Wheat leaders send letter asking governor to make a drought declaration

Grower leaders from the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) and the Washington Grain Commission (WGC) have sent a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to announce a drought declaration in wheat counties so growers will have access to federal natural disaster aid.

The letter comes as drought conditions deepen across the state. As of June 15, all or portions of 13 Eastern Washington counties are in a designated “D3,” or extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. More than 90 percent of the state is considered abnormally dry or worse.

“The Washington wheat industry is asking for your assistance with a growing disaster in our state. Deepening drought conditions are spreading throughout Washington—particularly in counties known for producing high quality wheat. While we have benefitted from having hardy varieties to match each region’s growing conditions, the lack of moisture we are experiencing year to date will ultimately result in significant quality concerns and a sharp reduction in yield. Complete crop loss is also a looming reality for some dryland growers,” the letter states.

WAWG President Ryan Poe, a grower from Grant County, and WGC Chairman Mike Carstensen, a grower from Lincoln County, both signed the letter.