March - Wheat Life

March - Wheat Life




The official publication of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers

MARCH 2012

A tale of two cities

WAWG leadership in

Olympia and D.C.

Mixed news from

WAWG trip to Olympia

Karnal bunt trade barrier

still making waves

Read with caution:

wading through media

on ag technology

Washington Association of Wheat Growers

109 East First Avenue, Ritzville, WA 99169

Address Service Requested




Volume 55 • Number 3

The official publication of




109 East First Avenue

Ritzville, WA 99169-2394

(509) 659-0610 • 800-598-6890

In association with:


(509) 659-0610 • 800-598-6890

$125 per year


Kara Rowe •

(509) 456-2481


Trista Crossley


Kevin Gaffney •

(509) 235-2715


Devin Taylor • Trista Crossley • Lisa Urbat


Michelle Hennings •

(509) 659-0610 • 800-598-6890


Address changes, extra copies, subscriptions

Chauna Carlson •

(509) 659-0610 • 800-598-6890

Subscriptions are $50 per year



Eric Maier • Ritzville


Ryan Kregger • Touchet


Ben Barstow • Palouse


Brett Blankenship • Washtucna

JP Kent • Walla Walla

Randy Urich • Waterville

Wheat Life (ISSN 0043-4701) is published by the

Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG):

109 E. First Avenue • Ritzville, WA 99169-2394

Eleven issues per year with a combined August/

September issue. Standard (A) postage paid at

Ritzville, Wash., and additional entry offices.

Contents of this publication may not be reprinted

without permission.

Advertising in Wheat Life does not indicate

endorsement of an organization, product or political

candidate by WAWG.

President’s Perspective

Questions about GMO labeling

By Eric Maier

The recent genetically modified organisms (GMO)

labeling bills 2637 and 6298 that were introduced this

session are currently dead. Still, questions have been

raised about whether they have long-lasting implications

for the consumers and wheat producers of Washington

State. The bills’ main intent was to require that any food

product being sold in the state of Washington containing

a GMO component must carry a label to inform consumers of its content.

The bills were sponsored by Sen. Maralyn Chase of Seattle and Rep. Cary

Condotta of Wenatchee. The story was picked up by the Associated Press wire

service and was misreported, stating that 1,200 farmers had signed a petition

in favor of the measure. In another story, it was reported that the 1,200

petitioners were solely wheat growers. Upon review of the petition, I learned

that the producers who had signed it were a very small number and that the

vast majority were western Washington citizens and other nonfarming, outof-state

independents. The debate surrounding the bill quickly moved from a

conversation about labeling to the safety of GMOs, their time line for release,

how long they have been grown and the lack of public knowledge. It is thought

that Washington could become one of the first states to have the GMO question

raised in earnest. Legislators and consumers alike have begun asking what

wheat’s position is regarding this issue.

WAWG’s position on GMO labeling is as follows:

“Providing safe, reliable food to consumers at a reasonable price is the paramount

goal of Washington’s wheat farmers.”

We take very seriously the development of GMO wheats. Of course, everyone

that produces wheat knows that there are no GMO labeled wheats being commercially

produced or sold in Washington and the Pacific Northwest currently.

This is in part due to the fact that GMOs have yet to be fully developed or

become subject to the rigorous USDA approval process that is required before

they can be grown.

WAWG is not in favor of state-based laws regarding the labeling of GMOs,

and we came to that decision after a great deal of research, thought and debate

within our organization. To simplify, we believe such laws and regulations must

come at the federal level, in part because wheat is an international commodity.

More than 85 percent of soft white wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest is

exported. Having a patchwork-quilt policy of state-by-state labeling regulations

would severely hinder our ability to competitively serve our customers.

In the end, it is consumers in both the U.S. and around the world that will

determine whether and how GMO wheat will be produced and regulated.

Farmers will only produce a crop that is marketable. Consumers will only buy

food that they know is safe and nutritious. We, the farmer, will produce to that


Cover photo: The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in January. Scott A. Yates photo.


WAWG President’s Perspective 2

Dialogue 4

WAWG at Work 6

Membership Form 11

Policy Matters 16

“Luke, come to the dark side”

WAWG’s Kara Rowe opens up about lobbying 29

Washington, D.C., time line

A look at WAWG’s trip to the nation’s capital 30

Reading between the lines

Don’t take biotechnology news at face value 32


Kurt Braunwart, ProGene Plant Research 40


Wheat Watch 42

WGC Chairman’s Column 47

These rankings are based on the results of the Genotype

and Environment Study (G&E) quality testing conducted

by the USDA Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, the

Washington State Univeristy Wheat Quality Program,

the University of Idaho Wheat Quality Laboratory, and

the Oregon State University Cereal Quality Laboratory,

including relevant breeding nurseries.

End-use quality determinations were based on results

from grain, milling and product quality tests.

The quality scores presented here reflect a minimum

of three years’ data in the G&E study, using a reference

variety for each class. The scores are reviewed yearly as

new data becomes available, and are subject to change.

Varieties not listed have not been tested or have less

than three years of data. For complete results, please visit

the website:

For agronomic information, please consult: 1) the Washington State Crop

Improvement Association Certified Seed Buying Guide; 2) WSU Uniform

Cereal Variety Testing Program (; 3) North Idaho

Extension Cereals Program (;

4) Oregon Elite Yield Trials (


Inside This Issue

WGC Review 48

Karnal bunt

A look at the disease 15 years later 52

Read all about it!

The 2012 Preferred Wheat Varieties brochure 56

Wading through the jargon

The importance of trade agreements 58

Quality in, quality out

Setting quality targets for PNW wheat varieties 60

Wheat shots

Research looks at “vaccinating” wheat for rust 63

Washington Grain Commission

2702 West Sunset Blvd, Suite A

Spokane, WA 99224

(509) 456-2481



Oregon Wheat Commission

Eric Maier, president, Washington Association of Wheat Growers

Tom Zwainz, chairman, Washington Grain Commission

Scott A. Yates, communications director, Washington Grain


1200 NW Naito Pkwy, #370

Portland, OR 97209-2879

(503) 229-6665



WGC Wide World of Wheat 66

A day in the life

Idaho Wheat Commission

821 West State St

Boise, ID 83702-5832

(208) 334-2353



Spokane Hutterian Brethren part two 68

Quoteworthy 76

Your Wheat Life 78

Advertiser’s Index 82

USDA Western Wheat Quality Lab

Craig Morris, Lab Director

Doug Engle, Lab Manager

(509) 335-4062



The G and E Study is financially supported by the WGC, OWC,

and IWC.







based on end-use quality

Provided courtesy of: The Washington Grain Commission

The Oregon Wheat Commission • The Idaho Wheat Commission

Kevin Gaffney, ad sales manager, Wheat Life

Glen W. Squires, vice president, Washington Grain Commission

Dana Herron, board member, Washington Grain Commission

Scot Hulbert, WSU professor and scientist, R. James Cook Endowed

Chair in Cropping Systems Pathology

Heidi Scott, writer, Spokane, Wash.



Electronic versions of Wheat Life

Dear Mr. Maier and WAWG Staff,

1. We thoroughly enjoy receiving WAWG’s

magazine...I’m wondering whether WAWG has considered

making the magazine available electronically

There is always great information, and over the past

couple of years, the quality and value of this publication

has risen tremendously.

2. RE: SNAP. Many issues ago, there was an excellent

feature article regarding the SNAP program. It

contained informative statistics about SNAP not commonly

understood by the U.S. population at large—

nevertheless a huge recipient of USDA funding. Most

people I ask have no clue what SNAP is...who it benefits

and their perception about USDA programs as it

relates to farmers. Well, it was covered in the article.

3. RE: WAWG’s PR Campaign. WAWG Board’s investment

in PR, in my opinion, is right on track—a great

start. Why not take it a step further by incorporating

WAWG’s website to add a tag that posts articles like

the SNAP article (and others) as a vehicle to educate

and provide access to the larger public....for all the

reasons you can imagine.

Thanks for listening.

Sally Semler

Thank you for your note, Sally. We do publish the magazine

on our website ( but normally

hold off a few weeks in order to keep value in our printed

edition. Also, yes, we are working to increase our capacity

on the web. All of these efforts take time and money, but

we are working to enhance our abilities to reach more of

the public.

Again thank you for your interest.





The official publication of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers


GM s

Uncovering the facts

about genetically modified wheat

Washington Association of Wheat Growers

109 East First Avenue, Ritzville, WA 99169

Address Service Requested

Oops...committees correction

In last month’s issue, we incorrectly reported that

Dave Harlow was WAWG’s research committee chairman.

Dave Harlow is WAWG’s marketing committee

chairman, and Jim White is WAWG’s research committee


Sorry for the confusion!





The official publication of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers


The official publication of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers


A well-dealt hand

The 2012 Legislative playbook

Scott Barr

Farming and politics meet in one

extraordinary man

Beyond a 10-day forecast

Art Douglas’ 2012 weather predictions

Address Service Requested

Washington Association of Wheat Growers

109 East First Avenue, Ritzville, WA 99169

What's in your

marketing strategy

Address Service Requested

Washington Association of Wheat Growers

109 East First Avenue, Ritzville, WA 99169

Product Placement

WAWG's 2012 resolutions

East comes West

Smelling Money

Thinking outside the box

Chinese grain traders visit the PNW

New study to quantify ammonia loss

Share your comments with Kara via email at or

mail them to 109 East First Avenue, Ritzville, WA 99169-2394. Please keep

your submissions less than 300 words.


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WAWG returns from

Olympia with mixed news

About 20 WAWG members descended on the

state capitol for WAWG’s 2012 “Olympia Days.”

In more than 50 meetings with legislators, legislative

staff and agency personnel, WAWG members

focused on opposing the pesticide application

buffer and notice bill, protecting agricultural tax

exemptions, protecting agricultural research at

Washington State University (WSU) and advocating

for PCC Railway rehabilitation funding.

WAWG and its fellow ag friends were able to

derail a proposed approach to labeling food products

containing genetically modified organisms, or

GMOs. Heat came from a proposed bill that was

inaccurately reported as having 1,200 wheat farmer

signatures of support.

“We are not in favor of state-based laws regarding

the labeling of GMOs,” said WAWG President

Eric Maier in a recent statement. “And we came to

that decision after a great deal of research, thought

and debate within our organization.”

The full statement can be downloaded from the

front page at The two proposed

bills did not pass out of their committees.

During the Olympia trip, the pesticide drift bill,

HB 2413, was still alive in the Rules Committee.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Reykdal

(D-Tumwater) had originally called for a 1/2-mile

buffer around aerial and air-blast applications.

While it was amended to remove the proposed

buffer zones, it still contained a notification requirement

that was unacceptable. Thanks to the hard

work of WAWG and other agricultural groups, the

bill was stopped in committee.

WAWG also defended the existing agricultural

Ben Barstow

(front) and Glen

Squires during

WAWG’s team


Rep. Judy

Warnick’s region

was redistricted

to include Lincoln

County wheat


Eric Maier (front)

and Jim Jesernig

prepare for the

upcoming days in

Olympia during the

team’s huddle.


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Please check level of membership

Producer/Land Owner

Grower $125

Landlord $125

Family $200 (up to 2 members)

Partnership $500 (up to 5 partners)

Convention $500

Lifetime $2,500


Farm or Business








Industry Supporter $125

VIP $300

CEO $500

Convention Sponsorship $1,000

Associate Lifetime $6,000

If you do not have an email address, or prefer hard

copies, please include an extra $25 for Greensheet postage.

Please understand that your wheat checkoff

does NOT pay for your WAWG membership.

Also, receiving Wheat Life

does NOT mean you are a member.

We fight every day to ensure that life on the

family farm continues to prosper and grow.



Green Sheet


Wheat Life


National Wheat

Grower Newsletter

Annual Harvest


WAWG Convention

Free Registration

One Vote per


One Vote per


Producer/Landowners (Voting Membership)

Grower/Landlord $125


Family $200

(2 family members)


Partnership $500

(1-5 family members)


Convention $500

(1 individual)


Lifetime $2,500

(1 individual)


Address Service Requested

Wheat Industry Supporters (Non-voting Membership)

Industry Supporter $125

(1 individual, branch, company)


VIP $300 (1 individual)


CEO $500 (1 individual)


Convention Sponsor $1,000 X X X X X X

Associate Lifetime $6,000

(1 company)


Recognition Dinner

Exhibit Booth at



Washington Association of Wheat Growers

109 East First Avenue, Ritzville, WA 99169

County Affiliation (if none, write state)

Circle all that apply:

Producer Landlord Individual Industry Rep. Business Owner Other

Return this form with your check to:

WAWG • 109 East First Ave. • Ritzville, WA 99169.

Or call 800-598-6890 and use your credit card to enroll by phone.

One Free Ad in

Wheat Life

Wall Plaque

For a $125 annual membership, farmers,

land owners and industry representatives

can show their solidarity and lend their

voices to ensure responsible state and

national agricultural policy remains in

place. As a result of WAWG’s half century

of advocacy, millions of dollars have been

returned to Washington farm country.

Show your support. Share your ideas.




Washington Association

of Wheat Growers

109 East First Ave. • Ritzville, WA 99169

509-659-0610 • 800-598-6890 • 509-659-4302 (fax)




« TO «




Good lookin’ crew!

WAWG shined up

a bit to lobby in







FOR 2012.

Follow our journey at

©2012 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow all bag

tag and label instructions before buying or using Syngenta

products. The instructions contain important conditions of

sale, including limitations of warranty and remedy. All products

may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties.

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tax exemptions. The focus was on the state’s budget and the various proposals

floating around to fill gaps, including HB 2529 which would allow agriculture’s

tax exemptions to sunset by 2017 or sooner.


JAxial/VAP Print Column Ad

“From Spokane...”

Protecting WSU agricultural research was also an important issue. For

decades, Washington wheat farmers have invested millions of dollars in WSU

research projects. Having state and federal dollars available complete the threelegged

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WAWG also supported a shortline rail funding package for the PCC Rail

Authority and Washington State Department of Transportation. While WAWG

supports an honest and balanced budget, it also didn’t want the needs of

Eastern Washington farmers to be forgotten if a “Jobs Bill” were to pass.

Group Creative Director(s): Jeff Tresidder

Art Director/Designer(s): Donny Brunner

Copywriter: Joe Stefanson

Photographer: Jeremy Brunner

Retoucher: Todd Carlson

Print Production Manager: Rita Nagan

Separator: M|W

Art Producer: Lisa Crawford

Account Manager(s): Genevieve Mrnak/

Bethany Schwichtenberg

Response Planner: Melissa Pryse

Project Manager: Nathan Waldvogel

Digital Production Artist: Matt Freund

“The good thing about funding a maintenance and rehab project on our

shortlines is that most of the work doesn’t require a permit,” said WAWG

Transportation Chairman Ben Barstow of Palouse at a recent board meeting.

“These would be shovel-ready jobs that could be in place within 30 days of receiving

the funding.” The package WAWG supported includes rehabilitation on

all three state-owned lines.

Tri-State Convention planning underway

It’s never to early to start planning for the annual Tri-State Convention. It will

be held at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Nov. 11-14, 2012. Recently, the presidents

from the Idaho Grain Producers Association, Oregon Wheat Growers League

and WAWG agreed on basic convention details, including the theme “States

Without Borders.”








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Ag Expo a success

WAWG and the Washington

Grain Commission members were

once again on hand at the annual

Ag Expo in Spokane this winter

at the Washington Grain Alliance

booth. This was a good opportunity

to meet with area farmers, discuss

ideas and challenges and to see lots

of fresh paint.

Ag Expo is the largest farm

machinery show in the Inland

Northwest. All under one roof in

the Spokane Convention Center,

more than 250 agriculture suppliers

and service companies fill the

100,000 square feet of the Group

Health Hall.


WAWG leadership heads

to Commodity Classic

The major traveling season for WAWG leadership

capped off with the National Association of Wheat

Growers’ (NAWG) annual

meeting at the Commodity

Classic. This year, the group

met in Nashville, Tenn.

Commodity Classic is the

annual convention and trade

show of the wheat, corn, soybeans

and sorghum industries,

and it is a place for much of

the agriculture community to

gather and discuss everything from the latest equipment

and technology to pressing policy issues. NAWG has

made Classic its annual meeting since 2007.

NAWG policy committee meetings are held in association

with the convention, and annual resolutions are

determined at this meeting. New officers are also elected

at this meeting.

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LightSquared interference

with GPS stopped by FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

announced recently its decision to block the planned

development of a nationwide wireless network by communications

company LightSquared over concerns that it

cannot be fixed to coexist with global positioning systems

(GPS). The National Association of Wheat Growers, along

with other commodity groups, have been at the forefront

of the discussion of this planned network’s significant and

adverse effects on farmers.

“Farmers invest thousands of dollars in high-precision

GPS equipment and applications to run more efficient,

sustainable, cost-effective and productive farms,” said

American Soybean Association (ASA) President and

Syracuse, Neb., soybean farmer Steve Wellman. “The

LightSquared network would have rendered that investment,

not to mention the consumer GPS market projected

to reach almost $29 billion in the U.S. by 2015, all but useless.

