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Wheat Groups say 'Enough!'

by Scott Yates, Oregon Staff Writer
Capital Press, October 14, 2005

SPOKANE - Enough already!

That was the message the Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington Wheat Commission gave loud and clear in a letter about consolidating the nation's wheat organizations.

"We feel all future efforts should be concentrated on addressing and protecting the interests of the American wheat producer ... through the existing organization structure of NAWG, WETEC and USW," said the letter from Jeff Emtman, president of WAWG and Curtis Hennings, chairman of the Washington Wheat Commission.

Directed to the national organizations, the wheat leaders said the merger is no longer a high priority and called for a rest period.

"Perhaps a delay in future discussions until the next farm bill is signed or after the next presidential election is completed would be in order," they wrote.

The letter follows the NAWG board's decision in Portland to defeat the merger plan pressed upon it by USW. Both USW and the Wheat Export Trade and Education Council voted in favor of the merger. The NAWG board defeated the proposal 18 to 11.

After voting down the merger plan, however, NAWG board members immediately agreed to revisit a consolidation or merger proposal at the group's next meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in February. Hennings and Emtman made it clear if the issue is taken up again, their organizations want no part in it.

After three years, thousands of man-hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars, they wrote: "It is our joint opinion that any further discussion on the merger concept at this time would result in continued failure."

Daren Coppock, chief executive officer of NAWG, said while his organization remains supportive of the consolidation effort, "We are turning our energies to budget reconciliation, the 2007 Food Security Act and other priorities," adding, "It's not all bad to have a brief cooling-off period."

Scott Yates, Washington State Staff Writer
Wheat Groups say 'Enough!'
Capital Press, October 14, 2005

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