By MATTHEW WEAVER
The new chair of U.S. Wheat Associates is hoping for a quiet year.
"If there were no banner headlines, that would be fine," said Dan Hughes.
Hughes was installed as chair during U.S. Wheat's recent annual summer board meeting in Rapid City, S.D.
The Venango, Neb., farmer said the investigation into genetically modified wheat found on a northeast Oregon farm tops his list of priorities for his one-year term.
Another issue is development of a farm bill.
"As farmers, we're ever the optimist," Hughes said. "We certainly hope Congress can get together and get a farm bill for us."
When he begins planting wheat in September, Hughes would like to have the rules laid out before he puts the crop into the ground. The farm bill is also an important source of funding for market access programs to reach out to overseas buyers.
Hughes said growers should continue raising their high-quality wheat, noting many buyers have built specific blends of wheat flours to use wheat produced in the United States and hope to see a continued supply.
Hughes has been farming for 37 years. He primarily raises hard red winter wheat and some hard white winter wheat on 12,000 acres.
Also at the summer meeting, chairman Darrell Davis of Ipswich, S.D., transitioned to past chairman and chairman of the U.S. Wheat budget committee. Roy Motter of Brawley, Calif., is vice chairman and Brian O'Toole of Crystal, N.D., is secretary-treasurer.