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From the CEO, Amanda Hoey

The CEO’s Report is intended to provide a very quick overview of the CEO’s activities from the prior week. It is not intended to provide detail about individual meetings or events, just a summary of where we are spending time and resources on behalf of our growers. If you have questions or would like more information on any topic, please contact the OWGL office.

Week of September 13, 2021
I finalized all materials for the League, Commission and joint board meetings next week.The League will review proposed 2022 policy resolutions, the Commission will consider rulemaking and the joint meeting includes discussion on crop quality, trade/markets updates, legislative highlights and research positions. The Oregon Wheat PAC Board of trustees met and approved candidate contributions, discussed the special session for redistricting scheduled for next week and received highlights from the legislative session from Dalton Advocacy. As is typical, the week included a number of meetings including NAWG Sustainability and Climate Committee, PNWA Columbia Snake River System campaign update, Ag lobby, Oregonians for Food and Shelter board meeting, FGIS Portland and Kansas City representatives meeting, ag overtime meeting, NAWG special operations committee, discussion with Governor’s office on drought issues, ODA rules training and Oregon Business/Industry tax/fiscal policy meeting. With the closure of our open position for first round consideration, we conducted the first round of interviews. On the legislative advocacy side, we distributed the NAWG advocacy campaign to protect family farms in the reconciliation process and drafted talking points on the cap/reduce rulemaking. On the fun side: OWGL joined the Farmers Ending Hunger booth at the Roundup on Wednesday for the “Buck Hunger” day. In coordination with that event, this week 100% net proceeds of Oregon Wheat merchandise sales were dedicated to Bushels for Betsy/Farmers Ending Hunger.

Week of September 6, 2021
The final 2021 crop quality report completed this week, reflecting overall higher protein, lower moisture and lighter test weights than 2020. The full report can be accessed here. We closed the Director of Communications position for first round consideration and will begin interviews next week. The first rough cut for the #originalstewards project was delivered this week from our contractor, with anticipation for release of materials leading up to Convention. The state began public meetings regarding redistricting, a process which will have long term political implications. I attended the NAWG monthly policy call, with an action item coming out next week on tax policy. Finally, I attended the Lower Columbia River infrastructure needs meeting with the Army Corps announcing the official extended outage dates for 2022 for the Bonneville/Dalles/John Day. The extended closure will begin on February 13, 2022 at 6 am and end at 11:59 pm on March 19, 2022.
Week of August 30, 2021
I attended a meeting at The Dalles Dam with the Army Corps, PNWA, congressional staff and river users to discuss preparation for an extended outage in February/March. The longer maintenance closure is expected to last five weeks for repairs on the downstream miter gate. I met with Kemen Noodle Company as part of a visit coordinated with US Wheat Associates. The League signed onto a coalition letter in response to OR-OSHA heat rules, hosted a PNW caucus meeting to discuss tri-state approach on legislative actions and submitted comments on WOTUS to the federal register. On the operational side, the League received another clean audit report! The Commission and League offices will be closed next week on Monday, September 7th in observance of labor day.

Week of August 23, 2021
The Oregon Wheat Commission met this week to address changes in the variety trials at the Klamath station. I joined US Wheat Associates for a trade team meeting. RMA provided FAQs on harvest price concerns, which are available on our website under latest news. I joined an ag group meeting with Congressman Schrader to share the impacts of the drought on the wheat crop. The League submitted comments on the small grains provisions and joined NW River Partners in outreach on the Columbia-Snake River system. We received the welcome news that Vietnam will reduce or eliminate import tariffs on several U.S. commodities, including wheat.

Week of August 16, 2021
This week I presented the soft white update for the South Asia Crop update to more than 170 participants. We hosted an in-person trade engagement: the first in more than a year, with visits to MCGG, United Grain, MCP, Temco, WMC, USW, Padget Ranches and a dinner with League/Commission representatives. We set a Commission meeting for next week to discuss the Klamath Falls changes as it related to the variety trials program. Crop Quality testing is in week five, with 74% of Oregon samples received and processed. I met with the State Association executives for Idaho and Washington to discuss the status of QLA, price considerations, Farm Bill priorities, and the Snake River dams.

Week of August 9, 2021
The League had a successful week with the on-site audit completion and planning for the upcoming tri-state convention. On the market side, most of the week involved preparation for key activities next week with the South Asia crop update webinar and the visit with a trade team. I attended a town hall for Representative Bentz, discussed price and grower issues with agency staff, and attended NAWG meetings with updates on the movement of the infrastructure package, WOTUS, ag appropriations, crop protection tools, farm bill issues and carbon markets. I communicated with Dr. Hayes on approval for a barley trial revision for off-season seed increase of the most promising of the Beyond-resistant spring barleys for dryland areas.

Week of August 2, 2021

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced an ag appropriations bill which, in addition to disaster resource and funding for national and ongoing priorities, includes proposed funding allocations for Oregon wheat projects including the continuation of Resilient Dryland Farming Initiative, Soil Health/Carbon Center and the PNW Herbicide Resistant Weeds Initiative. Next up is reconciliation between the Senate and House versions. I attended the Taiwan virtual crop update and participated in a number of drought meetings, with updates on Secretary Vilsack’s visit to Oregon and the status of WHIP+ reauthorization. I addressed operational items, including release of the Director of Communications job announcement and final preparation for the League audit next week. We distributed the Fusarium Head Blight controls document and information on the temporary Smoke Rules released by OR-OSHA.

Week of July 26, 2021

This week included the three-day USW China contracting for wheat value workshop. We expressed appreciation to the full Oregon federal delegation for signing on to a letter to Secretary Vilsack outlining the impacts from natural disasters and requests for engagement on support for losses. Twenty two of Oregon’s counties have Governor declared drought declarations for 2021, including all of the primary wheat producing counties. I joined an OBI meeting with Representative Nathanson looking forward on tax/fiscal policy for the next legislative sessions. I addressed administrative items related to upcoming League staff transition, the League audit, and updated state requirements for the Commission for COVID-19 protocols. I attended regular meetings including USW weekly crop update, WASDA, NAWG state executives, monthly CEO roundtable, and NAWG Special Committee on Sustainability and Climate. Crop quality data from Wheat Marketing Center for week two reflects incremental improvements.

Week of July 19, 2021

This week I delivered the soft white presentation for our South Korea virtual crop update. Korea has consistently remained one of the top five market destinations for Oregon Wheat. I met with Governor Brown and a small group of ag executives to discuss state and federal responses to drought and other natural disasters. We received our first crop quality report that, while too small a sample size to draw any conclusions, gives our first official data points. I coordinated with Dr. Hagerty on a request for more information regarding management controls for Fusarium Head Blight. The Commission is coordinating for an upcoming customer visit in August. Our website is updated with current information to assist compliance with new OR-OSHA rules including the Heat Index calculator and OSHA fact sheet. The House Ag committee is expected to vote next week on a bill to extend the WHIP+ program. NAWG is engaged in communicating on improvements requested to the program. I responded to a variety of media requests and addressed the remaining end of fiscal year items.

Week of July 12, 2021

This week we hosted the Oregon Wheat Talk featuring Dalton Henry from US Wheat Associates discussing non-tariff market barriers. With the progression of harvest, Wheat Marketing Center received their first box of samples and anticipates publishing their first crop quality report on Monday, July 26. League staff traveled for the #OS video work, which will release leading up to Convention. I continued drought support work with the Natural Resources/Ag coalition, attended the Oregonians for Food and Shelter board meeting in Salem and participated in regular meetings including the USW Crop conditions call, NAWG Special Climate and Sustainability Committee and Pacific NW Waterways Association member meeting regarding issues impacting the river systems. I responded to media inquiries and prepared for the League audit.

Week of July 5, 2021

Harvest is well underway in parts of the state, providing more detailed information for crop updates to our market partners. This week included a virtual crop update report for China through US Wheat. Temporary OR-OSHA issued heat rules were published this week and took effect upon publication. I participated in a NAWG policy call, NW River Partners meeting, DEQ RAC meeting (Cap/Reduce), and other regular meetings. I responded to media inquiries and addressed administrative items: conducted a staff evaluation, brought new staff out into the field, began transitions on financial systems and worked on assessment delinquency actions.

Week of June 28, 2021

This week US Wheat Associates met in Nashville, TN, receiving updates on the Black Sea report, discussing market conditions and approving submission of comments for the Grain Standards Act. Changes adopted in the USDA Small Grains Crop Provisions Final Rule included one of the League requested options on enterprise unit divisions. I anticipate League comments on issues related to protein and replant issues before the comment period on the rule closes in August. I submitted our weekly crop conditions update for use by USW in market discussions, attended the CEO roundtable meeting and attended the NAWG Environment and Research committee meeting.

Week of June 21, 2021

End of legislative session brought the passage of SB590, the fire bill to include croplands in the definition of rangeland for the purpose of rangeland protection associations. It also brought the inclusion of $100,000 for the cereal lab through the American Rescue Plan Act dollars, as supported by Senator Hansell. The USW Soft White Quality Conference for our South and North Asia trading partners took place this week with over 200 participants, offering an opportunity for engagement with our wheat breeding community. OWGL Hosted the WheatTalk with ODOT representatives. We provided a letter of support for an IPM project involving Dr. Judit Barroso. I attended the USW Transportation working group and NAWG Special Climate and Sustainability Committee meetings. It is nearing the end of the fiscal year, so activities primarily involve wrap up and preparations to successfully start FY 21-22, including contract executions.