The FCC’s decision this week is one that is in the best

interests of both the American farmer and the American

consumer. LightSquared’s efforts do, however, underscore

the pressing need for better broadband service, especially

in rural America. ASA supports the pursuit of a commercial

solution that will better connect the rural communities

in which agriculture thrives, while protecting the value of

precision agricultural GPS systems.”

FCC Spokesman Tammy Sun agreed that a focus on

providing rural and mobile communities with service is

still a priority.

“LightSquared’s proposal to provide ground-based mobile

service offered the potential to unleash new spectrum

for mobile broadband and enhance competition,” she said

in a written statement. “The Commission clearly stated

from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would

not be permitted. This is why the Conditional Waiver

Order issued by the Commission’s International Bureau

prohibited LightSquared from beginning commercial operations

unless harmful interference issues were resolved.

“NTIA, the federal agency that coordinates spectrum

uses for the military and other federal government entities,

has now concluded that there is no practical way to

Surface transportation bills moving through House, Senate

Both the U.S. House and Senate are

working on surface transportation

funding bills which could address a

number of agriculture industry priorities.

Bills ready for floor action in both

chambers primarily tackle funding for

the highway trust fund, which provides

funding for projects across the

country and is set to run out of money

in the fall. The House version of the

bill, HR 7, reportedly addresses needed

hours-of-service exemptions for ag producers

and commercial drivers license

requirements for fuel transportation,

as well as mandating a report on truck

weight issues. Work is ongoing related

to these issues in the Senate legislation,

S 1813.











mitigate potential interference at this


“This proceeding has revealed

challenges to maximizing the opportunities

of mobile broadband for

our economy. In particular, it has revealed

challenges to removing regulatory

barriers on spectrum that restrict

use of that spectrum for mobile

broadband. This includes receivers

that pick up signals from spectrum

uses in neighboring bands. There are

very substantial costs to our economy

and to consumers of preventing

the use of this and other spectrum

for mobile broadband. Congress, the

FCC, other federal agencies and private

sector stakeholders must work

together in a concerted effort to

reduce regulatory barriers and free

up spectrum for mobile broadband.

Part of this effort should address

receiver performance to help ensure

the most efficient use of all spectrum

to drive our economy and best serve

American consumers.”

ISAAA reports

biotech crop acres

grow 8 percent

The International Service for

the Acquisition of Agri-biotech

Applications’ (ISAAA) latest report

on biotech crop adoption shows biotech

crop plantings grew by 8 percent

in 2011, to 160 million hectares,

or more than 395 million acres. The

group said nearly 17 million farmers

in 29 countries planted biotech crops

last year, with half of biotech crops

globally being grown in developing

countries. ISAAA reports that since

biotech crops were first commercialized

in 1996, farmers have planted

them on a total of more than 1.25 billion

hectares, or more than 3 billion


Gates stands behind ag research

In his 2012 annual letter, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and a devout

philanthropist, championed increasing agricultural research throughout

the world. Gates also doesn’t apologize for his endorsement of modern

agriculture and confronts criticism of genetic modification. He told the

Associated Press that he finds it ironic that most people who oppose genetic

engineering in plant breeding live in rich nations that he believes are

responsible for global climate change that will lead to more starvation and

malnutrition for the poor.

In his letter he writes, “Right now,

just over 1 billion people—about 15

percent of the people in the world—

live in extreme poverty. On most days,

they worry about whether their family will have enough food to eat. There

is irony in this, since most of them live and work on farms. The problem is

that their farms, which tend to be just a couple acres in size, don’t produce

enough food for a family to live on.

“Fifteen percent of the world in extreme poverty actually represents a

big improvement. Fifty years ago, about 40 percent of the global population

was poor. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, in what is called the ‘Green

Revolution,’ Norman Borlaug and other researchers created new seed

varieties for rice, wheat and maize (corn) that helped many farmers vastly

improve their yields. In some places, like East Asia, food intake went up

by as much as 50 percent. Globally, the price of wheat dropped by twothirds.

These changes saved countless lives and helped nations develop.

“Farming is a great example of something critical to the poor that gets

very little attention in rich countries. Back in the 19th century, the majority

of people in the United States worked in agriculture. Now, less than 2

percent of the workforce is involved in farming, and less than 15 percent

of U.S. consumer spending goes to food. Farming issues rarely make the

news. The exceptions are when food is contaminated, when government

subsidies are being debated or when there is a famine like the current one

in the Horn of Africa.”

Gates’ entire letter can be read at



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CRP has been a vital tool for many Eastern Washington farmers to control wind and water erosion, like the use on this eyebrow in the Palouse.

Conservation Reserve Program sign-up announced

Farmers and ranchers interested in the Farm Service

Agency’s (FSA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

can sign up March 12 through April 6. CRP has a 25-year

legacy of successfully protecting the nation’s natural resources

through voluntary participation, while providing

significant economic and environmental benefits to rural

communities across Washington State, explained FSA

State Executive Director Judy Olson.

CRP allows agricultural producers to enroll land in

10- to 15-year contracts that help preserve environmentally

sensitive land. In exchange for managing the land for

environmental benefits, producers receive annual rental

payments and up to 50 percent of the cost to establish

approved practices. Rental rates are based on the relative

productivity of the soils within each county and the average

dryland cash rent or cash rent equivalent. In general,

no other income can be derived from the land while under


Eligibility is based on several factors. Eligible land must

have been planted to an annual crop or conserving use

in at least four years between 2002 and 2007. In addition,

the land must be considered highly erodible, be in the

state Conservation Priority Area or be in an expiring CRP

contract in 2012.

Numerous resources are available to help producers

make informed decisions on program eligibility. FSA

county office staff can answer questions on program rules,

application procedures and possible benefits. Interested

agricultural producers may contact their county FSA office

for further information on eligibility requirements.

Additional information is also available online at


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Funding announced

for water infrastructure projects

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced $50 million

in funding for water infrastructure projects in the West—

including $30 million in funding for rural water construction

projects. The funding will support a variety of efforts: providing

financial assistance and construction support for rural

water projects, addressing aging infrastructure to maintain

system reliability and safety, restoring aquatic habitat and

meeting the increasing water demands of the western U.S.

According to U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), the projects listed

below are designated to receive funding in Washington:

• $700,000 for the Yakima-Cle Elum Fish Passage

• $950,000 for the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement

Project - Sunnyside

• $500,000 for the Odessa Subarea Special Study (Columbia

River Basin Projects)

• $450,000 for the Yakima-Water Supply Studies

• $1,000,000 for the Leavenworth Water System (Columbia

River Basin Projects)

• $750,000 for the Pinto Dam (Columbia River Basin Projects)


Grants awarded for research

From the Meridian Institute


The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded

$5.9 million in grants to advance basic research on key

problems involving small-farmer agriculture in the developing

world. The grants were awarded as part of the fiveyear

Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development

(BREAD) program, which is jointly funded by the Bill

& Melinda Gates Foundation. Newly funded projects

include an initiative involving the Craig Venter Institute

(JCVI) in the U.S., the Kenya-based International Livestock

Research Institute (ILRI), and France’s National Institute

for Agronomical Research (INRA). The research organizations

will use new synthetic biology technologies to try

to create a live vaccine for the prevention of contagious

bovine pleuropneumonia—an important livestock disease

in Africa. Another newly funded project is targeted at

using a new centromere engineering strategy to develop

“doubled haploid” banana and cassava varieties (i.e. varieties

that contain only one set of parental chromosomes); it

is thought that creating doubled haploid plants could revolutionize

plant breeding in slow cycling crops. The project

will involve scientists at the University of California,

Davis in the U.S., the International Center for Tropical

Agriculture in Colombia and the International Institute of

Tropical Agriculture at its location in Uganda.








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2011 FSA disaster relief

now available for farmers

Farmers and ranchers who suffered agricultural damages

due to a combination of weather events including

excessive rain, flooding, high winds and freezing temperatures

between Jan. 1, 2011, and July 31, 2011, in all counties

except Asotin, Garfield, Douglas and Stevens may be

eligible for low-interest, federal loans to help recoup losses.

A disaster designation recently announced by the

Secretary of Agriculture triggered the Farm Service

Agency (FSA) Emergency Loan Program. FSA is accepting

loan applications in county offices until Sept. 27, 2012.

Applicants must be established farmers and must have

suffered an agricultural loss due to the disaster named in

the designation. An applicant’s farm must be family-sized.

FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits,

taking into account the extent of losses, security available

and repayment ability.

The Farm Service Agency has other disaster relief

programs which may help farmers and ranchers recover

from losses. Disaster designation allows more producers

to be eligible for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance

Payments (SURE) Program. Now, producers need to

demonstrate a 10 percent loss rather than a 50 percent loss,

explained FSA State Executive Director Judy Olson. If 2011

farm revenue is less than a revenue guarantee, farmers

could receive a SURE payment. Losses must be due to

a natural disaster. The 2011 SURE sign-up will be announced

at a later date. Interested agricultural producers

may contact their county FSA office for further information

on eligibility requirements and application procedures

for emergency loans and other programs.

March 16 deadline nears

for special EQIP program

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

is offering a special Environmental Quality Incentives

Program (EQIP) sign-up for producers in the Hangman

Creek Watershed in both Idaho and Washington.

Funding will be available for fencing and off-stream

watering projects, as well as streambank stabilization and

implementation of direct seed and no-till practices in the

watershed. This funding was applied for by the Spokane

County Conservation District and the Washington

State Department of Ecology through the Agricultural

Watershed Enhancement Program (AWEP).

Land not currently enrolled in EQIP is eligible for the

implementation of new practices. Land that has been enrolled

in some level of EQIP under the Mulch Till or Direct

Seed Practices in the past ARE eligible for the implementation

of new practices on the land. (For instance, if you

previously enrolled under the Mulch Till practice, you can

now enroll that same land under the new No-Till practice,

as long as that land is NOT currently under contract.)

It is also important to note that this is a special sign-up

program and that you can apply for funding under this

program as well as under the regular EQIP sign-up as long

as the acres are not the same. In other words, you could

apply for EQIP twice in the same year for different tracts

of land, which is an opportunity not typically available

under this program—$52.50 an Acre…!

No-till/Direct Seed practices are being funded at a rate

that exceeds any other year of EQIP. Don’t miss out on this

opportunity. The time line is tight, and applications have

to be received by March 16 to be considered for the new

program. The EQIP application process consists of the following

six steps:

1. Submit an application to a local USDA Service Center,

NRCS office.

2. Producer and land eligibility are determined by local


3. NRCS ranks each application using the locally developed

natural resources ranking process.

4. When funds are allocated, NRCS commits funds to

high ranking applications.

5. NRCS works with the applicant to develop a conservation

plan and contract containing practices which will

solve identified resource problems.


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6. Following contract signature by NRCS and the

selected entity, funds are obligated to the project and the

participant may begin to implement the practices identified

in the conservation plan.

For more information, contact your local USDA-NRCS

Service Center office.

New FSA loan program

to benefit women, minorities,

beginning farmers

Recently, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) introduced a

new loan program. The Land Contract Guarantee Program

benefits beginning farmers, minorities and women, by

giving them a new tool to obtain farm real estate.

Purchasing farmland is one of the biggest obstacles facing

beginning farmers and minority customers, and this

provides them with a new option, explained FSA Farm

Loan Chief Melissa Cummins. The guarantee provides an

incentive to sell to individuals in these groups as it reduces

the financial risk to the seller due to buyer default on

contract payments. Under the new program, two options

will be available. The first option guarantees up to three

installments. The second option provides a guarantee on

the unpaid principal of the contract.

Guarantees can be used for financing the purchase of a

farm with a purchase price up to $500,000 on a new land

contract. Unlike the current guarantee loans offered by

FSA, this program will not have the 1.5 percent guarantee

fee. However, the buyer and seller must provide for the

services of either an escrow or servicing agent. The maximum

interest rate may not exceed the FSA direct farm

ownership rate plus three percent. The buyer is required to

pay a minimum down payment of five percent of the purchase

price, plan to operate the farm and be able to project

the ability to make the land contract payments.

Additional information, including a complete list of eligibility

criteria and application materials, may be obtained

through the FSA website at or through

the Spokane County FSA Office at (509) 924-7350.




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A look inside the deep, dark side

By Kara Rowe

When I meet someone new, be it on an

airplane, at a high school ball game or

even at church, the conversation eventually

turns to what I do for a living. Now,

don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what

I do, but in a nation where ignorance of

how food is grown is an epidemic, telling

people you work for an ag lobbying

group can be a conversation stopper.

Then I volunteered at our church’s

Sunday school where our leader introduced

me much more eloquently than

I had been introducing myself. “Class,”

she said, “This is Kara. She’s an advocate

for our wheat farmers.”

In my heart, I know the importance of

lobbying, but it always sounded so, well,

dirty. I was raised in a very respectable,

very conscientious home. We never missed church, and

we never left the dishes in the sink. We were also very

passionate about topics and what was right and wrong.

Years ago, my dad threw his hat into the ring of politics,

so the world of

It’s not all fun and games when

the WAWG leadership goes to

Washington, D.C. For a time line

of their most recent visit, see page

30. For a rundown of WAWG’s

excursion to Olympia, see page 6.

lawmaking wasn’t

completely foreign

to me. Topped off

with a minor from

Washington State

University in political

science and

various leadership

positions throughout

my life, I’ve certainly had glimpses into public, private

and personal politics.

Now that my main job is researching, resourcing,

advocating and writing for the Washington Association of

Wheat Growers, I’ve grown more appreciative of the fine

art of putting our industry’s best foot forward.

I dislike that we have to walk the halls of the national

and state capitals to tell people just how hard working

and deserving wheat farmers are, but lawmakers are like

anyone else. They don’t know our circumstances unless

we tell them.

In whatever we do, we, as human beings, care most

about what affects our day-to-day lives. Unless we’re very

passionate about a certain topic, like hating green vegetables

or defending a pipeline for oil in the U.S., we tend

Kara Rowe, her daughter Kali and husband Ryan on the family wheat farm near Creston, Wash.

to not care about what is happening around us but not

directly affecting us.

Politicians are human beings too (although some of you

will disagree). If an issue is not in their backyard, many of

them don’t care. Furthermore, many of them won’t take

the time to become properly educated on topics affecting

the world beyond their backyards before they vote.

Because of that, in one, uneducated political or public

swoop, farmers could not only face harsher regulations,

but potentially lose their social license to farm. Talk to

dairy farmers or apple growers. They’ve seen the power of

uneducated politicians.

That is why we lobby.

That is why we volunteer.

That is why we buy suits, ties and those hell-on-earth,

three-inch heels.

That is why a small, but committed group of farmers

put down their tools, miss birthdays and high school

ball games and put off repairs another week, all to educate

those who have the power to make or break our


That is why we take off our partisan hats and shake

the hands of Democrats and Republicans. That is why we

work hard to build relationships with like-minded groups

from other states. That is why, instead of throwing bricks,

we search for foundational building blocks with agencies

and adversaries.

If we don’t, no one else will.


Jan. 24, 2012, 6:30 a.m.

Washington, D.C., or bust

Ms. Rowe goes to Washington

When WAWG officers and staff travel for lobbying and national industry meetings,

their schedules get very hectic but rewarding. This is a short snapshot of WAWG’s recent

trip to Washington, D.C. Those traveling to represent Washington’s family farmers

included Eric Maier (Ritzville), Ryan Kregger (Touchet), Ben Barstow (Palouse),

Brett Blankenship (Washtucna) and Kara Rowe (staff) of WAWG. Randy Suess (Colfax),

Brit Ausman (Asotin), Mike Miller (Ritzville), Glen Squires (staff), Scott Yates (staff)

and Tom Mick (staff) of the Washington Grain Commission also attended for the U.S.

Wheat Associates’ meetings.

brit and

tom head

back across

the Hill



The group


with Sen.



Brett, Ryan and Kara meet

with Adam Goodwin in

Sen. Murray’s office.

Ben, Brett, Eric and Ryan meet with

Sen. Maria Cantwell and Paul Wolfe.

Eric and Brett meet with Michelle Brennan

Tranquilly of Rep. Dave Reichert’s office.

PNW dinner with

Idaho and Oregon.

Ben and Ryan

meet with NRCS

Chief White.

Ben and Ryan meet

with RMA’s Bill Murphy.

Brett and Eric meet

with Don Brade and

Rick Keigwin of the


9 a.m. 10:45 a.m. 3 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 7 p.m. 10 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 3:15

Jan. 25, 2012 JAN. 26, 2012

10 a.m. 1 p.m. 3:30 p.m. 5 p.m. 9 a.m. 11 a.m. 2 p.m.

Eric and Ben meet

with Rep. Cathy

McMorris Rodgers and

Kimberly Betz.

Kara meets with

Ryan Shauers of Rep.

Norm Dicks office.

Ben and Ryan meet with

Katy Quinn from Rep.

Adam Smith’s office.

