This endowed chair was established by the Washington Grain Commission to honor R. James Cook, distinguished scientist, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize for Agriculture. His research interests include wheat and barley root disease, ecology of soil borne plant pathogens, biological control, agricultural biotechnology and development of conservational farming systems that utilize this new technology. He received his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 and started at WSU in 1965. Jim retired in 2005, for 33 of his 40 years at WSU he was a USDA-ARS Scientist. While his doctorate is in plant pathology, his work has been interdisciplinary. He has teamed up with scientists in molecular biology, soil physics, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, plant physiology, plant breeding, weed science and agronomy to produce world-renowned developments in the field of plant diseases.
The Washington Grain Commission (WGC), effective July 27, 2009, was created through state legislation by merging the Washington Wheat Commission (WWC) and the Washington Barley Commission (WBC). The WWC and WBC were originally created by producers in 1958 and 1985, respectively, to fund industry research, education and marketing self-help programs through assessments on each bushel of wheat and barley sold. The WGC enhances the profitability of Washington wheat and barley growers and meets ever increasing market demands by providing leadership to the Washington wheat and barley industry; enhancing industry partnerships and public/private collaboration; funding research that has direct bearing on this industry; and bringing technology from the laboratory to the farm.
Uses and Purposes
The proceeds from the endowment provided by the Washington Grain Commission may be used to pay salaries for his or her assistants and to pay expenses associated with the holder’s scholarly work. This fund is established for the purpose of enhancing the development and implementation of conservation farming systems for the wheat fanning areas of Washington.