PENDLETON - Washington native Dan Long will replace Dale Wilkins, who recently retired, as research leader at the United States Department of Agriculture's Pendleton office.

Long moved to Pendleton two months ago from Havre, Mont., in order to provide scientific and administrative leadership to the USDA's team of scientists stationed at the Agricultural Research Service, said Bob Matteri, assistant director of the Pacific West ARS.

"We're very fortunate to have Dan," Matteri said. "He has quite a background in soils and precision agriculture, and we're looking forward to what he'll bring to the farmers in the area."

Long, who was an associate professor of soils and crops at Montana State University before accepting this position, said he hopes to pique farmers' interest with innovative techniques the ARS will be testing in the upcoming year.

He said scientists will be working on ways to capitalize on carbon credits by using tillage systems for conservation purposes, and they will also be looking at new ways to harvest wheat so that producers can segregate grain based on its quality. Other projects are also in the works.

"Looking at the future, we are constantly looking for ways to enhance and strengthen our programs to make them both profitable for farmers and environmentally-friendly," he said. "We're hoping to put more dollars in farmers' pockets."

Long is still looking for a home, but plans to reside in Pendleton with his wife and two teenage children. He said his family looking forward to living in town and having outdoor opportunities close by.

"Pendleton is a lot less remote and isolated than Havre was and that creates good opportunities for my family," he said.

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