General

‘Man of action’ takes on new role as PNWA president

By Kevin Gaffney
For Wheat Life

Tom Kammerzell is a man of action who wears many hats. He approaches issues and projects by conducting thorough research and then instituting a plan to achieve specific goals. “If you aren’t playing offense, you are always going to be on defense, in a reactive mode,” he explained.  Kammerzell was…

wheat field

Introducing the ‘new kid’

By Andy Juris
President, Washington Association of Wheat Growers

We’ve all been there. Sitting at the local café/coffee pot/rural community news center when a strange vehicle pulls into town. “That’s the new kid” one of the local farmers says. “He’s taken over the old Smith place.” Folks smile and shake their heads, bless his heart but he doesn’t know…

Different crops, same issues

By Trista Crossley
Editor

Farmers in the Skagit Valley may be producing crops unthinkable in Eastern Washington, but they face many of the same pressures as dryland wheat farmers do. At stop after stop, producers on last month’s legislative food and farm tour discussed issues such as farmland preservation, labor, the cost of inputs,…

wheat field

A look back at the past year

By Howard McDonald
WAWG President

Just the other day, someone asked me if there was anything that surprised me in my year of being WAWG (Washington Association of Wheat Growers) president. I answered that I was a farmer, and that I’m used to things sometimes going sideways on the farm operation, and I’m used to…

Diamond-S Farms, Whitman County

By Trista Crossley
Editor

Diamond-S Farms in Colton, Wash., was homesteaded by Art Schultheis’ great-great-grandfather in 1874. After working for and with his parents in the 1980s and 90s, Schultheis and his wife, Sue, took over the farm in 1995, and they are now getting ready to hand the reins over to their own…

Double Z Farms, Lincoln County

By Trista Crossley
Editor

In Lincoln County, Tom Zwainz and his son, Joel, are the fourth and fifth generations to farm the family’s land, some of which dates back to the 1860s. They grow mostly wheat and canola now, but they’ve grown malt barley, peas and chickpeas in the past. Joel’s path back to…

Kelley Brothers, Grant County

By Trista Crossley
Editor

For five generations, Chuck Erickson’s family has been farming north of Hartline, Wash., in Grant County, but they haven’t always grown wheat. “Originally, we were orchardists. At the homestead where I live, there were 18 acres of assorted fruit trees. They had to bucket water to the trees by hand,”…

Harvest 2022

By Trista Crossley
Editor

Every year, as June rolls into July, excitement starts to build across Eastern Washington for thousands of wheat farmers and their families who are stewards of more than 2 million acres of land. Nearly all of Washington’s wheat farms are family owned and operated, and they are often passed down…

wheat field

Another harvest, another trip around the sun

By Howard McDonald
WAWG President

Whew! Another year around the sun that we have harvested and seeded! Now it’s time to wind down and watch the wheat grow. As my late dad would say, “It’s time to round up all the scrap iron and put it in one pile,” which meant getting all the farm…

UW faculty field tour

By Trista Crossley
Editor

Teachers generally do the educating, but last month, a group of University of Washington (UW) faculty members found themselves on the other side of the desk when they visited Sen. Mark Schoesler’s Ritzville farm to learn about the Washington wheat industry. The visit was part of UW’s Faculty Field Tour…