Brit, Kara and Tom meet with Justin

Prosser of Rep. Doc Hastings office.

Ben and Ryan meet with

Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler’s

Chief of Staff Chad Ramey.

Brett and Eric meet

with Jim Miller, Sen.

Conrad’s advisor.

Brett and Eric meet with

Commerce’s Eric Schwaab.

Ben, Ryan and Tom

meet with Dr. Ed

Knipling of the ARS.

Eric and Ryan

meet with an

advisor for

Rep. Jay Inslee.

Brett and Eric

preparing for a

congressional visit.



Ryan and



ideas in

a cab.

Kara multitasks

during a NAWG



Kara shares

a laugh with

North Dakota





at dinner.

Ben, Ryan and Kara

meet with Brandon

Willis, advisor to

Sec. Vilsack.

The rest of the

group meets in the

lobby for a cab.

Eric meets with

NAWG’s Ops &

Planning committees.

Eric meets with

NAWG’s nominating


Ben meets with

Research and


The group

attends the joint

board meeting.

During a board

meeting break, Eric

discussed Farm Bill

priorities with a

farmer from Texas.

p.m. 7 p.m. 8 a.m. 12 p.m. 9 a.m. 2 p.m. 8 a.m. Fly home!

JAN. 27, 2012 JAN. 28, 2012 JAN. 29, 2012

6:30 p.m. 9 a.m. 3 p.m. 10 a.m. 5 p.m. 11 a.m.

Brett attends

the NAWG Chairs


Kara, Brett

and NAWG


review minutes

from NAWG’s

Domestic and

Trade Policy



The entire group meets with the

USW/NAWG Joint Biotechnology


Eric meets with

Environmental and

Renewable Resources.

Glen, Mike, Brit and

Randy chat between

USW/NAWG committee


The group attends the

reception for Brett in the

Wheat Lounge.

The group attends the board meeting.

Jan. 29, 2012

There’s no place like home.



Who’s afraid

of the big bad‘M’

Be careful what misguided,

misinformed media you read when it

comes to farming practices and technology

By Kara Rowe



The recent headlines circling website blogs

and news bits can make you quiver with

every bite.

“Monsanto guilty of poisoning French farmer”

“Make sure you aren’t getting agent orange in your


“The farmers vs. Monsanto”

Those three alone make one set down their

fork. There is no shortage of information—good,

bad and ugly—floating around about pesticides,

fertilizers, genetically modified or engineered

(GM or GE) organisms or Monsanto. Activists

have become experts at using any media, especially

social media, to spread their message. Even

the Washington Association of Wheat Growers

(WAWG) is improving their public messaging


There is a difference, however, in how WAWG

plays the game versus frenzied activists. And

make no bones about it, all activists have an

agenda, and most agendas are backed by money.

For example, the most hypersensitive public

image issue for America’s family production farmers

today is the use of biotechnology and GMOs.

Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace,

are spending millions of dollars to stop the use

of GMOs in agriculture. In fact, last July three

women in hazmat suits used weed whackers to

physically destroy GM wheat test plots within

Australia’s public breeding facility. They damaged

hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in

research. The women were so adamant that GMOs

are dangerous that one said, “GM wheat is not

safe, and if the government can’t protect the safety

of my family, then I will.”

On American soil, the fight is less straightforward,

but is nonetheless impacting decisions.

Twelve states took up individual GMO labeling

bills that would force any food sold within their

borders to be labeled if they contained genetically

modified ingredients. Washington’s Legislature

faced HB 2637 and SB 6298 that were introduced

this session. WAWG opposes state-based GMO

food labeling. WAWG believes such laws and

regulations must come at the federal level. It is a

position the organization takes seriously. WAWG

also takes very seriously its farmers’ paramount

WAWG resolution on biotechnology

Biotechnological** research holds great promise for the

future, and the U.S. wheat industry recognizes these advancements.

In preparation for the future commercialization of

biotechnologically-derived wheat, we take the following


We support and will work to ensure the ability of wheat

producers to make planting and marketing choices based on

economic, agronomic and market factors.

We support the ability of our wheat customers to make purchases

on the basis of specific traits. We commit ourselves to

the principle that our customers’ needs are vitally important.

We support and will assist in the development by all segments

of the industry of an orderly marketing system to assure

delivery of nontransgenic wheat within reasonable tolerances

to markets that require it.

We urge the adoption of a nationally and internationally accepted

definition of biotechnologically-derived products.* We

also urge international harmonization of scientific standards

and trade rules.

We support voluntary labeling of food products, provided it

is consistent with U.S. law and international trade agreements

and is truthful and not misleading. We oppose governmentmandated

labeling of wheat products in both the U.S. and

international markets based upon the presence or absence of

biotechnologically-derived traits that do not differ significantly

from their conventional counterpart.

We support the establishment of a reasonable threshold

level for adventitious or accidental inclusion of biotechnologically-derived

traits in bulk wheat or wheat food products in

both U.S. and international markets.

We are confident that biotechnology will deliver significant

consumer and producer benefits, and we support continued

biotechnology research and product and market development.

We invite valued and interested customers to join with

us in a working partnership to explore the emerging biotechnology


*USW/NAWG/WETEC Position Statement (Amended version adopted

by USW on Feb. 4, 2006)

**U.S. wheat industry definition: biotechnologically-derived (genetically

modified organisms, or GMOs): Genetically modified organisms

(commonly referred to as “transgenic”) are organisms derived from

somatic cell fusion or direct insertion of a gene construct, typically but

not necessarily from a sexually-incompatible species, using recombinant

DNA techniques and any genetic transformation technology (e.g., bacterial

vectors, particle bombardment, electroporation).




Europe, the center of organic vs. GMO, gets a new advisor

From the Meridian Institute

The European Union’s first chief scientific advisor, appointed last month, made

favorable comments about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Scottish

microbiologist Anne Glover served as Scotland’s chief scientific advisor for

the past five years, and she has now been appointed to provide the European

Commission with evidence-based policy advice. Asked in an interview whether

Europe is too adverse to new technologies, Glover said that yes, people are too

reluctant to accept innovative technologies. “This leaves the door open for pressure

groups which are against certain things and have a very loud voice. There

should be more communication about the rewards of the technologies. I would

like to balance that,” she said. Glover was then asked whether she was talking

about GMOs. She replied that, “Yes, that is the most important example. In the

beginning, decades ago, people were careful to get good regulations in place.

Over time, it has been shown that GMO is not a risky technology. But people

seem not to have all the information they need to make their own decision. It is

not up to Europe to say ‘You have to do this,’ but give the information and let

them choose.”

goal to provide safe, reliable food to consumers at a reasonable


This is why WAWG has enhanced its research on

biotechnology. Outreach and affairs will include closely

monitoring the science behind GMO wheat development

with partners from the Washington Grain Commission,

Washington State University and private companies as


WAWG encourages everyone to educate themselves on

the facts about biotechnology. Consumers have a right to

choose what they buy, but they also need to be educated

based on the scientific facts, not fringe fiction. Here are

some tips to follow when reading material from every

corner of the media:

• Make sure it is a credible source. There are many

“experts” blogging about biotechnology with no Ph.D.

behind their titles. There are also many fringe scientists

being launched as experts in plant genetics and

biotechnology who have no background in either. Just

because they have a Ph.D. doesn’t mean they understand

or know anything about plant sciences. Stick

to scientific publications such as Scientific American,

Science or Cosmos or publicly funded, university research


• Understand who is giving the funding. If you think

organic farmers have nothing to gain in the GMO

labeling case, think again. The Just Label It campaign

is trying to spread support for a petition that has been

filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

calling on the FDA to label GE foods. They are hoping

to send the FDA one million comments this spring.

Guess who their partners/funders are Many large

and local organic farm groups. Remember, many in

the organic industry believe their food is healthier

than production agriculture’s food. Do not forget:

organic farms are an industry just like commodity


• Watch out for misguided statements. Yes, it happens.

Those who stand to lose much or gain much tend to

grab any rhetoric or unattested study and cling to it.

For example, before the ladies of Greenpeace weed

whacked the Australian GM wheat trials, a group of

eight scientists and doctors sent the Australian government

a letter blasting the possibility of humans eating

GM wheat. The letter referenced rat-feeding studies

as a concern, however the studies they referenced

have been widely rejected by mainstream science

around the world. Many bloggers and anti-GM groups

claim that biotechnology in food production has not

had enough testing to be deemed safe. Yet, in 2010, the

European Commission released the most comprehensive

study done on the safety of GM foods. It summarized

50 studies carried out between 2001 and 2010,


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involving more than 400 independent research groups.

Their previous report spanned 15 years. After a total

of 25 years of research involving 500 independent

research groups and costing hundreds of millions of

dollars, their conclusion is “that biotechnology, and in

particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than [for

example] conventional plant breeding technologies.”

That came from Europe, the home of the GM debate.

• Balance out your research. If you really want to know

the truth, put on a reporter’s cap and research both

sides of the debate. Be diligent and read about each

group, their science and their claims. You will find

that both provide very persuasive arguments, but dig

for the facts based on the most mainstream scientific

support. This takes time, but it’s well worth it once you

can stand completely behind good information.

As for WAWG’s perspective, with Japan’s definite stance

against importing GM wheat at this time, the organization

believes in supplying its customers with what they want.

More than 80 percent of Washington’s grain is exported.

At this time, no GM wheat is being grown commercially

anywhere in the U.S. However, wheat farmers throughout

the state believe GM technology is a tool they cannot close

the door on completely.

“And in the end, it is consumers, our customers both

in the United States and overseas, who will determine

whether and how GMO wheat will be produced and

regulated,” said WAWG President Eric Maier in a recent

statement. “Consumers will only buy food they know is

safe, and that’s the major reason we are closely monitoring

the technological advancements that are being made with

GMO wheat.”

Japan opens door to GM papaya

Hawaii’s “Rainbow” papayas are now on sale in

Japan’s markets. They are the only genetically modified

fruit on the market today in Japan. Historically,

Japan has been a country with strict laws regarding

genetically modified organisms.

“The market opening in Japan is great news for

Hawaii’s papaya producers and even better news

for American agricultural exports,” said Michael

Scuse, acting undersecretary for Farm and Foreign

Agricultural Services.



Now that’s a pile of wheat! This shot of Hartline,

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Kurt Braunwart, ProGene Plant Research

Turning people on to grain triticale

By Kevin Gaffney

Dryland wheat farmers

looking for alternative crops

to use in their rotations

should consider growing

grain triticale, believes Kurt

Braunwart of ProGene Plant

Research LLC of Othello,


“Triticale has many advantages

for growers in low, medium

and high rainfall areas,”

said Braunwart. “Compared

to barley, for instance, triticale

generally will produce higher

yields and better prices in

the marketplace, while also

breaking wheat disease


“Additionally, grain triticale

also provides a diversification

for risk management, as

the price is tied to the corn

market, not to wheat.”

Braunwart has been championing niche market crops

for many years, and his company, founded in 1996, currently

works with growers to raise grain triticale; forage

triticale, oats and peas; dry edible peas, and dry beans.

Raised in Moses Lake, Braunwart earned his degree in

Agricultural Economics at Washington State University

in 1972. He worked for 16 years for Rogers Brothers Seed

before embarking on an agricultural consultant career

in 1990. After five years, Braunwart and his wife Chris

founded ProGene, beginning with dry pea breeding and

market development. The company has since grown to

nine full- and part-time employees.

Braunwart realized early on with ProGene that his

greatest opportunity for success would be working with

niche markets. He wanted to find a signature product

to build the business upon. The product he is currently

most excited about is grain triticale, especially Tri-Mark


For those not familiar with triticale, it is a hybrid of

wheat and rye, first developed in the late 1800s.

Triticale can be used for grain or forage. There are both

winter and spring varieties. Virtually all of the Pacific

Northwest grain triticale is grown on dryland acres, while

forage triticale is primarily raised under irrigation.

Triticale has only recently been developed as a food

grain, having been grown exclusively as a forage crop in

the past.

“We began with only seven triticale growers that were

willing to take the plunge with us back in 1997,” said

Braunwart. “We now have up to 8,500 acres of grain triticale

in crop each year. About 90 percent of that is winter

crop. While that doesn’t sound like a lot of acres, we now

have the largest managed grain triticale acreage in the

United States right here in Eastern Washington.”

The biggest customers for grain triticale are poultry,

swine and dairy feeding operations. When ProGene was

getting started, having a consistent supply for customers

was difficult. That was a serious problem, because once

feeders begin using a particular mix, they don’t like to

switch. They want a consistent, dependable supply.



Teaming up with Howard Nelson at Central Washington

Grain Growers (CWGG) helped to solve the supply problem

and other marketing difficulties.

“CWGG serves as our production and marketing manager,”

explained Braunwart. “They clean and treat seed,

provide it to growers, and they serve as the sales agent.”

When the grain triticale market was in its infancy, growers

had to sign a marketing agreement that included a

sales pool arrangement. They did not have the individual

marketing ability as growers have with other grains.

Since the market price of grain triticale is based on corn,

Nelson uses corn market hedging to establish daily triticale

market prices. They are posted on the CWGG website,

providing growers with the freedom to market grain

triticale at any time.

ProGene conducts field trials of varieties with CWGG

and area growers. They have breeders and researchers on

staff, and their regional network includes ten companies

that directly service growers. Most grain triticale acreage

is in Lincoln, Adams, Spokane and Whitman counties.

“This has been our model for building a successful

operation,” said Braunwart. “We’ve carefully chosen team

members to perform the duties they are best suited for,

and working together, our system is very efficient.”

The Tri-Mark Triticale network has acreage under

contract in low, intermediate and high rainfall zones. The

acreage numbers are sometimes inversely related to wheat

prices. “Since the triticale price is tied to the corn market, if

corn is up and wheat prices fall, our acreage will increase,”

said Braunwart. “When wheat prices climb, growers will

often reduce their triticale acreage.

“There are other advantages to growing grain triticale.

Triticale emerges more quickly than wheat. The strength

of the coleoptile is greater. And triticale helps in breaking

soil-borne, wheat disease cycles.

“Some growers use winter triticale on drier, less fertile

fields, because as a cultivar with a root structure

that is deeper and denser, it can produce better with less


“In two-year, wheat-summer fallow rotations, farmers

might split their winter acreage between wheat and

triticale,” said Braunwart. “In three-year rotations, farmers

can use spring triticale following winter wheat before they

summer fallow. In wetter areas, it might be winter wheat,

spring triticale, spring legume, winter wheat. There are

other rotation possibilities.

“Through our field experiences, we have found that

late-planted winter triticale will usually out-yield spring

barley. That is another potential advantage of using grain

triticale in dryland crop rotations.”

For more information, ProGene Plant Research LLC can

be reached at (509) 488-3977, or you can find them online at



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By Glen W. Squires, WGC vice president


Record global wheat stocks, coupled with weather

and other influences, place wheat in a holding pattern.

World View

Global wheat supply is up nearly 40 million metric

tons (mmt) from last year to a record 893.6 mmt on

substantially higher production (Table 1). World wheat

production for 2011/12 is also a record 692.9 mmt and

continues to inch higher with each succeeding USDA

World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) report.

Increased productive capacity has been centered in

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan (Black Sea Exporters).

Production in the region rebounded

by 33.1 mmt to the same

level—114.4 mmt—they produced

two years ago. Black Sea exports

ramped up aggressively early on

in the marketing year with some

downward price pressure, but now

the news and behavior from the

region brings increased uncertainty

in export levels. Ukraine even

banned grain railway cars from

leaving the country as it strives to

ensure domestic needs are met.

Wheat production in Ukraine is

said to be 36 percent lower in the

coming year due to sharply higher

corn acreage and production. At

the same time, suggestions are

that 40 percent of the winter grain

acres may be lost to bitter cold

weather conditions.

Russian authorities’ attention to

domestic needs may also result in

some unexpected export intervention,

particularly in light of possible

crop damage due to weather.

Clearly, countries of the Former

Soviet Union (FSU) play a significant role in current

and future price movements due to the sheer size of

their production and export swings.

At 35.2 mmt of exports, the FSU is the largest exporting

region this year, followed by exports from the U.S.

(26.5 mmt); Australia (21 mmt); Canada (17.5 mmt), and

17.0 mmt from the European Union-27 (EU-27). The

Black Sea region exporters account for 25 percent of

world trade. Russia alone is exporting 20.5 mmt, 77 percent

of the amount of wheat exported by the U.S.

EU-27 output has stagnated in the 137-mmt range for

three years. This may change for the coming year with

crop damage from severe cold weather in many areas

across Europe.