Week of June 14, 2021

President Carlson and I traveled to Lewiston for the Lower Snake River Dams Commodity and Industry Event/Tour. With one more week of session remaining, we had great news that SB 590 (our proactive fire bill to support cropland areas) had unanimous approval moving out of the full ways and means. The League Board met to approve our FY 21-22 budget and hear state legislative updates from Dalton Advocacy and discuss federal policy issues with NAWG’s CEO. I participated in the CBARC field day. OWGL signed another coalition letter this week supporting the need for full funding of the OSU statewides programs. The League hosted a tour of the CBARC facilities for legislative staff through USDA-ARS and OSU. In addition to reviewing the impressive investments into the facility, research underway due to RDFA dollars and upcoming plans, the League had an opportunity to push for further facilities funds and support for favorable policies on climate smart agriculture meeting our producer needs.

Week of June 7, 2021

The tri-state commissions met in Moscow, ID to receive an update on the South American technical specialist project and discuss issues related to seed variances, grain standards, and research. With the end of the legislative session quickly approaching for the end of the year, attention is on final bills and ways/means. OWGL joined a coalition letter expressing concerns in response to proposed OSHA heat and wildfire smoke rules. I attended the USW Hard White Committee meeting, ODA Commodity Commissions Oversight Program subcommittee meeting, NAWG Climate and Sustainability Committee, and the OBI Tax Committee meeting, in addition to regular weekly meetings. I discussed producer issues with ODOT and OSHA. We will host an individual from ODOT’s compliance division in June for a Wheat Talk. I participated in the monthly NAWG Policy call with discussion on the President’s proposed budget, status of Surface Transportation Reauthorization, Pandemic Cover Crop Program, Waters of the US status and drought issues. In operational activities, we formalized extension of the agreement with Dalton Advocacy for League representation. The League meets next week to discuss federal issues with NAWG’s CEO and approve an FY 21-22 budget.

Week of May 31

We officially welcomed Corey Shrader to the Oregon Wheat Commission as our new Office and Program Coordinator, dropping him right into the assessments and board communications as we prepare for the tri-state commissions meeting next week. I participated in a meeting with Senator Merkley, focusing on the impacts of drought throughout the state to our wheat producers. Most of the rest of the week dealt with internal operational items in preparation for the end of the fiscal year and for final contract reviews. On the legislative side, we continued to push forward on SB590, the proactive priority fire advocacy support bill to incorporate croplands to rangelands definitions for the purpose of fire protection activities.

Week of May 24, 2021

This week kicked off the virtual crop updates, with US Wheat Associates hosting a session for our Japanese millers and customers. The Commission appointments came through, with new appointee Tyler (TJ) Hansell joining OWC and Jordan van Zante receiving reappointment. The Commission audit finalized, and we will be presenting it at the next meeting as a good, clean audit. The legislature hit another deadline with the last day to hold work sessions on any remaining second chamber measures (this will not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees). The end is in sight for the 2021 legislative session with constitutional adjournment June 27. I presented before House Energy and Environment on Climate Mitigating strategies in agriculture. I participated on the stakeholder panel for the interviews for the Air Quality research scientist position at USDA-ARS in Pullman, a NAWG state staff call and an OBI / Stoel Rives webinar.

Week of May 17, 2021

This week the League signed an agreement for 2021 Tri-State Convention logistics, so our members will start seeing information shortly on the excellent line up for this year. The State’s May revenue forecast was released, reflecting a rosy picture that will influence the state’s budget conversations. President Carlson and I had a briefing with NAWG on the American Families Plan; a topic which will continue to be a focus for engagement for the League. I completed operational and administrative items in relation to annual OWC contracts. I met with researchers on modifications to work given impacts from environmental factors this year and shifts to ensure outcomes that have value in data for producers. I attended the Board of Ag meeting, OSU extension ‘Beat the Cheat’ webinar and Keep Oregon Green Board meeting, the NAWG Climate and Sustainability committee and NAWG budget committee meeting.

Week of May 10, 2021

The Oregon Wheat Commission met this week, approving its FY 21-22 budget and operational plan, as well as recognizing outgoing commissioner Bob Newtson. I presented on a panel “Wheatfields to the World: Oregon, Hunger and Humanitarian Aid.” The Foundation held its 24th golf scramble, successfully raising funds for the scholarship program. The state legislature passed another deadline today as bills had to be posted for work session: policy committees have two weeks remaining to advance those bills still alive. With the May revenue forecast due out next week, all eyes will be on those numbers for budget conversations. I met with USW staff regarding virtual programming, attended the OFS board meeting, NAWG policy meeting and Sherman station liaison meeting. I drafted all Commission contracts and research task orders for FY 21-22.

Week of May 3, 2021

This week involved preparation for upcoming meetings and activities. Packets went out for the Commission meeting on May 10th and League staff completed final preparations for the Foundation Golf Scramble. State legislative activities also have an important deadline next week: May 14th bills must be scheduled for work session in 2nd chamber. Among other items, OWGL signed on to a coalition in support of OSU Budget hearings this week. I attended the weekly state wheat crop conditions, Ag-ODA-Gov Office meeting, Tax policy meeting, Ag lobby and other meetings. On the operational side, most of the activity involved final elements for the Commission audit work.

Week of April 26, 2021

We completed interviews for the OWC Program and Office Coordinator position, extending an offer to a candidate. Discussions on the ‘American Families Plan’ proposal was an important part of the week given the potential implication for our producers. I attended a town hall for Senator Wyden, Chair of Senator Committee on Finance, with a discussion question on those tax issues. We completed updates to Oregon grain facilities to support revisions to the Plains Grains Institute map. As drought conditions persist throughout the state, I furthered discussions on agency resources. I prepared materials for the OWC meeting and working with our agent for OWGL Directors and Officers insurance renewal.

Week of April 19, 2021

The League Board met this week with updates on the status of state legislative session items, a review of FSA programs and a confirmation on funding of educational efforts, among other administrative business. We began interviews for our Commission Program/Office Coordinator position. I presented an update at the PNW Grain and Feed Association on Commission and League activities. I attended a meeting with Senator Merkley to provide highlights on League and program areas: from research to farm bill. I participated in a Sanitary/Phytosanitary update meeting, Crop Conditions call and other regular meetings.

Week of April 12, 2021

This week the Commission held its April meeting for initial budget consideration and to receive funding requests from the Western Wheat Quality Lab and Wheat Marketing Center. The legislature passed its first significant deadline on Tuesday which narrows the focused to final form on some bills, final death of others and a clearer trajectory for those remaining. The Commission audit is underway and we reviewed candidates for our Project/Office Coordinator position. I participated in House and Senate ag committee meetings with the Food Aid Working Group. NAWG policy meetings kicked off this week with a review of concerns with the STEP Act, comments to USDA on climate, the status of CFAP and proactive bill approaches. I attended the Global Warming Commission meeting to provide comments on ag and working lands concerns, among other regular weekly meetings. We sent the mailing for the OWGL board meeting which has a heavy agenda on state and federal legislative issues.

Week of April 5, 2021

With the necessity to continue some international market engagement virtually, US Wheat hosted a virtual South Asia crop update this week. With week twelve of state legislative session and the first significant legislative deadline next week, Dalton Advocacy has been engaged actively on all remaining bills. USDA reopened CFAP signup and is extending the additional $20 per acre payments under the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative this month. I attended the ‘Celebrate Trade’ event hosted by the Oregon Consular Corps and the spring Sherman station liaison meeting. I advanced discussions related to CBARC physical facility requirements. I addressed operational items related to the close of the job solicitation for the OWC Project/Office Coordinator, preparations for upcoming Commission and League meetings and the OWC audit.

Week of March 29, 2021

The League hosted our final Wheat Talk in the second series: featuring Chris Mundt discussing stripe rust. A significant portion of the week involved preparing materials for April meetings of the League and Commission. I participated in the US Wheat Food Aid Working Group meetings and in activities planning for the Soft White technical conference. Finally, legislative session: week eleven continued the frantic pace for the League and Dalton Advocacy leading up to the next major deadline of April 13th: the point at which Bills must have advanced out of policy Committee in Chamber of Origin.

Week of March 22, 2021

USDA announced release of additional Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funds for producers. NAWG and OWGL had advocated for the inclusion of wheat in CFAP payments, and we are pleased to see the release of these additional funds. I attended the China Market overview, as part of the USW Unified Export Strategy and the Wheat Marketing Center board meeting, among other regular weekly meetings. With week ten of legislative session, the League and Dalton Advocacy had significant activity in coalition one pagers, hearings and advocacy work on behalf of producers. I joined the National Wheat Improvement Council (NWIC) meetings to discuss continued funding for the wheat/barley scab initiative and a request for new funding for the Wheat Resiliency Initiative to address wheat rusts, sawfly, hessian fly and bacterial leaf streak. We moved the OWGL board meeting to April 20th in Pendleton/virtual. I held discussions with ODA pesticides division regarding products pending annual renewal registrations, prepared for the Commission audit and met with our representative for the initial risk assessment outline.

