LIND, Wash. — Weed researcher Ian Burke has been named Washington State University’s R. James Cook Endowed Chair in Wheat Research.

The announcement was made during the field day June 13 at WSU’s dryland research station in Lind, Wash.

The endowment was established in 1997 by the Washington Wheat Commission, now the Washington Grain Commission.

“Clearly it’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the commission that I really work to serve,” Burke told the Capital Press. “I still don’t really have the words to describe how powerful that message is, to be recognized in this way.”

Burke expects his emphasis on weed research to continue.

“We’re really going to continue to work on weeds as the main impediment to crop production,” he said.

Development of resistance to herbicides in weeds is a growing problem.

“We’re going to redouble our efforts to try and figure out as many profitable ways as we can find to work our way out of this mess,” he said.

Burke is the third person to hold the position.

It is named for Cook, the original recipient, who worked 40 years as a WSU and USDA scientist, making pioneering discoveries in plant pathology and soil microbiology that affect crop productivity and disease management, according to WSU.

Burke replaces Scot Hulbert, now the associate dean for research, who took over the position from Cook in 2006.

A grain commission advisory panel recommended Burke to André-Denis Wright, dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

“We’re excited for that appointment,” said Glen Squires, CEO of the grain commission. “He has a lot of energy and expertise.”

“(Burke) has established himself as an outstanding research scientist working in the areas of weed biology and ecology,” Wright said in announcing Burke’s appointment during the field day.

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