Table 1: World Wheat Supply and Use

2007/08 to 2011/12

07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12*

million metric tons

BEGINNING STOCKS 126.98 124.78 167.05 202.34 200.70


Canada 20.05 28.61 26.85 23.17 25.26

Australia 13.84 21.42 21.83 27.89 28.30

Argentina 16.80 11.00 12.00 16.10 14.50

EU 120.20 151.12 138.82 135.67 137.49

FSU-12 92.69 115.44 114.05 81.29 114.41

China 109.30 112.46 115.12 115.18 117.92

All Other Foreign 181.00 174.78 196.39 192.25 200.59

USA 55.82 68.02 60.37 60.06 54.41

World, Total 609.70 684.16 685.43 651.61 692.88

Supply, Total 736.68 808.94 852.48 853.95 893.58


FSU-12 75.60 76.32 77.84 75.24 80.25

China 106.00 105.50 107.00 109.50 113.50

All Other Foreign 406.44 425.62 434.32 437.79 455.12

USA 28.57 34.29 30.98 30.71 31.61

World Use 616.61 641.73 650.14 653.24 680.48

ENDING STOCKS 120.07 167.20 202.34 200.70 213.10

* Projected

Sources: WASDE 2/12; USDA/FAS Grain: World Markets and Trade, January 2012 and earlier; WGC.


Million Metric Tons







Source: USDA

Figure 1: Global Wheat Stocks

213.1 mmt



















World wheat consumption is set to reach a record

680.5 mmt, driven higher by a 27.2 mmt increase in

wheat-feed use. Projected global wheat ending stocks

are also a record 213.1 mmt, 2.4 mmt higher than the

last record set in 1999/00 (Figure 1).

Bearish factors:

—Record world wheat production.

—Record world total wheat supply.

—Record projected wheat ending stocks

—World wheat stocks-to-use ratio above 30

percent for three years running (currently 31.3


—Fewer Middle East and North Africa imports

as production in the region increases.

—Global wheat yield at record 3.1 metric tons per

hectare (up 6.5 percent from last year).

—Record 28.3 mmt Australia crop with

75 percent exported.

—Record Indian wheat output of 86.9 mmt, up

8 percent from 2010/11 (fewer imports/more


Day’s usage available in stock












Figure 2: Day’s Usage, Selected Grains

1991/92 – 2011/12



Source: USDA/ WGC



—China stocks up by 20 percent

(10 mmt) over two years to a decade

high of 65 mmt. Imports rise

only 110,000 metric tons.

—U.S. exports down 8.5 mmt (24


—Plentiful U.S. wheat stocks

(smaller decline than expected in

recent report).

—U.S. wheat stocks-to-use ratio

(39.5 percent) second highest in a


—Improved U.S. winter wheat conditions

and U.S. spring wheat plantings

could rebound from the large number of

prevented plantings last year.

—Increases in corn and wheat area could

put downward pressure on wheat

prices next year.

Bullish factors:

—World trade (import demand) is up

8.4 mmt to 140.2 mmt—second highest

on record.

—Consumption reaches new world record,

reflecting abundant supplies.

—Global harvested area declines slightly over

three years and could drop further given

emerging weather concerns and competition

from other crops.

—Poorer weather in FSU and parts of EU is

changing trade flows, increasing demand for

U.S. wheat.

—Drought has limited crops in Argentina

and Mexico.

—Slowing FSU exports and rumors of export

taxes/restrictions in the April-May-June time


—Australia has large quantities of feed wheat,

and the Australian dollar value is rising.

—A dry northern China could reduce wheat production

and spur imports in 2012/13.

—Ocean freight is in decline. The freight spread

to Japan is benefitting Pacific Northwest Coast

to Japan over Gulf to Japan by about $25 per

metric ton.







U.S. Wheat

World Wheat

World Rice

World Coarse



Million metric tons









Figure 3: U.S. Corn Ending Stocks

















—U.S. wheat stocks of 845 million bushels (mb)

have declined for the third year, albeit slowly.

—Drought conditions continue in Texas,

Oklahoma and southern and western Kansas.

Production could be down despite a 3 percent

rise in winter wheat acres.

—Increasingly tighter world coarse grain supplies

lend demand and price support to wheat.

—Tightening corn supplies with U.S. corn stocksto-use

ratio just 6.3 percent.

Day’s usage reflects the conundrum of the grains

sector. Plentiful wheat stocks put wheat at a decadehigh,

114-day’s usage availability, while coarse grains

has tightened to just 50-day’s usage available at the

end of the marketing year. This would be the smallest

amount of coarse grains available to meet demand

since 1973. Rice is in the middle of the pack and

holding steady with about 80-day’s usage available

to meet demand. Without question, larger U.S. wheat

stocks are pulling the world wheat day’s usage higher

(Figure 2). Meanwhile, U.S. corn ending stocks are the

second lowest in more than 30 years, and at 20.4 mmt,

provide just over a three-week’s supply (Figure 3).

Domestic View

The dollar has strengthened timidly, but remains

much weaker over the last three years which has

certainly assisted exports. The USDA report had a

sideways effect on wheat suggesting current price

levels could remain given the near balancing effect of

the bear/bull items previously mentioned.

Figure 4


Stocks as a percent of demand











Figure 5: U.S. Wheat Classes

Stocks-to-Use Ratios


Source: WASS 2/12


USDA is expecting the market year average wheat

price received to be $7.30 per bushel, up slightly from

last month as ending stocks dipped slightly. Average

price will likely hold above $7. While prices could

strengthen if heat and drought hinders both corn and

wheat, futures prices currently indicate price weakening

for new crop. For white wheat producers, Portland

export prices in the $7 per bushel range remain

somewhat elevated from a historical perspective, but

inputs and transport costs are also higher.

Weather, domestically and abroad, will continue to

influence volatility. The U.S. Drought Monitor, including

three-month forecasts, show continued dryness

and higher temperatures for the Southern Plains, similar

to last year (Figure 4). Also contributing to volatility

is unrest in the Middle East (now including Iran),

financial concerns in Europe, increasing oil prices and

attitudes of fund managers relative to commodities.

Meanwhile, the GMO wheat dialogue is ramping

up. While legislative bills at state levels are pushing

for GMO labeling and assist as a platform for opposition

to GM, other groups, including the

Gates Foundation, believe that GMOs are the

best way to feed the world, suggesting that

GM technology will provide the next “Green


The wheat industry should eventually

benefit from recently signed trade agreements,

particularly Colombia. Now attention is on a

regional compact, known as the Trans-Pacific

Partnership (TPP) Agreement, with Australia,

Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New

Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. China

and Japan may be included as well.






Day’s usage/Thousand bushels












Figure 6: Day’s Usage in Stock

by Wheat Class



















Source: USDA, WGC 2/12

Overall U.S. wheat exports are set to drop

by 24 percent. So far, hard red winter (HRW)

wheat exports are down 38 percent compared

to last year due to lower supply available

and lack of demand from the Middle East/

East Africa. Hard red spring (HRS) exports

are off 31 percent from last year’s pace, and

Durum is off 51 percent. With the lowest ever

total available supply, Durum is expected to

export just 20 million bushels (544,365 metric

tons), the lowest exports in history.

Soft red winter (SRW) wheat and, to a

lesser extent, soft white (SW) wheat exports

are doing much better, owing in part to feed

wheat demand and lower prices. Milling

quality SRW is being sold for feed domestically and

into Mexico, Spain and Italy, with SW moving into

Korea, Mexico and domestic markets. SRW exports

are up 29 percent on the year, and SW is up 13 percent.

Ushering in a new PNW export point, the first

shipment of wheat (SW) left the new EGT grain terminal

in Longview, Wash., in February, headed to South


The stock-to-use ratios for individual wheat classes

are extraordinarily high (all above 30 percent) save

Durum, suggesting little support for higher prices

(Figure 5). Calculating the day’s usage availability reveals

the cushion has increased to something more in

line with those of a decade ago. For SW, very plentiful

SRW wheat will prove to be a price depressor until

supplies are reduced (Figure 6).

A first look at reduced winter acreage in the PNW,

coupled with three-year average spring wheat acres

and yields and using traditional harvest to plant

ratios, could lower PNW wheat production by 43 mb

to around 314 mb for 2012/13.








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By Tom Zwainz

There’s been a lot of noise about taxes during this political

season, and while I’m not out there protesting one

way or the other, it doesn’t take a GPS system to figure

out where most farmers stand on the issue.

This is remarkable, given the fact that wheat farmers

voluntarily tax themselves to provide services which

benefit our industry. We don’t call them taxes of course.

We refer to the levy on each bushel of grain we grow as

an assessment, but, as Shakespeare said, “A rose by any

other name would smell as sweet.”

I think farmers accept assessments because they’re not

opposed to taxes per se. Rather, they’re opposed to taxes

that don’t make sense and don’t offer services in return.

I like to think Eastern Washington farmers pay their

Washington Grain Commission assessment without

much grousing because they see the payback from the

investment into all the activities the money supports.

In the calendar year 2010, the assessment on Eastern

Washington wheat generated $5.7 million. About 50

percent of that money went to fund research activities

at Washington State University, but there’s a whole host

of other items assessment dollars sustain, and it’s one of

those I want to address in this column.

Most farmers and many landlords may have heard

of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), but unless you’re one

of the small band of individuals who have served on

their board or been fortunate enough to travel overseas

with one of their board teams, the name means very

little. And yet, in a nation that only uses half of its wheat

production domestically, you can see how having an

organization dedicated to helping export the other half

is essential. In a state like Washington, where 90 percent

of our wheat is exported, the importance of the organization

cannot be overemphasized.

USW does not own a single elevator, export facility, rail

hopper, barge or ship. It doesn’t clean grain, issue letters

of credit or guarantee tender specifications of cargoes

heading overseas. How then can an organization that

isn’t physically involved with the commodity be so important

Two reasons: First, this industry of ours is like

an iceberg. The moving of grain from one place to another

is the part you can see. The rest—the phytosanitary

requirements, the grain quality parameters, the trade

agreement implications, the disease issues, the milling

and baking standards—these are all parts of the iceberg

that are, for the most part, out of sight. It is on these important,

but largely unseen subjects, that USW staff work

every day, ensuring buyers around the world know of

our product’s superior characteristics. Second, business

is all about relationships, and relationship building is an

area where USW excels.

Although I do not serve on the USW board, I traveled

on a board team to Asia a year and a half ago, visiting

their offices and customers. In each country, I was impressed

by the caliber of the organization’s staff and the

connections they had throughout the region. In a world

where multinational exporters with no allegiance to any

particular country have proliferated, having staff who

dedicate themselves to the superior values of U.S. wheat

is a crucial link in a marketing chain that begins when

each of us makes the call or click to sell our grain.

Grower contributions to USW are figured on a fiveyear

Olympic average of production. In 2012, an assessment

of a quarter of one penny per bushel will shift

nearly $5 million from 19 state commissions to the national

organization. Washington’s contribution for 2012 is

$357,000, which puts us behind Kansas ($930,000), North

Dakota ($909,000), Montana ($456,500) and South Dakota


Under an assessment increase approved at the recent

USW wheat meeting in Washington, D.C., all states’

assessments will increase 5 percent. Washington’s

2013 contribution will rise to $375,900. The assessment

increase was needed because of ongoing federal budget

belt tightening. As a result, USW is losing about $900,000

in Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market

Access Program (MAP) funds.

That money is part of the $11.8 million USW will

receive in 2012 from various federal programs that help

fund the organization’s overseas offices and activities.

In other words, for every $1 growers contribute, the feds

throw in another $2.50 to help with marketing our wheat

around the world. Not a bad ratio if you ask me.

Taxes are never something farmers look forward to

paying. Much of the time, we believe we can spend the

money more wisely and with a better return to society

than the federal government can. But there are occasions

when a tax helps underpin the foundation of a program

that we can’t establish as individuals.

So you see, the assessment you pay on each bushel of

grain produced in Washington is more than a tax. It is an

investment in the future of the industry.




Pick a number,

any number

Any farmer knows if you grow Hard

Red Spring wheat with 14 percent

protein you will be rewarded. But a

protein number is simply a proxy for

what customers really want, which is

gluten quality. While bake tests can

determine gluten quality, there’s no

time in a high, throughput export system

to run

them. For

years, the

industry has

asked for

a machine

that can



quality on

the fly, and

it appears

that in

the third quarter of 2012, their wish

will be granted. At a Wheat Quality

Committee meeting held recently in

Washington, D.C., Steve Wirsching,

director of U.S. Wheat Associates’

Portland office, reported that Perten,

a leading supplier of advanced

analytical instruments to agricultural

industries, will soon place the CORE

gluten end-use functionality analyzer

in select labs to run samples.

During this summer’s USW meeting

in Spokane, July 6-9, Perten representatives

will be on hand to talk about

and demonstrate the machine which

was developed with support from

Cornell University and the Federal

Grain Inspection Service Technical


The Preferred Varieties Brochure based on baking and milling tests conducted by the Western

Wheat Quality Lab in Pullman gets a thorough looking over from a Japanese miller during a trade

team visit to Eastern Washington.

Leader of the pack

The Washington Grain Commission was among the first in the nation to develop a

recommended variety list based on end-use quality. Now Idaho, Oregon, Kansas,

Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota all have their own versions

of quality varieties. But there are still more states without such a list, however,

including: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas,

Virginia and Wyoming. See the Northwest 2012 Preferred Variety list on page 56 for

more information

All’s well that ends well

What has been described as the angriest labor dispute in decades looks to be over.

The Port of Longview, EGT Development and Washington Longshoremen signed off

on an agreement which provides a framework for the union dock workers to operate

inside the $200 million grain terminal. Originally, EGT, which is 51 percent owned

by Bunge with partners STX Corporation and Itochu, first picked the Operating

Engineers out of an Oregon local to staff the first new export facility built in the

U.S. in two decades. That did not go down well with the Washington State-based

International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21, which stopped trains heading

to the facility. As part of the agreement, EGT recognizes workers from the ILWU

are the most qualified employees to run the terminal.


U.S. smog

assaults EU wheat

Research indicates that ozone pollution which

travels from North America across the Atlantic

is responsible for the loss of 1.2 million metric

tons of wheat a year in Europe. A chemical

partly produced by fossil fuels, ozone is not

only harmful to the human respiratory system,

it also injures vegetation by damaging plant

cells and inhibiting plant growth. “Our findings

demonstrate that air pollution plays a significant

role in reducing global crop productivity

and shows that the negative impacts of air

pollution on crops may have to be addressed

at an international level rather than through

local air quality policies alone,” said Steve

Arnold, the University of Leeds senior lecturer

in atmospheric composition, who

led the study.

We’re No. 1. Gulp.

Only about one in 10 Americans meet dietary

guidelines that recommend we eat no more

than about a teaspoon of salt per day. The

biggest culprit for the excess Bread and rolls.

A report by the Center for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC) found that while bread and

rolls aren’t any saltier than other foods, we tend

to eat a lot more of them. According to the CDC,

the wheat-based foods accounts for about 7

percent of the salt the average American eats in

a day, followed by cold cuts and cured meats,

pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, fast

food hamburgers and sandwiches and cheese.

Potato chips, pretzels and popcorns are No. 10

on the list.

Move over


A new unit train loading facility to be located between Rosalia and

Oaksdale near State Route 271 will give Eastern Washington farmers

another choice of where to take their wheat. Pacific Northwest

Farmers Cooperative (PNWFC), based in Genesse, Idaho, will break

ground on the McCoy grain terminal this spring. The company is working

with Cooperative Agricultural Producers (CO-AG) based in Rosalia.

Construction is expected to take 12 to 14 months. Unit train facilities load

110 cars at a time, which are then transported as a unit to their destination.

When Ritzville Warehouse Co. opened its terminal 10 years ago,

grain movement patterns throughout much of the region shifted as draw

areas increased due to the larger capacity of the facility and its ability to

handle more grain. The McCoy terminal is much closer to barge loading

facilities than Ritzville and could take wheat away from the river, but

officials of the project said it is structured to complement the three barge

loading terminals currently used by PNWFC and CO-AG and ensure higher

returns to patrons of both cooperatives. Glen Squires, vice president of

the Washington Grain Commission, oversees transportation issues and

said the new unit train facility will doubtless change traditional transportation

patterns. “It will take a while to see how things sort out,” he said.


Staying out of the heat

Why do Northwest farmers harvest double the grain of their counterparts in the

Midwest One reason is our relatively cool temperatures as extreme heat causes wheat

crops to age faster and reduce yield. Or, as Washington State University winter wheat

breeder Arron Carter put it, “Wheat likes milder temperatures for optimum growth.”

That observation was confirmed by a U.S.-led study that looked at wheat aging,

called senescence, in northern India. Reviewing nine years of satellite measurements,

researchers tracked the impact of exposure to temperatures greater than 34 degrees

Celsius (93 F) and found wheat losses from rapid senescence reached 20 percent. Mike

Pumphrey, spring wheat breeder at WSU, already has a graduate student studying

heat stress in PNW spring wheat varieties. Initial findings indicate significant variation.

“Our goal is to identify regions of the wheat genome that are contributing to this heat

tolerance and validate those locations under field conditions,” he said.





Changes in latitudes

Depending on where a gardener resides in the U.S., there’s

a lot more he can grow in his garden today than he could 20

years ago. Reflecting the warming trend, a revised color coded

map of planting zones will be found on the back of seed

packets in 2013, but can be accessed on the internet now.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture guide breaks the U.S.

into 26 zones based on five degree temperature increments.

