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Wilbur-Ellis supports Mt. Vernon remodel, expansion

MOUNT VERNON — As with politics, all agriculture is ultimately local.

Recognizing that fact, international agriculture supply giant the Wilbur-Ellis Company has contributed $20,000 to the renovation and modernization of Washington State University’s 58-year old Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, according to Mark Jackson, Wilbur-Ellis branch manager in Mount Vernon, Wash.

“Northwestern Washington, and particularly the Skagit Valley area, is unique and we want to support the growth of the local agricultural industry,” says Jackson.

Construction began last year on a much-needed renovation at the aging WSU research facility located in the Skagit Valley west of Mount Vernon..  Some 15,000 square feet of obsolete and substandard facilities are being replaced with more than 16,000 square feet of new research and administrative space. 

The new Agriculture Research and Technology Building, the centerpiece of the renovation, will include research laboratories for entomology, fruit horticulture, vegetable horticulture, vegetable pathology, seed pathology, water quality/hydrology, and weed science.  It will also provide a public auditorium, conference and reception space and a demonstration kitchen.  Construction is on schedule for completion in August.

A new 3,200 square foot research greenhouse will also be built in the second phase of construction.

The new facility will house an expanded staff at theWSU-NWREC including a small fruit horticulturist who has already been hired, an entomologist, vegetable horticulturist, water quality/hydrology specialist and an agriculture economic development specialist.

“WSU really does a terrific job at the research center but they really need new facilities to be able to improve and expand their research capability,” says Jackson.  “We support having a facility with the capability to produce faster and better research, and support local growers and the agricultural industry.”

John Roozen, a Skagit Valley flower bulb producer and president of the Northwest Agricultural Research Foundation welcomed Wilbur-Ellis’s financial support.

“It’s important to take care of the infrastructure that supports local agriculture,” says Roozen. “Wilbur-Ellis is a well established and successful international company, but they’re also an important part of our local agricultural community and we appreciate their support.”

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