Organic farming changed my opinion about agriculture

This year CSANR sponsored travel for several WSU students to attend the Tilth Conference in Spokane, WA. We are posting reflections written by the students over the next several weeks. Please feel free to comment and give these students your feedback.  To view student posts from this year and prior years, visit

Hatem's headshot
Hatem Younes

Over the three days of the Spokane Tilth Conference, it was a truly wonderful experience to get a closer look at the organic farming that has begun to spread around the world. Organic crops have also begun to compete with conventionally grown crops. During the conference I had an opportunity to attend many lectures related to my specialty and interests, and I enjoyed listening to the discussion that resulted. Before attending the conference, my information about organic agriculture was very limited based on what we learned in the academic study, but after attending the conference and communicating with many different people including students, farmers, scientists, and marketers specialized in organic agriculture my knowledge about organic and sustainable agriculture increased dramatically.

The first day of the conference was very special where a visit was made to a private company selling organic crops; the company officials explained the mechanism of their work and their interests. The company achieved great profits in its work in the marketing and sale of organic crops. The company official also accompanied us to the organic farm and ranch of her family.

On the second and third days of the conference, I turned my attention to attending presentations on organic and sustainable agriculture. The most important lecture that I attended on Saturday was titled “The Structure and Composition of Soil Organic Matter and Implications for Management” by Dr. Doug Collins, affiliate faculty in the Department of Crops and Soil Sciences, Washington State University. It was a very interesting lecture and judging by the number of attendees, it was important to many at the conference.

On the final day of the conference, I was very exciting to attend the presentation by Justin O’Dea, Soil Specialist, Department of Crops and Soils, Washington State University. It was one of the most important lectures that I was very keen to attend and follow up because it is close to the subject of my PhD study. I am studying the use of mustard to control plant diseases through crop rotation: “Water and soil quality management for root health and management of verticillium wilt in potato”. O’Dea mentioned the importance of mustard to control soil-borne fungi and nematodes.

Finally, I would like to thank all WSU sponsors including CSANR for the chance to attend the conference. Indeed, it was a great opportunity for me to attend the distinguished scientific discussions in the presence of scientists, farmers, students and agricultural companies, which gave great diversity and great benefit to this conference. I would also like to attend more Tilth Conferences in the future if possible. I would also advise all students who are interested in organic and sustainable agriculture to attend next Tilth Conference.