The 1990 map, which was based on temperatures from 1974

to 1986, mentions 34 cities in its key. On the 2012 map, which

is based on temperatures from 1976 to 2005, 18 of those

cities, including Des Moines, Iowa; St. Paul, Minn., and even

Fairbanks, Alaska, are in warmer zones. Because the coldest

day of the year in these locations isn’t as cold as it used to

be, some perennial plants and trees can now survive further

north. Although a USDA spokesperson wouldn’t make a

connection between the new zones and global warming,

arguing the revised map isn’t a good instrument to demonstrate

climate change, others are more outspoken, claiming

the map plainly reflects global warming. Find the new plant

map at

And now this

A collection of 16 scientists representing astrophysics, atmospheric science, meteorology,

engineering, physics and biochemical genetics signed an article in the Wall Street

Journal recently which stated there is “no compelling scientific argument for drastic

action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy” as a result of global climate change. The

article especially took issue with the American Physical Society’s policy statement

that says the evidence of global warming is “incontrovertible” and that if no actions

are taken, significant disruptions to the Earth’s systems are likely to occur. Rather than

condemn CO 2

, the authors called it a key component of the biosphere’s life cycle that

increases plant productivity. The article said that while the number of scientists who

oppose the global warming juggernaut is growing, young scientists risk losing their

positions for speaking out. The authors contend that alarmism over global warming

mainly benefits those who are receiving funding for academic research.


According to a survey, 72 percent

of consumers stated they know

nothing or very little about

farming or ranching, and yet 70

percent say their purchase decisions

are affected by how food is

grown and raised. From the U.S.

Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

2011 Stakeholder Report.


How did we ever survive

The fact that wheat has served as the civilizing source

of the world, allowing cities to be built and cultures

to flourish, is given short shrift in a new book entitled

Bread is the Devil. Written by a nutritionist, publicity

for the book claims it will “help you fight those hellish

cravings that stop you from losing the weight you


Although the book’s title is over the

top, Gayle Veum, vice president of the

Wheat Foods Council (WFC), said the

advice inside is not so bad, calling

it a “eat this, don’t eat this type of

book to discourage overeating”

and not anti-bread per se.

Regarding the book, Wheat

Belly, which started the recent

back lash against the crop,

Veum said the WFC has

made a conscious decision

not to fan the publicity

flames by counteracting

inaccurate information put forth by its

preventative cardiologist author. Recently, however,

the author has been directing his bile directly

at the million acres of Clearfield wheat grown in the

Northwest, claiming the herbicide tolerant varieties

“created in a geneticist’s lab by exposing wheat seed

and embryos to the mutation-inducing industrial

toxin sodium azide, a substance poisonous to humans

and known for exploding when mishandled,”

is part of what has turned wheat into a very different

plant from that of the early 20th century, let alone the

staff of life referred to in the Bible.

Tom Mick, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission,

recently attended the annual WFC meeting in Fort

Worth, Texas. He questions the organization’s approach

to the controversy and believes the wheat

industry should invest in research to counteract the

spurious claims. The WGC has taken the first step to

do just that, hiring Art Bettge, retired food technologist

and research laboratory manager for the USDA

ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory in Pullman,

to search the scientific data that currently exists to

determine where funding for research may best be


“Although this is an issue that is mainly unfolding on

the domestic front, and most of Washington’s wheat

is exported, I believe we need to be proactive. Our

sophisticated overseas customers look to what is

happening in the U.S. for cues on dietary habits. This

is not about fanning the flames. This is about clearing

the air,” he said.

Buzzing with interest

1,000 metric tons








Source: USDA

U.S. Wheat Exports to Indonesia by Class
















Marketing Year

Bet you can’t guess















Recently published research indicates that imidacloprid, which

is used in many different insecticidal formulations, including one

to make the seed treatment, Gaucho, appears to interfere with

honeybees’ ability to fight off parasitic spores. Scientists have

been searching for years to explain what has commonly come to

be called “colony collapse disorder” which devastates beehives.

Previous reports have indicated imidacloprid has a bad effect on

honeybees’ ability to learn things. The latest research reveals that

while low levels of the pesticide don’t perceptibly harm bees,

those that have been exposed had more than triple the number of

parasite spores in their bodies as those that hadn’t been exposed,

and therefore a greater chance of dying prematurely. It’s still not

clear whether this is part of the reason for collapsing colonies as

research has pointed to more than one culprit over time. It’s also

unlikely a seed treatment is causing exposure to bees, but will that

make a difference if regulators target the insecticide

Among all the cities in the world, which one has the largest milling

capacity in a single location If you guessed Jakarta, Indonesia,

you’re right. Bogasari Flour Mills has two mills in Indonesia, with

the one in Jakarta covering 81 acres and capable of producing

10,000 tons of flour a day. The company buys close to 3 million

metric tons of wheat annually, using six of its own vessels to

transport grain from the U.S., Australia and Canada. Founded in

1971, Bogasari was acquired by Indofood in 1995 and just recently

changed its procurement and logistics staff. That’s why Mike Spier,

South Asian Regional vice president of U.S. Wheat Associates, and

Kurt Haarmann, vice president of Columbia Grain, recently traveled

to the country. The new purchasing team is unfamiliar with the U.S.

wheat marketing system and needs training on how to buy U.S.

wheat. Bogasari imports three U.S. wheat classes: hard red winter,

hard red spring and soft white. In 2010/11, soft white comprised 30

percent of U.S. exports, but within the last five years, soft white has

comprised as much as 80 percent of exports to Indonesia or just

shy of 600,000 metric tons.







—Washington Grain Commission —







By Scott A. Yates


Imagine it’s Final Jeopardy, and the clue to winning

the game is, “It threatened to wreck U.S. wheat exports

when it was discovered in Arizona in March 1996.”

“What is Karnal bunt” is not a question a lot of people

outside the wheat industry could possibly compose. And

15 years after then-Secretary

of Agriculture Dan Glickman

conducted a national news

conference to announce its

discovery, many within the

wheat industry have even lost

sight of the disease. And yet,

Karnal bunt, named after the

city in India near where the

fungus was first found in 1931,

continues to be an issue that

has the potential to severely

disrupt U.S. wheat exports.

Nearly 40 percent of the

countries the U.S. exports to—absorbing about 25

percent of the U.S. crop—have quarantines against the

disease. U.S. wheat farmers have only been allowed to

continue to export to them thanks to a national survey

that guarantees the wheat that customers are receiving

“comes from an area not known to have Karnal

bunt.” That is the wording on a certificate referred to as

an “Additional Declaration,” or AD, that accompanies

U.S. shipments of wheat to countries with quarantines

Phytosanitary barriers work both ways

against the disease.

The Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

of the U.S. Department of Agriculture coordinates the cooperative

survey which asks elevator operators throughout

the nation to submit four-pound samples for analysis

at a national lab or an APHIS-approved state lab. In the

beginning, all wheat growing areas were sampled every

year. Lately, half the nation’s

wheat growing counties that

produce 1 million bushels or

more are sampled on alternate

years. The national survey

is considered “cooperative”

because APHIS provides funding

to wheat-producing states

across the country, including

Washington, to collect national

survey samples. The USDA

tests the samples for bunted


kernels at no cost.

Although Karnal bunt was also found in geographically

distinct areas of California and Texas, those two

states have successfully eradicated the disease, and only

certain counties in Arizona remain under APHIS’s “regulated”

status. Nevertheless, the national survey—which

is voluntary on the part of elevator operators—remains a

mandatory step to ensure the steady flow of exports.

The word “voluntary” sticks in the craw of elevator

mangers like John Anderson of Ritzville Warehouse



Company. He said each time

he provides a sample, he holds

his breath. It doesn’t matter

that Washington isn’t near the

regulated area of the Southwest

where the disease has been

found. One bad result would be a

nightmare, he said.

That’s because if Karnal bunt

were ever found, the entire

elevator company would be

considered contaminated, a large

growing area would be shut

down and potentially millions of

bushels of export-quality wheat

would be relegated to feed status

or destroyed outright. Although

the elevator company may not

have anything to do with the

disease itself, the economic

catastrophe following a positive

identification would fall largely

on them.

“Even though the chance of

a positive ID is almost nonexistent,

every time I submit

a sample it is done with some

trepidation. Yes, we need to

submit samples to sell our wheat,

but you are potentially ruined

as a business for cooperating,”

Anderson said.

Kevin Whitehall, manager of Central Washington

Grain Growers and a member of the Washington Grain

Commission (WGC), agrees.

“I would feel better if the survey were mandatory. The

fact it is voluntary means that if something were found,

my board would have all sorts of questions. You can

paint some ugly scenarios. We are participating because

What is Karnal bunt

The USDA considers Karnal bunt to be

a minor fungal disease of wheat, durum

wheat and triticale caused by the fungus

Tilletia indica Mitra. It seldom results in

significant yield losses in the field, does not

produce any toxic compounds and poses

no risk to human health.

The USDA regulates wheat and triticale

infected with Karnal bunt to contain

the fungus and to restrict the product

movement to retain export markets that

consider Karnal bunt a pest of quarantine


Karnal bunt affects flour quality if more

than 3 percent of the grains are bunted

because it may give off a fishy odor. That’s

because the fungus produces trimethylamine.

Pasta products made with flour

contaminated with high levels of Karnal

bunt can have an unacceptable odor.

For the record, trimethylamine is the

substance mainly responsible for the odor

associated with fouling fish, some infections

and bad breath. It is also a product

of decomposition of plants and animals.

Karnal bunt has never been found at levels

approaching 3 percent in the U.S.

we realize we need to protect

our overseas markets. Sure, it’s

voluntary, but you have to do it,”

he said.

Tom Mick, chief executive

officer of the WGC, said it takes

an on-going effort to get the

required representative elevator

companies to submit samples to

the survey program even after 15

years. He commends Anderson

for complying with the sampling

protocol, but said other companies

don’t want to take the

chance, however small.

“They say, ‘Let somebody else

do it.’ But without a representative

sample, APHIS can’t provide

the declaration that Karnal

bunt is not known to exist in

Washington. And with upwards

of 90 percent of Washington’s

wheat exported, losing that declaration

would be devastating,”

Mick said, adding this is why,

despite the potential downside,

the WGC makes it a priority

every year to ensure APHIS gets

its representative sample from

the state.

That a voluntary survey can

create such heartburn is one of

the program’s paradoxes. Yes, an elevator company is not

required to submit a sample. But if samples aren’t provided,

Washington farmers will lose the privilege to export

to nearly 40 percent of the state’s potential customers.

Lynn Evans-Goldner, national program manager

for the Karnal bunt program at APHIS, is aware of the

irony. She points out that it’s foreign countries that have


“We are left with the reality that

there are a lot of trading partners

who consider Karnal bunt a

significant pathogen for them.”

—Lynn Evans-Goldner

Animal Plant Health Inspection Service

“Even though the chance of a

positive ID is almost nonexistent,

every time I submit a sample, it

is done with some trepidation.”

—John Anderson

Ritzville Warehouse Company




“They say, ‘Let somebody else do it.’ But without a representative sample,

APHIS can’t provide the declaration that Karnal bunt is not known to exist

in Washington. And with upwards of 90 percent of Washington’s wheat

exported, losing that declaration would be devastating,”

—Tom Mick

Washington Grain Commission


imposed the quarantines against Karnal bunt. APHIS

reacted with the national survey as a mechanism for

satisfying their restrictions and keeping wheat exports

on track.

“We are left with the reality that there are a lot of

trading partners who consider Karnal bunt a significant

pathogen for them. These regulations are not made by

the USDA. They are made by our trading partners, but if

we want to ship wheat to them, we have to abide by their

regulations,” she said.

Still, is a survey that hasn’t found a single bunted kernel

outside the regulated area necessary after 15 years

Jim Frahm, vice president of planning at U.S. Wheat

Associates, is among those with doubts. He points out

that the North American Plant Protection Organization

(NAPPO) has suggested that a surveillance program,

which relies on wheat workers already in place throughout

the country, would be sufficient.

NAPPO is made up of government plant quarantine

officials and industry advisors from the U.S., Canada and

Mexico. It came up with a standard in 2009 which states

that after five years of negative results, maintenance of a

pest-free area can be enforced by relying on people like

grain inspectors, university extension personnel, breeders

and other wheat workers watching for the disease.

“We thought they had a pretty good case after 15

years of survey data, during which we haven’t seen

Karnal bunt move around. It’s not like it shows up here

and there. In fact, the area where it is present has just

kept shrinking,” Frahm said.

Although the surveillance idea was broached with

APHIS, it didn’t catch on. Evans-Goldner said adopting

the NAPPO standard is “not outside the realm of possibility,”

but would have to be signed off on by trade

officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

“Why upset the applecart Our foreign trading partners

are happy with the survey. If we go to surveillance,

all these countries will have to be notified, and they

would potentially step up their own inspections and

instead of looking for bunted kernels, look for spores

which might not be Karnal bunt, but related spores from

ryegrass or other sources,” she said, indicating that that

has the potential of muddying the waters.

Even now, the survey’s clean track record doesn’t mean

export customers don’t occasionally cry wolf. In 2011,

4,000 metric tons of wheat were held up at a Colombia

port for three months because of Karnal bunt concerns.

The country requested U.S. survey documentation and

ultimately agreed to third party testing which verified

the disease wasn’t present. Nevertheless, Evans-Goldner

said these scares occur almost every year, making the

disease an ongoing threat to exports.

Frahm, however, doesn’t think the U.S. would be in

any worse position with a surveillance program, noting

countries that are really concerned about Karnal bunt,

including the European Union, already do their own

testing on all arriving U.S. shipments. He suggested that

couching a change in the survey program in positive

terms such as, “We are not going to stop looking, but we

are not going to look in the same way,” would satisfy


While keeping the applecart on an even keel is Evans-

Goldner’s priority, it’s possible today’s budget realities

will dictate a change in the program. In 2011, the Karnal

bunt program at APHIS was budgeted to the tune of

$3 million. In 2012, that has been reduced to $1,071,000.

Evans-Goldner estimates the survey program—which

doesn’t cost the wheat industry anything—is a $300,000


Despite the potential economic hardship that exists to

elevator companies and individual farmers, she believes

the national survey is worth the hassle. Based on the

total cost of the Karnal bunt program in 2010 (quarantine

plus national survey), the entire Karnal bunt program

cost just 0.006 cents per bushel of U.S. wheat production.

Given the billions of dollars of exports that could be lost

without it, that’s an excellent value, she said.



Be careful what you wish for

Karnal bunt strategy backfires

as other nations follow U.S. lead

Shortly after Karnal bunt was discovered

in the American Southwest, the

Animal Plant Health Inspection Service

(APHIS) went on a campaign to convince

countries with quarantines against the

disease that it really wasn’t so bad after


Given the fact it was the U.S. that

raised the alarm about Karnal bunt in the

1980s and imposed its own quarantine

as a way to keep Mexican wheat out of

the American market, the gambit failed

miserably. After all, countries around

the world look to the U.S. for leadership

when it comes to unbiased phytosanitary

standards. If the U.S. says a disease is a

problem, it’s a problem. Right

Well, maybe not. Jim Frahm, vice president

of planning at U.S. Wheat Associates

(USW), said a more nuanced approach by

his organization 30 years ago might have

been enough to avoid today’s debate and

the quarantine enacted by many of the

world’s nations against the disease. At

the time, however, USW leadership was

mostly concerned with keeping Mexican

wheat out of the country, and a quarantine

against what APHIS now refers to

as a “minor fungal disease with minimal

effect on quality and yield,” was enacted.

“Restrictions were stronger than

warranted, and that led to a lot of other

countries enacting similar restrictions,

so when we got the disease in 1996, those

were the restrictions we faced,” Frahm


As it turns out, Karnal bunt is, in

Frahm’s words, “pretty wimpy” and not

the devastating disease some feared.

It is spread mainly through the use of

infected seed. It is likely the disease

made it to Mexico during the Green

Revolution when seed from India came

into the International Maize and Wheat

Jim Frahm (right), vice president of planning at U.S. Wheat Associates, speaks with Shannon

Schlecht, the organization’s director of policy. Frahm believes it’s time to go to a less

intense surveillance program for Karnal bunt, but the Animal Plant Health Inspection

Service has faith in the current survey program.

Improvement Center known as CIMMYT.

Weather and climatic conditions, specifically cool and wet weather

at time of flowering, have to be perfect for the disease to survive and

develop. Despite the fact infected seed is planted throughout India, its

footprint there remains localized.

The U.S. is one of nine countries that are known to have the disease.

Besides India, they include: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Mexico,

Nepal and South Africa. In the U.S., 208 fields in three Arizona counties

were within the regulated area. In 2011, only one field was found to

have Karnal bunt positive grain.

It’s possible the U.S. could one day be considered Karnal bunt free,

but Lynn Evans-Goldner who is in charge of the Karnal bunt program

at APHIS isn’t holding her breath. It takes a minimum of five years for

an area to be declared free of Karnal bunt and to be released from quarantine.

Among the requirements to meet that standard, infected fields

must be deep plowed at least once a year for five years.

