End of the road

By Andy Juris
President, Washington Association of Wheat Growers

wheat field

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already, yet here we are with another convention upon us. Soon, you’ll have the privilege of meeting our next president and will no longer be subjected to my monthly ramblings. I can say, with certainty, that I appreciate your indulgence and patience as I relayed whatever was floating around in my head over this past year. And thank you to those who actually took the time to read it!

It has truly been a privilege to serve as your president for 2023. This year has presented us with several unforeseen challenges, many of which will continue into the future. It seems that life just moves faster these days, and with that fast pace comes a set of problems that can threaten to take all of our focus. I could easily fill up this column with a long list of concerns for the future, warnings against apathy, and strong condemnations for the accuracy of the weather forecast, but that isn’t what I will remember when I look back on this year. I’ll remember how much I enjoyed representing all of you, the people who make Washington wheat the envy of the world (quite literally).

I truly enjoyed meeting so many of you at county meetings, variety trials, and Wheat College. The enthusiasm you have for your industry and love you have for this way of life is infectious. It is apparent in the care and attention you put into a crop, the pride you take in a job well done, the concern you have that people and nations depend on us, and the consistent hope for the future. Despite wild and volatile weather, foolish politicians, and uncertain markets, this hope that next year will be a good one and we can do what we do best carries us forward. Whether you realize it or not, you have been an immense encouragement to me, and for that, I will be forever grateful. 

My fellow officers have also made this year extremely enjoyable. It takes a team to tackle difficult situations, and the officer team I have worked with has risen to meet them. Moreover, I consider them all lifelong friends — perhaps one of life’s most valuable commodities.

I would be remiss here if I didn’t also mention the people who truly keep the lights on at the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG). I can say, without reservation, the staff at WAWG is one of the finest and most competent groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Michelle, KayDee, Katie, Trista, and Lance do their jobs with a degree of excellence I would have given anything to have during my time in the corporate world. They have made my time as an officer thoroughly enjoyable and smooth. As we look to a somewhat uncertain future, you can know for certain that WAWG is in good hands with these folks.

And so, here we are at the end! But not the end; we go on together to the next year, the next crop, the next challenge. We will need each other with our collective voice in the coming year(s) to meet these challenges. The strength of WAWG is not in a president, officer group, or board, it’s in all of you. The greatest strength of any organization is the people within it. As we look to the future, regardless of any potential problems, I know that if we meet these issues together, we will assure the continuance of what George Washington called “the most healthy, the most useful, and the most noble employment of man.”