In 1990, Washington State University’s College of Agriculture, Human, Natural Resources (CAHNRS) held 16 town hall meetings where more than 1,500 Washington citizens recommended how WSU could better serve them. A citizen task force, along with representative faculty members from the college, compiled this information identifying three major areas for immediate increased funding support: sustaining agriculture and natural resources, family well-being, and rural growth and revitalization.
CAHNRS proposed a package to Washington’s legislature addressing these issues. As a result, in 1991 the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) and the Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory (FEQL) were established through RCW 15.92. Due to a lack of legislative support, the CSANR was established with funds reallocated to the CAHNRS from research, extension, and teaching. Housed within the CAHNRS, the center is independent from any department.
In 2006, the Washington Legislature appropriated $400k annually to CSANR for the Biologically Intensive and Organic Agriculture Program (BIOAg) as part of WSU’s Unified Agriculture Initiative. In 2007, an additional $200k annually was appropriated for CSANR BIOAg.