“Some people will say it is unlikely, and some people argue you can’t

ever eradicate Karnal bunt,” she said. “Whatever the outcome, we have

our program, and we are sticking to it.”





These rankings are based on the results of the Genotype

and Environment Study (G&E) quality testing conducted

by the USDA Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, the

Washington State Univeristy Wheat Quality Program,

the University of Idaho Wheat Quality Laboratory, and

the Oregon State University Cereal Quality Laboratory,




including relevant breeding nurseries.

End-use quality determinations were based on results

from grain, milling and product quality tests.




The quality scores presented here reflect a minimum

of three years’ data in the G&E study, using a reference

variety for each class. The scores are reviewed yearly as

new data becomes available, and are subject to change.

Varieties not listed have not been tested or have less

than three years of data. For complete results, please visit

the website:

For agronomic information, please consult: 1) the Washington State Crop

Improvement Association Certified Seed Buying Guide; 2) WSU Uniform

Cereal Variety Testing Program (; 3) North Idaho

Extension Cereals Program (;

4) Oregon Elite Yield Trials (


based on end-use quality

Provided courtesy of: The Washington Grain Commission

The Oregon Wheat Commission • The Idaho Wheat Commission

Washington Grain Commission

2702 West Sunset Blvd, Suite A

Spokane, WA 99224

(509) 456-2481



Oregon Wheat Commission

1200 NW Naito Pkwy, #370

Portland, OR 97209-2879

(503) 229-6665









These rankings are based on the results of the Genotype

and Environment Study (G&E) quality testing conducted

by the USDA Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, the

Washington State Univeristy Wheat Quality Program,

the University of Idaho Wheat Quality Laboratory, and

the Oregon State University Cereal Quality Laboratory,

including relevant breeding nurseries.

End-use quality determinations were based on results

from grain, milling and product quality tests.

The quality scores presented here reflect a minimum

of three years’ data in the G&E study, using a reference

variety for each class. The scores are reviewed yearly as

new data becomes available, and are subject to change.

Varieties not listed have not been tested or have less

than three years of data. For complete results, please visit

the website:

based on end-use quality

Provided courtesy of: The Washington Grain Commission

The Oregon Wheat Commission • The Idaho Wheat Commission


the WGC, OWC,

Idaho Wheat Commission

Brochure now available

The 2012 Washington, Oregon and North Idaho

Preferred Wheat Varieties brochure is now available to


Wheat varieties are listed by statistical quality rankings

by class according to their end-use quality, based

on results from grain milling and product quality tests

conducted at the Western Wheat Quality Lab in Pullman.

The quality scores reflect a minimum of three years’ data

in the Genotype and Environment (G&E) study using a

reference variety for each class.

Varieties not shown have not been tested, or they have

less than three years of data. Several varieties have been

821 West State St

Boise, ID 83702-5832

(208) 334-2353



USDA Western Wheat Quality Lab

Craig Morris, Lab Director

Doug Engle, Lab Manager

(509) 335-4062



The G and E Study is financially supported by the WGC, OWC,

and IWC.

For agronomic information, please consult: 1) the Washington State Crop

Improvement Association Certified Seed Buying Guide; 2) WSU Uniform

Cereal Variety Testing Program (; 3) North Idaho

Extension Cereals Program (;

4) Oregon Elite Yield Trials (


added to this year’s list, including two new club varieties

(Crescent and Chrystal); three soft white winters (Amber,

Mary and Badger); two hard red winters (Esperia and

Boundary); a hard red spring (Lassik), and a hard white

spring variety (BR7030).

For additional copies of the brochure, contact the

Washington Grain Commission at wga@wagrains.

com, or for complete study results, visit www.wsu.

edu/~wwql/php/index.php. The G&E study is financially

supported by the Washington Grain Commission,

Oregon Wheat Commission and Idaho Wheat









Craig Mo

Doug En

(509) 335

E-mail: mo

Website: w

The G and E Stud

and IWC.



Washington Grain Commission

2702 West Sunset Blvd, Suite A

Spokane, WA 99224

(509) 456-2481



Oregon Wheat Commission

1200 NW Naito Pkwy, #370

Portland, OR 97209-2879

(503) 229-6665



ho Wheat Commission

1 West State St

ise, ID 83702-5832

8) 334-2353



estern Wheat Quality Lab

rris, Lab Director

gle, Lab Manager


Varieties are listed by statistical

quality rankings by class. When making

a decision between varieties with

similar agronomic characteristics and

grain yield potential, choose the variety

with the higher quality ranking.

This will help to increase the overall

quality and desirability of Pacific

Northwest (PNW) wheat.

Most Desirable (MD)—These

varieties generally have high test

weights, appropriate protein content

(kernel properties), and excellent

milling and end-use properties.

Desirable (D)—The kernel, milling,

and end-use qualities of these

varieties range from good to very

good. The quality attributes of these

varieties are desirable in international


Acceptable (A)—The kernel, milling

and end-use qualities of these

varieties range from acceptable to

good. Individual varieties may possess

minor flaws. The quality attributes

of these varieties are acceptable

in international trade.

Least Desirable (LD)—One or

more critical flaws in quality are

present in these varieties. The intrinsic

quality of PNW wheat will be

improved if these varieties are not


y is financially supported by the WGC, OWC,


1. Diva ..........................MD

2. Petit ..........................MD

3. Zak ...........................MD

4. Louise ........................MD

5. Alturas ........................MD

6. Whit ..........................MD

7. Babe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .MD

8. Nick ............................D

9. Wakanz .........................D

10. Wawawai ......................D

11. Cataldo ........................D

12. Alpowa ........................D


1. Crescent ......................MD

2. Chukar. .......................MD

3. Cara ..........................MD

4. Chrystal. ........................D

5. Edwin. ..........................D

6. Bruehl ..........................D

7. Rely .............................D

8. Coda. ...........................D





1. Amber ........................MD

2. ORSS1757 .....................MD

3. Bitterroot .....................MD

4. Legacy. .......................MD

5. Brundage96. ..................MD

6. Bruneau ......................MD

7. BrundageCF. ..................MD

8. Lewjain .......................MD

9. Salute. ........................MD

10. Finch ..........................D

11. Masami ........................D

12. Concept .......................D

13. ORCF101R. .....................D

14. Mary. ..........................D

15. Legion .........................D

16. Rod. ...........................D

17. Cashup. ........................D

18. WB 523 ........................D

19. Skiles ..........................D

20. LambertCF. ....................D

21. Eltan ...........................D

22. Mohler ........................D

23. Simon .........................D

24. WB528 .........................D

25. Stephens ......................D

26. Lambert .......................D

27. Badger. ........................D

28. Madsen. .......................D

29. ORCF103. ......................D

30. ORCF102. ......................A

31. ORCF101 .......................A

32. Xerpha. ........................A

33. Goetze. ........................A

34. RJames ........................A

35. WB1020M ......................A

36. WB456. ........................A

37. Gene. ..........................A

38. AP700CL. ......................A

39. Tubbs06 .......................A




based on end-use quality

Provided courtesy of: The Washington Grain Commission

The Oregon Wheat Commission • The Idaho Wheat Commission


1. JD ............................MD

2. Eden. .........................MD


1. Eddy ..........................MD

2. Finley .........................MD

3. Juniper .......................MD

4. Whetstone ....................MD

5. Paladin. .......................MD

5. DW .............................D

7. Buchanan .......................D

8. Farnum .........................D

9. Peregrine .......................A

10. Rimrock. .......................A

11. Declo ..........................A

12. Esperia. ........................A

13. Norwest553 ....................A

14. Boundary ......................A

15. Bauermeister. ..................A

16. Residence. ....................LD

17. Symphony ....................LD

18. Estica .........................LD


1. Hollis .........................MD

2. TARA2002. ....................MD

3. Hank. .........................MD

4. Scarlet ..........................D

5. Winchester. .....................D

6. Jefferson. .......................D

7. Bullseye .........................D

8. Kelse. ...........................D

9. WB926 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .D

10. Jedd ...........................D

11. Buck Pronto ....................D

12. Lassik ..........................D

13. Express ........................A


1. Darwin. .......................MD

2. MDM ...........................A

3. NuDakota .......................A

4. Palomino .......................A


1. Macon ........................MD

2. Clear White ...................MD

3. Lochsa ..........................D

4. Blanca Grande 2 ..................D

5. Otis .............................D

6. BR7030 ........................LD



Hard white wheats are scored for export quality requirements such as bread quality and potential noodle quality.


Can exhibit late maturity alpha amylase.





Agreements confusing but necessary

overseas trade especially important to PNW farmers, landlords

By Scott A. Yates

International trade agreements with shorthand names

like Uruguay, Doha, WTO, PNTR and TPP, may appear

well removed from the daily grind of producing and

selling Eastern Washington’s wheat crop. But the wording

that diplomats include in dense trade documents that

spell out what countries can and can’t do on the international

stage have direct impacts on the livelihood of

farmers and landlords in a state that exports 90 percent

of its production.

In total, about 50 percent of the U.S. wheat crop is

destined for overseas markets, making America the

largest exporter on the world stage. It’s this distinction

that helped draw a large crowd to the Joint International

Trade Policy Committee of U.S. Wheat Associates and

the National Association of Wheat Growers when the

group met recently in Washington, D.C.

Eric Maier, president of the Washington Association of

Wheat Growers, serves on the joint committee. Although

trade is particularly important in the Northwest, he said

it is ultimately a tide that raises all boats, even those

states that depend more on the domestic market.

“Imagine what would happen to prices if we were shut

out of a few important markets. I think we’ve already

seen the fallout as a result of the Canadians implementing

a free trade agreement with Colombia before our

own agreement has been realized. Total U.S. wheat

exports are already down almost 30 percent this market

year,” he said. Meanwhile, Canada’s wheat exports to

Colombia have risen dramatically.

The Colombia Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. is

still not in force barring last minute legislation and

compliance decrees the South American country

must enact. It is referred to as a bilateral agreement.

The U.S. also recently negotiated similar

deals with Korea and Panama. These bilateral

agreements are helpful in moving the export

needle for U.S. farmers, but are not considered

a replacement for World Trade Organization

(WTO) agreements.

The Uruguay Round of the WTO, which was

signed in 1994 after seven and a half years of negotiation,

is named after the South American country

where trade ministers of 123 countries initially agreed

to launch the trade accord. The world is still operating

under its rules.

The Uruguay Round was supposed to be updated by

the Doha Round, which was the latest round of trade

negotiations among WTO membership. The Doha Round

was named after the city in Qatar where trade ministers

met to begin negotiations in 2001. But several speakers

at the International Trade Committee meeting, including

Jason Kearns, trade counsel to the House Ways and

Means Committee, said there isn’t a lot to show for 10

years of negotiating.

“A number of different countries, including China,

India and Brazil, just weren’t ready to accept a more

ambitious package,” he said. “People are ready to admit

this thing isn’t going anywhere, and a bad deal is worse

than no deal at all.”

Craig Thorn of DTB Associates, a company that provides

legal, strategic and tactical advice to farmers and

exporters in the global food and fiber market, didn’t say

the Doha Round was dead, but it was in a coma.

“Doha has become very painful for me. I hope, in the

end, they find a way to get back to the negotiation table.

Bilateral agreements are good, but you couldn’t negotiate

enough of them to replace a multilateral trade agreement.

And bilateral agreements can be a slippery slope

that makes it more

difficult to




business internationally,” he said,

explaining that rules of origin requirements

in bilateral agreements aim to

keep the negotiated benefits between the

two countries. This obligation makes it

difficult for companies using global supply


More interesting to wheat growers in

a farm bill year was Thorn’s observation

that when it comes to subsidies, the

world has been turned upside down.

As the U.S. has curbed its trade distorting

agricultural subsidies to near zero,

other countries have seen a dramatic

rise in trade distorting support to farmers.

Thorn said Brazil’s support price

for wheat has increased 81 percent

since 2004/05, and the country has also

increased its subsidized credit. India’s

floor price for wheat has increased

72 percent, which doesn’t include the

$30 billion worth of input subsidies it

provides. Turkey’s floor price for wheat

has increased 260 percent, and a commodity

specific direct payment system

has risen 10 fold. Thorn said countries

have hidden the phenomenon in various

ways, but he is confident the U.S.

isn’t sweeping the knowledge under the

rug. The information on the growing

subsidies is being disseminated to the

Administration, Congress and the

international community.

Craig Thorn of DTB Associates

A trade deal which has recently been in the

news is the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP.

The negotiation currently involves the U.S.,

Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia,

Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam. It is on the fast

track with an ambitious goal of completion before

the end of 2012. Combined, the group of nations

represents America’s fourth largest export market.

Since TPP negotiations were initiated, Mexico,

Canada and Japan have indicated they may want to

join. Earlier this year, more than 60 U.S. agricultural

organizations expressed support for Japan joining the

talks. However, various interests, particularly the U.S.

auto industry, are less than thrilled with making the

addition because of that nation’s nontariff barriers. And

there are concerns that adding other countries could

slow the negotiating progress for the original TPP


Jason Kearns, trade counsel to the House

Ways and Means Committee

Another trade deal the experts are

looking at is Russia’s entry into the

WTO. In what is the longest negotiation

ever with a potential new member, talks

have been going on over Russia’s entry

for 18 years. The House’s Kearns said the

wrinkle with allowing Russia into the

WTO is that the U.S. doesn’t get all of the

WTO benefits that might accrue without

Congress approving what’s called

Permanent Normal Trading Relations, or

PNTR, for the country.

The U.S. does little trade with Russia,

but by including it in the WTO, at least

there will be a mechanism to resolve

trade disputes, Kearns said. Of course,

membership doesn’t ensure compliance

as the world has learned with China’s

entry in the WTO. Nevertheless, Russia’s

commitment to a maximum level of

trade distorting domestic support on

wheat is one of the benefits to U.S. wheat

producers from Russia’s accession.

Last but not least, discussion at the

international trade committee meeting

centered around President Obama’s

initiative to reorganize the U.S. Trade

and Development Agency, the U.S.

Trade Representative, the Export-Import

Bank, the Overseas Private Investment

Corporation, the Small Business

Administration and the Department

of Commerce’s core business and trade functions into a

new, as yet unnamed, department.

At the meeting, committee members went on record

urging the Administration to leave the U.S. Trade

Representative (USTR) as an independent office within

the Executive Office of the President.

“The strong relationship between the United States

Department of Agriculture and USTR has a proven success

record in addressing U.S. agriculture’s unique trade

challenges and export opportunities,” the group said.

Shannon Schlecht, director of policy at U.S. Wheat

Associates who serves as staff to the Joint International

Trade Committee, said when it comes to U.S. trade,

agricultural exports have been the bright star for several

years. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live

outside of the U.S. borders, making market access and

beneficial trade policies for long-term trade a vital factor

to the bottom line of our producers,” he said.






is concerned



By Dana Herron

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but since

I became a member of the Washington Grain Commission

(WGC) six years ago, this dog has learned plenty. The principal

area of my education has had to do with the importance

of quality in our varieties.

Nowhere is the consequence of that topic brought home

more than at the Pacific Northwest Wheat Quality Council,

which this year met for its 17th annual meeting in San

Diego. Organized in 1995, the council provides a forum for

evaluating the relative milling and baking characteristics of

soon-to-be-released varieties.

Until I attended my first meeting several years ago, I had

no idea of the complexity and the diversity of the milling

and baking industry. Depending on the product being

made, one size certainly does not fit all. The people making

pancakes from soft white are interested in flour with

very different functional characteristics than the companies

making cookies or noodles or sponge cakes. And red wheat

lines have a completely different set of standards from


There have been occasions in years past when products

made from varieties of wheat developed for the Northwest

were described in unflattering terms. Hockey puck was one

description. This year, there was no such problem.

A proposed release from Mike Pumphrey’s spring

program at Washington State University, WA8124, a semidwarf

soft white spring (SWS) wheat got high marks. An

Alpowa by ID0599 cross, it is agronomically sound with

improved race-specific, all-stage resistance to stripe rust as

well as high temperature adult plant resistance. These dual

pathways of protection should save growers who plant it

thousands of dollars by not having to spray fungicides in

severe stripe rust years.

But its best feature is its quality.

Measurements discussed at the Pacific Northwest Wheat Quality Council

meeting are made using a number of specialized devices. (From top) The

mixograph measures dough strength by means of resistance of pins working

the dough mass. The thermogravimetric analyzer measures wheat ash and

moisture. The alveograph measures dough strength by means of the air pressure

resistance of the bubbles formed. The WWQL’s Miag Mill is used to grind all the

samples submitted to cooperators who evaluate flour performance of lines

presented at the Wheat Quality Council meeting.




Quality Targets Steering Committee

Adopted Jan. 25, 2005, Portland, Ore.

Revised Jan. 19, 2012, San Diego, Calif.

