The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

Legislative Commentary


Last updated 8/2/2018 at Noon

Wheat harvest got under way on the Schoesler farm this week, after we finished up with the canola. It presented the familiar mix of rewards and challenges, as we tried to work at maximum efficiency and keep all of our machines going.

Things look encouraging so far, but either way I can’t complain, not after seeing how fire destroyed thousands of acres of wheat in north central Oregon in a matter of days.

Let’s hope no more crops are lost to fire this year.

As I’m wearing my farmer hat, I’ll focus this commentary on two of the many great things about living in rural Washington: our agricultural fairs, and rodeos.

Sure, there is a legislative connection, because budget allocations we make at the Capitol go to support more than 60 agricultural fairs. But I’m thinking more about how fairs help connect communities, and connect people to a way of life that not everyone is fortunate enough to experience.

For a person who doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of farm living, fairs are a great place to maybe see calves nursing or chicks hatching for the first time, and learn where food comes from and about local crops and the importance of Washington’s largest employer: agriculture.

Fairs support communities, with school organizations, churches, civic groups and others operating food booths, dunk tanks and other fund-raisers. And anyone in 4-H or FFA knows the opportunities for learning (and demonstrating their learning) that a fair offers.

Fairs really do serve as the state’s largest classroom.

I mentioned rodeos because they celebrate skills that can (or used to) come in handy on a farm or a ranch, which is why rodeos and fairs go together so well.

A good example is in Moses Lake, where the Grant County Fair is paired with the Moses Lake Roundup Rodeo, which is celebrating its 75th year!

The Washington State Fairs Association publishes a list of fair dates on its website as well as detailed information about the fairs. I get to as many fairs in our region as possible, as they’re good places to wear both my farmer hat and my senator hat.

Take a look at your local fair’s website for information about becoming an exhibitor, there are usually more opportunities than most folks realize. The more people participating, the better, but the surest way of supporting our state’s fairs is simply to attend.

Someone on my Senate staff asked which of the livestock barns is at the top of my list. That’s an easy one for someone who is a cattle producer and rancher in addition to a wheat grower.

The question about my favorite fair food was easy, too: as good as elephant ears are, give me barbecue.

And at the Wheat Land Communities Fair in Ritzville, always Labor Day weekend, nothing beats the barbecued chicken from our local Lions Club!


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