Week of March 15, 2021

USW presented a South Asia market overview as part of their Unified Export Strategies. For the river system, the Army Corps of Engineers hosted a brief informative meeting to provide updates on the status for anticipated reopening of The Dalles navigation locks. Finally, at the end of this week many bills were posted for hearings/work sessions. PNW Wheat Commission CEOs met to advance the soft white technical conference concept with USW-Portland staff. ODA pesticides team met with OWGL and OFS regarding definitions used in past rulemaking. Commission position openings closed this week for Handler #2 and Producer #2 positions. OWGL provided a letter of support for candidates. The last of the OWGL “Wheat Day on the Capitol” DC Hill visits took place. OWC finalized execution of the Task Order to providing funding support for the research bake lab expansion.

Week of March 8, 2021

We officially posted our OWC job opening for a Project/Office Coordinator, with applications for first round consideration requested by April 8th at 5 pm. OWGL held virtual DC Hill visits as part of the NAWG Wheat Day at the Capitol, visiting with the offices of Senator Wyden, Representative Schrader, Representative Bentz, and Representative Defazio. We entered the eighth week for the state legislature which included a hearing on ag overtime, ag coops and multiple others. OWF Scholarship notices went out this week, with five awards made this year. I attended the CBARC liaison meeting to discuss climate/ soil health research and facility needs and the Oregonians for Food and Shelter Board meeting, in addition to the regular weekly meetings. Finally, the US Wheat Food Aid Working Group met to hear about cargo preference requirements.

Week of March 1, 2021

The annual Oregon Wheat Commission research reviews took place this week, offering an opportunity for the Commission to provide feedback and guidance to researchers. State legislative action alerts circulated to OWGL membership, and while we were scheduled to testify on HB 2674, that hearing ended up being deferred. OWGL was very pleased to see SB 590, which would expand options for cropland fire protection, pass out of committee with strong support. I participated in Commodity Classic, prepared for virtual Washington DC Hill ‘visit’ which will take place next week and finalized release of the OWC Project and Office Coordinator position.

Week of February 22, 2021

The NAWG and U.S. Wheat Board of Directors met this week. NAWG passed its budget, adopted new resolutions, and had an extensive discussion on climate policy. Congratulations to Brent Cheyne for his return in officer role for NAWG! U.S. Wheat Associates Board heard presentations on the Russian wheat taxes, regional strategies, and world market wheat updates. OWGL and OSU hosted its most successful ShopTalks to date with participants learning about Russian Thistle management and options for grassy weed control in cereal production. I met with our wheat breeder on a potential breeding program changes to be discussed with OWC at its next meeting. The state legislature continued in virtual format and we will see a work session for our fire bill next Wednesday. On the federal side, Tom Vilsack was sworn in as the USDA Agriculture Secretary on Wednesday. A joint press release from U.S. Wheat and NAWG welcomed him back to the role. The hearing for nominee Katherine Tai was also held this week with pledges to hold China accountable for its promises and ensure that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement is fully implemented. The Foundation finalized recommendations for five scholarship awards this year and will begin the notification process in March to applicants.

Week of February 15, 2021

This week was the deadline for research proposals and we finalized all materials for the Oregon Wheat Commission meetings and research reviews scheduled for March 1-2. I attended the USW United Export Strategy meeting for the Mexico/Central America/ Caribbean region and a USW Quality Committee meeting. With the icestorm, a number of activities at the Capitol were delayed but we were able to host a very successful OWGL Wheat Day at the Capitol in virtual format. Additional activities included participation in weekly meetings, USDA’s Ag Outlook, and Washington AMMO event “America on the Edge” with Peter Zeihan. Most of the rest of the week included operational items, including facilities.

Week of February 8, 2021

This week Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Committee held a hearing on a priority bill for the league: SB590 which would expand resources for fire protection options in our cropland areas. I testified on the bill and coordinated additional members to participate, including our Sherman County League president. The PNW Commission CEOs met to review some proactive proposals for engaging with our customers, recognizing the likelihood of ongoing limitations on travel this year. The OWGL Board met to discuss priorities for state legislative session, discuss Columbia Snake River system values, engage with NRCS on program expansions, and discuss County meetings and member appreciation. The Board received updates on federal issues and NAWG highlights and were joined by Congressman Bentz who provided an overview of the 117th Congress. The Oregon Wheat Foundation Board met to approve the budget, adopt updates to scholarship criteria for payments and approve a new lease with OSU for the Adams property. I coordinated with researchers as they worked further on their submissions for the March OWC meeting. I coordinated with Dalton Advocacy on efforts for OWGL Wheat day on February 17th. I attended the OBI annual meeting and a Strategic Commodity Marketing meeting and addressed assessment issues.

Week of February 1, 2021

This week included bill tracker review with Dalton Advocacy: reviewing the bills that have been introduced and setting priorities and positions. We are seeing key bills move through with several important hearings set for next week. We received confirmation of Oregon approval on the label for the registration of a new mode of action to address wireworm control. Monday was the deadline for OWF scholarship applications, and we are reviewing those for sufficiency before sending to County presidents. Board meeting packets for the Foundation and League meetings were prepared this week. For OWGL, we will be joined by representatives from CBARC, OFS and PNWA. Dalton Advocacy will provide primary updates on bills of interest and prepare for the virtual lobby day. Congressman Bentz will join remotely for discussion. OWGL released a statement in response to a proposal from Idaho Congressman Simpson which proposes to breach the four lower Snake River dams and establish a ‘Columbia Basin Fund. I attended the NAWG Environment and Research Committee meeting which focused on carbon market conversations and review of expiring resolutions in preparation for the annual meeting. I participated in our regular meeting with ODA and Governor’s office staff. We were joined by OHA for an update on vaccines and received a preliminary review from OWEB on the high-level results of the natural/working lands survey. I followed up with the actions related to OWC assessment delinquencies. OWC staff met with Wheat Marketing Center staff to continue discussions on improvements to the sampling for 2021 in smaller production areas.

Week of January 25, 2021

This week included the PNW Wheat Quality Council, conducted virtually along with the Falling Number Workshop, Cereal/Grains Technical Research presentations, and wheat breeder meeting. I attended the US Wheat Associates United Export Strategy- South America meeting and Food Aid Working Group meeting. OWGL kicked off our 2021 Wheat Talk series with a focus on Oregon OSHA Requirements for Agricultural Wildfire. I coordinated with OSU on the varieties with commercial relevance in Oregon to ensure they remain in the 2021 Preferred Varieties Brochure. I met with CBARC’s Director, participated in the NAWG State Executives meeting, attended the NWF investment committee meeting and Dunn Carey Ag Summit, met with NRCS staff regarding CSP enhancements and engaged in a number of meetings regarding a prospectus on an PNW research project. Dalton Advocacy continued to engage in the critical elements of session, and I participated in our lobby group discussions. OWGL signed on to an opposition letter to HB2229, a state pre-emption bill. Most of our priority items have not yet come up for hearing as the legislative session gets off to a bumpy start. OWGL-AgLink partnership finalized this week to better assist our members with access to benefits. OWC posted the application for the two open positions: Handler 2 and Producer 2. Staff prepared for the February OWGL meeting to take place in Arlington.

Week of January 18, 2021

This week the OWGL Executive Committee met in Pendleton, receiving key updates on activities in legislative session and providing approval for a partnership with AgLink to enhance support to our members. For the Commission, we sent out the full proposal request to our researchers and I met with additional researchers to advance projects related to certified seed and to further discuss proposed herbicide resistance initiatives. I presented on an industry panel to the Board of Ag. I attended the Oregonians for Food and Shelter Board meeting, commodity Commissions Oversight Advisory Committee meeting, lobby meetings, NAWG Budget Committee meeting, PNW US Wheat SPS meeting and a variety of other meetings.

Week of January 11, 2021

This week I completed the remaining research review pre-proposal discussions and met with the new CBARC director to discuss leases, funding, research work and other critical items relevant to the Pendleton and Sherman stations. I attended the US Wheat Sanitary Phytosanitary committee meeting and dealt with a number of key operational items. Oregon’s legislature convened for an organizational session and we began to see many bills, but also a shift in terms of the opening week plans. I was pleased to see some CFAP2 Payment Resolution. USDA announced an adjustment to payment calculations for wheat and certain other row crops for CFAP2. The official opening day for this year’s session remains January 19th, but due to concerns on violence, committee meetings are cancelled and neither House nor Senate members will meet on the chamber floors as initially planned. I attended the first DEQ RAC meeting on the Climate Protection Program (Cap/Reduce). While introductory in nature, the meeting outlined the ‘leanings’ by DEQ staff on modeling and program design. Meeting packets were sent this week to the OWGL Executive Committee for our meeting next week.

Week of January 4, 2021

This week involved preliminary research proposal conversations, in preparation for researchers’ full proposal development for the Oregon Wheat Commission meeting in March. OWGL announced upcoming Wheat Talks, in collaboration with OSU. I attended the NAWG state executives and Domestic Trade and Policy Committee meetings. NAWG has been conducting extensive work in meetings with USDA leadership this month. Oregon State 2021 legislative session convenes January 11th. In preparation, OWGL signed on to a few letters including comments on OSHA COVID-19 rulemaking. We have our OWGL virtual lobby day scheduled for February 17, 2021. I reviewed OWC audit responses to our RFP, with a recommendation to be provided to the OWC for approval at the next meeting. I participated in the Commodity Commission Oversight subcommittee meeting with ODA staff. I attended the US Wheat Associates United Export Strategy for the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Europe regions.

