Good Fruit Grower

April 15

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Meet Washington State's new agriculture director Bud Hover discusses the importance of promoting Washington products. by O. Casey Corr B ud Hover's road to directorship of the Washington State Department of Agriculture began in 1938 when his mother and her family loaded their belongings on a truck and left North Dakota, headed west at 35 miles per hour. Hover calls it a scene from The Grapes of Wrath. His mother at age six rode in the back of the truck destined for Washington State. The family settled in the Yakima Valley, where Hover's grandfather got a job as an irrigator near White Swan. In time, they began their own farming operation, which remains in the extended family as Jones Farms Fruit & Produce near Zillah, Washington. In March, Washington Governor Jay Inslee named Hover as successor to ag director Dan Newhouse, a Yakima Valley grower who had held the job for four years. Hover grows hay and raises cattle on a ranch near Winthrop, Washington, in the Okanogan region, where he had served as county commissioner. He holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture education from Washington State University and a master's of public administration from the University of Washington. Hover's comments were edited for space and clarity. Good Fruit Grower: Governor Inslee said that he would be seeking "disruptive change-agents" in his appointments. What kind of changes should tree fruit expect from you and WSDA? There are 26 programs in this agency. What the governor was saying was, doing things better, trying to find better ways, more efficient ways to provide a top level of service to the people within the resources that we have. I know the outgoing director has started some of this, and I'm going to follow up. The idea is, be as cost-effective as we can. I'm sure you know long-time manager [of WSDA's fruit and vegetable inspection program] Jim Quigley is retiring after about 40 years. We have a [successor], Cameron Crump. She was picked after a competitive review process with industry folks. I'm hoping there will be good continuity there. I want to continue on the base that Dan [Newhouse] and the organization laid here. Sometimes you need to reassess how you've been doing things. Sometimes a culture gets built up in different areas of an organization that just aren't as productive as they should be. Trying to change that culture, this is what's been going on for the last couple of years in the organization. I want to continue it to better serve the people. Our inspection program is a national leader. Good Fruit Grower: I understand you have relatives in the tree fruit business. You worked one summer in a cherry orchard. Tell us about that experience. My uncle Harvey [Jones] owned the orchard. I worked there one summer during the cherry harvest. I realized I probably wouldn't make it as a cherry grower. [laughs] Bud Hover 6 April 15, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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