Western Washington AG
Western Washington Agricultural Association members at last year's WWAA Farm show. L to R: Dan Gunderson, Kara Rowe, Jenn Smith, Andy Schuh, Heather Teegarden, Aaron Taylor (photo provided by Aaron Taylor)
FeaturedMember Highlight

Western Washington Agricultural Association

#GSVMemberMonday Feature

The Western Washington Agricultural Association (WWAA) was created in 1944 by farmers for farmers to negotiate and execute their contracts with vegetable processing companies. Although they no longer work directly on vegetable contract negotiations, their mission remains unchanged, by building strategy and policy based on the values and priorities of their members. 

Photograph dated 8/6/1963 features NW WA Farm Crops Assoc. Manager Ray Schink and farmer Floyd Nelson, from the WWAA archives. Schink and Nelson are holding up La Conner Chick Peas, then 2 1/2 to 3 ton/A yield. Photo courtesy of WWAA Archives, original photographer unknown.

WWAA is based in Mount Vernon, WA and works on behalf of those that farm the fertile soils of north Puget Sound and Washington’s greater agricultural community. The organization contributes to members and industry through natural resource policy and science work at county, state, and federal levels.  As the pressures and requirements of agriculture evolve, so do their services. Their primary function is to provide services to the entire agricultural community, and this support now comes in a variety of capacities, including building land use policies that protect farmlands and maintain agricultural viability.

WWAA Values its Members and Supporters in Various Ways

WWAA also assists landowners and farmers with natural resource stewardship and conservation programs. WWAA works to balance the preservation of farming, farmland, and farmers, with the management of other critical natural and cultural resources. WWAA continues to commit time towards vegetable and other crop research, economics and marketing. With the multitude of environmental and political pressures affecting farming, WWAA balances their investment and commitment to most effectively and execute their mission. Your input and financial contribution to continue serving farmers in the region are needed and valued. If you are a farmer or business that supports farming in Western Washington, your voice is important. New members are welcomed. More information about membership can be found on the WWAA website.

Recently, we had the chance to meet with two members who work for WWAA and learn a bit more about what they do. Kara Rowe is the Director of Policy. Kara has worked with WWAA for four years utilizing her background in communications and policy with more than 20 years with experience in national, regional, and local projects. She has served farmers in Montana and Washington, and has worked on the national Farm Bill as well as state legislation. Kara’s experience in outdoor, agricultural and natural resource projects has made her a specialist in working through issues regarding people, food, wildlife, water, and land. We asked Kara what her favorite Skagit grown crop was, and she enthusiastically said, “Potatoes!”

Heather Teegarden is the Business Manager at the Mount Vernon office. Heather started as the new WWAA Business Manager in July 2023 and enjoys learning more about local agriculture everyday. As a fourth generation Western Washingtonian, Heather has fond memories of visiting family in Mount Vernon as a child. Professionally Heather brings her 20+ year background in marketing, association management, and community outreach to the position. Prior to her move to WWAA Heather worked for four years  at WSU Snohomish County Extension leading the Sustainable Community Stewards program. We recently asked Heather what her favorite Skagit grown crop was, and she said “Berries! (all kinds!) Because they are delicious!!!”

Save the Date for an 80th Anniversary Western Washington Agricultural Association Celebration

On Thursday, February 22, 2024 WWAA will be celebrating their 80th Anniversary and Annual Meeting at the WSU Sakuma Auditorium at the WSU NWREC Mount Vernon Building, located at 16650 WA-536. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. with coffee, doughnuts, and networking. Highlights of this event include a brief history of WWAA through the years, (including a recognition of outgoing and incoming board members) plus a Memorial Dedication honoring Long-Time Board Member, Curtis Johnson. Hear the keynote address by Emmy Award-winning journalist and commentator, Brandi Kruse. Important agriculture reporting, policy, and tax updates will also be featured. To RSVP for this event, please email office@westag.org or call Heather at the office: 360-424-7327

Agriculture is at the core of what we celebrate, and we’re grateful for the support of the Western Washington Agricultural Association. As founding members of the Genuine Skagit Valley program, we look forward to working with the WWAA for years to come. Thank you for allowing us to feature you as our #GSVMemberMonday feature, WWAA!

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