Grain Quality Parameter

Test Weight (lb/bu) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >60

Kernel Hardness (SKCS 4100) ....................................2.5

Kernel Weight (mg) (SKCS 4100) .................................>35

Falling Number (seconds) (in absence of sprout) ................. ≥ 300

Protein (%, 12% mb)...........................................10.5

Ash (%, 12% mb) ............................................ ≤1.30

Flour Quality Parameter

Protein (%, 14% mb) 1 ........................................ 46.75

Milling Score 2 .............................................. >83.47

Wet Gluten (%, 14% mb) .......................................




Meanwhile, the line is a substantial improvement over

the quality of Farnum and performed up to expectations

of most red spring wheat entries. Carter’s other HRW

submission, WA8119, also showed significant improvement

over the end-use quality of Bauermeister, a widely

used HRW in lower rainfall areas of the state.

Ensuring that varieties developed by private companies

live up to Northwest quality targets has been an

important issue of discussion among meetings of the

WGC, so it was a welcome sight to see several private

companies participating in the wheat quality council for

the first time. It’s not just about having their lines evaluated.

The meeting also provides an opportunity for their

staff to witness firsthand what the quality expectations

of the domestic food industry are, and how their germplasm

fits into various ingredient streams of product


Several of the newest entries performed well in certain

tests, less well in others. For example, the Limagrain

Cereal Seeds soft white variety Artdeco milled very well

and would be suitable for cracker production and whole

grain products. It was, however, rated the lowest for

cookie spread and unsuitable for sponge cake production.

Industry targets were a hot topic of discussion at

the meeting. Following years of testing, cereal chemists

have developed a database of information on the quality

of various cultivars. The next step was to formalize the

quality parameters for each market class.

Not unlike the Preferred Variety list assembled by the

WGC, targets were developed as ranges with minimum

values. Soft white wheat has targets for grain quality,

flour quality, sugar snap cookie diameter and sponge

cake volume. Hard red spring wheat has similar targets

for grain quality, flour quality and baking quality. Club

wheat targets were also established.

These target values are intended to be used as tools

to help breeders meet the market needs for end-use

quality. They reflect the surveyed needs of our export

markets and also meet the needs of our domestic markets.

Participants agreed that target values should be

compared to actual quality data on experimental lines

after several years of testing at multiple locations to determine

if industry standards are being met before being


While yield is not one of the targets among the wheat

quality council’s standards, any breeder who brings

his advance line for evaluation knows it has to produce

adequate bushels per acre or farmers will not adopt it. As

a seedsman, I also understand that quality without yield

is a dog that won’t hunt, but thanks to organizations like

the Pacific Northwest Wheat Quality Council, I believe

we are well on our way to having both.

Just as hard red wheat used in baking pan breads is measured for loaf

volume, soft white wheat lines are measured for the type of sponge

cake they create as part of Pacific Northwest Wheat Quality Council



Quality Targets Steering Committee

Adopted Jan. 25, 2005, Portland, Ore.

Revised Jan. 19, 2012, San Diego, Calif.

Grain Quality Parameter

Test Weight (lb/bu) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >58

Kernel Hardness (SKCS 4100) ................................... ≤ 35

Kernel Diameter (mm) (SKCS 4100)............................. >2.36

Kernel Weight (mg) (SKCS 4100) .................................>35

Falling Number (seconds) (in absence of sprout) ................. ≥ 300

Protein (%, 12% mb)...........................................84.62

Wet Gluten (%, 14% mb) .......................................


The race against

“VACCINATING” wheat varieties

SHOWS promise as researchers

SEARCH for new resistance tools

By Scot Hulbert,

WSU professor and scientist, R. James

Cook Endowed Chair in Cropping

Systems Pathology

When it comes to rust,

Washington State University and

Agricultural Research Service

scientists based in Pullman are

constantly playing catch-up.

That’s because, although scientists

are typically able to find new

genes that provide resistance to different

races of stripe rust that blow

through the region, it may take 10

years before the resistance gene is

commercially available in a variety.

During that interval, however,

what’s called resistance gene breakdown

can occur. In other words,

new races of rust can blow in that

overcome the resistance originally


Scientists are getting better at

finding resistance genes with a

longer duration, but there are problems here as well. For example, genes controlling

the high-temperature, adult-plant (HTAP) resistance in many of our

varieties are more durable, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate by warming

up to more than 50 degrees F at nights and 75 degrees during the day which

triggers HTAP resistance activity, the protection doesn’t provide a desirable

level of control.

There may be another approach, however, which does for rusts something

similar to what immunizations do for human beings. Just as medical researchers

identify a flu strain to create a vaccine that contains a small amount of its

coat proteins to convey immunization, plant scientists confirmed some time

ago that moving a pathogen gene from a virus into a plant can convey resistance

to several viral diseases.

Recent breakthroughs have indicated the approach used to engineer

resistance in viruses appears to work with rusts well. In cooperation with

scientists at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, ARS scientist and rust

expert Xianming Chen and myself, have nearly completed deriving the DNA

sequence of the stripe rust fungus. Similar projects are ongoing with the stem

rust and leaf rust pathogens which are higher priorities in other parts of the

wheat-growing world.






(Left) When it comes to rust types, stripe rust, which tends to develop in cooler locations, is farmers’ No. 1 nemesis in the Northwest. (Middle) Although

stem rust is not a particular problem in Eastern Washington, it can occur. Worldwide, stem rust is under the greatest scrutiny of all rusts because of Ug99, a

race which few wheat varieties have resistance against. (Right) Leaf rust is the most common and important rust in the central plains of the U.S.

The computational power and expertise at the Broad

Institute, coupled with the biological expertise of rust

researchers, is revealing structures of rust genes in

each of the wheat rust species, as well as comparisons

between them and other organisms. Exactly how the

availability of these gene structures

can help us develop disease

resistant plants is currently the

subject of many brain-storming

sessions among plant pathologists

and breeders, but a recent breakthrough

in Pullman indicates an

immunization-type approach may

be the answer.

This is not a new finding but the

extension of research that is an

offshoot of the only type of disease

resistance currently available in

commercialized transgenic (GM)

plant varieties. While not as wellknown

or widely used as genetically

engineered herbicide resistance,

the approach has saved production of crops in various

locations, including papaya production in Hawaii where

papaya ring spot virus was once out of control. For the

record, Japan now allows the genetically engineered papayas

into its market to be consumed in the unprocessed


Experiments in Pullman have indicated the same approach

can work for rust fungi. The approach is based

Although growers don’t spray for stripe rust until spring,

the scope of the problem begins to be known much

earlier. Xianming Chen, plant pathologist with the

Agricultural Research Service, bases his rust forecasts

on measurements of overwintering stripe rust such as

shown here.

on observations that expressing certain pathogen genes

in the plant prevents them from being expressed in the

pathogen. Preventing expression of an essential gene

is detrimental to the pathogen’s ability to carry out its

nefarious work.

Although this phenomenon has

been known to work for viruses

which live and replicate within

plant cells, it was only recently

demonstrated that it could work for

more complex organisms like rust

fungi. What do rusts and viruses

have in common They both require

living, healthy plant cells for

nourishment and replication.

One striking difference between

viruses and more complex pathogens

like rust fungi, however, are

the numbers of genes involved. A

typical plant virus has less than a

dozen genes, all of which are essential,

while a rust fungus has many

thousands of genes, most of which are expendable. This

presents a challenge for finding genes that will debilitate

the fungus, since they can only be assayed by expression

in rust-infected plants, and each transgenic plant takes

many months to produce.

Fortunately, recent advances have also been made in

techniques for temporarily expressing genes in one or

two leaves of wheat plants which increases the number



of genes that can be examined every

month. Using these temporary transgenic

approaches, Pullman scientists have

already found several rust genes that

appear to deter rust development when

expressed in plants.

Another consideration for engineering

disease resistance is the number of rust

diseases that can potentially be controlled

by a single gene. Most conventional resistance

genes are only effective against one

of the three wheat rusts, but along with

Chen, I’m hopeful we can express a gene

within plants that is essential to all three:

stripe, stem and leaf.

This single-gene immunization method

is especially important in transgenic

approaches. Commercialization of new

transgenes (the genes expressed in GM

crops) now costs tens of millions of dollars,

and no transgenes have yet been

commercialized in wheat. Potential

control of three serious wheat diseases

with a single transgene would be a worth

a significant investment. In addition,

controlling rust problems linked to food

shortages in developing countries, like

stem rust in Eastern Africa, may do wonders

for promoting public acceptance of

the technology.

Although we are excited about the

potential this immunization approach

represents, we are a long way from

proving it conclusively. It appears to be

causing resistance in temporary transformation

experiments, but it has not yet

been demonstrated in stable transgenic

lines. Experiments to make these lines

and additional assays to find genes that

can suppress all three wheat rust fungi

are currently underway.

We are optimistic about the approach,

but its true potential for controlling cereal

rusts will take at least two more years to

determine. If it works as we think it will,

however, we will have a formidable new

weapon in the perpetual battle to keep up

with evolving rust races.

Planting a stripe rust-resistant variety isn’t foolproof, and in heavy stripe rust

years, even resistant varieties may need to be sprayed. But as shown here, resistant

varieties (on the left) perform much better than those without resistance.

Scot Hulbert, professor and scientist, R. James Cook Endowed Chair in Cropping

Systems Pathology at Washington State University

Xianming Chen, plant pathologist with the Agricultural Research Service





UKRAINE, which came off a record grain harvest in 2011,

appears it will struggle to deliver little more than half that

amount in 2012. The worst drought in 50 years at planting

and winter temperatures as cold as 13 degrees below zero

Fahrenheit have combined to winter kill wheat and barley.

Of the 208 million acres for the 2012 winter grain harvest,

166 million acres were winter wheat. There are reports the

country may lose 40 percent of its sown area. From a record

23 million metric tons of wheat production in 2011, the

harvest is seen declining to 13.7 mmt or less in 2012. Ukraine

itself, which has a population of 46 million, consumes about

12 million tons of wheat domestically. All is not lost, however,

since the former Soviet State will replant the winter killed

acreage with spring crops, mostly barley and corn.

A barge on the Danube River. Three new grain elevators along the

Danube in Slovakia were recently purchased by Archer Daniels Midland.

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has purchased three grain elevators

in SLOVAKIA, one of the countries created in the

breakup of Yugoslavia. “The acquisition of these elevators

extends ADM’s origination network into Slovakia and along

the Danube River, advancing our strategy to grow our reach

in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Tido Boehle, ADM’s

general manager of Origination and Terminals in Europe.

The three new facilities have a combined storage capacity of

149,000 metric tons as well as train loading capabilities.

International sanctions aimed at curbing IRAN’s nuclear

program have officials there scrambling to come up with

wheat to feed the nation of 74 million. Although wheat is

not specifically a prohibited commodity, finding financial institutions

willing to finance trade deals are becoming scarce

because of sanction-related payment problems. Up to five

grain-carrying ships have already been diverted to other

destinations because of the payment problem, and there

are reports the country is looking at bartering gold and oil

for food. India, specifically, is looking at stepping up exports

of wheat and rice to settle its outstanding oil bills with Iran.

Cargill recently said it plans to continue grain shipments to

the country despite signs the Islamic Republic is struggling

to process payments. Paul Conway, vice chairman of Cargill,

said the company rarely pulls out of a country, citing Syria,

which is currently in a state of near civil war, as a place it

planned to stay for the long term

A subsidy program in China to help 4.4 million Chinese

farmers buy agricultural machinery has spent $2.8 billion.

The machinery includes medium-size tractors, rice

transplanters and corn harvesters. As a result, the country’s

level of mechanization for plowing, seeding and harvest is

expected to exceed 54 percent. The subsidy policy for agricultural

machinery is said to have improved the efficiency

of grain sowing and moved up harvest, resulting in fewer


The Philippines imported more than 1 mmt of feed

wheat in 2011, all of it from Australia, where rains at harvest

deteriorated the quality of the crop. Feed wheat is used as

an alternative ingredient for making animal feeds, and the

industry usually increases its imports when there is a shortage

of yellow corn and prices are high.

The Zimbabwe finance minister has proposed introducing

a 5 percent custom duty on wheat flour to enhance the

viability of the milling industry and encourage local wheat

production. Flour imports are mainly coming from Turkey

and Mozambique. Since 2008, Zimbabwe’s milling industry

has seen closures of more than 240 millers, mainly small to

medium scale. In 2007, the country’s milling industry had the

highest number of millers per capita in Africa.

For the first time in the history of the Baltic Exchange,

published vessel charters were listed with rates at less than

zero recently. This allowed the Switzerland-based

Glencore International to pay nothing to hire a dry-bulk ship,

while getting the vessel’s operator to kick in $2,000 a day in

fuel costs. The vessel is expected to haul a cargo of grains

to Europe, putting the carrier in a better position for its next


A policy aimed at keeping domestic bread prices down in

Argentina meant farmers there were forced to sell

wheat for $165 per metric ton when the world price was

$208 per metric ton. The industry claims the lack of an open

market kills the profit in growing wheat, thus restricting a

valuable rotation for planting soybeans, the country biggest

export earner. Recently, the government scrapped quotas

and said the total exportable wheat surplus would be

cleared for export all at once. Argentina needs about 7 mmt


to serve its domestic population. The agriculture ministry

estimated its 2011/12 crop at 13 mmt to 14 mmt.

A wheat field in Altai, near the Siberian city of Omsk.

Vladimir Putin’s comment that RUSSIA would curb grain

exports when they exceeded 25 million metric tons gave

hope to U.S. wheat farmers still holding grain that there

would be a bump in prices sometime after March. Now, the

Russian government says it won’t stop exports as it considers

the country’s stockpile large enough to meet export

demand. The government is expected to export 27 mmt

which would break the record set in 2008 when 23.6 mmt

were sold. Meanwhile, Russia is again making noises about

gaining a foothold in Asia for Siberian wheat. Among other

impediments to the trade are the long distances to Eastern

ports and poor port infrastructure. State-owned United

Grain Company plans a $160 million terminal on the Pacific

Coast and loading hubs in Altai, near the Siberian city of

Omsk, which is known as Siberia’s breadbasket. Nowadays,

Siberian farmers are forced to accept a far lower price for

their grain compared to those who are able to utilize ports

closer to the Black Sea.

The price of wheat imported by the government of JAPAN

for sale to flour millers may drop 10 percent from an average

of $748 per metric ton, helping millers save almost $374

million in costs a year. The reduction will put food makers,

including Yamazaki Baking Company, the largest bread

maker in the country, under pressure to lower its prices after

just boosting them 6 percent in July 2011. Cost of importing

wheat in the five months ending in January declined 15

percent from the previous pricing period.

Egypt recently purchased 55,000 tons of wheat from the

U.S. at a price of $262 FOB basis compared to Russia’s price

of $292.75. It was the first U.S. order from Egypt in seven

months. Russia, which has been Egypt’s go-to exporter,

has seen grain stocks in the southern part of the country

diminishing, forcing traders to buy from regions further

from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, which increases

transportation costs. The collapse in shipping rates is said to

be partially responsible for the U.S. win.

An award-winning researcher from

Turkey who leads an international

zinc fertilizer project said the

most valuable aid to some developing

countries is zinc-fortified

wheat. Ismail Cakmak of Sabanci

University in Istanbul, said cereal

grains have inherently low levels

of zinc, compounded by the fact

they are often grown in soils with

low zinc levels. As part of the 2008

Copenhagen Consensus, eight

economists and five Nobel winners ranked zinc and Vitamin

A deficiency as No. 1 and 2 priorities out of 30 actions addressing

10 global challenges. Zinc levels can be boosted by

two methods: breeding for increased zinc concentrations in

grain or through fertilizer applications. A bonus to foliar applications

is that increased zinc has been shown to increase

wheat yields by up to 5 percent in low zinc soils.

Is the U.S. playing politics with a humanitarian issue That’s

the question some are asking over the U.S. offer to supply

food aid to NORTH KOREA in exchange for the country’s

halting its uranium enrichment program. According

to the World Food Program, North Korea is dealing with

its worst food shortage in a decade, the consequence of

poor economic management, a series of harsh winters and

flooding. More than six million out of a population of 24

million are in dire need. But North Korea has a military-first

policy which elevates soldiers above the rest of the population

which leads to concerns the food aid will be diverted

to its armed forces. Soft white wheat grown in Eastern

Washington is frequently one of the first food aid rations to

go to North Korea when aid is authorized.

The IRAQI Grain Board recently issued an international

tender for 50,000 tons of wheat from any origin—except the

United States. “With the United States ending its presence

in Iraq, it is hard to judge whether there is a political factor

here,” a European grain trade said. U.S. authorities worked to

reverse the decision, which appeared to succeed. In a subsequent

tender wheat from all origins—except Romania—was







The Hutterian Brethren

Story and photos by Heidi Scott

the Looking Glass

Concern for joblessness, homelessness and hunger

are on the rise. For the last 400 years, a small segment

of the population has entirely avoided these

problems. They are the Hutterites.

I visited the Spokane Hutterian Brethren recently and

came to understand why. Fascination with the Hutterites

is widespread, including research of their agriculture,

genetics, anthropology and religion. Some basic precepts

include a rejection of infant baptism, a belief in the separation

of church and state, pacifism and free will. A communal

way of life defines them.

