Washington Friends of Farms & Forests

We Help Washington Grow

Managing forests for fiber production

Good pesticide stewardship

A powerful voice with policymakers

Media issues about responsible pest management

Washington Friends of Farms & Forests was formed in January 1988, to promote pesticide stewardship including the safe and appropriate use of pesticides in forests, on farms, ranches and along rights-of-way. At that time, the focus of Friends was to fill the void that existed in Washington regarding the balancing of news stories about pesticide use and the need to have oversight of statewide issues affecting pesticide users. Prior to the formation of Friends, there had been a loosely organized group called the Washington Pest Management Council.

The first Executive Director was Duncan Wurm. Under his direction, Friends took the lead developing strategies to manage high profile pesticide issues.

Founding Officers were:  
President – Keith Simmons, Simpson Timber Company, Shelton;
Vice President – Ed Walter, Washington Tree Service, Seattle;
Secretary/Treasurer – Steve Anderson, Weyerhaeuser Company, Snoqualmie;
Board member – Chris Shaffer, Washington Association of Wheat Growers, Walla Walla.

In 1989, three board members were added:  

Ann George, Hop Growers of Washington, Yakima;
Marc Fisher, Washington Christmas Tree Growers, Morton; and
Earl Talley, Fieldman for Peshastin Fruit Growers, Wenatchee.

In 1994, the Washington Agri-Business Coalition merged with Friends. With the merger, Friends gained lobbyists and a more powerful voice with policymakers. The board was expanded to fifteen positions and three non-voting advisory positions representing the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Health, and Washington State University.

In 1996, Heather Hansen succeeded Duncan Wurm as Executive Director. Under Heather’s leadership, membership has grown to include a mix of producers and agricultural organizations, timber companies, aerial applicators, lawn and tree care companies, structural pest control companies, golf course superintendents, dealers and registrants. Activities focus on legislative, regulatory, legal and media issues relating to responsible pest management, plant health, and environmental regulation.

Washington Friends of Farms and Forests Past Presidents

2019 James Curry, Bayer Crop Sciences

2018 James Curry, Bayer Crop Sciences

2017 Mike Warjone, Port Blakely Tree Farms

2016  Jeff Blackner, Washington Tree Service

2015  Jeff Blackner, Washington Tree Service

2014 Jeff Blackner, Washington Tree Service

2013 Mike Warjone, Port Blakely Tree Farms

2012  Robin Parry, Great Salt Lake Minerals

2011 Robin Parry, Great Salt Lake Minerals

2010 Mark Sheldahl, Weyerhaeuser Company

2009 Mark Sheldahl, Weyerhaeuser Company

2008 Jim Owens, Tessenderlo Kerley, Pasco

2007 Jim Owens, Tessenderlo Kerley, Pasco

2006 Steve Kealy, Glendale Country Club, Bellevue

2005 Steve Kealy, Glendale Country Club, Bellevue

2004 Bruce Alber, Wilbur-Ellis, Vancouver

2003 Bruce Alber, Wilbur-Ellis, Vancouver

2002 Chuck Masters, Weyerhaeuser, Centralia

2001 Ted Alby, BASF, Vancouver

2000 Jeff Blackner, Washington Tree Service, Tacoma

1999 Byron Rickert, Weyerhaeuser, Longview

1998 Dave Lawson, Syngenta, Sacramento

1997 Dick Tigges, Aerial applicator, Coulee city

1996 Gene Gamache, Hop grower, Moxee

1995 Ron Crockett, Monsanto, Vancouver

1994 Stan Nelson, Food processor, Stanwood

1993 Dan Elmore, Apple grower, Othello

1992 Mark Holtzinger, Apple grower, Yakima

1991 Mark Schoesler, Wheat grower, Ritzville

1990 Mark Fisher, Tilton Valley Christmas trees, Morton

1989 Keith Simmons, Simpson Timber, Shelton

1988 Keith Simmons, Simpson Timber, Shelton