Capital Press | Spokane Ag Expo http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Fri, 22 Apr 2016 07:39:12 -0400 en http://EOR-CPwebvarnish.newscyclecloud.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | Spokane Ag Expo http://www.capitalpress.com Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum at a Glance http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/spokane-ag-expo-and-pacific-northwest-farm-forum-at-a-glance http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/spokane-ag-expo-and-pacific-northwest-farm-forum-at-a-glance#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:30:36 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129832 The 2016 Spokane Ag Expo and

Pacific Northwest Farm Forum

Ticket prices

Adults: $12 ticket price includes the Spokane Ag Expo trade show, Pacific Northwest Farm Forum main session, speakers, seminars and free parking at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena (main front lot — West 700 block of Boone Avenue).

Youth (12-18 years): $8 each, and children under 12 are free.

The Ag Expo/Farm Forum Ticket is good for all three days of the show.

Tickets can be purchased at the Convention Center Complex in the Exhibit Hall ticket offices at both entrances throughout the week of the show.

Discount tickets for $8 are available at all North 40 Outfitters in Washington and Idaho through show week.

Event locations

New for 2016 — The Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum events will all be under one roof at the Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Spokane Ag Expo: Convention Center Exhibit Halls

Exhibitor Presentation Events: Convention Center Upper Level Meeting Rooms 401A & 401B

Pacific Northwest Farm Forum Tuesday Main Session: Convention Center Lower Level Ballroom — 300A & 300B

Agricultural Economic Forecast: Convention Center Lower Level Ballroom — 300B.

Pacific Northwest Farm Forum Seminars: Convention Center Meeting Rooms — Upper Level Rooms 401C and 402A&B and Lower Level Rooms 302A&B

FFA Program: Convention Center Lower Level Ballroom — 300A-C

Free parking with Shuttle Bus Service: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena Main Front Lot — West 700 block of Boone Avenue.

2016 show hours

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Farm Forum Main Session Featuring Weather Expert Art Douglas: 9-11 a.m.

Ag Expo: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Exhibitor Presentations: Noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Farm Forum Seminars: Noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 3

Farm Forum Main Session Featuring the Peterson Brothers and Their Video Parodies and Economist Randy Fortenbery: 9-10:30 a.m.

Ag Expo: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Exhibitor Presentations: 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Farm Forum Seminars: 10:30 a.m., Noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 4

FFA Program Featuring the Peterson Brothers and Their Video Parodies: 9-11 a.m.

Ag Expo: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Career Fair: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

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Your hosts for Spokane Ag Expo http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/your-hosts-for-spokane-ag-expo http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/your-hosts-for-spokane-ag-expo#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:28:48 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129834 Feb. 2-4, 2016

During Ag Week in Spokane, Washington

GREATER SPOKANE INCORPORATED

and the

AGRIBUSINESS COUNCIL

Alisha Benson, Interim CEO

Anne Marie Axworthy, Asst. Interim CEO

Greater Spokane Incorporated

Dr. Christine Johnson

Community Colleges of Spokane

Board of Trustees Chair

Greater Spokane Incorporated

Jay Allert

Aslin-Finch Company

Chairman, AgriBusiness Council

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2016 Pacific Northwest Farm Forum Peterson Brothers Bronze Sponsors http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/2016-pacific-northwest-farm-forum-peterson-brothers-bronze-sponsors http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/2016-pacific-northwest-farm-forum-peterson-brothers-bronze-sponsors#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:29:00 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129833 U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Gavilon Grain, Lind

Les Schwab Tire Centers

Northwest Farmland Management LLC

Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative Inc.

Rainier Seeds Inc.

Spokane County Farm Bureau

Washington Farm Bureau

Washington State Potato Commission

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2016 Pacific Northwest Farm Forum Bronze Sponsors http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/2016-pacific-northwest-farm-forum-bronze-sponsors http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/2016-pacific-northwest-farm-forum-bronze-sponsors#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:28:44 -0400 http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129835 AGPRO Marketing & Manufacturing Inc.

AgVentures NW LLC

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Banner Bank

Cooperative Agricultural Producers Inc.

Columbia Grain Inc.

CO–Energy, A Connell Oil Incorporated Company

Erker Trading Company LLC

Global Harvest Foods LTD

Great Western Malting Company

Inland Power & Light

Pomeroy Grain Growers

Rain and Hail LLC, Northwest Division

Ritzville Warehouse, Odessa Trading Company & AgTech Services

State Bank Northwest

Syngenta

The Haskins Company

The McGregor Company

Tri-State Seed Company

Washington Trust Bank

Whitgro Inc.

