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Helping Basin farmers try new practices

Growing into Tulelake

Extension Center farm advisor Rob Wilson is learning through experiments

Tulelake is similar in a number of ways to Susanville, Calif., where farm adviser Rob Wilson worked for the University of California Extension in Lassen County. He took over duties at the University of California Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake after the retirement of farm adviser Harry Carlson.

BY JILL AHO Herald and News June 4, 2009

TULELAKE — Rob Wilson describes himself as easy going, friendly, mostly organized and somewhat of a perfectionist.

Wilson took over duties as farm adviser at the University of California Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake after the retirement of long-time farm adviser Harry Carlson. Wilson worked for the University of California Extension in Lassen County for eight years before making the move to Tulelake.

Wilson’s work at the Susanville, Calif., center focused primarily on weed management in alfalfa, small grains, grass hay and rangeland. He brings that experience to an area that will diversify his knowledge of more agricultural products, including mint, onions and potatoes.


The similarities between Tulelake and Susanville include a high desert climate and the prominence of grain and grass production, he said. “It’s been a learning curve,” Wilson said. “This year I have experiments with onions here and mint and potatoes, so, I’m diving in.”

This year’s focus at the research center includes weed and white rot control for onions, and weed and insect control in mint crops.

“We’ve got a long tradition of doing potatoes and small grain variety testing,” Wilson said. “Our goals are to try to address the needs of the growers with the ever-changing problems we have.”

Additionally, the extension office will continue its outreach programs, making the results of its research accessible to producers.

“I think it’s important to continue research with the core crops grown in the area,” Wilson said.

One thing Wilson has noticed is Basin farmers are willing to try new techniques and practices.

“Which is somewhat unique compared to other areas,” he said. Because of that, the research station is often challenged by area growers to be on the cutting edge, he said.

Vital part

Looking forward, Wilson said he believes that agriculture will continue to be a vital part of communities and the entire nation. He predicts shifts toward management practices that will conserve both inputs and natural resources, and increased interest in organic products and biotechnology.

“There’s a lot of interesting research on growing crops with less water and engineered crops with health benefits to humans,” he said.

Wilson, who grew up in Scottsbluff, Neb, said he enjoys agriculture because it allows him to work outside.

“When we work on projects and come up with solutions and see those implemented, it’s a lot of satisfaction,” he said. A quick biography of Rob Wilson

Age: 33 Education: Bachelor of science and master’s degrees from Colorado State University in bioagricultural sciences and pest management Hometown: Scottsbluff, Neb. Family: Wife Dodi, daughter Kendall, 3, and son, Thomas, 1 year old on Wednesday,. Yellow Labrador named Jackson

Hobbies: Hunting, fishing and bicycling

Favorite place: New Zealand. Wilson and his wife visited New Zealand on their honeymoon 11 years ago and it remains his favorite place. “I really liked the scenery, the people,” he said.
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