September 2020 Newsletter
In this Issue:
  • Fallow Update
  • AgForestry-to-Go
  • Photos Wanted!
  • Alumni Spotlight
  • August Donors
A Fallow Season
AgForestry will lie fallow for one season. Instead of convening in the fall, we are using this time to innovate. We are retooling the traditional program and creating opportunities for skills development.
What's all the Buzz About: WSU's New Bee and Pollinator Facility and an Asian Giant Hornet Update
  • September 23, noon-1 pm
  • Free, registration required

Join Dr. Walter S. Sheppard for an overview of the new Bee and Pollinator Facility, as well as an update on the impact of the Asian Giant Hornet in Washington.
Last month’s webinar featured Senator Judy Warnick (Moses Lake) and Senator Kevin Van De Wege (Sequim). Both are on the state’s Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee. Each Senator gave an update and forecast into the upcoming legislative session and budget.
Calling All Amateur Photographers
People who work in Washington's forests and farms have a front row view of some of the most beautiful places in the world! We are currently putting together our Annual Report, which will be mailed to our supporters this fall. We want to feature your best shots! Show us the amazing places where you spend your days and weekends.
(Photo by Cole Smith, Cheney)
Alumni Spotlights
Alumni Innovating...
Tristin Klesinck, Class 32, faced many of the challenges that businesses across the state have dealt with. One way Tristan is making his farming community better is by developing a new logistics management software called Customer Aligned Logistics. CAL has allowed him to expand from 600 deliveries a week to more than 2200 deliveries a week.

Read a full Alumni Spotlight on Tristin in next month's The Dirt.
Alumni in the Community...
We recently caught up with Paul Katovich, Class 34, CEO of Highline Grain Growers, Inc. to discuss how COVID-19 has affected Washington grain growers. Paul says, by nature, grain growers are professional social distancers, so besides taking the necessary precautions of having a COVID-19 plan in place, they have been fortunate to operate the Waterville-based operations with only minor adjustments.

When asked about current market conditions and his outlook for the 2020 crop year, Paul likened grain markets to a constantly shifting bowl of marbles: sometimes the effect of moving a marble can be predicted, other times not. Paul shared the downturn in wheat prices had less to do with COVID-19, more to do with an increase in Chinese demand for corn and soybeans. This increase in demand has pushed export facilities to full capacity, which can depress the price of wheat at times.

On a positive note, Highline has had success in managing some of its operating costs and is passing that savings on to their wheat farmers by deferring payments on fall seed sales until the end of the year. For more info visit their website at

Highline has also been involved in distributing over 1,500 gallons of hand sanitizer to local agricultural communities. Way to support local farm families and school districts!
Paul and Kim at the top of Badger Mountain Ski Hill, where Paul has served on the board for many years.
Sanitizer headed to Waterville, Odessa, Davenport, Harrington, Wilbur, Almira, Coulee City, Hartline, Orondo, Mansfield, Bridgeport, Brewster, Ritzville, Medical Lake, Edwall and Reardan.
Highline Grain Growers has offered to help local growers who are struggling during tough financial times
On the Move...
Sara will serve as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of 501 Consultants, She told us about how AgForestry has prepared her for this transition.

"AgForestry has heightened my self awareness and emotional intelligence. As I embark on small business co-ownership and the increased responsibility that comes with that, I know that the future of 501 Consultants will be influenced by my personal and professional growth. I owe it to my team members and the clients we serve to continue learning. One of the more accessible and supportive opportunities to do so is AgForestry, and I am challenging myself in unexpected ways as a member of Class 42.
"To me, leadership is about realizing the potential in others. 501’s founder and CEO (Vicky Scharlau, Class 10) is an AgForestry graduate, and she has made strong leadership characteristic of our work environment. As I now work with her to guide the direction of the company, AgForestry has provided an incredible, simultaneous opportunity to delve into what I see modeled and what I want to strive toward in my own leadership."
We want to hear about you! Tell us what you've been up to since your AgForestry experience. Email us at
Thank you to our August Donors
Clara and Art Bald Trust
Jochen (24) & Teresa Engelke
Stu (15) & Janet Fraser
Mandy (32) & Scott Galbreath
Larry (2) & Lois Gueck
Heather Hansen (17)
Cyndi Kloes
Lynda (16) & Jack Pheasant
Chuck (16) & Sharon Podlich
Kevin (13) & Theresa Riel
Mike Roseleip
Vicky Scharlau (10)
Monty Schilter (31)
Sen. Mark (10) & Ginger Schoesler
Washington State Potato Commission