Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Meet the Team

The WSU Extension Dryland Cropping Systems Team is a collaboration of Eastern Washington county extension educators and WSU campus-based faculty from multiple departments. Together, they work to efficiently coordinate and deliver educational information and resources to dryland crop producers. The team includes specialists in plant pathology, entomology, weed science, soil fertility, economics, agronomy, variety selection, and communications.

Rachel Bomberger

Plant Diagnostician and Diagnostics Coordinator

I run the WSU Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic based in Pullman. My work at the clinic is centered on the timely identification of plant pests, pathogens, and disorders using visual and microscopic examinations, pathogen culturing, virus identification via ELISA, molecular diagnosis, and utilizing WSU subject experts. I can assist you with identifying the cause of plant diseases and disorders that are affecting your small grains, oilseeds, and other crops, and provide you with relevant management options.

509-335-3292 or 509-335-0619

Paul Carter

Regional Extension Agronomist – Agriculture and Precision Farming

My extension program focuses on soil quality, grain production and precision methods for dryland small grain production systems in eastern Washington. I can assist you with your soil quality and nutrient questions, including questions on soil sampling methods, crop rotations, tillage systems, or other cultural practices that may be used in small grain production systems.

509-382-4741 or cell 509-520-2719

Dave Crowder


My research program focuses on integrated insect pest management in wheat and legume production systems in Washington. I can assist you with your insect control questions, including cultural and biological controls for insect pests in small grain production systems in eastern Washington.


Aaron Esser

Regional Extension Agronomist, Lincoln-Adams Extension

My program focuses on helping growers adopt minimum tillage and no-till systems, and more intensive crop rotations that improves soil quality, productivity and overall profitability. Since 2008, my program has specialized in the management of wireworms in cereal grain production. I grew up on a farm near Genesee, Idaho, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in agricultural economics and Masters Degree in plant science at the University of Idaho. I can answer questions related to wheat and barley in low to intermediate rain fall zones.


Randy Fortenbery

Professor and Small Grains Endowed Chair

My research program currently focuses on agricultural price performance in local and national markets. It looks at impacts of new information on relative prices, as well as overall price levels. I also am engaged in studying the impact of futures price action on the stability of cash prices.


Blythe Howell

Communications Coordinator

I manage the Small Grains website and social media outlets as well as coordinate events, such as the Wheat Academy. I can assist you by directing your questions to the appropriate person, answer questions about upcoming events, and provide materials if a resource is malfunctioning.

Phone: 509-335-1719
Facebook: WSU Small Grains
Twitter: @WSUSmallGrains 

Drew Lyon

Endowed Chair in Small Grains Extension and Research, Weed Science

My extension and research program focuses on integrated weed management in dryland small grain production systems in eastern Washington. I can assist you with your weed control questions, including questions on herbicide use, crop rotation, tillage, or other cultural practices that may be used in small grain production systems in eastern Washington.

Phone: 509-335-2961

Tim Murray

Plant Pathologist

My research and extension program focuses on integrated control of wheat diseases, especially eyespot, Cephalosporium stripe, speckled snow mold, soilborne wheat mosaic, and wheat streak mosaic. I can assist you with questions regarding disease identification and control, including cultural practices, variety selection, and fungicide use.

Phone: 509-335-7515
Twitter: @WSUWheatDoc

Diana Roberts

Extension Specialist – Agronomy

I have applied research and extension programs on cover/companion cropping, organic grain production, the orange wheat blossom midge, plus the stem rust and common barberry interaction. I can also answer questions on the cereal leaf beetle and direct seeding/no-till.


Karen Sowers

Extension and Outreach Specialist

My extension and outreach focus is on delivering research findings from the Washington State Oilseeds Cropping Systems Project to growers, industry, and others involved in oilseed production and industry. I can assist you with developing and organizing large or small scale on-farm tours, field days, oilseed workshops, and individual farm visits. My primary goal, along with the Washington Oilseeds Cropping Systems team, is to answer your questions about oilseed production and processing, including how to successfully integrate an oilseed crop into dryland or irrigated cereal rotations. Visit our website to learn more about our project.


Haiying Tao

Soil Fertility and Residue Management

My research and extension program focuses on soil fertility and best nutrient management practices for optimum crop yield and economic returns while aware of environmental concerns. I can assist you with questions related to soil nutrient management, fertilizer recommendations and applications, interpretation of soil and tissue testing, and residue management.


Steve Van Vleet

Regional Extension Specialist – Agriculture and Natural Resources

My extension program focuses on invasive weed management in dryland crop production systems in eastern Washington and coordinating the annual Crop Diagnostic Clinic. I can assist you with your questions on weed control management and conservation agriculture in eastern Washington.


Dale Whaley

Regional Extension Specialist – Integrated Weed Management and Agriculture

My extension program focuses on biological weed control for noxious weeds, insect pest management and alternative cropping systems in the low-to-intermediate rainfall zones of eastern Washington. I can assist you with your questions about noxious weed identification, integrated weed management, insect identification and management options and production of winter canola.


Washington State University