New commissioner, reappointments

Ben Adams has joined the WGC for District 4

SPOKANE, Wash.—The Washington Grain Commission (WGC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Adams as the WGC commissioner for District 4 Wheat representing Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties. He succeeds Mike Miller, who retired from the commission at the end of 2023.

WA Grain Commission Ben Adams
Ben Adams

“Washington’s wheat industry is fortunate to have had Mike Miller serving on the commission for the last 13 years. He has helped the commission achieve some significant milestones during his tenure, most notably the memorandum of understanding with the Japan Flour Millers Association for exchanging information in support of the club wheat breeding program at USDA-ARS in Pullman.” WGC CEO Casey Chumrau said. “And I am thrilled to have Ben join us to represent District 4. He is a well-known leader and advocate for the Washington wheat industry and is a great addition to our board of commissioners.”

The WGC board of directors is made up of 10 members, which includes seven producer members representing 20 Eastern Washington counties, two representatives of allied industries, and one representative from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Producer commissioners are nominated by constituents in their respective districts for appointment by the WSDA. Industry representatives are recommended by the board for WSDA appointment and the WSDA director appoints his representative directly.

Adams begins his term with the calendar year and will assume hist seat at the WGC board meeting in Pullman on January 11.

Adams grew up in Coulee City and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from Whitworth University in Spokane. After college, he obtained his certified public accountant (CPA) license and has worked part time for the CPA firm J.R. Newhouse & Co. PLLP for over 30 years. Ben is a fourth-generation dryland and irrigated farmer in Douglas and Grant Counties, an area that receives around 7 to 10 inches of annual rainfall. He farms with his wife, Jenny; his two grown daughters, Morgan and Jessica; his sister, Mary Dunkin; and mother, Joyce Adams.

“I love the lifestyle it affords me and my family,” Adams said. “It’s both challenging and rewarding to work and run a family business with primarily family members every day, but I wouldn’t change it.  I know it’s a cliche to say, but, my favorite part is watching the whole crop cycle from seeding to harvest.”

Their farm, Adams Farm Partnership, follows primarily conventional practices with some acres under a reduced tillage program and are taking steps towards a direct seed program.

“Our reduced rainfall area does make the transition a little more challenging. I think one of the top concerns in my area would be farm sustainability,” Adams said. “Farm sustainability can mean a whole host of things but in this case it’s the ability to pass it on to the next generation. If our farms are not profitable it’s hard to look at the next generation in the eyes and say it’s worth it. I believe the commission does a lot to help in this regard through its efforts in market development, grower support, and research.”

Adams will tell you his time revolves around family, faith and the agricultural community. He also serves on the boards of HighLine Grain Growers, Inc., a cooperative grain handler, and Valley Wide Cooperative, an agricultural supply organization. He previously served on the board for the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, serving as president in 2017, and also served for several years as board member and president for the Douglas County Wheat Growers Association. Ben is also a past board member of the Washington Wheat Foundation. 

Grain commissioners receive reappointment

In addition to Adams joining the commission this year, three board commissioners received reappointment letters from WSDA Director Derek Sandison in October.

District 1 Wheat (Spokane, Lincoln, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille): Mike Carstensen

Mike Carstensen

Carstensen is a Lincoln County wheat grower representing five counties in the northeast corner of the state. Carstensen was appointed to the commission in 2018 and served as chairman from 2021-22. He also serves on the U.S. Wheat Associates board of directors and the National Wheat Improvement Committee.


District 7 Barley (Lincoln, Spokane, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Adams, Grant, Douglas, Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas): Kevin Klein

Kevin Klein

Klein is a Lincoln County wheat and barley grower and one of two barley representatives for the WGC. Klein was appointed to the commission in 2018 and currently serves as vice chairman.



Wheat Industry Representative, Position 1: Brian Liedl

Brian Liedl

Liedl is currently the director of merchandising for United Grain Corporation, based in Vancouver. Liedl has served on the commission since 2021.



Terms for all four appointees run through December 2027. All producer commissioners were nominated unopposed. The WGC is a self-governing agency of the State of Washington that allocates assessment funds to programs designed to enhance the production and marketing of Washington wheat and barley. For more information on the Washington Grain Commission board and a map of districts, visit our WGC Commissioners page.

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