Organic farming techniques are proven to be profitable, environment friendly, resource conscious, healthy, and socially responsible. Sales of organic foods in the U.S. have grown at least 20 percent a year for the past decade, according to a 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture report. As this market segment grows in the state, nation, and world, so does the need for research and information.

Responding to that need, Washington State University is leading a movement among universities nationwide to offer organic farming courses in the curriculum. This fall, WSU becomes the first university in the country to offer a major in organic agricultural systems.

Spearheading the effort is John Reganold, Regents Professor of Soil Science and a world leader on sustainable agriculture. His reputation as one of the premier scientists in the world in sustainable agriculture is underscored by his publications in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He published what many consider to be the seminal article on sustainable agriculture in Scientific American.

“WSU has been conducting research in organics for more than 25-30 years,” Dr. Reganold notes. “It seemed only natural to have a program in it. ”

Organic agriculture systems, which are significantly different than conventional agriculture, are expected to appeal not only to organic farmers but also to people interested in industries such as global marketing, direct marketing, or organic food.

The growing public interest in organic products reflects a demand for food grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, or genetic engineering. Currently, organics represent two percent of the market, according to Dr. Reganold, with dairy the fastest growing. That figure is expected to double by 2010.

Reganold


Featuring: John Reganold, Ph.D.

In his 22 years of service to Washington State University, John Reganold has achieved the highest levels of distinction for his research in sustainable agriculture and land use. He has received college and university honors for the high quality of his teaching, including the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences R.M. Wade Award for Excellence in Teaching, the WSU Sahlin Excellence Award for Instruction, and the 2006 Distinguished Faculty Address. Dr. Reganold has provided exceptional service to his department, college, university, and profession. Dr. Reganold’s reputation as one of the premier scientists in the world in sustainable agriculture is underscored by his publications in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He published what many consider to be the seminal article on sustainable agriculture in Scientific American. His widely used textbook Natural Resource Conservation: Management for a Sustainable Future is now in its ninth edition. He is co-editor of a new book titled Organic Agriculture: A Global Perspective.