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Intern to review WSU possibility

Branden Nickels, an intern for WSU Extension, introduces himself during a recent Port of Coupeville meeting. - Nathan Whalen photo
Branden Nickels, an intern for WSU Extension, introduces himself during a recent Port of Coupeville meeting.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

Washington State University Extension is starting to examine possibilities to establish a presence at the Greenbank Farm.

An intern from the state school will spend the next couple of months on Whidbey Island researching ways WSU Extension could become involved at the publicly owned farm.

Brandon Nickels is an agriculture economics major at Washington State University and is going into his junior year. He started his internship June 10 and will continue until mid-August.

Island County WSU Extension Director Tim Lawrence introduced Nickels during the Port of Coupeville’s June 12 meeting. The port owns and oversees the Greenbank Farm.

Lawrence said Nickels’ job is “to turn every stone over at the Greenbank Farm.”

Nickels stressed that he is to gather information, but won’t make any decisions concerning the future of the Greenbank Farm and Extension. That would be left to officials at WSU and the Port of Coupeville.

Potential possibilities could include partnering with the farm to offer classes, or using some of the pasture for research plots, Nickels said.

“I’m going to research whether they’re feasible or good in theory,” Nickels, who grew up in Stanwood, said.

Extension’s interest in the farm comes as officials for the Port of Coupeville are planning the future of the farm that was once the largest loganberry producer in the United States. The Greenbank Farm Management Group’s contract will expire in the near future and port leaders are determining how it should operate once that agreement expires.

In the meantime, Nickels is busy familiarizing himself with the Greenbank Farm operations and meeting people in the community.

Port of Coupeville Executive Director Jim Patton said he is providing Nickels with all of the recent planning documents concerning the Greenbank Farm. He said he provided Nickels with the conserve ration easement, various farm plans and more.

He noted that the community involvement at the farm is rather inspirational. He hopes to continue to meet with folks in the area to discuss their thoughts and wishes for the farm.

If anyone wishes to contact Nickels, they can at brandon.nickels@email.wsu.edu

 

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