Washington Wheat Foundation

Wheatland Bank

Wilbur-Ellis Company

Winston & Cashatt, Lawyers

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Career fair spotlights ag opportunities for youth http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/career-fair-spotlights-ag-opportunities-for-youth http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/career-fair-spotlights-ag-opportunities-for-youth#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:24:11 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129838 Students will get a chance to check out the many opportunities awaiting them in the future during the annual career fair at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The event informs high school students about possible jobs, said Myrna O’Leary, manager of the expo.

“Kids are our future,” she said. “A lot of them are looking for careers in agriculture. A lot of them are just oblivious to the many, many career opportunities that are available in the ag industry.”

Presenters at the event include representatives of fields ranging from diesel mechanics to banking, O’Leary said.

“A lot of them are grabbing kids before they even finish school, because they’re in such dire need,” she said.

The career fair affords potential employers a chance to meet one-on-one with the students, O’Leary said.

“It gives them both a leg up, one on employment, the other for an employee,” she said.

O’Leary expects more than 250 students to attend the event. The career fair follows the FFA presentation at the expo.

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Peterson Brothers tell their story in music http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/peterson-brothers-tell-their-story-in-music http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/peterson-brothers-tell-their-story-in-music#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:23:36 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129839 They’re farmin’ and they show it.

The Peterson Farm Brothers first made an impression in 2012 with their music video “I’m Farming and I Grow It.” The parody of the song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” went viral on the YouTube Internet site.

The brothers will speak during the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum main session starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, and again during the FFA program at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4. The brothers give presentations based on their videos, said Greg Peterson.

“We produce YouTube videos basically to entertain people, but also to advocate for agriculture and farming,” Peterson said. “We want people to take notice of farmers and appreciate them for what they do.”

The Petersons live on a fifth-generation family farm in Kansas, raising beef cattle, wheat, corn, soybeans, sorghum and alfalfa.

Greg, 25, works full-time on the farm, while brothers Nathan, 22, and Kendall, 19, attend college.

When addressing younger audiences, the brothers talk about making the videos and exploring opportunities that life presents, Greg Peterson said. They also stress the importance of advocating for agriculture and other passions such as farming, FFA and rural life.

The videos are most popular among ag audiences, but are finding an urban audience. Teachers tell the brothers they use the videos in classrooms to help show students about farming.

Peterson believes the reason the videos have connected with audiences can be traced to their roots.

“Most people have a farming background somewhere in their past, somewhere in their ancestry,” he said. “Even if they don’t have that, I think people can really connect to a typical Midwest farm family who is helping produce food for the world to eat — as well as three brothers having fun, singing and making these videos together.”

The brothers receive monthly payments from YouTube and for speaking, but they are not paid for the parody videos because they don’t own the music, Peterson said.

The Petersons will also talk about social media use during their presentation.

As audiences become further removed from the farm, Peterson believes advocacy is important.

“It’s up to everyone involved to really try to tell the story of ag to other people,” he said.

Greg handles the behind-the-scenes work, writing lyrics, editing videos and booking events for the brothers. He estimates he divides his time between the videos and the farm roughly half and half. The brothers focus on farmwork during planting and harvest, he said.

The Petersons plan to farm together, but also hope to continue making the videos, perhaps eventually shifting away from parodies.

“We definitely want to keep using social media to tell the story of agriculture and advocate for what farmers are doing,” Greg Peterson said. “I don’t think this will ever be a full-time venture, but it’s certainly something you can do along with something else.”

Their other videos include “Farmer Style,” a parody of “Gangnam Style” by Psy; “Chore,” a parody of Katy Perry’s “Roar” and “I’m So Farmer,” a three-in-one parody of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” Iggy Azaelea’s “Fancy” and “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

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Cattlemen to discuss hot topics over barbecue http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/cattlemen-to-discuss-hot-topics-over-barbecue http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/cattlemen-to-discuss-hot-topics-over-barbecue#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:19:23 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129840 The Washington State Cattlemen’s Association will serve up grilled beef and conversation during a barbecue planned for this year’s Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The association will offer samples mid-morning, starting at roughly 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, said Mike Poulson, farm forum chair.

Jack Field, executive vice president of the association, said the event offers a good chance to interact with people involved with agriculture.

“I’m sure we’ll be talking to anybody that has an open ear about issues that are in front of us,” Field said. “We’re looking forward to listening and talking. We’re excited to be there and looking forward to a fun day.”

Possible subjects include the state’s draft concentrated animal feeding operation regulations or wolves and the state’s wolf advisory group, Field said.

