WSU to receive record donation for fruit research
Washington apple and pear growers have voted in favor of a special tax that will fund a $27 million gift to Washington State University for fruit tree research.
Seattle Times higher education reporter
Washington's apple and pear growers have given Washington State University a $27 million gift for tree fruit research, funded by a special tax on fruit. It's the largest gift in the university's history.
The money will be donated over the next eight years, and will help WSU do research on emerging diseases in fruit trees and develop new products and new ways of packaging fruit for overseas shipment.
"Washington is already on the world's stage in terms of fruit research," said WSU spokeswoman Kathryn Barnard LaPointe, noting the school has successfully recruited researchers from as far away as England and New Zealand. "This just cements that position."
About $11 million will go to establishing six endowed chairs, to help bring top researchers in the industry to WSU. Another $11 million will be used to create an endowment to establish new positions in tree fruit production regions. The aim is to accelerate the transfer of new information and technologies to Washington growers and shippers.
And about $5 million will be used to create an endowment to support dedicated research orchards in Prosser and Wenatchee.
To raise the money, Washington growers voted to tax themselves $1 per ton of fruit and donate the money to WSU. The special election was certified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, with separate ballots going to the growers of apples, pears, cherries and stone fruit.
The apple and pear growers approved the assessment by 56 to 57 percent, but the cherry and stone fruit growers did not, rejecting it by about the same margin. As a result, most of the research will go to apple and pear research.
Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or email@example.com
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