THE CASCADIA GRAINS CONFERENCE brings together farmers, processors and end-users, as well as investors, brokers and local government officials to support rebuilding a grain economy west of the Cascade Mountains in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia through three value-added enterprises – brewing and distilling, baking and other food uses, as well as animal feed.
The 4th Cascadia Grains Conference was held at the South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA on Saturday, January 9th, 2016. New add on tours and classes were held on January 8th, 2016. Please see the Friday Add-On page and PROGRAM page for more information on the tour, schedule and speakers.
The 2016 conference was presented by the Washington State University in partnership with Oregon State University and proudly supported by Bob’s Red Mill, Fremont Brewing Company, Old Stove Brewing Company, Pierce County, and the generosity of many individuals, businesses, and organizations.
PRODUCTION OF SMALL GRAIN CROPS – wheat, barley, oats, and rye – has been a key feature of farms in Western Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia since the fur-trade era of the mid‐1800s. Today, these crops and alternative grains (e.g. quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat) are grown in rotation with high‐value fruit, vegetable, and bulb crops, as well as on pastures and haylands. In addition to their economic value to the farmer, these crops have important agroecological functions on the farm, including reducing nutrient leaching, increasing soil organic matter, breaking disease and pest cycles, and providing on-farm feed sources.
CONSUMER DEMAND for local grains, whole grain products, and alternative and gluten-free grains has increased tremendously over the past few years. Farmers and processors have been responding with expanded and diversified plantings, differentiated products, and efforts to develop new supply-chains. Still, developing localized markets west of the Cascade Mountains is not easy as the Pacific Northwest grain economy is focused on a small set of market classes (e.g. soft white wheat) produced mainly east of the mountains for export to international and national markets. A primary challenge is the lack of critical handling and processing infrastructure, which has been moved, dismantled, or repurposed for non‐ agricultural uses. Also, the generational knowledge of growing grain has been lost in many corners of our region.
AT THE CONFERENCE:
● Farmers learn about grain production, connect with scale‐appropriate buyers, and learn strategies on increasing demands for cereals used for poultry and livestock feeds, artisan breads, brewing, and distilling.
● Processors & end-users get an inside look into grain production, quality, and brokering relationships to get the grain you want and need.
● Investors, brokers & local government officials get the scoop on rising investment and policy opportunities.
WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.