Minnesota Farmer Rhonda Larson Takes 2022/23 U.S. Wheat Associates Chair

BEND, Oregon — Rhonda Larson, East Grand Forks, Minn., started her year as 2022/23 Chairperson of the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) board of directors June 8, 2022, at their annual meeting in Bend, Ore. Michael Peters of Okarche, Okla., took his position as Vice Chairman. Clark Hamilton, Ririe, Idaho, began his year as Secretary-Treasurer. Darren Padget, Grass Valley, Ore., will serve one year as USW Past Chairman. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry.

“I want to thank the entire wheat family for their support,” Larson said to the directors. “We heard here about all the challenges we face. But with your help, I look forward to representing American wheat farmers in overseas markets.”

2020/2022 USW Chairman Darren Padget (R) passes the gavel to 2022/23 USW Chairperson Rhonda Larson at the 2022 USW Summer Board Meeting.

She will soon represent growers at the World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, June 12 to 15, 2022.

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.

Honored Service

Padget was honored at a reception June 7, 2022, for his service as USW Chairman, which covered two years because of pandemic travel restrictions.

“Considering Darren’s many years of service it would be hard to measure all the positive things he has done to help wheat farm families here and across the country,” said Oregon Wheat Commission CEO Amanda Hoey.

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 is the Vice Chairman of the Wheat Marketing Center board of directors. He is a commissioner with the Oregon Wheat Commission.

2022/23 USW Officers. (L-R) Michael Peters, Okarche, Okla., Vice Chairman, Darren Padget, Grass Valley, Ore., Past Chairman; Rhonda Larson, East Grand Forks, Minn.; Chairperson; Clark Hamilton, Ririe, Idaho, Secretary-Treasurer; and Vince Peterson, USW President.

USW Vice Chairman Peters serves on the Mid-Oklahoma Coop board of directors and on the Plains Partners Coop Board, a division of CHS, and 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 Chairman of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

USW Secretary-Treasurer Hamilton served as an executive officer of the Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA), including as president, and has been a board member of Ririe Grain and Feed Cooperative, Inc., for several years. He is currently one of five wheat growers appointed as a commissioner on the Idaho Wheat Commission and served as chair of that organization.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.