December 2020

Weeks of December 21st and 28th, 2020

The Oregon Wheat Commission research pre-proposal deadline was this week. Submissions were reviewed by staff, with follow-up feedback prepared for researchers. At the state level, an intense one-day special session included consideration of five bills, with passage of all but one of those bills (healthcare liability). For staff, it was a short week due to the holidays and I will be taking some time off the week of December 28th. I drafted the FY 21/22 budget for the Foundation and the Board addressed situations for the 2020 scholarship awardees. I prepared the initial 2021 OWGL position papers on items ranging from research to trade to the value of Oregon wheat. I completed follow-up from the PNWA and OWGL visits with legislative offices, including providing updated information on the Columbia Snake River System Operations and the importance of maintaining navigation options for wheat. I had a follow-up call with the Keep Oregon Green Director on public education partnership efforts on fire mitigation. Shanna worked further with OSU on WheatTalk options for 2021, including one that is anticipated to allow for pesticide credits.

Week of December 14, 2020

This week the Governor called for a third special session as hearings continued for legislative days. ODA issued its final rule on chlorpyrifos and while that product regulation does not impact wheat growers directly, the rulemaking does have some precedent setting elements. The week was capped off with a productive meeting between the OWGL Executive committee and Representative-elect Cliff Bentz. I continued communication with NAWG and USW on food aid data as it relates to our primary soft white wheat deliveries. I began initial review of research pre-proposal submissions filtering in. OWGL sent a support letter for continuation of a wheat producer on the Oregon FSA State Committee. I attended the NAWG Environment and Research committee which heard from a variety of carbon coalitions and discussed the status of pesticide regulations. I met with Erin Heideman and other individuals in preparation for the first DEQ Greenhouse Gas/ Cap and Reduce Rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting. On the fire front, I attended my first Keep Oregon Green Board meeting. I continued to work with Dalton Advocacy on our highest priority fire actions for the upcoming session. I participated in the usual set of meetings this week, including with Governor staff and the ODA director. I listened in to the Joint Diesel Taskforce meeting, which will meet once more before end of the year. Following approvals from the board for needed equipment, the OWGL conference room is now fully capable to conduct virtual meetings.

Week of December 7, 2020

This week I participated in a virtual DC hill ‘visit’ with the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, meeting with most of the Oregon delegation on issues impacting the Columbia-Snake river system and wheat producers. The Water Resources Development Act passed the House and headed over to the Senate for consideration. It has some critical elements for Columbia River system enhancements that provide for efficient and cost-effective movement of grain for trade flow. On the research front: this week I attended the CBARC liaison meeting and engaged with a few researchers on topics in advance of our pre-proposal deadline. I communicated with growers about their use of a rodent control product and regarding the upcoming Barley Crop Insurance Program review by RMA. I reviewed a presentation on current and future activities by our South American technical specialist.President Carlson and I met with Dalton Advocacy and some legislators to discuss League priorities in advance of the session. I attended the China Council- ODA meeting, Oregonians for Food and Shelter meeting, NAWG Budget committee meeting, NOAA Columbia Basin Partnership Taskforce update meeting and a variety of other meetings.


Week of November 30, 2020

This week we were pleased to gain a seat at the DEQ Cap/Reduce rulemaking table with the appointment of OWGL Morrow County President Erin Heideman to the Rulemaking Advisory Committee. We completed December meetings of the League Board, League Annual Membership and Oregon Wheat Commission. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act passed the House, which was the final Congressional action needed on the bill. Great news to see this move forward before the expiration. It reauthorizes through September 30, 2025. We continued advocacy on CFAP2 technical fixes, with the indication from FSA that the correction is anticipated to be published and would apply retroactively to affected applications requesting a correction. I participated in meetings with OSU and ODA related to budgets, attended the Oregon Board of Ag meeting and engaged in a number of agriculture related advocacy meetings. I monitored the Diesel Emissions Joint Taskforce meeting this week as they considered two revenue generation proposals. I attended the NAWG State Execs meeting to discuss state priorities, area conditions and NAWG policy updates.

Week of November 23, 2020

This week (as every week) we are thankful for our Oregon Wheat producers—happy Thanksgiving to all our wheat families! We hosted the final WheatTalk in our November series, featuring Acting State Director Josh Hanning, with the Farm Services Agency. If you missed them, recordings of the Wheat Talks are on our website for all members to view. We finalized board packets for upcoming meetings, including the OWGL Board meeting, Commission meeting and Annual OWGL meeting. The annual meeting includes review and adoption of the proposed 2021 OWGL Board Policies and Priorities. OWGL submitted comments this week to the federal register for the proposed registration of a new active ingredient for seed treatment. Francisco Calderón begins December 31 as the CBARC Director. I am excited to welcome Francisco to the area and have a meeting scheduled with him in mid-January to review League, Commission and Foundation items. With the research pre-proposal request circulating, we responded to inquiries from researchers and industry partners. Most of the regular weekly meetings were cancelled due to the holiday. I met with PNWA’s Executive Director to discuss the status of activities related to the Columbia-Snake river system. I joined a webinar on OSHA COVID rulemaking compliance focused on the Risk Assessment and Infection Control plan.

Week of November 16, 2020

This week we saw significant progress on the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act as it moved through the Senate by unanimous consent and on to the House of Representatives for further action. OWGL has actively advocated with our legislators on the need for passage of Reauthorization, in coordination with NAWG. We hosted our second WheatTalk, featuring updates from NAWG. The Commission released the annual request for research pre-proposals for wheat and barley research. I worked with ODA on outreach materials for specific international markets, with appreciation to USW for promotional materials. I participated in a debrief meeting on PNWA 2020 Columbia Snake River System campaign. In total, the campaign generated over 6.4M impressions. I attended the Commodity Commission Oversight Advisory Committee meeting, National Wheat Foundation meeting, Washington Seed Certification Improvement Association annual meeting and the regular grouping of weekly lobby/association meetings. On the operational side, I assured OWGL and OWC remained in compliance with new OSHA regulations, conducting a staff evaluation and preparing for upcoming board meetings.

Week of November 9, 2020

As USW convened for the fall meeting, I joined the virtual board meeting and various committee meetings. This week, the draft Senate appropriations bills were released, with continuation and expansion of funds critical to our programs included in the draft. Commission staff met with Wheat Marketing Center to debrief the crop quality sampling process for the 2020 crop and discuss improvements for 2021 to ensure representative testing and sampling even for our smaller production areas. I worked with Dalton Advocacy on drafting a plan for 2021 legislative engagement. I participated in the USW- Manila office Crop Quality Seminar, with updates on wheat use and demand in SW Asia. I presented on an ag panel to the SAIF Ag Summit, pursued partnership options with AgLink in relation to their recently approved Association Health Plan. and addressed operational items, including meeting with our OWC accounting firm to discuss improvements for internal controls and management.

Week of November 2, 2020

NAWG conducted their fall meeting virtually this week, holding committee and board meetings. The League hosted the first webinar in its Wheat Talks series featuring Ben Thiel with RMA. US Wheat Associates began delivering virtual crop quality seminars after producing 17 video presentations, in 9 languages (98 videos total) that will be delivered over 28+ webinars. This week, I joined the USW Santiago Crop Quality Seminar. Most importantly, federal and state election results began to announce, with some races still undetermined.I attended the USW Wheat Quality Committee meeting with information on the Wheat Analysis Program status, Crop Quality materials, Wheat Class Breeder targets and the increasing globalization of our industry. I engaged in further advocacy to resolve CFAP2 sign-up issues. We are working with NAWG on resolution to the structural issues common across states. I met with Washington State Crop Improvement Association staff on topics surrounding wheat seed certification. We received the final Tax Exemption for the OWF parcel leased to OSU. I participated in an OFS Board meeting and NW RiverPartners annual meeting and responded to producer calls on issues ranging from the Columbia-Snake River Dams to State agency status.


Week of October 26, 2020

Virtual conventions led this week, with multiple NAWG committee meetings in advance of the fall conference. Committee meetings discussed budget preparations, ad-hoc farm payments, rail rate policy, and 2021 priority focus areas. We prepared for the first OWGL Wheat Talk which will feature Ben Thiel, Director for the Spokane Region of the USDA Risk Management Agency. I participated in a USW meeting with one of our largest Japanese flour millers. I conducted an orientation for Thad Eakin, new Sherman County President for OWGL. I presented as part of a commodity panel for the tri-state banking association ag lenders conference. The conference included discussions on ag credit capacity, credit availability and policy priorities. I continued relationship building work with ODA’s Market Access Director with an export market. OWGL co-signed a letter calling on the four-states governors to utilize ‘guiding principles’ in the salmon recovery process.

Week of October 19, 2020

The Oregon Wheat Foundation extended a hand to our broader community during their board meeting this week, expanding the allocation of funds to Farmers Ending Hunger, and increasing individual student scholarship amounts for the 2021 cycle. I coordinated with PNW state executives and USW staff on market development activities that have been long-term efforts for the PNW in the South America region. The League submitted a letter to RMA advocating for new options for Enterprise Units by type (Winter and Spring) and practice (Summer Fallow and Continuous Crop). The additional options were identified by RMA as potential considerations in the last OWGL board meeting. I participated in multiple NAWG budget committee meetings, attended the Wheat Marketing Center meeting, reviewed the agriculture section of the draft Broadband report and participated in the Oregon Broadband Advisory Committee meeting this week. I discussed options with our Commodity Commission Oversight lead regarding resources for conducting assessment audits.

