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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.
Cassandra Bates.

Cassandra Bates

Plant Diagnostician

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

Website: Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic

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 a Masters Degree in plant science at the University of Idaho. I can answer questions related to wheat and barley in low to intermediate rainfall 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

Isaac Madsen

Extension Oilseed Agronomist

My extension and research program focuses on oilseed production in Washington State. I can assist you with questions regarding oilseed production including stand establishment, winter survival, nutrient management and variety selection. Additionally, I am interested in alternative cropping practices such as oilseed-legume intercropping and dual purpose (grazing) winter canola.


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

Clark Neely

Extension Agronomist, Cereal Variety Testing Program

I lead the cereal variety testing program. I am originally from rural South central Pennsylvania and received degrees from Penn State, University of Idaho, and Texas A&M University. After completing my Ph.D., I worked for 6 years as the Statewide Small Grains and Cool-season Oilseed Extension Specialist at Texas A&M before coming to WSU in August 2019.


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.


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