people with a Pacific Northwest emphasis but may be of value to growers and industry members throughout the nation and worldwide, Layne said.
Currently, there are many WSU tree fruit websites offered by department, program, faculty and county extension programs, he said. It can be confusing for growers to find information, he said.
The idea is to make it easy to find in user-friendly ways, he said.
Portions of existing websites will be moved to the new site but others, like the WSU Decision Aids System and AgWeatherNet, will remain whole and the new site will link to them.
“We have a lot of different research programs around the state and getting results into a form the farmer can use requires extension effort,” Layne said. “Someone coming alongside the researcher and packaging information in such a way the farmer can use it. Often material is written for peer review and needs to be appropriate for growers.”
The new site will link to sites of the Northwest Horticultural Council, WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Good Fruit Grower Magazine, American Fruit Grower, Fruit Grower News and industry organizations.
The site will provide unbiased researched-based information versus commercial information selling a service, product or technology, Layne said.
“We may find in research and product C works better than product B. We can provide that information, unbiased, accurate and reliable for the farmer,” he said.
Layne is heading a team of 17 WSU tree fruit faculty and extension personnel to design and launch the website by the next Washington State Horticultural Association or industry annual meeting in early December.
To take the survey
Growers and affiliated industry people may take the survey at: www.cahnrs.wsu.edu/treefruitsurvey before the end of April. WSU is relying on the honor system for one survey per person.