Ag economists, national leaders to speak on issues

By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

The Washington Association of Wheat Growers has selected the theme for its upcoming annual conference.

Conference co-chair Debra Ausman said it took some convincing for association leaders to approve her idea: "Fields of Grain, Seeds of Hope."

"They were like, 'Shouldn't it be seeds and then fields?'" she said. "(But) to me, that's something that's always been refreshing and heartwarming about producers: their ability to constantly plant those seeds of hope."

The association holds its conference at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane Nov. 19-21. Registration is available through the beginning of the event. Cost varies.

The biggest reason for the event is to let members know what's occurring, Ausman said.

"Beyond that ... we're trying to build that network and camaraderie in the industry," she said.

Agriculture economist David Kohl speaks during the kickoff luncheon at noon on Thursday, Nov. 19.

U.S. Wheat Associates Secretary-Treasurer and Washington Grain Commissioner Randy Suess, National Association of Wheat Growers President Karl Scronce and association governmental relations consultant Jim Jesernig speak during the general session at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 20.

USDA Undersecretary of Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Jim Miller also speaks Nov. 20 during the luncheon.

Ausman said the association tried to pick speakers who know the industry or Washington. She said Miller is from the area, even though he has a national position.

"We felt that would be pretty neat for him to come back and speak to (people) who used to be his neighbors," she said.

Miller operated a fourth-generation family farm in Garfield, Wash., for more than 20 years.

New Washington State University winter and spring wheat breeders Arron Carter and Michael Pumphrey will be on hand to meet producers Nov. 20 at 9:30 a.m. during a workshop session.

Online

Washington Association of Wheat Growers: www.wawg.org

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