Producer & Executive PNWCA Board of Directors
One of the first major tasks after the PNWCA received a Certificate of Incorporation was finding an executive director and up to 10 producers from ID, MT, OR, and WA who are passionate about this industry and committed to seeing the organization succeed. It didn't take long to fill the slate!
Read about our PNWCA Board of Directors and you'll see that it's quite evident they are all a perfect fit for the task at hand.
Karen Sowers, Executive Director
I grew up near Manhattan, Kansas, graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in Agronomy, followed by a M.S. in Soil Science from Washington State University (WSU). My husband, Brett, and I and our children Megan and Colton lived in several states before settling in Washington in 2007. I was hired as the Extension and Outreach Specialist with the WSU Oilseed Cropping Systems Project, working with farmers, the ag industry, government agencies, and university colleagues throughout the Pacific Northwest who are involved with canola and other oilseed production. A few years ago, the idea of getting a canola association reestablished in the PNW gained traction, and the PNWCA became reality in July 2017. I initially served as interim executive director, becoming executive director in 2019. After stepping down from 12 years of coordinating tours, field trials, workshops, and other outreach with WSU, it is clear to me that canola is here to stay in the PNW. I am passionate about leading the charge to advocate for and educate the industry as a whole and the general public, as is our Producer Board. When I see that same interest in the eyes of growers, crop consultants, and others who are eager to learn more about all things canola, I have no doubt the mission of the Pacific Northwest Canola Association will be successful.
I'm a fourth-generation partner on my family farm in Nezperce. We specialize in native wildlife habitat and turf grass seed production, using canola for the last twenty years as a powerful rotational tool to improve soil health and clean up weeds. I partnered on the family farm upon completing my bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho in Agricultural Business and Marketing. I currently serve as the Chairman of the PNW Canola Association and am a member of the U.S. Canola Association board of directors. I'm looking forward to seeing the PNW Canola Association continue to grow as an important resource to the canola growers and industry in our region, representing our unique agricultural and policy needs. I believe that the PNW Canola Association is also an important educational platform for canola, sharing knowledge with growers and informing consumers of the many health and environmental benefits of canola.
I grew up on the Camas Prairie in North Central Idaho where I recently joined our family farming operation as a partner with my father. Our farm has a history of raising a diverse rotation of crops, of which Canola has been a staple for many years. We are excited to see and participate in the growth of canola production in the Pacific Northwest in recent years and look forward to exchanging knowledge and expertise with many other excellent canola producers in the region!
Dale Flikkema, President
I farm outside of Bozeman with my wife Nancy and daughters Samantha and Sophia. I'm the fourth generation on our family farm with plans of passing it on to the fifth. We run a cow-calf operation and raise a vast variety of crops, including alfalfa, barley, canola, corn, peas, sunflowers, and wheat. By being on the PNW Canola Association board, I plan to be involved with growing the industry and continuing to help it improve.
Don Nagy, First Vice-President
I farm in the Sweet Grass Hills area east of Sunburst. My crop rotations include malt barley, canola, wheat, lentils, and chickpeas. I've grown canola on my farm since 1990, and it has been an excellent rotation crop for me. I've found it to be especially beneficial to malt barley production. Barley is seeded after canola and is always 12-15% better yielding than the barley that is seeded on barley recrop. I serve as a producer director on the PNW Canola Association because I strongly believe in canola as a crop that can be a valuable tool for all producers in the Pacific Northwest. The rotational and economic benefits are very apparent on my farm. I'm very excited about getting the word out through this organization on the benefits of canola.
I was born and raised on the family farm near Whitewater, Montana, and returned to farming in 2005 after receiving a B.S. degree in Ag Education from Montana State University-Bozeman and working for a few years at the Montana State Department of Agriculture. I am a third-generation farmer and manage the cropping side of the farm while my dad runs the cow-calf operation. My wife, Kellie, and I have three children – Peyton, Barrett, and Avery. We have winter wheat, spring wheat, hay barley, peas, lentils, and spring canola in our crop rotation. My goal as a board member of the PNWCA is to get more education and outreach about canola production into Montana. I believe by including Montana in the PNWCA, we can achieve an even broader spectrum of canola acreage growth and added knowledge shared by growers, industry, and the universities in all four states.
I work on a fourth-generation family farm just outside of Salem. My husband, Jason, and I have two children - Robby and Megan. My work focuses on human resources, contract management, inventory management, and agriculture advocacy efforts. After receiving a Master of Business Administration in International Business and a Bachelor of Science in political science, I spent the bulk of my professional career working for large international companies in supply chain and business relations. However, my original undergraduate focus on lobbying and a desire to work for the family farm brought me to where I am today. Anna serves on multiple local, regional, and national boards, including the Willamette Valley Oilseed Producers Association (President), PNW Canola Association, and the U.S. Canola Association. Being a board member on three canola/oilseed associations gives me a unique opportunity to facilitate conversations between growers regionally and nationally in the hope of helping domestic production prosper.
Heidi Kopf, Second Vice-President
My husband Keith and I farm near Pullman, Washington and Moscow, ID, and raise winter wheat, legumes, spring barley, and spring canola. We modified our rotation to include spring canola in 2014 as a way to tackle herbicide-resistant Italian ryegrass that is a major problem in all of our crops. We see improvement in the soil health where canola is grown, resulting in at least a 10% yield increase in winter wheat yield following canola versus following legumes. We will continue growing canola for weed control, soil health benefits., and the ability to deliver to the local crushing facility in Warden, WA. We joined the PNWCA when it first started and I now serve on the board because education and research about canola production is important to me - we have so much more to learn about a crop that is still relatively 'new' to the PNW.
Douglas Poole, At-Large
My wife, Tina, and son, Lane, operate Double P Ranch in Mansfield, Washington. On our farm, we raise canola, wheat, sunflowers, triticale, oats, and barley under a 100% direct seed program. We began growing canola in 2013 and the farm is now 50% canola. Double P Ranch is integrating cattle into the operation and expanding cover crop regenerative ag system. I joined the PNWCA board to advocate for canola and all the positives it brings to a dryland wheat-fallow rotation. A robust association will bring together successful growers from a larger region giving the region a louder voice with policymakers.
I raise canola on our family farm along side my wife, parents, and sister in Walla Walla, Washington. After graduating from Boise State University in 2010, I returned to the farm where we have increased our focus on crop rotation. Canola has been a great tool for dealing with the problems that arise from farming in an area where a wheat-fallow rotation is standard practice. My hope is that the association will continue to provide valuable resources for canola growers while attracting new growers to this under utilized crop.