Wolves and water quality are the big topics in 2016, Field said. Water quality could include the state Department of Ecology’s watershed assessments, non-point pollution rules or total maximum daily load rules.

Field also said he hoped for an update on legal challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. rule.

“Water quality cuts across livestock or row crop producers,” Field said. “That’s something I think everybody understands.”

The Spokane Ag Expo gives ranchers an opportunity to connect with the industry, Field said.

“It speaks volumes when you look at the number of vendors and producers that are there — just the overall impact it has on Eastern Washington and Washington state as a whole,” he said.

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AgriBusiness Council continues to support industry http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/agribusiness-council-continues-to-support-industry http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/agribusiness-council-continues-to-support-industry#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:18:22 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129841 The Greater Spokane Incorporated AgriBusiness Council continued efforts to raise awareness of agriculture in 2015.

Council chairman Jay Allert credited former GSI chamber CEO Steve Stevens with elevating the role of agriculture in developing the chamber’s public policy agenda.

“That was a major development for us,” Allert said.

Stevens, who joined in July 2014, resigned in October 2015. Todd Mielke, a Spokane County commissioner, joins GSI as CEO in February.

Allert expects those efforts to continue, citing the work of such council members as Jack Silzel, longtime farmer and an adviser to former Washington Rep. George Nethercutt, and Jim Fitzgerald, executive director of the Far West Agribusiness Association.

“That’s going to be an integral role for us, both on the state level and national level,” Allert said. “It’s a fulfilling mission for us.”

Allert is pleased that the council continues to increase in credibility with members of Spokane’s business community.

“That’s our proudest moment, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “The business community knows about agriculture, appreciates agriculture and the food industry. We’re right there with them. That’s how it should be.”

The council’s work on behalf of farmers is multi-faceted, Allert said. The organization helps people recognize agriculture as a business, and that it must be considered as policy is developed or changes are being made, he said.

“Agriculture is being mentioned, it’s being thought of, and we can’t ask for much more than that,” he said.

The biggest challenges for the industry in 2016 include a downturn in commodity prices.

“You can’t help but be concerned when you’re running at break-even or below for the industry,” Allert said. “We want to do whatever we can to play a role in expanding markets and making sure policy is in place to ensure the industry continues to be healthy.”

Silzel is a member of the council steering committee and represents the council on GSI’s public policy committee.

Regulatory controls are a top priority, he said, citing the Waters of the United States and food labeling controversies.

The council also supports free trade agreements to eliminate unfair tariffs for U.S. farmers.

Allert said the council will continue its work in 2016 under Mielke. The organization is looking for more agriculture-related businesses from the Spokane, Eastern Washington and the Inland Northwest region to get involved.

“We can continue to grow awareness and look out for the industry,” Allert said.

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Popular meteorologist Art Douglas offers his take on El Nino http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/popular-meteorologist-art-douglas-offers-his-take-on-el-nino http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/popular-meteorologist-art-douglas-offers-his-take-on-el-nino#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:17:48 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129842 Meteorologist Art Douglas is a fixture at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum each year, bringing his unique perspective on the weather to the region’s many farmers and ranchers.

This year, all eyes are on El Nino, warm water that has pooled in the Pacific Ocean, and how it will impact the West Coast’s weather during the next year.

Peterson will speak during the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum main session, which starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest are part of the El Nino pattern, which started to develop in 2013. As it became a “mega” El Nino the impact spread.

Douglas predicts that El Nino will likely start to fade by March or April, with neutral conditions developing by the beginning of summer.

“It’s probably not quick enough to turn moisture conditions around in the Pacific Northwest in the critical time in which the wheat is in the ground,” Douglas, professor emeritus at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., said. “It’s not real positive.”

Douglas also expects to talk about climate change during his presentation. Warming has taken place on the planet and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has more than doubled, he said. But within the scientific community, he believes “global warming” is too often blamed for abnormal weather instead of changes in the oceans that are likely to reverse.

“If that’s the case, we’re going to see a slowdown in global warming and other types of weather patterns taking over,” he said.

For example, from 1998 to 2011, the Pacific Ocean’s “decadal oscillation” was in a good phase for moisture in the Pacific Northwest and “disastrous” for California and Texas, Douglas said. Now the cycle is changing, returning the region to drier climate similar to that in the 1960s and 1970s, he said.

In 2016, the El Nino may give way to a strong La Nina pattern, which would create a year of wet weather.

