'We need to step it up in our participation within the industry'
By MATTHEW WEAVER
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- Ryan Kregger hopes to apply the same level of heart and soul to his leadership of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers as he does to farming.
"If I've done everything possible to help support the wheat industry and tell our story, I think that will be the best I can do," he said.
Kregger became the new president of the association during the Tri-State Grain Growers Convention, replacing Eric Maier.
Kregger farms about 3,400 acres on the family farm in Touchet, Wash., about 17 miles west of Walla Walla.
On a national scale the association's priorities include passage of a new farm bill, he said. On a state scale, the priorities include maintaining agriculture tax exemptions for parts, diesel and fertilizer.
"Hopefully we'll hold off a business and occupation tax and keep our exemption for off-road diesel," Kregger said. "The biggest need right now is to keep those exemptions and keep us farming."
Kregger called for farmers to get active in the association, noting consolidation through the years has reduced the number of wheat farmers. That means more people need to attend meetings or help by speaking about the issues in the Legislature.
"There are so few of us now," Kregger said. "We need to step it up in our participation within the industry."