My supportive family made service possible

By Ryan Poe
For Wheat Life

family by tree

Well, as this is my last president’s column, I want to pause for a minute and thank a number of people and reflect on the past two years.

When I became the current Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) president at our convention in late 2019, COVID-19 was a foreign concept. As the pandemic began to make waves, I thought 2020 would be a very challenging year. Fortunately, most of our legislative visits were completed before a lot of the restrictions were put into place, and 2020 turned out to be much less complicated than 2021 has been. When the decision was made to keep the 2020 officers for 2021, I thought the last year wasn’t so bad so why not? Well, with virtual legislative visits, challenging legislation both at the state and national level, wide ranging pandemic restrictions, Snake River dam attacks, a major, widespread drought and protein issues, 2021 has not been easy. Fortunately, my first year as president allowed me to get my feet under me, and I think I was better prepared for all the challenges the second year has brought.

As I reflect on the past couple of years, I want to make sure and give a shout out to a number of people that have helped me in my term as president.  First and foremost, I need to thank my wife, Marlene, who has encouraged me all along the way and has picked up a ton of slack taking care of the household, her business and our two children while I have been out of town at meetings. My mom and dad, John and Sue, have also helped with kids and cows while I’ve been away. I also would not have been able to serve without my partners in our family farming operation, my uncle, Terry, and my cousin, Dean. Without them being here while I was away, I don’t think I would have been able to do this. I also need to give a huge shout out to the WAWG staff. I sincerely appreciate everything each one of them does to make this organization work.

The past couple years, I have had amazing opportunities that I am so thankful for, and I’ve met a lot of incredible people. I thought going into this I knew a lot about our industry, but I’m continually learning more and more about it. I want to encourage anyone out there to get active at the county or state level; from my perspective, it is so worth it. It has been an honor to serve as WAWG president, and I look forward to moving into the past president’s role at our upcoming Tri-State Grain Growers Convention and staying involved.

Speaking of convention, one of the most important things we do during it is review our resolutions. The resolutions set our priorities for the coming year and help guide staff and leaders’ efforts. Without our members’ input on these resolutions, we can’t adequately represent and advocate for our industry. Please consider attending our meeting on Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. to make your priorities known.