Week of October 12, 2020

This week delivered on most fronts: from new League members to positive coalition building for 2021 issues. We sent board materials for the upcoming Oregon Wheat Foundation meeting, formalized the publication of our last OWC administrative rules changes with the state and engaged with partner entities on communications materials. I worked with the fire coordination group to clarify concepts for legislative approaches. I also participated in crop quality seminars as they moved toward a virtual format with USW, reviewing crop quality information for the soft white/club class. I participated in a State Wheat Commission Executives meeting to discuss research programs and operational issues. I met with the acting interim CBARC Director at the Sherman station and attended the National Wheat Foundation board meeting and reviewed draft budget materials for upcoming NAWG budget meetings. I communicated with NAWG on technical issues encountered by members in CFAP2 applications. I conducted a media call, informational interview, and attended the typical variety of weekly meetings.

Week of October 5, 2020

OWGL finalized the WheatTalk series this week with agency updates from RMA on November 4, NAWG on November 18 and FSA on November 25. RMA recently updated the Umatilla County t-yields and has been engaged with the League these last few weeks on OWGL policy priorities. I met with ODOT to discuss issues that arose for producers during harvest, with four solid actions from the meeeting, including commitment to longer-term communication. We continued working with the Fire Coordination group. We have continued to focus on efforts to increase and enhance cooperation between landowners and agencies, address infrastructure gaps and preserve our abilities to fight fire. I participated in multiple meetings including the DEQ Town Hall on Cap/Reduce, CBARC interim discussion, Tri-state commission executives, ODA discussions, FEMA/NFIP implementation meeting, and others. I recorded a presentation for a tri-state meeting and conducted a media interview. Finally, we wished Sally Christensen a healthy, happy retirement!


Week of September 28, 2020

This week included significant news for Oregon wheat: Continuing Resolution moving forward with Grain Standards Act and CCC elements, USDA small grain report, extension of the Philippine’s duties against Turkish flour, and final record of decision on the Columbia-Snake River system. I had a chance to meet the CBARC Director candidate in-person, we moved forward on OFS Director negotiations and activities accelerated on topics that will arise in the 2021 legislative session. I participated in the monthly NAWG state executives meeting to discuss the status of Commodity Classic, area condition updates, feedback on the Ag Innovation Agenda, SECURE rule, trade update and pesticide updates. I participated in our fire coordination group meeting and CEO association roundtable discussion. With our OWGL president, I attended the first DEQ town hall on cap/reduce. I continued discussions with producers, crop insurance agents and RMA regarding a county-specific issue. I finalized the OWC audit RFP which she will be distributing through our required channels, with request for responses returned by end of the year. I began preparing presentations that will be delivered as part of ag panels at the SAIF meeting in November and Tri-states Ag Bankers conference in October. Finally, a significant portion of the week involved follow-up from board meetings: including preparation for the November Wheat Talks and December annual meeting.

Week of September 21, 2020

This week both the Commission and League met to conduct fall business. I delivered the soft white wheat harvest and production estimates for the USW China virtual crop update (110+ attendees) and presented at the virtual OSU Seed and Cereal Crop Grower Webinar for wheat. Significant this week was agreement on moving forward a continuing resolution to include the Commodity Credit Corporation reimbursement and to include a backstop for the Grains Standards Act. The full five-year reauthorization for that Act is still needed. I also participated in a PNWA Lower Columbia Infrastructure needs meeting to discuss the status of funding and priorities for advocacy related to channel maintenance, turning basins, anchorages jetty repairs, and stern buoys.The Commission met and in addition to regular business, approved signing-on to an Herbicide Resistance Weeds Initiative proposed by the Washington Grains Commission. The Commission received updates from US Wheat on trade/markets, from Wheat Marketing Center on the chlorination project and crop quality date and from Oregon State University on budgets, breeding program and variety trials. The Commission also conducted my evaluation, approved USW board representatives and alternate and reviewed actions requested in the CEO report. The League met and in addition to regular business and conducting my evaluation, the League received updates from NAWG, Dalton Advocacy, RMA and ARS. They also appointed Thad Eakin as the interim Sherman County president, recommended revisions for the 2021 policies/priorities and Bylaws, approved a letter to RMA encouraging additional options for enterprise unit divisions, and approved annual report. Finally, the League discussed the Wheat Talks concept, which will take place weekly in November, and appreciated our retiring staff member, Sally Christensen.

Week of September 14, 2020

This week USDA announced CFAP 2 eligibility expanding to all classes of wheat; an announcement that arrives after many months of communication by OWGL, NAWG and individual wheat producers. China dominated trade team conversation, with one webinar complete (Fujian Province/ Oregon China Counsel) and preparations for the next finalized (USW-Beijing). Finalized meeting packets for Commission and League meetings and a presentation to be delivered at the Valley growers workshop next week. I communicated with both Senate offices on reauthorization of the Grain Standards Act. Attended a marketing seminar hosted by MN/ND, participated in the weekly state wheat commission executives call, joined the regular ag lobby call and participated in a candidate meet/greet arranged by Dalton Advocacy.

Week of September 7, 2020

It was a tragic week for the State of Oregon with extensive loss and suffering through wildfires. While much of the wheat land in Oregon has largely been spared the devastation this week, we have individuals directly impacted and the entire state has been at least indirectly impacted. We will continue seeking avenues to support our impacted communities. Most of the week was dominated in preparation of materials for the upcoming OWC and OWGL September meetings. The Oregon Wheat PAC Board of trustees met and approved candidate contributions as well as rejoining AgPAC. I had a meet and greet with the new OSU President and engaged in discussions with our ODA Director on topics impacting OWC. I attended the state wheat commission executives call, NAWG Board meeting and prepared materials to for an upcoming webinar with the Fujian province.


Week of August 31, 2020

Action on CFAP support letters capped the end of the week with support from both House and Senate leaders. The letters request USDA use the resources available through the CARES Act to provide support for 2020 crop losses and include eligibility for all classes of wheat. Throughout the week I participated in interviews for the CBARC Director position as well as meetings to narrow down the candidate pool for the OFS Executive Director. In furthering our customer relationships, I had correspondence throughout the week with a major flour miller’s production division and began preparing for two virtual updates with China scheduled for September. Staff prepared for board meetings with the WheatPAC Board of Trustees, Foundation, Commission and League. I developed a concept for a November WheatTalk series leading up to the annual meeting to capture key agency updates.

Week of August 24, 2020

Continuation of relationship with our customers marked the highlights of this week, with presentations on crop quality and progress to one of our largest international flour millers. It was the culmination of work by OWC and USW staff in collecting wheat samples and information from our larger country elevators. I also responded to outreach from a trade council, with another webinar scheduled in September with key customers. I attended NAWG board and committee meetings with activity focused on support for second round of CFAP to address the 2020 wheat crop needs for producers. I executed an agreement for the #os project, which we are excited to get underway, and participated in multiple meetings including State Wheat Commission Executives discussion on transportation logistics, CEO roundtable, Oregonians for Food and Shelter interview panel, and a conversation with Oregon Department of Ag on budget impacts.

Week of August 17, 2020

At the beginning of the week I was out in Walla Walla, Pendleton, Umatilla and Lexington conducting sample collections and visiting with our industry partners, before ending the week in Portland. The visit to Pendleton coincided with the on-site portion of the OWGL audit. I attended a virtual crop update with the USW Seoul office and nearly 60 individuals from Korea, a meeting with the Governor and association and business leaders State Wheat call for domestic crop updates and discussion on crop quality seminars. I participated in an interview panel for the OFS Executive Director position. NAWG Domestic and Trade Policy meeting with discussion on congressional relief activities, trade updates, rail transportation issues and the status of both the Water Resources Development Act and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act. I attended the first of four planned virtual variety tours hosted by OSU. The 2020 crop harvest message has been consistently positive for quality, as well as yields.

Week of August 10, 2020

This week we are pleased to have a new staff addition to OWGL with Cassandra Franklin joining the team. As harvest progresses throughout the state, we received our second quality report from the Wheat Marketing Center. While it remains too early to define averages for the year, all quality markers are looking consistent and positive. I collected samples from elevators, with highlights on harvest and crop status, in preparation for a virtual trade team meeting at the end of the month. This week marked both the start (and end) of the second special session. Over the course of one long day marked by high tensions regarding process, twelve bills were passed, largely focused on the task of balancing the budget. While no ag-related bills were considered, among the actions approved by the legislature was a 2.5% reduction to the OSU Statewide Programs. OWGL intends to advocate for restored funding to these programs in the 2021 Session. USDA announcement this week included that additional classes of wheat are not included in the eligible commodity list for CFAP. Given the latest announcement, we will continue pushing for 2020 support from CCC and any unspent CFAP for all wheat classes. I participated in a review meeting for the Chlorpyrifos and Restricted Use Pesticides Rulemaking, a Value-added CARES meeting, NAWG meetings and others. In addition, I conducted additional media interviews in relation to Oregon Wheat harvest progress. With the end of the fiscal year behind us, this week also involved additional financial year-end reporting and administrative activities.