“We may have one nice, good, wet winter next year, and then we’ve got to be prepared for quite a few years of recurrent below-normal precipitation in the Northwest,” Douglas said.

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WSU professor to peer into future of markets http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/wsu-professor-to-peer-into-future-of-markets http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/wsu-professor-to-peer-into-future-of-markets#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:17:17 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129843 PULLMAN, Wash. — A Washington State University professor will provide an economic forecast for the coming year during his presentation at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

Randy Fortenbery, WSU small grains endowed chair, plans to provide a general outlook for the grain markets, with specific information tailored for the region.

“Forecasts are always — you look forward to giving it, then you might regret giving it a month later,” Fortenbery said. “None of us has a crystal ball, so things can change in a hurry with unforeseen events.”

Fortenbery said he considers national prices and looks for the meaning locally.

“I talk a lot about events that would make expectations wrong,” he said. “I’ll say, given what we know today, here’s what I think, but here are the things that could happen that could dramatically change this outlook or this picture.”

Grain prices were lower in 2015 than previous years. Fortenbery doesn’t expect significantly higher prices, but in October said he believed they would slowly drift upward in the new year.

“Not by enough to cover storage costs unless we have some sort of unexpected event — a weather event or some sort of political upheaval somewhere,” he said.

Grain cash prices will improve compared to futures prices, he said. Later futures prices were a little higher than nearby prices, indicating cash prices could increase.

Much depends on the weather in the spring and how much moisture accumulates during the winter.

“Right now, it’s really a demand-driven market,” Fortenbery said.

Volatile corn and soybean prices are also impacting the market, and the economic outlook for some international customers remains uncertain, he said.

“We seem to have abundant stocks to satisfy the demand we have now,” Fortenbery said. “Especially in the case of wheat, exports have not performed at the level USDA thought they would earlier in the marketing year.”

Corn and wheat exports tend to be connected, and neither were performing particularly well in the fall.

Fortenbery said the U.S. dollar needs to weaken to improve exports. But when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in December, the dollar further strengthened as more capital entered U.S. financial markets.

“If there’s going to be any significant movement, it’s probably toward a stronger dollar than a weaker dollar in the short-term,” Fortenbery said.

Fortenbery also advises farmers keep an eye on economic conditions in China. In the fall, China’s gross domestic product grew, but less than expected.

“They’re an important market for some of our ag commodities,” he said. “Less so for wheat, but all of these commodities are tied together in terms of price. China not being an aggressive corn buyer would not be good for our wheat markets.”

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Excellence award honors ag’s finest http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/excellence-award-honors-ags-finest http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20160129/excellence-award-honors-ags-finest#Comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:16:53 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016160129844 The AgriBusiness Council of Greater Spokane Incorporated will again honor leaders in the region’s agriculture.

The council will award its annual Excellence in Agriculture Award during the Spokane Ag Expo.

“It makes us all reflect on the industry and the people involved,” said Jay Allert, council chairman. “When you consider nominees for the award, it makes you think about: Where have we been, where are we going and who’s having a role in that? It’s very healthy to consider that.”

Recognition of the individuals and organizations can help the industry build on those efforts, he said.

“Good ideas bring good ideas,” Allert said.

Allert is enthused by the growing momentum of the award, now in its third year.

“For the AgriBusiness Council to be a part of that, it’s just exciting,” he said.

The council seeks nominations each year for the award.

The selection committee considers four criteria: innovation, economic and environmental stewardship, positive impact on agriculture and industry awareness and outreach.

“We’ve got more nominees this year than ever before,” Allert said.

What do people who are nominated mean for the future of agriculture?

“They mean the future of ag, as far as I’m concerned,” Allert said. “It ensures we’re continuing to advance the industry, to keep it healthy, to improve it. That’s exactly what this award is about.”

Previous recipients include the McGregor Co., state Sen. Mark Schoesler, the Odessa, Wash., High School Future Business Leaders of America group and the Liberty FFA ag issues team from Spangle, Wash.

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AgriBusiness Council has long history http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20151223/agribusiness-council-has-long-history http://www.capitalpress.com/SpecialSections/Spokane/20151223/agribusiness-council-has-long-history#Comments Wed, 23 Dec 2015 14:52:00 -0400 Matw Weaver http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015151229954 Even before there was a chamber of commerce in Spokane, organizations were working for the benefit of agriculture in the region.

The earliest roots of the Agricultural Bureau go back to May 1887, when a group of “future-oriented” citizens organized Spokane’s Board of Trade, which sponsored the first Fruit Fair, the forerunner to the current Interstate Fair.

