March madness

Pink blossoms on a tree frame the left side of a picture of the United States Capitol building.
This week, my travels take me to Washington, D.C., where I will meet with Senate and House members to talk about CAHNRS programs. (Getty Images)

Regardless of the state, institution, or position, March madness finds me. Between travel, annual evaluations, and projects, March and October always seem to be the busiest months. I suspect this is common for many, if not all, of us, and not just a personal phenomenon. Losing that single hour when daylight saving time begins in March seems to compound the effect. On top of this, I need to complete my bracket forms for the men’s and women’s tournaments. So much to do …

This week, Scot Hulbert, Mike Miller, and I are in Washington, D.C., working with Glynda Becker-Fenter and Jacob Dowd. We have recruited Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom to join us for Hill visits, as she is in town for her current role with the Western Extension Directors Association. As a team, we are meeting with our Senate and House members from Washington and their staff to talk about CAHNRS programs and partnerships with farmers, stakeholders, and the Agricultural Research Service. The focus is on the value of the partnerships and the resulting impacts that will help build a more resilient Washington. Infrastructure needs are front and center in our conversations.

We will meet with staff in the office of congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, our newest member of Congress and Washington’s only member on the Committee on Agriculture. Given it is a Farm Bill year, this will serve as an important conversation and hopefully one of many to come. The congresswoman takes her role on the committee seriously and is asking great questions. We are eager to share the great work of CAHNRS with her.

At the end of the week, congresswoman Kim Schrier will be at our Puyallup REC to host the start of a series of Farm Bill hearings. In between Washington, D.C., and Puyallup, I will visit a couple of CAHNRS friends in Phoenix.

I look forward to the Cougar Invitational Meat Judging Contest back in Pullman this weekend. While I will miss the Friday educational sessions, I will still have a chance on Saturday to meet youth and parent participants. For many, it may be their first time on campus. I am eager to hear impressions and answer questions for our prospective Cougs.

We continue to work through plans for the upcoming budget, while embracing every opportunity to find more resources. Some opportunities have popped up in the last couple of weeks that I believe fit well with where conversations have headed with the CAHNRS Growth and Visioning Task Force. The task force meets again next week. I need to get some things on paper to share with the group of creative thinkers and see what we can advance in the short term. I’m looking forward to everyone’s input as we build a programmatic vision for CAHNRS. If you aren’t aware of who represents your unit on the task force, please reach out and we can share the list of names.