March 3, 2015 –Washington wheat farmer Bret Blankenship was elected as the new President of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) at the Association’s Board of Directors meeting Thursday, February 26.
“I’m looking forward to a very productive year for NAWG and America’s wheat growers. I have high expectations for my tenure, and I hope to spend every day advancing the wheat industry into the 21st Century,” said Blankenship.
Brett and his brother, Dan, are partners in Blankenship Brothers Joint Venture on the outskirts of the famous Palouse region in southeast Washington, where they farm soft white wheat in the rolling hills above the Palouse River.
Prior to becoming a NAWG officer, Blankenship served for several years on the NAWG Board, including as chairman of the NAWG Domestic and Trade Policy Committee as NAWG prepared for the 2012 Farm Bill legislation. Brett was previously president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.
President Blankenship, once an aspiring pianist, has been raising wheat full-time since 1982, when he completed his studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., with a master’s degree in performance and literature. He lives on the family homestead with his wife, Leeann. When he’s not farming, he enjoys training horses and woodworking, and he also volunteers for the local emergency medical service.
Other NAWG officers elected and installed at the Thursday meeting include:
• Gordon Stoner, Outlook, Mont., Vice President
• David Schemm, Sharon Springs, Kans., Treasurer
• Jimmie Musick, Sentinel, Okla., Secretary
• Paul Penner, Hillsboro, Kans., Immediate Past President
Members of NAWG’s Executive Committee, known as officers, commit to serve five years when they first run for the role of Secretary. The NAWG Nominating Committee and NAWG Board reaffirms their selection each year as they move into new roles on the officer team.