Week of August 3, 2020

I formalized an employment offer to Cassandra Franklin as the new OWGL Administrative Assistant/Membership Coordinator. She begins next week to cross-train with staff, just in time for the second special legislative session to kick off! We announced that the Tri-State Grain Convention will not proceed for 2020 due to the uncertain timeframes of current group restrictions and financial implications of delaying a decision. Talking with media contacts regarding harvest progress and quality reports. Harvest is proceeding rapidly throughout the state, with continued reports back that yields are generally better than expected. Wheat Marketing Center released the first crop quality report, which draws from a small number of samples, so there is still a lot to be processed before making general statements. I coordinated with many of our larger country elevator operators to arrange for sample pickup and conversations in the next two weeks. I participated in a number of meetings, including the state wheat weekly call, a stakeholder debrief regarding the CBARC director candidates and weekly association calls. I addressed administrative items, including review of year end financials for the League and Foundation.


Week of July 27, 2020

This week we were pleased with the publication of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Columbia Snake River System Operations which avoids breaching the four lower Snake River dams. OWGL will continue to work with our partners to discuss the importance of river navigation to the movement of wheat. I participatedin the Japan Flour Millers Association virtual crop update hosted by USW-Tokyo office. I visited Morrow County Grain Growers to see the inner-workings of their new transloading facility, talk about issues impacting the country elevators, and see the new ground pile at their Hogue-Warner facility. I visited the Athena-Ruggs site with Bob Zemetra to talk about the status of the breeding program and see the new research combines in operation. We narrowed down candidates for the OWGL Administrative Assistant/Membership Coordinator position and conducted first round interviews. I engaged in a variety of meetings including with NAWG to discuss the status of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, pesticide updates, China domestic support issues and additional COVID-19 relief package status and negotiation. In addition, I am tracking progress on a variety of issues affecting producers at harvest. The reports from producers reflect consistently better than anticipated yields on average.

Week of July 20, 2020

With the close of first round for the OWGL Administrative Assistant/Membership coordinator job opening, we conducted a final review of the candidates, beginning invitations for interviews. This week also involved the final CBARC director candidate interview and stakeholder panel. With harvest fully underway, I handled media calls related to harvest progress and prospects. We also kicked off the #original stewards campaign, securing our first sponsor whose contribution certainly ‘leads by example.’Regional Trade impact webinar/Columbia River System: Participated in a Pacific Northwest conversation on the COVID impacts on regional trade. The emphasis on freight mobility to move products quickly and efficiently when experiencing disruptions in economic activity was a primary point of conversation. Shanna worked with United Grain to gather footage of harvest trucks to produce a short piece in support of the Columbia Snake River System operations. Other activities included preparation for the USW Japan Flour Millers Association virtual update and meetings for NAWG operations committee, OSHA ag stakeholder meeting (with appreciation to MCGG for joining on with a member perspective), state wheat updates, Value Added Ag from CARES Act coordination meeting and others.

Week of July 13, 2020

This week harvest moved into full swing in parts of the state.The USW summer conference took place virtually providing updates on the wheat outlook, price trends, trade policy, and committee actions. I also participated in the USW South Asia Virtual Crop update. USW is increasingly moving to digital platforms to ensure we remain connected with our customers. We closed first round for the OWGL Administrative Assistant/Membership Coordinator position. With nearly 70 applications received, we have some impressive candidates to consider. The first two CBARC Director candidate interview stakeholder panels took place, with the final candidate interview occurring next week. I engaged in the value-added ag from CARES Act funding development, ensuring the Cereal Lab Research Bakery project could remain a key consideration for funds. I was out for visits to farms to produce videos to thank our customers, provide crop updates, promote the #original campaign and celebrate the arrival of the research combines. I attended a variety of meetings including Wheat Foods Council summer meeting, stakeholder briefing on farmworker supports, and State wheat updates. Administrative items included completion of the Combined Annual Financial Reports, execution of the research task order and filing Oregon Wheat PAC paperwork.

Week of July 6, 2020

As harvest got underway in parts of the state, we heralded the arrival of the research combines which were partially supported through Oregon Wheat Commission funding. The combines support the breeding, variety testing and plant pathology programs and will improve the efficiency of harvest and accuracy of yield data. I received updates on the status of operations of the Cereal Quality Lab which is fully able to service the wheat breeding program needs and has restarted a few key research projects. I am assessing opportunities to seek outside funding to support expanding the research bakery. I discussed baseline ag research funding needs and priority requests for additional investments, including building upon the Resilient Dryland Farming activities and the Carbon Center project. I met with the Tri-state League executives to discuss conference contingency planning and met with the tri-state commission executives to discuss funding proposals. Discussed the status of CFAP in relation to the recent announcement of expanded crop eligibility for CFAP, 2020 crop year needs, coronavirus relief efforts and congressional requests. I participated in a variety of calls related to pesticide registration status, food processing playbook, local wheat sourcing, and member needs related to state and federal agency issues. Slight price bump with market reactions to news on international front is always a good way to end the week. Share your harvest stories: #WheatHarvest20!


Week of June 29, 2020

The US Mexico Canada Agreement officially entered into force this week, a benefit to wheat producers. At the same time, Oregon took a step back in reopening as the percentage of ‘positivity’ for covid cases in the state took an upward swing. Meetings included the ag collaborative, business leaders meeting with Governor Brown, NAWG debrief on glyphosate decisions from the past week, and an ODA stakeholder review of budget cuts. This week involved a good deal of administrative work with the transition between fiscal years, but I was able to get out to a visit to the Dufur variety trials. All staff had a day off Friday with the celebration of America’s independence. Wishing all our producers a safe, healthy and prosperous harvest.

Week of June 22, 2020

This week the Oregon Legislature convened for a special session, moving quickly on items throughout the week, including passing agriculture-specific fixes to the Corporate Activity Tax. OWGL has been working with legislators and coalition members over the past two years on these issues, so I am pleased that the technical fixes passed with bi-partisan support. They include exemption of crop insurance payments from receipts required to be reported/calculated in gross receipts, a fix to the cost of goods calculation and clarification for certificate options for bulk commodities where in-state and export sales are commingled. With the end of the fiscal year approaching, much of the week focused on the necessary financial activities to successfully conclude FY 19/20 and move into FY 20/21. It also involved preparing for the next issue of the Oregon Wheat magazine, which will hit mailboxes in August. Finally, I participated in the usual variety of meetings for the week including State Wheat Commission Executives harvest and crop highlights; Association State Wheat Executives meeting with, with an update on policy issues from NAWG related to the Grain Standards Act, Ag appropriations, Soil Health Income Protection Program, and a variety of pesticide items; and ‘Be Prepared’ Crisis Communication webinar and Farm stress training.

Week of June 15, 2020

This week I continued getting out to our research stations and visited the variety trials in Moro, meeting with representatives for Limagrain and OSU. We released a position opening in the League office for an Administrative Assistant/Membership Coordinator (posted at With special session announced to commence on June 24, the League lobby team is actively engaged in conversations relevant to our producers, including CAT technical fixes and limited liability protections. My appreciation to our federal legislative staff for participating with us this week for an annual update with ARS and OSU on the Resilient Dryland Farming activities at the Pendleton station. The rest of the week was filled with meetings: everything from Rail Advisory Committee to ‘Wheat College’ to State Board of Ag.

Week of June 8, 2020

This week the OWGL Board of Directors met virtually, approving appointments to boards and committees, adopting policies and receiving updates on trade/OSU/pesticides/NAWG and other topics. The OWGL Board approved submission of a letter in response to USDA’s request for further information on commodity eligibility for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funds. This week I also had an opportunity to visit the North Valley trials and visit with the cooperator. I participated in the CBARC/Moro virtual Field Day. On the administrative side, I executed a variety of OWC contracts conducted a staff evaluation, and reviewed financials with an enhancement to OWGL internal controls.

Week of June 1, 2020

This week involved the final preparations for the OWGL board meeting, which will be held virtually. The board is expected to adopt updated policies and approve the budget, review member status and benefits and consider several actions related to guest presentations. Individuals from NAWG, OSU, Oregonians for Food and Shelter and others are expected to attend. I participated in the Wasco County Crop Tour and encourage our members to sign up for the CBARC/Moro virtual crop tour- and watch the videos from our researchers. We had good updates with OSU this week in ongoing commitments to the work at CBARC and updates on the status of the Resilient Dryland Farming activities.


Week of May 25, 2020

This week began with honoring Memorial Day on Monday, which condensed the workload into the remainder of the week. The League Board will meet virtually on Monday, June 8, so I spent a good portion of the week on topics that will be addressed by the board. One of those topics, pesticide use and regulation, prompted further communication with some of our larger wheat partners and my PNW counterparts. The status of our primary activities with wheat research took up most of the week. A reminder: Virtual field days are scheduled, with new videos published each week. On the trade front, USMCA goes into force July 1 and the first-round discussions between US and UK were held virtually. OWGL added our logo and support to a presentation to the House Judiciary Committee discussing the need to provide some limited liability protections for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA published a NOFA in relation to coronavirus food assistance program payments. Anticipated response to the NOFA will focus on the 2019 crop year and the needs for the 2020 crop year and will be discussed by OWGL at their next meeting. I participated in meetings ranging from the House Ag and Land Use interim committee to the Oregon Broadband Advisory Committee to state wheat progress calls.

