KENNEWICK, Wash. — The new president of the Far West Agribusiness Association wonders why he waited so long to get involved.
“I’ve been working for 35 years and the first 31 years, we reaped the benefits and other than paying dues, never giving anything back,” said Tom Wimmer. “The networking opportunities, the educational opportunities — I’ve gotten more involved on our state issues, committees with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, regional deals and finding out what’s happening nationally and internationally. It’s a global society. It’s been fantastic.”
Wimmer, business manager for Marion Ag Service, Inc., in St. Paul, Ore., assumed the presidency from Brian Becker of the McGregor Company during the association’s winter meeting in Kennewick, Wash.
Wimmer expects legislative issues in Idaho, Oregon and Washington to take precedence in the next year, including GMOs and water quality.
He wants to maintain extended hours of service for commercial truck drivers during prime agricultural times.
“Agriculture can be a highly seasonal occupation,” he said. “You have a window of opportunity to get crops in, to do the maintenance to the crops and for harvest. Sometimes that involves long hours.”
Wimmer hopes to keep the organization’s momentum going to maintain a favorable legislative and regulatory environment for agricultural retailers
“We want to provide the latest information to our members, to keep them current, to meet the fast-changing environment we do business in,” he said.
Wimmer also hopes to inform youth about career opportunities in the industry. Far West offers a program to connect businesses with college students seeking internships.
Wimmer intends to reach out to the general public about the benefits of agriculture.
“We’re good neighbors, we’re responsible,” he said. “We want to continue to provide a healthy environment around us, because we live in it too.”