Ben Barstow from Palouse, Wash. and Brian Cochrane of Kahlotus, are the newest members of the 10 member Washington Grain Commission board.

Ben Barstow in wheat field

Ben Barstow

Barstow, who has a bachelor degree from the University of Idaho focusing on plant protection and a master’s degree involving insect sampling, was previously an extension agent in North Idaho. He and his wife, Janet, moved back to her family’s Whitman County farm in 1993.

Barstow has served on many boards, including the Washington Association of Wheat Growers where he was president in 2010-2011. He’s been a board member of Palouse Grain Growers since 1994 and is currently a commissioner of Palouse Rural Fire District #4 and a member of the Palouse Chamber of Commerce.

The Barstow’s live in their farm’s 1898 ancestral home and both love sharing the history of farming in the Palouse. They have two children, Tyler in Palouse and Mary in Redmond, Wash.

Brian Cochrane

Brian Cochrane

Cochrane, who grew up on his family’s fourth generation Franklin County Farm, remembers his grandfather assigning him his first job at age seven: running an elevator in Estes, Wash. By 13, Cochran was running his own combine.

A few years later, he was off to the U.S. Air Force Academy. After graduation, he flew for 23 years with the Air Force. He returned to farm fulltime with his brother in 2007.

Cochrane was a National Wheat Yield Contest winner in the Winter Wheat/Dryland category. His farm is in one of the direst regions of the state with average precipitation between 8 to 10 inches. In addition to the farm, Cochrane is involved as a trustee to the Franklin County Mosquito Board and as a supervisor on the Franklin County Conservation District.

Brit Ausman of Clarkson and Gary Bailey of St John, were reappointed by the Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, to serve another three year term on the WGC board. Other board members include Mike Miller (Ritzville), Mike Carstensen (Almira), Kevin Klein (Edwall),  Ty Jessup (Waterville),  Damon Filan (Pasco), and WSDA representative, Scott Steinbacher, (Spokane).