Director, Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Director, Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources

WSU Wenatchee


Chad Kruger is faculty in WSU’s College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences where he directs WSU’s the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR). He also serves as the assistant director for agriculture, extension, and outreach for the WSU Institute for Northwest Energy Futures. He received a B.A. in Philosophy and History (1997) and an Academic Certificate in Ecointensive Agriculture Technologies (1998) from Northwest College in Kirkland, Washington, and he completed an M.S. (2003) in Land Resources from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He was an Au Sable Graduate Fellow at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He joined WSU in 2004 and spent the first 11 years of his career located at WSU TFREC in Wenatchee as part of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources. He moved to Mount Vernon to direct WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center (NWREC) in Mount Vernon (2015-2020) and the Puyallup Research & Extension Center (2017-2020), and returned to Wenatchee in mid-2020 to direct WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (TFREC) (2020-2024).

Chad has collaborated on integrated research and extension teams that have secured more than $70m in competitive funding from multiple federal, regional, state agencies, and industry partners including USDA, NSF, DOE, EPA, NOAA, and the Washington Departments of Agriculture and Ecology, the Washington State Potato Commission and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. The diverse projects he’s collaborated on include multiple projects focused on dairy manure / nutrient management technologies, a wheat-focused USDA AFRI CAP entitled Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH-PNA), a nation-wide USDA AFRI CAP entitled Fruit & Vegetable Supply Chain Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Options (F&V CAMO), and multiple state and federally funded projects focused on assessing climate impacts on water supply and management. He is currently collaborating on the NSF Funded AgAID Institute – an artificial intelligence in agriculture project, a DOE-funded partnership with Pacific Northwest National Labs evaluating sustainability trade-offs for cover crops and biofuels, a NOAA funded project focused on climate resiliency for underserved populations in rural communities, and a USDA NIFA funded project on using climate analogs for climate adaptation planning. He was the convening author of the multi-agency Washington Soil Health Initiative ($1.038m annually for WSU).

He has served on numerous state agency work groups and task forces, including Governor Gregoire’s Washington State Climate Action Team, the Washington Department of Natural Resources Climate Resilience Advisory Council, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Nutrient Advisory Committee. He co-chaired the Legislatively mandated Agricultural Sector Carbon Market Workgroup, is WSU’s representative to the Washington Food Policy Forum, and co-chairs the Sustainable Ag Committee for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor. He was a Presidential appointee to WSU’s inaugural Sustainability and Environment Committee, co-chaired the Outreach, Extension, Service, and Engagement Concept Team for the current WSU Strategic Plan, has twice chaired the selection committee for WSU’s pre-eminent faculty award for Engagement and Outreach, served as the “Chair of the Chairs” for the Leadership Team of the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), and led the CAHNRS Strategic Budget Task Force.

Chad has family roots from both Eastern (grain and livestock) and Western (berries) Washington farms. He is co-owner of a multi-generational ranch in rural Eastern Washington and is partner in a small-scale livestock enterprise that sells grass-fed beef direct to consumer.