Wheat well met 2022 event lights up winter as growers gather to celebrate industry

By Trista Crossley


It might have been frightful outside, thanks to a massive winter storm, but inside the Coeur d’Alene Resort, all things were merry and bright as farmers, exhibitors and industry stakeholders gathered to celebrate the Pacific Northwest wheat industry at the 2022 Tri-State Grain Growers Convention.

FOOD FOR ALL. Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Dr. Norman Borlaug, is dedicated to ending food insecurity across the globe. She pointed out that the most food insecure countries are also the most volatile, because “when you don’t have food, you don’t have your basic needs met.” Borlaug said agriculture needs to collaborate and better communicate. For example, talking about productivity could translate to the public as more fertilizer, more destruction of the environment. Instead, it needs to be a climate sustainability conversation. “You can craft the same argument, but you have to do it in a way the public understands.” Agriculture also needs to beware of a new strain of “fact-resistant” humans. She explained that there are some people who are putting forward a utopian picture of agriculture, and “that’s just not how agriculture works.” There’s also popular misconceptions that need to be rebutted, such as GMO beef and family farms that are also corporations. “Communications are how we move ahead in agriculture,” she said.

“Despite the weather, we had one of the most well-attended conventions in years. It was a perfect way to open the holiday season, by celebrating our industry with family and friends,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers. “There was a huge amount of work that went into planning this event, and it wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Idaho, Oregon and Washington industry groups. Staff from all three states worked incredibly long hours making sure everything ran as smoothly as possible.”

Attendees gathered at the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, resort Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2022, to hear noted national speakers discuss the battle between foodies and farmers, address global food insecurity through innovation, and a long-term weather outlook. Industry stakeholders held panels that covered the fight over the lower Snake River dams; supply chain issues; and how global events are impacting grain prices. Comedian Scott Bloom emceed the convention.

Educational break-out sessions covered national policy issues, including the farm bill; nitrogen and sulphur fertilizer management; updates from the Natural Resources Conservation Service; updates on falling numbers research; a wheat market outlook; outlooks in climate-smart farming; taxes; and stress management.

Washington growers participated in an all-committee meeting to review and update resolutions, followed by an awards banquet. Carissa Schmitz of Washington won a free registration to the 2023 convention as winner of the photo contest.

Unlike previous years, this year’s convention didn’t wrap up with a last morning long-term weather forecast session. Instead, the growers closed out the event with the dinner and auction. Growers got in some early Christmas shopping during the silent and live auctions while raising funds for the three states’ foundations. Former Washington FFA state president, Tucker Cool, ran the live auction, which included tickets to Shania Twain, vacation getaways and other big-ticket items. All of the auction items were donated by growers and industry supporters. Entertainment was provided by Cara Pascalar who used song parodies to celebrate the shared joys and frustrations of being involved with agriculture.

Please join us at next year’s convention, which will also be at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Nov. 14-16, 2023. The wheat organizations of Idaho, Oregon and Washington want to thank everybody who made the convention possible, especially our sponsors, industry supporters and exhibitors.

WILL WINTER WEATHER WANE? Perennial favorite weather forecaster, Eric Snodgrass, predicted a cold, snowy winter for the Pacific Northwest thanks to a third year of La Niña. That La Niña is expected to fade at the beginning of 2023. Other areas of the country, especially the central Plains, are still very dry, but Snodgrass said that could change quickly if an El Niño develops. He explained that in order to figure out what the weather will look like in the Pacific Northwest, growers should watch the weather over Japan. The position of the jet stream is also critical in bringing moisture to the region. He pointed out that in general, “If the jet stream won’t leave you alone, you’ll be cold and wet. If it does leave you alone, you’ll burn.”

Platinum Sponsors

BASF Corporation

Idaho Grain Producers Assoc.

Northwest Farm Credit Services

Oregon Wheat Growers League

Ritzville Warehouse Company

The McGregor Company

Valley Wide Cooperative/
Valley Agronomics

Washington Grain Commission

Gold Sponsors


BNSF Railway

Corteva Agriscience

Molson Coors Beverage Co.

Nutrien Ag Solutions

Pro Ag Management

Silver Sponsors 

Agricultural Marketing and
Management Organization

Bayer Crop Science

CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP

Coleman Oil Company

Columbia Bank

FOOD FIGHT. National agriculture policy expert Ray Starling spoke to convention attendees about a growing battle between those involved in the agricultural industry and those who say the food system is broken and want to reform it. He said there are intelligent, coordinated outside forces advocating for reshaping the industry, but that their assumptions are wrong. Most people are two to three generations removed from the farm and haven’t been around a production system. For many of today’s younger generations, they simply hit a button, and what they want shows up within a couple of days. “People are looking for meaning or something meaningful,” Starling explained. For many of them, food has given them a purpose. What can agriculture do about it? Be honest and admit when things need to be improved and compete in the information space. Above all, Starling said, remember that the best reason to push back is because of food insecurity. “We won’t make progress by dismantling the current food system.”

Graybeal Group, Inc.

HighLine Grain Growers, Inc.

Leffel, Otis & Warwick, P.S.

Les Schwab Tire Centers

Mid-Columbia Producers, Inc.

Morrow County Grain Growers

North Pine Ag Equipment

RDO Equipment

Rural Community Insurance Services


United Grain Corp.

Wilbur Ellis Company

WSU Small Grains

Industry Supporters


Big Bend Electric Cooperative


Great Western Malting Co.

Itafos Conda

Mid-Columbia Insurance, Inc.

Mountain States Insurance Grp.

Northwest Grain Growers

Pacific NW Farmers Cooperative

Papé Machinery


Shaver Transportation Co.


State Bank Northwest

Washington State Crop Improvement Association

Wheatland Bank


AGPRO Marketing & Manufacturing

Altitude Agriservice

American Family Insurance

American Radiator

Barr-Tech Compost

Big Iron Auctions

Byrnes Oil Co.

Class 8 Trucks

CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP

Coleman Oil Company


Farm Equipment HQ

Farmland Company



Graybeal Group, Inc.

Harvest Capital Co.

Heartland Ag Systems

LeafGuard of Spokane


Medius Ag

Morrow County Grain Growers

North Pine Ag Equipment

Northwest Farm Credit Services

Odessa Trading Company/

Oregon State University Wheat

Oregonians for Food & Shelter

Pacific Intermountain Mortgage

Pacific NW Ag Network

R&H Machine, Inc.

RDO Equipment

Soilcraft, LLC

Spokane Ag Show

Texas Refinery

The McGregor Company

University of Idaho



Valley Wide Cooperative/Valley Agronomics

Washington Wheat Foundation

Western Insurance Associates

Western Trailer Sales Co.

WSU Extension/Farm Stress

WSU Small Grains/Washington Genetics