BOISE — A proposed rule change by the Idaho Wheat Commission, which has been opposed by some elevators, has resulted in the commission working more closely with the industry.
The IWC has proposed amending its enabling legislation to require first purchasers of Idaho wheat to submit the names and contact information of all wheat producers in the state to the commission.
The commission argues this is needed to enable it to fulfill its statutory duty to communicate with, inform and educate wheat growers in Idaho.
Most elevators in the state already submit that information but some don’t and they say they should be able to do that voluntarily if their growers OK releasing that information.
The IWC held five negotiated rule-making meetings last year and one of the results of those discussions has been a closer working relationship between the commission and industry.
At the request of the industry, the commission began inviting two industry members to its regular meetings. That has resulted in discussions with elevator representatives that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred.
“I appreciate the industry interface we have had today,” IWC Commissioner and North Idaho wheat farmer Bill Flory said during the commission’s quarterly meeting last week. “It’s always good to hear from our industry partners. I think it’s time well spent.”
Ken Blakeman of CHS Primeland and BoDee Udy of J.C. Management attended last week’s meeting and joined the discussion on several issues.
J.C. Management Owner Clark Johnston said Udy gained a lot of insight at the meeting.
“He got to meet some people he didn’t know before and he said (the commissioners and IWC staff) are really knowledgeable,” Johnston said. “I think it’s a good thing to have people get together and get to know each other so nobody’s the enemy.”
Another suggestion that arose during last year’s negotiated rule-making meetings was that the IWC host a cereal school in southwestern Idaho. The commission holds cereal schools in North and East Idaho, where most of the state’s wheat is produced, but has never held one in southwestern Idaho.
During the IWC’s regular quarterly meeting last week, commissioners approved funding for a cereal school in that part of the state starting in 2018.
Though no vote was taken, commissioners also expressed support for adding an industry position or two to the five-member commission, which currently consists of growers only.
“I think we need to expand the wheat commission itself to include someone from industry,” Flory said. “I really think there’s some merit to that.”
IWC Executive Director Blaine Jacobson told Capital Press that the “long-term plan is to change our legislation to include a couple of industry people as members.”
At industry’s suggestion, the commission also has turned its monthly newsletter into a weekly newsletter and added content provided by elevators and information beneficial to them.