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Convention mulls future of wheat

Published on November 12, 2010 3:01AM

Last changed on December 10, 2010 8:21AM

The Washington Association of Wheat Growers will have its annual convention Nov. 18-20 at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights, Wash.

Pam Maier, convention chair, said this year's theme is "Pillars of Progress: Building Our Legacy."

Agricultural economist Jay Lehr will speak about the future of farming and the challenges ahead during the welcome luncheon. The Money Farm founder and president Mike Krueger, USDA Office of Congressional Relations Assistant Secretary Krysta Harden, humorist Damian Mason, National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Dana Peterson and U.S. Wheat Associates Vice President of Overseas Operations Vince Peterson will also speak.

Topics include the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service's Conservation Stewardship Program contracts and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program; insurance programs; the impact of state budget cuts; weather outlooks; and dust, fuel and chemical issues.

Ben Barstow of Palouse, Wash., will assume the WAWG presidency from Brett Blankenship of Washtucna, Wash., during the convention.

Blankenship said his goal during his year as president was to raise the profile of the industry and broaden the organization's effect within the state and to enhance relationships with counterparts in Oregon and Idaho.

"We think this is vital for our continued strong voice in the future," he said.

Barstow hopes to continue to educate state and national legislators about wheat issues.

Barstow hopes to give wheat growers the tools to educate their landlords, relatives and family members who might not understand the workings of modern agriculture.

Many farmers may be intimidated by the prospect of speaking to legislators on the association's behalf, he said, but they shouldn't.

"What you bring to the table is common sense and experience that these people just don't have," he said.

-- Matthew Weaver


Washington Association of Wheat Growers: www.wawg.org

Northern Quest Resort and Casino: www.northernquest.com


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