Week of May 18, 2020

This week included both primary election results and release of the state’s May/June budget forecast. Most of the near-term reduction was expected, but what may have been surprising is how deeply the economic downturn is projected to impact revenues into 2023-25. Administrative work, involving contract development for the Commission and the Ag Research Foundation, updates to the assessments database and Completion of the Variety Survey. The CBARC liaison committee met, with discussion on virtual field days and the status of the director replacement process. I talked with OSU leads on anticipated budgetary impacts to OWGL priorities. We held a brief call with the Wheat Marketing Center, in preparation for harvest sample collection protocols. I discussed broadband options for CBARC with providers and reviewed an Ag tech incubator proposal from a southern Oregon group. We continued work with partners on campaigns to support the Columbia River system. Advocacy involved COVID-19 relief proposals on federal and state fronts. USDA released the federal CFAP details which include direct payment options for malted barley, durum wheat and hard red spring. All other classes of wheat are not currently included under the program. ODA discussions focused on OSHA rules, eBoard support and PPE distribution. We are continuing advocacy work on a number of pesticide issues.

Week of May 11, 2020

Oregon counties began the process for reopening this week, with limitations, but the immediate and long-term economic challenges will continue to dominate a number of our activities. Oregon Wheat Commission met via videoconference, passing the budget and adopting the operational plan for FY 2020-21. With appreciation to our current leadership, election of officers took place with Jerry Marguth elected as Chair, Dana Tuckness as Vice-Chair and Jordan Van Zante as Secretary/Treasurer. Following the meeting, I sent the bulk of the OWC FY 20-21 contracts to ODA for review. We executed the Memorandum of Understanding between Washington, Idaho and Oregon in preparation of the December Tri-State conference. The state commission executives met for a discussion focused around variety development and research strategic plans. NAWG compiled membership survey stats on COVID challenges, with many wheat producers highlighting concerns with access to credit. In considering these concerns, OWGL signed on to a letter with the Oregon Bankers Association to support the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act (ECORA) of 2019. I participated in focused discussions on reopening the economy, coronavirus relief funds, budget allotment exercises for reduction scenarios, OSHA regulations status, and next steps with the Corporate Activities Tax.

Week of May 4, 2020

This week included an OWGL Executive committee meeting to move forward a draft budget, adopt required policy, discuss staffing and receive updates on NAWG advocacy efforts. Staff finalized materials for the Commission board meeting scheduled May 11th and finalized draft contracts. OSHA published FAQs which included clarification as to the language covering “all labor-intensive agricultural operations." Staff explored a variety of state and federal resources for the Ag Research Center in Pendleton and the proposed carbon center. One of the more immediate opportunities involves broadband, which would benefit the center broadly, while also enhancing the Resilient Dryland Farming work and carbon center. I participated in a stakeholder meetings with ODA and OSU’s College of Agriculture Sciences to discuss how proposed cuts are likely to affect programs important to the wheat industry. For ODA, additional impacts from lottery fund reductions will likely further impact programs. I participated in multiple calls on the Governor’s “Reopening the economy” framework. OWGL staff compiled responses to the Association Health Plan survey. There was insufficient interest to pursue independently. We will continue to correspond with a partner entity on options to engage in their plan, should it be approved. OWC annually conducts a variety survey. The responses are being compiled this week. Research progress reports were submitted by all researchers on OWC funded work.


Week of April 27, 2020

This week continued many of the COVID restrictions, with multiple remote meetings. Continuing efforts included co-existence conversations, meeting with state executives for both Wheat Commissions and Wheat Associations and furthering activities along the river system. OSHA’s director joined our weekly ag meeting to discuss temporary rulemaking for agricultural operations. He clarified the definition of ‘labor intensive’ operations to mean those with a large number of workers, not the physical effort involved. I met with the US Coast Guard national security for export infrastructure lead to discuss key wheat markets and logistics. Current operations are thus far working without disruption and the conversation provided a chance to reinforce the importance of keeping the river system open. I participated in a State Wheat Association Executives meeting and a meeting of the State Commission Executives. Each state is dealing with many of the same issues stemming from covid-19 restrictions, including no-cost extensions for research projects, hosting virtual field days and engaging remotely with trade partners. Administrative activities this week included responding to media inquiries and individual grower issues, contract development and final preparations for the OWGL Executive Committee meeting which is scheduled for next week.

Week of April 19, 2020

This week involved preparation of materials for the June magazine, a NAWG board meeting, review of the operational plan for OWC, discussions related to our work funded for furthering South America markets for PNW wheat, and pursuing our research/covid/legislative/key projects areas. Field days will be held virtually this year given the restrictions on gatherings. Scientists, extension faculty, and cooperators are creating brief videos and will host a live videoconference in mid-June. The House and Senate passed another CARES round, which included a fix to the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans. I participated in multiple presentations on the Governor’s framework for reopening the economy. Given the cancellation of Agfest this year, OWGL had pancake mix that would expire before next year. Krusteaz, which originally provided the mix, confirmed that we could donate it to the local food pantry, Capeco.

Week of April 12, 2020

An unexpected dynamic of the change to remote interactions due to COVID-19 protections, is an improvement to the age-old problem for needing to be in two places at once. Without travel time involved, I have been able to engage in far more remote meetings. I participated in the Tri-State Commission Executives meeting to collaborate on projects proposed in our budgets, including the ongoing work in South America. I attended the ODA annual stakeholder meeting on legislative concepts and budget proposals, NAWG committee meetings and a joint call with legislators, with discussions on topics related to COVID-19 impacts/federal responses and the volatility in the market wheat has experienced. I also attended the Ag coalition meeting, Oregonians for Food and Shelter meeting, Association meetings and CEO roundtables. Discussions have included the state’s framework for reopening the economy, CAT implementation delay requests and OHA guidance being developed for ag operations in light of coronavirus. I appreciate the additional work that OWGL staff did this week in cleaning up some of the membership lists with a clarification to policies. Also this week we did see progress on the agreement for the purchase of the combines.

Week of April 5, 2020

This week provided one last chance for producers to submit comments on the Columbia River System Operations draft EIS. The Commission reviewed revised research proposals and received the proposed FY2020-21 budget. Budget hearing will take place May 11th. The Commission approved a letter of support for a project to investigate “Quantifying Climate Induced Changes to Wheat Nutritional Content.” Other Commission actions involved administrative items related to contracts and committee assignments. Updates included discussion on market trends relative to coronavirus disruptions. The League Board met to discuss the status of the CRSO Draft EIS and operational impacts experienced throughout the industry due to coronavirus restrictions. The EC approved funding to the CRSO campaign, approved a letter of support for OWC appointment applications, reviewed membership reports, and reviewed insurance policies. Conducting the annual insurance review is important: updates resulted in significant annual cost savings to OWGL. Working for producers and building relationships for our industry is a critical part of each week. Much of this week I spent communicating with agency staff and producers on a range of issues. Agency staff with NRCS, ODA and OSU-Extension provided direct assistance and resources for a number of wheat related situations cropping up around the state.


Week of March 30, 2020

This week continued a variety of activities designed to support Oregon Wheat producers navigating the growing COVID19 crisis while still getting out into fields for normal operations. I participated in a call with DOR regarding CAT rulemaking and implementation. Shanna participated in the Columbia/Snake River System Operations DEIS public meeting for the League, providing comments on the importance of the navigation system for wheat producers. OWF scholarship acceptance notices were sent to nine students. Tana and I had our second meeting with the database developer to assess and implement efficiencies. I spent a good section of the week in final preparation for the OWC meeting. This week involved tough decisions necessary to ensure that we can function in the near term, maintain critical services through economic recovery and operate in a manner that will assure the overall health of Oregon Wheat long term. We do not anticipate that our normal way of doing business will return for quite some time. With the fundamental changes to our operations, we required a reduction in force and provided notice of layoff to an OWC employee. Much of the week was spent preparing a draft proposed budget and other materials for the OWC meeting. The comment period for the draft EIS for the Columbia/Snake River System Operations remains open until April 13 and this week, in addition to written comment, I prepared and delivered verbal public comment at one of the public meetings.

Week of March 16, 2020

A significant portion of this week was dominated by coronavirus. League staff worked extensively through our networks preparing written requests for exemptions to any potential ‘stay at home’ orders and establishing resource materials for our producers. We cancelled the annual May golf scramble, a fundraiser for the Oregon Wheat Foundation. Scholarship evaluation for submitted applications wrapped up this week, with staff completing review of the final round for the ‘second chance’ scholarship. We continued extensive engagement with partners, as well, in relation to the open public comment period for the drat EIS on the Columbia River System Operations and supporting the listed preferred alternative. Office time allowed for preparation for meetings with the OWC scheduled to meet April 6th via videoconference/teleconference. The Commission will address operations in light of covid-19 changes, review budget items, adjust master agreements and conduct necessary business. The OWGL Executive Committee will meet April 9th, also by teleconference to discuss the draft EIS, review of insurance policies, support Commission appointments and receive reports on critical operations. In the midst of challenges, we are protecting the health and safety of our workers with telework options for those whose positions allows remote work.

