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WSU's largest gift ever will advance tree fruit research

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Brian Clark
/
Washington State University
A $27 million donation from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission is aimed spurring tree fruit research at WSU stations.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University is receiving its largest gift ever. The $27 million donation announced Tuesday is aimed spurring tree fruit research at WSU stations in Prosser and Wenatchee.

The gift comes from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. Tree fruit growers voted to raise an assessment on themselves to bolster science.

Jim McFerson manages the commission. He says the boost in research will help Washington apples and pears compete with fruit from other countries and with other products.

"This gift is a truly transformational gift," McFerson says. "It's not just adding a little bit here and there, it's changing the nature of our partnership with our chief research provider Washington State."

The money will help fund six endowed research chairs, five positions aimed at transferring technology from WSU researchers to the industry and research orchards at Prosser and Wenatchee.

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Copyright 2011 Northwest Public Radio

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.