WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Darren Padget has been elected chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). The announcement was made as part of the unveiling of new officers at the USW annual meeting being held Jan. 17-20 in Washington, D.C., U.S.

In addition to Padget, the association’s board elected Rhonda Larson as vice-chairman and Michael Peters of as secretary-treasurer. All three individuals will begin their new leadership roles at the USW board meeting in June 2020 when current chairman Doug Goyings will become past chairman.

“I’m excited, we have a great team here at U.S. Wheat Associates,” Peters said after his election as the next USW officer. “I’m sure there will be many challenges ahead but I’m looking forward to tackling them.”

Peters said being asked to represent Oklahoma wheat farmers in Italy, Israel and Morocco first piqued his interest in the work being done overseas to promote U.S. wheat.

“It is very important to for us to build upon those relationships and support to increase overseas demand,” Peters said.

Peters is a farmer and rancher growing hard red winter wheat and canola, and winter grazing stocker cattle on wheat. He is president of his local CHS Coop Board and is a member of the Okarche Rural Fire Fighters’ Association Board. He also has served as president of St. John’s Lutheran Church.

He currently is a commissioner and secretary of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. As a USW director, Peters is chairman of the Wheat Quality Committee. He has participated in several farm leadership programs sponsored by CHS and the National Wheat Foundation.

Larson was raised on her family’s Red River Valley farm and has been engaged in the operation full-time for nearly 30 years. She has been a board member of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council for 17 years, including as chair from 2010-12. She served on the Wheat Foods Council board and is a longtime member of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. As a USW director, she served on the Long-Range Planning Committee and the Budget Committee.

Larson received a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a juris doctor’s degree in law from the University of North Dakota.

Padget is a fourth-generation farmer with a dryland wheat and summer fallow rotation currently producing registered and certified seed on 3,400 acres annually. Previously, Padget held positions on the Oregon Wheat Growers League board of directors and executive committee for seven years, serving as president in 2010. He chaired the Research and Technology Committee for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and served on the Mid-Columbia Producers board of directors, for which he was an officer for 10 years.

Goyings’ family has been farming in Ohio since 1884. Goyings grows soft red winter wheat and has hosted numerous trade teams on their farm. With more than 35 years of experience representing wheat and Ohio agriculture, Goyings has been a member of the USW board while serving as a director for the Ohio Small Grains Checkoff Board since 2009, and is a past chairman of the USW Long-Range Planning Committee. He is also a past-president of his local farm bureau and previously sat on the board of directors for the Ohio Veal Growers Inc., Creston Veal, Inc., and Paulding Landmark, Inc.