The Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association held its annual convention Dec. 8 in Oklahoma City at the Express Event Center.

The first item on the agenda was a Wheat production round table. OSU Northwest Area agronomist Roger Gribble served as the moderator. Panel members were Dr. Bret Carver, head of the OSU Wheat Improvement Team, Dr. Jeff Edwards, OSU Extension Wheat specialist, Dr. Case Medlin, OSU Extension weed specialist, and Dr. Bill Royer, OSU Extension entomologist. Some of the topics covered were; Hessian fly problems, drought conditions, rye control and new varieties.

John Thaemert, National Association of Wheat Growers vice president and David Cleavinger, NAWG secretary/treasurer, then spoke on the need to pass Emergency Agricultural Energy Assistance legislation, and the upcoming Food Security Act debate.

During lunch, the attendees heard from Amber Lawles, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Associate Commissioner, about the upcoming Governor's Conference on Agriculture. Also Dr. Robert Whitson, OSU Vice President of Agricultural Programs, spoke about initiatives going on in the Division of Agriculture at OSU.

Following Dr. Whitson, OWGA was proud to present two special awards. The first is the Mr. Wheat Award. This was presented to Oklahoma Wheat Commission Executive Director Mark Hodges. Hodges has worked on the behalf of Oklahoma Wheat Producers to develop a quality based regional marketing plan. He was also heavily involved in the sale of Oklahoma Wheat to Cuba. Many Oklahomans have had the opportunity to enjoy eating bread and cinnamon rolls made by Hodges over the last several years. The second award was a special appreciation award give to Keith Boevers, Kingfisher County Extension agent. Boevers has put on many meetings for Wheat producers in his county. As well as coordinating many demonstration plots in his county.

After lunch the group heard from Dr. Bob Hunger, OSU Wheat disease specialist, about leaf and stripe rust problems in Oklahoma. Dr. Bill Raun, OSU soil fertility specialist, talked about fertilizer strategies for the current crop. They were followed by Mark Hodges, OWC executive director, and Shelly Regnier, Plains Grains, Inc. vice president of operations, speaking about quality testing and the regional marketing plan.

The final speaker of the day was Terry Detrick, director of Oklahoma Ethanol LLC and Oklahoma Sustainable Energy LLC, talking about renewable fuel and how they will benefit Oklahoma producers.

During the business session of the convention OWGA members elected the Board of Directors for 2006. New board members elected were representing District 1 was Steve Simpson of Kremlin for a three year term, representing District 3 Howard Bartel of Weatherford as an alternate for a one year term and representing District 4 Bob Howard of Headrick as an alternate for a one year term.

Re-elected to the board was Eddie Bowman of Billings for a three year term in District 5. Joe Caughlin of Tonkawa was reelected to the alternate position in District 5. Floyd Lipps of Okeene was reelected to the alternate position for District 1. Walter Adams of Woodward was re-elected to the alternate position for District 2. Keith Griffith of Rocky was elected to a three year term for District 3 after serving last year as the alternate. Clint Mindemann of Apache was elected to a three year term for District 4 after serving as an alternate for the district.

After the conclusion of the convention the board met and elected Jeff Krehbiel of Hydro as president, J.T. Winters of Mooreland as vice president, Joe Caughlin of Tonkawa as secretary, and Clint Mindemann of Apache as treasurer. Kent McAninch remains as past president.

OWGA members voted on many resolutions concerning policy positions for the next year. These ranged from supporting Plains Grains, Inc. and the development of a regional marketing plan for hard winter Wheat to recommending that the House Ag Committee be the ones to draft the next Food Security Act. The group also went on record as being opposed to banning 2-4D use in the state. Additionally the group supported disbanding Single Desk Trading Entities like the Canadian and Australian Wheat Boards. They also agreed that they support free and open trade with Cuba. Other issues included opposition to closing or consolidating FSA and NRCS offices. OWGA opposed the taking of private property for private uses via Eminent Domain. Railroad competition and Ag Tourism Liability were also addressed. The group also called on the governor to follow existing state law in appointing farmers and ranchers to the OSU Board of Regents.

For more information about the OWGA visit www.owga.org.

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