The Agricultural Bureau’s name first appeared in reports in 1917 and changed its name to the AgriBusiness Council in 2010, according to a history compiled by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

The Agricultural Bureau was preceded by several agriculture committees during Exposition 1890, the first major event for agriculture in the area. Fruits, vegetables, timber and livestock from around the region were exhibited.

The chamber was incorporated May 21, 1892.

Other key moments in history:

1905: The chamber formed a horticulture committee to address the needs of the fruit industry and other types of agriculture.

1908: The National Apple Show was created and sponsored by the chamber’s agriculture committee and existed for eight years. At that time, the region had 10,000 acres of orchards in Spokane Valley; 7,000 acres in Deer Park; 2,000 acres in Waverly and 1,700 acres near Medical Lake and Green Bluff.

1917: The new Agricultural Bureau began a movement to improve prices for the wheat crop in the Pacific Northwest.

1920: The Agricultural Bureau coordinated the first Pacific Northwest Potato Show and Growers Conference.

1921: The Agricultural Bureau was instrumental in forming the Annual Fruit Growers Conference.

1922: The Spokane Chamber of Commerce organized the Northwest Reclamation Congress to promote the federal Columbia Basin Project. The chamber provided guidance to the newly organized Columbia Basin Irrigation League.

1927: The Agricultural Bureau spearheaded the first dairy congress, bringing together a group of dairymen who formed a cow testing association, easing friction between producers and milk distributors.

1941-1945: During World War II the Agricultural Bureau pushed for all-out farm production. Labor shortages were a concern and packing houses were down 50 percent because of the lack of labor. The Agricultural Bureau War Employment Committee and the executive board of the chamber helped alleviate the problem. An arrangement was made with the commander of the Farragut Naval Training Station on Lake Pend Oreille in Bayview, Idaho, to grant leave to naval personnel to assist the packing industry.

1954: The Pacific Northwest Farm Forum began.

1974-1977: Planning got underway for the Spokane Ag Expo. A group of volunteers from the Agricultural Bureau enlisted 16 corporate sponsors to underwrite any loss in the first three years of the show. The financial commitment was never needed.

1989: The Agricultural Bureau provided seed money for the Washington State International Ag Trade Center. The state Legislature provided funds for the facility and the City of Spokane provided the property and services. The new facility opened in 1989 with the Spokane Ag Expo as its first tenant.

1996: The Agricultural Bureau Marketing Committee formed to promote the importance and economic contributions of agriculture.

1997: The Agricultural Bureau contracted with Washington State University to measure the impact that agriculture had on Spokane’s economy.

2007-2010: The AgriBusiness Task Force determined a course of action needed to modernize the Agricultural Bureau with new activities and increase its membership.

Feb. 6-12, 2012: Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum show week is designated “Ag Week in Spokane” as the renamed AgriBusiness Council continued to highlight the importance of agriculture in Spokane and the region.

June 8, 2012: The AgriBusiness Council presented the Ag Economic Symposium through Greater Spokane Incorporated’s Good Morning Greater Spokane to showcase the industry to the urban business community.

Nov. 8, 2012: The AgriBusiness Council put together its first Washington State University Ag Tour for Spokane business leaders.

Feb. 4, 2014: The AgriBusiness Council, partnering with the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum, awarded the first “Excellence in Agriculture Awards” at the opening session of Farm Forum.

Feb. 2-4, 2016: Pacific Northwest Farm Forum will move from the DoubleTree Hotel to the newly expanded Convention Center, allowing the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum to be under one roof for the first time.

“That’s a big history,” said Jay Allert, a Rosalia, Wash., rancher and chairman of the AgriBusiness Council. “It was so involved in the creation of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, the Spokane Livestock Show, the international ag trade center when it was in Spokane — all of these things, the Ag Bureau played a very integral part. It’s so significant. It’s kind of an honor to be part of that group.”

Spokane used to house 15 feed stores or mills, which was natural, Allert said, as agriculture was a dominating industry.

“It hasn’t been easy, honestly, because there are fewer people involved and everybody has less time,” he said. “It really caused us to evaluate this mission we’ve always had, but we have to do it in a different way.”

Today, agriculture is going through a new transformation and “reinvigoration,” he said, pointing to new precision technology, which increases farmers’ profits and brings in new people.

“We went through a period there where young people couldn’t afford to come back to the farms,” Allert said. “Our future was kind of dwindling, and yet now that’s changing. We almost have to have (young people) now because you have to be a computer-savvy person to run a tractor, practically. It means a lot of change. It’s going to bring a lot of opportunity to the industry.”

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