A little ‘whine’ with that wheat?

By Andy Juris
President, Washington Association of Wheat Growers

wheat field

My wife said she thinks I stress over things too much. I disagreed. But apparently, my wife belongs to a powerful global cabal of worried farm wives, a cabal who’s influence likely spans continents, oceans, maybe even space itself. I know this because a lot of other folks started making comments that suspiciously aligned with views held by my wife. They got to the doctor too, probably blackmail. He made the flimsy argument that insomnia, chronic acid reflux, high blood pressure, and a propensity for verbal outbursts were all in agreement with the general diagnosis. What do they teach doctors these days?! If he knew his trade, he’d understand that farmers have an almost alien physiology. This is all completely normal!

Still, to keep the sinister efforts of the cabal at bay, I figured I’d make an effort to take some of their advice, which was to find a hobby/creative outlet/social circle. Since hobbies are somewhat foreign to me and in direct conflict with my cheap … er … frugal nature, that was out. I understand artsy things about as well I comprehend Sanskrit, so no go there. But someone did suggest joining a club of some kind, and in a foolish moment, I knew I’d found the perfect thing for farmers — a farmers whine club.

I bet some of you didn’t know that farmers could take so easily to such a rich and complex subject as whine. But hear me out for a second. Just as our crops require care, thought, careful husbandry and time, so, too, does whine! It seems a perfect fit, as if designed by the almighty. 

As our group gathered weekly, a whole new world opened to us. Not only was there a lot to explore as we sampled various whines (or whining as we came to call it), but we also discovered all the various things you can pair with whine. The combinations are endless! For example, I found that I could pair a “low rainfall year” whine with an “envy of irrigation;” trust me, it goes down smooth. An older member brought in a nicely aged “there’s no one to take over the farms anymore” with a strange pairing of “refusing to relinquish control to darn kids;” it had a nutty aftertaste. A younger farmer brought in a “dad doesn’t trust me” with a light side of “wrecked the 3rd new pickup” the next week; it tasted like a million bucks! Still another blew our minds further with a new release of “government has no place in agriculture” that he brilliantly paired with “CFAP/MFP/ERP;” an unlikely combination, I know, but somehow, we found it quite palatable! 

Thus, week after week, our little group assembled, sampling whines. I’m not sure it reduced stress, assuming I had any. But secretly, some of us started to wonder if some of the pairings really did go that well together. It was after someone brought in a “too poor to fund the Wheat PAC” with a “WSU season tickets” that we initially thoroughly enjoyed, but later gave us all indigestion, that we truly began to worry. Could it be that some of these whines aren’t as good as we thought? Worse yet, do some of the pairings have unforeseen health consequences later? 

Sadly, in the end, we had to disband. Personally, I think one of our wives slipped some “self-reflection” into one of the pairings. Facing and addressing some of the more blatant conflicts in our industry is such a cabal move, but one has to admit when they’re beaten, so it’s better diets, exercise, uncomfortable honesty and sincerity, I guess. Don’t cross the cabal folks … it’ll ruin your whine!