Because of religious differences, Hutterites were persecuted

and even slaughtered. In Europe during the

Middle Ages, numbers were reduced from an estimated

75,000 members to just 17 families. This small group of

survivors immigrated to Bon Homme, S. D., which grew

to a flourishing colony of 800. Additional colonies were

soon established in America and Canada. Paul S. Gross

was instrumental in establishing the Spokane Hutterian

Brethren in 1960. This thriving, collective community still

maintains the traditional philosophy and agrarian lifestyle

set up by their late leader.

On my visit, I met Paul’s daughter-in-law, Rachael Gross,

who graciously invited me to tour her home and the community.

Her husband, Bill Gross, is the general manager of

the farm and shared his thoughts on how they compare to

other churches.

“As Hutterians, our doctrines are not much different,

probably on the conservative side of most evangelical

churches. As for cultural values, we try to hang on to them

because they have proven to be very valuable,” Bill said.

Self-surrender is the goal of adult life, leading to some

surprising statistics. Crime within the communities is

rare. In 400 years of existence, there has never been a

recorded homicide within their communities. Lawsuits

and divorce are almost entirely unheard of. Individuals

In between meals and school hours, Hutterite children enjoy their community playground which is just a few steps from their homes.


“If we wouldn’t keep our traditions, language and education,

we would lose our culture. You lose so much in your heritage

if you give up your language.”

— Bill Gross, on why Hutterite children are taught

a Tyrolean dialect of German, as well as modern German and English



are never sent away from the community

because of mental or physical illness.

Coincidentally, Dr. Joseph Eaton, who conducted

an extensive study of the Hutterian

Community, found surprisingly few cases

of mental illness.

Farm manager Paul Gross, nephew of

founder Paul S. Gross, has a philosophy

about this. He remembers a quote he read

as a youngster. “Emotions are not subject

to reason, but they are always subject to

action.” It didn’t make any sense to him

as a child, but after years of studying it, he

realized what it meant.

“Good feelings come from good actions,”

he explained. This attitude has carried the

Hutterite people through generations of

turmoil, and they are not likely to let go of

it any time soon.

On my tour, I noticed Hutterite homes

are lovely but sparse. There are no kitchens,

but rather a counter with sink, hotplate

and coffee maker. Rachael explained

that all the wood furniture, including beds

and cabinetry, are homemade. Everything

here is expertly crafted and highly


The colony’s setup follows the same

functionality. Family homes are arranged

in a U-shape around the central community

building. I was eager to see what this

unassuming place had to offer. Even on

a chilly and windy day, there were men,

women and children around. It seems

that everyone was outside, busy with their

activities. Children were kicking a very tattered

soccer ball around the playground,

boys in suspenders and girls in dark,

homemade dresses and bonnets. Bearded

men worked on equipment. One woman

about my age pushed a cart full of laundry

baskets from the main building.

Hutterite women wear dark, anklelength

skirts with matching vests and

black, polka-dotted head scarves. Bill and

Rachael’s daughter, Rosie, a talented young

artist, painted beautiful flowers and designs

on the backs of their scarves.

“We are told in the Bible to cover our

hair when we pray (1 Corinthians 11:5). We

Paul Gross enjoys a few moments with his granddaughter Suzanna.

The community freezer contains food for the colony, as well as goods that are sold to the


The majority of meal preparation takes place along this wall, which is kept spotless.


are also told to pray always. So we

keep our hair covered all the time.

It’s not so unusual with some other

religions in the world,” she said.

Men blend a bit more with modern

society. It is not unusual to see

younger men in cowboy hats and

Carhartt jackets. Older men often

wear homemade black coats and

suspenders. Married men have facial

hair while the single men remain

clean shaven.

The utilitarian community building

contained a large cooking area,

separate baking room and massive

food storage rooms including both a

walk-in fridge and freezer. Rachael

took me into the bakery, rich with

the unmistakable scent of fresh

bread. It was baking day, so the table

and shelves were lined with countless

loaves set out to cool. The impressive

collection of equipment in

the kitchen was as top-of-the-line as

the tractors and harvesters outside.

Everything was neat and tidy, even

in the midst of meal preparation for

more than 100 people. There are two

dining areas, one for the children

who eat first and the other for adults.

In the larger room, men and women

sit separately. I noticed the tables had

places set for each person though it

was several hours before dinner.

Three times a day, the bell outside

rang, fetching school children for

meals and warning adults to finish

their activities. Fifteen minutes later,

it rang again, calling adults from

all around the community. They

washed up and enjoyed a quick meal

with each other before returning to

their duties. Postpartum mothers,

small children and the elderly were

brought meals in their own homes.

Every meal was opened and closed

with a German prayer recited in


We visited the impressive laundry

room where homemade soap is kept

warm and bubbly in a huge cauldron,

ready for the next load. Once

a year, women render and process

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To keep it fresh, home-sewn clothing is often hung outside to dry. Blues

and purples are customary color choices for Hutterite women, while men

are typically seen in black and brown.

Visitors Wynne Urien and Diane Fontana admire the huge vat of

homemade soap in the warming kettle.

lard into soap which takes several days. This is a great

deal of work, but Rachel explains that this soap washes

cleaner and keeps clothes whiter than anything they’ve

found at the store.

On the lower level was the butchery, canning kitchen,

food drying area and several storage rooms. Colorful

bottles of home preserves lined virtually every shelf. All

aspects of the colony spoke of hard work and group cooperation,

integral parts of the Hutterite way of life.

Bill later took us out to see the farming operation. From

washing machines to harvesters, Hutterites expect all

machines to work as hard and perform as consistently as

their people do. One of the most impressive features on

the property were four potato storage facilities. State-ofthe-art

monitoring equipment is paired with a massive

aerplanum, a humidity control system that keeps conditions

perfect. The cement buildings measure 70 by 200 feet

and contain seed potatoes stacked more than 20 feet high.

Seed potatoes sat in neat, curving rows, as though set by

hand. Even there in the dark and dust, everything was


Semitrucks were lined up outside, each with a different

logo on the door. “The boys take pride in their trucks,”

said Rachael. “Some a little more than others,” she added

with a laugh as we watched one man pressure washing

his pristine rig. In the same shop, their son, James, was

busy welding. I noticed no one sitting idle.

But not everyone was as impressed as I was. John

A. Hostetler, premier scholar on the Hutterites, wrote,

“Tensions will undoubtedly continue between Hutterite

colonies and those who compete (with them).”

Bill responded, “There are times when some people

might give remarks. They just don’t understand us, but

the Hutterites are very forgiving.” He could not think of

a specific time when he, personally, felt judged or poorly

treated by outsiders. When asked, he quoted a scripture.

“We are just trying to live a good Christian life. Jesus said,

‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ We just try to

follow that.”

This natural recitation of scripture springs from a lifetime

immersion in Bible studies. The school/church building

where this training takes place was a simple room. A

small group of desks and a poster of the German alphabet

were the only visible evidence of classroom use. Yet literacy

rates have always been 100 percent for all able-minded

Hutterites. Long benches indicated church and meeting

hall use. Virtually no decisions are left to a single member


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The latest potato harvesting equipment makes relatively fast work of sorting and storing

the annual crop.

Even in freezing temperatures, this Hutterite man will not rest until his rig is clean.

of the community. Adults consult together regularly about community

needs and activities. From crop rotation to equipment purchases, all

members have a chance to share opinions.

Children begin attending kindergarten at age three and are given

small chores to do. School attendance begins at age six. In addition

to typical subjects, they learn obedience to authority and develop an

understanding of scripture. Young people work alongside adults in gardens,

shops and farms. At 15, the youth begin eating in the main dining

hall. This marks the beginning of a two-year apprenticeship, where

chores become more significant and increasingly singular. Boys learn

carpentry, welding, mechanics, farming, livestock care and other skills.

At 19, young men are placed vocationally.

Paul said, “They have the freedom to decide

where they excel and enjoy being. If a

boy wanted to be a baker, he could.” When

asked how many boys do this, he smiled.

“None that I’ve known of.”

Girls begin rotations at the same age, but

in different spheres. Cooking is primarily

the women’s domain. Few will dispute

the expertise of a Hutterite woman in the

kitchen. At 17, women begin weekly rotations

cooking, baking and cleaning. They

do this until age 50 and then help in the

kindergarten. At 60, they can retire.

Hutterites in all colonies continue to

speak a Tyrolean dialect of German as

their first language, known commonly as

Hutterish. Children learn modern German

and English in school, so all Hutterites are

trilingual. “If we wouldn’t keep our traditions,

language and education, we would

lose our culture,” Bill explained. In an

effort to conform, some communities gave

up speaking German. This proved disastrous.

“You lose so much in your heritage if

you give up your language.”

The Hutterite children won my heart.

They were bright, happy and excited to see

me. They were open and guileless, just like

their parents. Bill said, “All our work is for

the children in the coming generation.”

This is why Hutterites divide communities

at about 120 people. Rachael explained,

“Once there are too many people, it’s

harder to find enough work for everyone.

You have to keep them busy.” This is likely

why they have such remarkable retention

rates. Still, some young people fantasize

about the glamour of life outside. A young

girl smiled for a picture. When she was

told that it might be published in this

magazine, she smiled broadly. “I could be

famous!” Yes, indeed.

I left with a respect for these people and

a desire to understand them better. As I

turned off their gravel road, there was my

invitation. On the stop sign under “Look

Again,” a smaller board reads simply,

“Come Again.” I’m sure I will.


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“We’ve been incredibly frustrated with the failure

of the Legislature to close tax exemptions. Clearly

going after them individually hasn’t been a successful

strategy at all.”

Adam Glickman, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union

(SEIU) regarding closing various tax exemptions in Washington state including

agricultural exemptions. (Seattle Times)

“There’s a general consensus

that our tax system is not fair

to everybody, and those with a

lot more money ought to pay a

bigger share.”

Speaker, Washington State House of

Representatives 43rd District Democrat

Frank Chopp regarding the state’s economic

situation and a proposed state capital gains tax.

(Northwest Public Radio)

“I believe this farm bill can be transformational. Our

country must make big decisions about the nature

of government and how it will spend our money, and

agriculture and food policy will be no exception.”

Jon Scholl, president of American Farmland Trust (Western Farm Press)

“Given the central role that

food plays in human welfare

and national stability, it is

shocking—not to mention

short-sighted and potentially

dangerous—how little money

is spent on agricultural


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“Finally, farmers need

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out of business, so this

budget maintains a strong

safety net with disaster

assistance, income

support and farm loans.

We preserve efforts to

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ranchers to access many

of our programs online

at their convenience. The

budget’s full funding for

the expected requirements

for the Department’s three

major nutrition assistance

programs will also help

support the bottom line for

America’s producers.”

USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

on the President’s proposed FY 2013



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Caldwell, ID Larry at Superior Steel (800) 743-9550

Lewiston, ID Ken at Primeland Cooperatives (208) 743-8551

Legrande, OR Tim at Wallender Farm Service (541) 910-7800

Ontario, OR Leon at Leon James Construction Company Inc. (541) 889-6483

Cheney, WA Dale at AG Enterprise Supply Inc. (800) 782-7786

Colfax, WA Joe at The McGregor Company (800) 727-9160

Kalama, WA John at ABM Equipment (503) 248-0711

Moses Lake, WA Phil or Ryan at Farm Chem (509) 764-9396

Spokane, WA Tom at Keigley & Co. (800) 333-4889

Spokane, WA Michael Dunlap & Associates (509) 844-4695

Spokane Valley, WA Tom at Bratney Companies (800) 853-5926

The value of seed and fertilizer continues to grow – Protect your investment with

Meridian powder coated, smooth-wall bins. Check out to

see the newest evolution of storage to fit all your on-farm needs.


Four generations of

Riddles! (From left) Dixie,

Greg, Ben and Daisy Riddle

at the 2012 Spokane Ag

Expo. The Riddle farm

is located on the Peone

Prairie in Mead, Wash.

Kevin Gaffney photo

A & M Farms harvest 2011 near Davenport.

George Arland photo

Bailey Kuch and Colby Greenwalt keep harvest rolling

southeast of Lind. Ryan Kuch photo

Rosman 2011 harvest near Creston.

Ryan Rowe photo


wheat life...

Send us photos of your wheat life!

Email them to Kara at

The town of LaCrosse in the background

during 2011 harvest for Flying F Farms.

Wendy Fleming photo

Future Farmer of America Both of 4-yearold

Kaitlynne Guhlke’s parents were active

in FFA, and they hope their daughter will be

part of this amazing program too!

Photo by Farren Guhlke

Four-year-old Gracin Siegel and his 1-year-old brother Landon,

wearing “John Deere” vests sewn by their great- grandma Jean

Driscoll, stand in their grandparent’s (Mark and Kathi Cronrath)

barley field near Davenport.

Photo by Kathi Cronrath

Elijah Beck, son of Cory and Alison (Blank) Beck, on the Silzel-Blank Farm near Oakesdale.

Photo by Cali Walters

Varieties Available For Spring 2012















29768 SR 231 North Reardan, WA


Fred J. Fleming 509-979-1162

Call us today for details

on varieties and prices.

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after season... after season............

P.O. Box 603

Pullman, WA 99163

(509) 334-2591

















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skips and overlaps

• Unrivaled monitoring powered by AgTron

• Slingshot®-ready for wireless RTK with sub-inch accuracy,

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Advertiser Index

Ag Enterprise Supply Inc. 27

Ag West Distributing Inc. 75

AgriPro Seed 17



AgVentures NW LLC 39

BASF-Headline 8, 9

Byrnes Oil Co. 71

Central Life Sciences-Diacon 5

Central Washington Grain Growers Inc. 71

Class 8 Trucks 35

Coleman Oil 25

Cooperative Ag Producers Inc. 19

Connell Grain Growers Inc. 26

Connell Grange Supply Inc. 75

Connell Oil Co. 35

Country Financial 46

CrustBuster Speed King Inc. 21

Custom Seed Conditioning 36

Diesel & Machine 19

Edward Jones 21

Evergreen Implement 15

Farm & Home Supply 75

Helena Chemical-CoRoN 15

Jess Ford 25

Jones Truck & Implement 39, 73

Klesor Equipment 19

Kralman Steel Structures 27

Landmark Native Seed 19

Lange Supply Inc. 77

Les Schwab Tire Centers 23

McKay Seed Co. Inc. 73

Meridian Manufacturing Group 77

Micro-Ag 21

Morrow County Grain Growers Inc. 73

North Pine Ag Equipment Inc. 71



PNW Farmers Cooperative 27

Pioneer West Inc. 25

Pomeroy Grain Growers Inc. 39

ProGene LLC 39

Progressive Engineering Group Inc. 46

RH Machine 25

Rain & Hail Insurance 36

Raven Precision 81

Reardan Seed Co. Inc. 81

Rock Steel Structures 27

Scales Northwest 46

Spectrum Crop Development 35

SS Equipment 17

Syngenta-Axial 12, 13

Syngenta 84

T & S Sales 75

The Whitney Land Co. 73

Washington State Crop Improvement Association 28

WestBred Seed 7

Wilbur-Ellis 10, 83

Wilson Creek Union Warehouse 27

Thank you to all of our advertisers.

Support those who support your industry.

Does Your Crop Have



Maintain balanced nutrition in your

small grain and pulse crops by adding


MORA-LEAF ® HI-P to your plant

protection application. These products

provide a complete package of N-P-K

plus micronutrients that ensure peak

nutrient demands are met.




For more information on how FOLI-GRO REQUISITE or MORA-LEAF HI-P is

right for you, call your Wilbur-Ellis nutrition specialist today.

Adams, OR


Fairfield, WA


Potlatch, ID


Waitsburg, WA


Colfax, WA


Genesee, ID


Tekoa, WA


Walla Walla, WA


Colton, WA


Oakesdale, WA


Troy, ID


Important: Always read and follow label directions before buying or using this product.

WILBUR-ELLIS Logo, Ideas to Grow With, FOLI-GRO and MORA-LEAF are registered trademarks of Wilbur-Ellis Company. Requisite is a trademark of Wilbur-Ellis Company. K-0212-119



Every day brings new challenges. And keeping your operation ahead of the

curve is always on your mind. With Quadris ® and Quilt Xcel ® fungicides, you’ll

get innovative, field-proven disease control for corn, soybeans, cereals and

rice. But Plant Performance benefits* go beyond disease protection to boost

plant vitality and strength for a more robust, risk-minimizing harvest. To learn

more about how Plant Performance can give your crops the edge they need,

visit or contact your Syngenta retailer.

*Plant Performance assumes the presence of disease pressure.

©2012 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow all bag tag and label instructions before buying or using Syngenta products. The instructions

contain important conditions of sale, including limitations of warranty and remedy. All products may not be registered for sale or use in

all states or counties. Please check with your state or local extension service before buying or using Syngenta products. Plant Performance,

Quadris, ® Quilt Xcel, ® the Alliance Frame, the Purpose icon and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer

Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368). MW 11CR2014-P1 2/12

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