Week of March 9, 2020

The markets have been on a roller coaster ride recently and wheat proves no exception. In some ways, our industry was feeling the impact earlier than most given the international markets in which we operate. This week, though, COVID19 concerns came crashing in on Oregon, resulting in a variety of actions intended to limit the spread of the virus. The cancellations of some activities and adaptation to remote engagements allowed more in-office time. With that time, I worked with staff to coordinate upcoming OWGL and OWC meetings, drafted an extension to our farm lease with CBARC, further explored association health plan partnership options, participated in a Plant Breeding Innovation webinar, met with ODA Commodity Commission Oversight staff and addressed internal administrative functions. Policy issues continued to take front seat this week. I participated in an Oregonians for Food and Shelter Board meeting as we look forward into issues for 2021 and continued to communicate with working groups dealing with items that arose in the 2020 session. Buckle up, friends. Looks like it will be an interesting and volatile month, but farming has always been a long-haul game. Wishing you all good spray weather, good health and some nice wheat growing rains.

Week of March 2, 2020

This week, I moved the splitter valve to take it from low to high gear (aka, I am now full-time driving this Oregon Wheat operation)! A number of administrative items came along with that change, including reviewing OWGL/OWF insurance coverage and preparing paperwork to provide future cost savings. Effectively, this week saw the end of the 2020 legislative session. Following attempts to negotiate a one-day return for budget priority bills, procedural moves led to all bills not already advanced to the Governor’s desk terminating at midnight on March 8th. The 2019 session legacy continues, however, and I attended the Department of Revenue Corporate Activities Tax roadshow, sharing areas of concern for items affecting agriculture that are impacting by rule-making. As we seek to avoid challenging waters ahead, staff prepared information on the recently released Draft EIS on the Columbia River System Operations, highlighting the importance of the river system and the Lower Snake River Dams. This week included my first Oregon Wheat Foundation meeting. With assistance from a number of partners, I submitted the framework for the CBARC Soil Carbon Center funding request. Through the generosity of Mid-Columbia Insurance, I received a crash course in crop insurance. Finally, rounding out the week, we had the announcement that Oregon was added to the list of states that can now ship wheat to Kenya and issued a press release supporting proactive free-trade negotiations with Kenya.


Week of February 24, 2020

Blake - It seemed somehow fitting that my last active week on the job would find me on the road from Tuesday to Friday. With Amanda H. at the IGP Milling Course, I went with the Executive Committee and Brent Cheyne to the NAWG meetings held in conjunction with the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio. The NAWG meetings focused on setting a budget for the 2020/21 fiscal year, which really came down to balancing budget cuts and additional revenue sources to offset the loss of dues from North Dakota. They were successful in striking a balance that will work for next year, but there will continue to be challenges going forward. Other topics included a check-in on the strategic plan and review of new and old policy resolutions.

The ongoing drama at the Oregon Legislature continued through the week, but any further passage of legislation is blocked unless the Republicans return to the session.

Looking forward, I will be wrapping up a few topics with Amanda H. that we have not covered yet, cleaning up a few files, and taking care of some administrative details in the next few days. Once those things are done I’ll be on vacation through the month of March, but on-call as needed if there are questions I can help with. Then its time to make this retirement gig a reality. This will be my last CEO Report, so Lori and I want to thank all of you again for eight wonderful years with Oregon Wheat.

Amanda - Along with two of our Oregon Wheat Commissioners, I had the opportunity to participate in the IGP-KSU flour milling course. Designed specifically for wheat commissions, the course enhances an understanding of all of the aspects of production. The course focus areas and learning included wheat cleaning, milling math, impact of wheat quality/characteristics, milling and baking labs and more.This week saw the walkout of the Senate and House Republicans as proposed cap and trade legislation was pushed out of committee without due process. The draft EIS on the Columbia-Snake River dams was released on Friday and notably rejects the removal of these dams which are critical to movement of wheat to market. The market to Kenya (and by extension Uganda) opened up this week, but overall the news for all markets, including wheat, is challenging with the spread of the coronavirus. Finally, OWC staff did a great job hosting the growers workshop and OWGL leadership participated in the Commodity Classic and NAWG meetings.

Week of February 18, 2020

Blake - The saying about “same song, different verse” applied to the week of the 16th as the Legislature continued its frantic efforts to jam major legislation through the short session. We continued to actively work a variety of issues, with the chlorpyrifos ban, technical fixes to the CAT, wildfire, and Cap and Trade continuing to draw most of our attention. Mid-week it looked like our work on the CAT was going to be lost, but we were happy to see that the amendments we were seeking, improvements on how to calculate cost of goods sold for farms using cash accounting, providing options for a wholesaler (handler) to determine their percentage of out-of-state sales, and exempting crop insurance claim payments from the definition of taxable business activity, all made it into HB 4009 that passed out of the House Revenue Committee. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much success on most of our other legislative priorities, but it may all be moot as it looks more and more likely that the Senate Republicans will leave the session to block the quorum needed to pass the Cap and Trade bill.

The end of the week found us in Corvallis for the Commission’s Annual Research Review and a Commission meeting. Both sessions provided a great opportunity to interact with OSU scientists and College of Agriculture Dean Alan Sams and to tour the campus research facilities.

Amanda - This week involved Oregon Wheat Commission related meetings, beginning with program tours and research proposal reviews in Corvallis. Visiting lab facilities provided a new level of understanding of the wheat genetics research at OSU and the capabilities of the cereal quality lab. The research proposal and conversations with scientists added depth to the weed resistance screening and management underway. Research reviews were followed by a meeting of the Commission. As it was a ‘short’ week for me at Oregon Wheat due to finalizing activities at MCEDD, Blake handled the legislative session activities with the CAT technical fixes moving out of committee, the chlopryifos bill approved through the House and moved to Senate committee and an ever-expanding wildfire bill. With concerns around cap and trade, we anticipate significant moves next week which will shape the entire trajectory of the session. On the OWGL side, we issued a press release on the upcoming draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Columbia River and Lower Snake River systems, encouraging our members to submit comments.

Week of February 10, 2020

Blake – The Legislative session again dominated the week. Two new issues, the timber industry’s decision to enter into negotiations with environmental interests on forest practice issues and Governor Brown’s letter to Washington’s Governor Inslee supporting the removal of the lower Snake River dams, drew lots of discussion and concern. The forestry negotiations don’t involve ag directly, but many issues that will be addressed could set precedents for us down the road. Governor Brown’s letter just adds more pressure to the debate about the SR dams and, I think, marks the first time the State of Oregon has taken such an aggressive position on the issue.

Toward the end of the week, Amanda H. and I participated in a meeting with ODA and other commodity commission execs to review commissions rules and administrative procedures. And went to Salem with League EC members for the annual cake-cutting ceremony to celebrate Oregon’s birthday. We were able to meet with several legislators on CAT ‘fixes” and the potential chlorpyrifos ban.

Amanda Following tradition, OWGL spent the day at the capitol on February 14th. The timing of hearings and bill deadlines made for a light day of meetings, but we celebrated Oregon Wheat's contributions to the state with Representative Boshart Davis cutting a cake in the Capitol Galleria. Throughout the week, Oregon's legislative session required close attention with particular focus on Corporate Activities Tax technical fix considerations critical to our growers, wildfire hearings and cap and trade bills. In office time involved preparations for the Oregon Wheat Commission meetings next week. Tana has a full group for the February Grower's Workshop and she has put together another educational agenda. We participated in the Oregon Department of Agriculture/Department of Justice's 'Commission Roundup' which reinforced important mechanisms of commission operations. Finally, I continued work with our members advancing a carbon center proposal and met my last commissioner at the Oregon Consular Corps event.

Week of February 3, 2020

Blake – With the start of the 2020 Legislative session, much of my attention went to working, with Amanda H., Amanda D. and the other ag/natural resource interests on bills concerning Cap and Trade, technical fixes to the CAT, a potential ban on chlorpyrifos pesticides, and wildfire. The short session moves very quickly with amendments, hearings and work sessions moving with very little notice or time for review, so much of my engagement was via conference calls and text messages. With Amanda D. and the Dalton Advocacy staff working things in Salem, I spent the middle of the week on the road traveling to Pendleton for some time in the League office, to La Grande for the Union/Baker growers meeting, to The Dalles for League EC and Board meetings, and to Rufus for the Wasco/Sherman growers meeting.

Amanda The week was split between the Pendleton and Portland offices, with meetings in Rufus and The Dalles thrown in the middle. The OWGL Executive Committee and full Board met in The Dalles, with a robust agenda. OWGL leadership established individual goals for the upcoming year, many related to the growth of membership to enhance our collective voice at the federal and state level. Staff is following up on a number of areas in which the board provided guidance, including exploring opportunities for Association Health plans, assessing the dues structure, expanding our reach and preparing to distribute Best Management Practices. With the legislative session underway, Blake and I had a series of conference calls with lobby groups, as many ag entities collectively work on CAT technical fixes, wildfire bills and challenges with cap and trade. Time in the OWC and OWGL offices involved working through administrative items: getting set up with accounts, meeting with the OWGL accountant, and assessing options for OWC tech providers. Finally, this week involved my first presentation at the Sherman/Wasco Counties grower's outreach meeting, attending the celebration for the Japanese Emperor's birthday, responding to inquiries from legislative staff on trade related issues and participating in the initial Stakeholder Panel call for the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center Director search.

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