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Robert Plucker, 93, out checking on his 2020 wheat harvest operation in Touchet.
Photo by Nick Plucker

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PROFILES

Jumping in is nothing new to this farmer and his family

Phil Isaak, WAWG past president 1993/94

Aug/Sept 2020
By Kevin Gaffney


Most Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) presidents spend several years working through the ranks of their county organizations. Many serve as committee chairs or county reps on the WAWG state board before going through the state officer positions. Phil Isaak jumped directly into the WAWG secretary-treasurer position at the request of then-outgoing President Chris Laney.

It wasn’t like Isaak was an unknown quantity, however.

Isaak had experience on various boards and commissions before WAWG and many more in the years following his service in the leadership positions. And nearly as important, Isaak had already spent an entire year traveling around the state with his daughter, Brenda, as she served as WAWG Wheat Queen. Read more


Long-time ad sales manager retires

Kevin Gaffney has spent 30 years contributing to the success of Wheat Life

June 2020
By Trista Crossley


You may not immediately recognize his name, but he’s one of the main reasons Wheat Life is as successful as it is.

In May, after almost 30 years of involvement with the magazine and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG), Kevin Gaffney, our ad sales manager, is hanging up his hat.

It’s an understatement to say we will miss him.

“Kevin has been a well-rounded and hardworking employee for WAWG,” said Michelle Hennings, WAWG’s executive director. “He has a great personality and a natural ability to connect with others. His working relationships with Wheat Life’s advertisers, growers and fellow staff members has helped make it possible for the magazine to thrive in a time when other print publications have struggled. We are sorry to lose him, but wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement!” Read more


Educating students about the wheat industry one week at a time

Kara Kaelber, founder of Wheat Week

June 2020
By Kevin Gaffney


Wheat Week has been an effective tool for educating fourth and fifth graders in Washington state about agriculture and, more specifically, the wheat industry, for 13 years. The mastermind behind this unique in-the-classroom instructional program is Kara Kaelber.

Born in southern Idaho, Kaelber spent her middle and high school years in Connecticut, where her mother had taken a job with Weight Watchers, a division of the H.J. Heinz Company. Kaelber began her college studies at the University of Florida. After her mother landed a job with Welch’s in Kennewick, Wash., Kaelber eagerly returned to the Pacific Northwest and attended Washington State University (WSU). Read more


Ag's story told

Sue Tebow turns to social media to spread the word on farmers and ranchers

June 2020
By Trista Crossley


Moses Lake resident Sue Tebow has taken the phrase “sharing is caring” to a new social media level.

“I had been thinking about doing something for a long time to share the ag life with people. I have a lot of friends that aren’t ag related and didn’t understand what goes on in agriculture. I put it off and put it off until one day, I just thought why not and what if? It turned out to be a really good idea,” Tebow said.

Tebow’s idea was to create a Facebook page where she could share stories from farmers and ranchers. The idea—a daily post from a farmer or rancher, no names and a single photo—may have been simple, but it was effective. Four years later, her page, agri.CULTURE, has more than 25,000 followers from around the world and has more than 900 posts. In 2017, Tebow was awarded the Charles Easton Award by the Agriculture Council of America for her work as an advocate for accurate communications between rural and urban audiences. She has also been inducted into the Grant County Agriculture Hall of Fame and given the Excellence in Agriculture Service Award. Read more


Forming resonsible adults as an FFA chapter leader

Steve Braun, Liberty High School ag instructor

May 2020
By Kevin Gaffney


Steve Braun was destined to be an ag educator, but he didn’t recognize his calling until he was working his way through college.

Braun was raised in the small agricultural community of Cambridge, Idaho, in a family with several generations of farmers and ranchers. His grandfather, his father and three uncles raised wheat, barley, alfalfa and grass hay and beef cattle on their diversified farm. He was actively involved with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) during his high school years. Their Cambridge chapter was very competitive, and it paid off in a big way in 1989, when they took on a project that was part of the Building Our American Communities, a program to promote volunteerism.

The FFA group designed a plan to place new street signs throughout Cambridge. Their application was accepted, and the city agreed to fund the cost of the new street signs. The group did all the labor of installing the signs throughout town. Their project won the Idaho state award, beating all the larger schools. The award included a paid-in-full trip to Washington, D.C., for their ag instructor and for Braun, the FFA project leader. Read more