WGC announces upcoming leadership transition

Squires to retire after three decades of service to the wheat industry, Casey Chumrau to take the helm


Contact: Lori Maricle, director of communications, Washington Grain Commission
(509) 456-2481 Ext. 208 / lmaricle@wagrains.org

SPOKANE, Wash.—Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission (WGC), has announced he will retire on November 1. The WGC is pleased to announce that Casey Chumrau will be its new CEO and will begin mid-September.  

“Glen has guided the WGC through some big changes to our industry, especially in the last several years pivoting to keep things running through the pandemic. He has been a relentless advocate for Washington small grains and our state’s growers, and we are better off today because of his efforts,” Mike Carstensen said. Carstensen is a dryland wheat farmer from Almira, Washington, and the current chairman for the WGC’s board of commissioners.

Carstensen and the WGC search committee, chaired by Mike Miller, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, announced the appointment of Chumrau on July 1.

Chumrau has extensive experience in the wheat industry. Chumrau is the current executive director of the Idaho Wheat Commission, which is charged with increasing grower profitably through research, market development and education. Chumrau has worked in agriculture and international business for most of her career, promoting the U.S. wheat industry for more than a decade. This includes a four-year stint as U.S. Wheat Associate’s marketing manager for South America in Santiago, Chile. She currently serves on several state and national committees, representing the interests of the wheat industry. She earned an MBA with an international emphasis from the University of Montana and a bachelor’s degree in history with minors in business and Spanish from the University of Oregon.

“It is with a great deal of pleasure and pride, both personal and for USW, that I congratulate the WGC board for selecting Casey Chumrau as their new CEO to replace Glen Squires upon his retirement. Casey comes to Washington with an already solid wheat marketing background and perspective that’s now been layered with a successful record of leading a major state wheat producer organization.  There is just no doubt that she will be highly successful for Washington and the broader U.S. wheat industry,” said Vince Peterson, president of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), which is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry. “In that role, she will have the benefit of the very high standards and dedication to the job that was set, and is being left for her, by Glen Squires.  Glen’s collegial, creative approach to our work has been instrumental in placing the WGC as a trusted and reliable partner for USW and all of the countries and customers that we collectively serve.  We have a huge debt of gratitude that goes with Glen as he starts out the next phase of his life in retirement.”

Glen SquiresSquires has served with the WGC for 29.5 years, the last 10 as CEO. The grain commission is a state organization funded by assessments levied on wheat and barley at the first point of sale. The WGC is based in Spokane and represents seven wheat and barley grower districts across Washington.

“Glen has always been committed to ensuring Washington grain was of the highest quality.  I am grateful for his dedication to the industry and wish him well in retirement,” said Derek Sandison, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Squires has been involved with trade, marketing, research, transportation and analysis at the commission for many years. He has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Washington State University, with emphasis in international trade, and a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in business administration-agribusiness with emphasis in food marketing.

“Over his career, Glen has worked hard to unite the Washington grain industry and create a strong working relationship with WAWG that utilizes the strengths of each organization. His dedication to growers and his passion for this industry has elevated Washington wheat’s profile and put a spotlight on the world-class quality of our crop. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Glen and have the utmost respect for his accomplishments and dedication to the industry. We wish him well in retirement,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG). “I look forward to working with Casey and supporting the outstanding work the Washington Grain Commission does.”

During his time at WGC, Squires traveled the world extensively working with customers to promote small grains and has celebrated many successes with the WGC’s many collaborators. He was a principal architect of the annual Preferred Wheat Varieties brochure, which is a ranking of Eastern Washington, Oregon and Northern Idaho wheat varieties using six components to evaluate quality. Washington was the first state in the U.S. to rank varieties for quality in 1997, with Oregon and Idaho joining the effort soon after.

“As CEO of the grain commission, Glen has been an outstanding partner and supporter of research and extension activities conducted by WSU faculty and USDA-ARS scientists. His leadership continues to advance wheat quality and production – both critically important to our overseas markets and growers here in Washington state,” said Rich Koenig, interim dean for the Washington State University (WSU) College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.

An additional milestone was a collaboration formalized in 2018 with the Japan Flour Milling Association (JFMA) to establish and strengthen the support system for the development of various varieties of white club wheat. The WGC leads the annual technical exchange based on sample analysis conducted by JFMA.  This knowledge exchange provides a critical feedback loop from end-use customer to the USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Northwest regional wheat breeding programs. The information is used to advance high-quality, high-producing future varieties and breeding lines that would satisfy the end-use demands of the industry.

According to Squires, the best success of all was working with producers, overseas customers, and developing and maintaining the outstanding working relationships the WGC enjoys with a wide range of agricultural stakeholders, especially grain handlers, WAWG and USW.

“It has been an honor to work for the commissioners and the team members of the WGC on behalf of producers. This is a remarkable industry providing food for peoples of the world.  I’m excited for Casey to lead the WGC. She is a proven leader with every needed qualification. Our industry will benefit from her great skill and experience,” Squires said.

Squires grew up on a small farm in North-Central Utah. He is a Washington Agricultural Forestry Education Foundation graduate (class 19). In addition, Squires sits on the executive board of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, serving as president this year, and is active with USW. Glen and his wife, Charlotte, have five children.


Additional contacts: Glen Squires, CEO, Washington Grain Commission
(509) 456-2481 ext. 207 / gsquires@wagrains.org

The Washington Grain Commission (WGC) was created in 1958 by the Washington State Department of Agriculture with the support of Eastern Washington farmers. Barley came under the auspices of the organization in 2009. Our mission is to enhance the long-term profitability and competitiveness of Washington small grains and small grain producers through research, marketing and education. The current commission board is made up of seven farmer members, two industry representatives and a representative of the state’s Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit https://wagrains.org

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