Dana Peterson, a longtime policy staffer at Kansas Wheat, will be the next chief executive officer of the National Association of Wheat Growers.
Peterson accepted the position this week after an extensive search process undertaken by a committee including NAWG’s officer corps and three leaders from NAWG’s affiliated state associations. The final staffing decision was recommended by the executive Board made up of NAWG’s officers and producers representing NAWG’s member-states.
“We are absolutely delighted to be bringing one of our dynamic state staffers to the national office,” said Karl Scronce, NAWG president and acting chief executive. “Dana is great to work with and showed confidence and poise throughout the interview process. She has ideas and enthusiasm that we need in Washington to help NAWG grow and the wheat industry thrive in a very competitive policy and production environment.”
As a policy and membership specialist at Kansas Wheat since 2001, Peterson has been intimately involved in key issues on the national and state levels for nearly a decade. Her experience includes participation in the last two farm bill debates; the push to increase research funding and give wheat producers access to biotechnology; and the industry’s look at new uses and expanded markets for wheat and wheat byproducts, including cellulosic ethanol.
During her time at Kansas Wheat, Peterson also spent significant time managing federal and state grants for producer risk management education and participating in the budgeting process for a recent $4 million award from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
“I am thrilled to be coming to NAWG after a fantastic run at Kansas Wheat, where I learned more than I could have imagined about wheat farming and wheat farmers,” Peterson said. “I am cognizant of the realities of the wheat industry and looking forward to getting in the weeds, literally and figuratively, to tackle the issues facing our crop. Wheat is a big part of my life, and I am dedicated to seeing this industry succeed.”
Kansas is frequently the top-producing wheat state and is known as the country’s breadbasket in popular imagination and among Members of Congress. Kansas Wheat, which operates under a cooperative agreement between the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Wheat Commission, is one of NAWG’s larger affiliated state associations by budget and staffing.
“Dana has been an excellent asset for Kansas Wheat over the past nine years. We will miss her leadership and passion for wheat grower’s advocacy here at the state level, but are very excited to gain her leadership at the national level,” said Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat.
Peterson is a double graduate of Kansas State University, having obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics there. She grew up on a farm first homesteaded by her family in 1871, where two of her four brothers are now the seventh-generation producing wheat, grain sorghum and cattle.
More biographical information and a headshot of Peterson are available at http://www.wheatworld.org/about-us/contact-us/dana-peterson/.
Peterson will be available for media interviews on Monday, Jan. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time. Members of the media interested in interviewing Peterson – during this time period or some other – should also contact NAWG Communications Director Melissa Kessler.