New Tree Fruit Director

New Tree Fruit Director

New Tree Fruit Director. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

You’ve probably heard by now that Jim McFerson has been named the new director for the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center after the retirement announcement by Jay Brunner. McFerson says the new position is a mixture of new and old duties.

MCFERSON: I think it’s both probably. The novelty, the uniqueness of the position is that it’;s a public/private partnership that’s building on what we’ve donned I think the trajectory is fantastic and the opportunities equally so. So I do think that a lot of what I need to accomplish is maintain the momentum of the many excellent research programs and the extension activities that WSU’s been providing.

Of course McFerson will bring in his own unique perspective.

MCFERSON: I think it’s an opportunity for private sector interests to be more explicitly dealt with and at the same time for our stakeholders to understand better how a university operates in 2015.

Brunner will continue part-time to support the leadership transition until he officially retires as entomology professor at the end of the year. And McFerson talks about the direction he hopes to take.

MCFERSON: In some ways it’s so simple. The direction is to improve the profitability and sustainability of our tree fruit industry. That’s pretty simple but I deeply believe that and that’s exactly what the Research Commission was set up to dosas invest growers dollars to achieve those ends and now from the universities perspective that’s a good and worthy cause but we also have to remember that we have a three-fold mission and that includes, research, includes extension and education.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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