WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) board of directors elected new officers for the 2020/21 (July to June) fiscal year at their meeting Jan 17, 2020, in Washington, D.C. The board elected Michael Peters of Okarche, Okla., as Secretary-Treasurer; Rhonda Larson of East Grand Forks, Minn., as Vice Chairman; Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore., as Chairman. These farmers will begin their new leadership roles at the USW board meeting in June 2020 when current Chairman Doug Goyings of Paulding, Ohio, will become Past Chairman. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry.
“I’m excited. We have a great team here at U.S. Wheat Associates,” Peters said after his election as the next USW officer. “I’m sure there will be many challenges ahead but I’m looking forward to tackling them.”
Peters said being asked to represent Oklahoma wheat farmers in Italy, Israel and Morocco first peaked his interest in the work being done overseas to promote U.S. wheat. “It is very important to for us to build upon those relationships and support to increase overseas demand,” he added.
Michael Peters is a farmer and rancher growing hard red winter wheat and canola, and winter grazing stocker cattle on wheat. Peters is President of his local CHS Coop Board, is a member of the Okarche Rural Fire Fighters’ Association Board. He has also served as President of St. John’s Lutheran Church. He currently serves as a Commissioner and Secretary of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. As a USW Director, Peters serves as Chairman of the Wheat Quality Committee. He has participated in several farm leadership programs sponsored by CHS and the National Wheat Foundation. Peters and his wife Linda have two teenage boys who work with him and his father on their farm.
Rhonda Larson was raised on her family’s Red River Valley farm and has been engaged in the operation full-time for nearly 30 years. Her father started the farm 51 years ago growing potatoes, wheat and barley. With her two brothers and her son, the third generation on the farm, they currently grow wheat and sugarbeets. Larson has been a board member of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council for 17 years; serving as chair from 2010 to 2012. She served on the Wheat Foods Council board and is a long-time member of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. As a USW director, she served on the Long-Range Planning Committee and the Budget Committee. Larson received a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a juris doctor’s degree in law from the University of North Dakota.
Darren Padget is a fourth-generation farmer in Oregon’s Sherman County, with a dryland wheat and summer fallow rotation currently producing registered and certified seed on 3,400 acres annually. Previously, Padget held positions on the Oregon Wheat Growers League board of directors and executive committee for seven years, serving as president in 2010. He chaired the Research and Technology Committee for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and served on the Mid-Columbia Producers board of directors, for which he was an officer for 10 years.
Doug Goyings’ family has been farming in northwestern Ohio since 1884. Together with his wife Diane, son Jeremy, daughter-in-law Jessica and his twin grandsons, Goyings grows soft red winter (SRW) and has hosted numerous trade teams on their farm. With more than 35 years of experience representing wheat and Ohio agriculture, Goyings has been a member of the USW board while serving as a director for the Ohio Small Grains Checkoff Board since 2009 and is a past chairman of the USW Long-Range Planning Committee. He is also a past-president of his local Farm Bureau and previously sat on the board of directors for the Ohio Veal Growers Inc., Creston Veal, Inc., and Paulding Landmark, Inc.
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