WASHINGTON — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson was awarded the Wheat Leader of the Year Award on Jan. 25. The award, which is given annually by the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) to one member of Congress based on his or her demonstrated commitment to the well-being and goals of the wheat industry, is considered the wheat industry’s highest public service award.

In the past year, NAWG said Mr. Peterson “worked intensely on climate change, food safety and derivative legislation to ensure bills before the House take into account the unique nature of agriculture and the needs of agricultural producers.” In addition, he spearheaded a bill to enhance agricultural trade with Cuba.

Mr. Peterson previously was selected for the award in 2007 for his efforts to finalize the 2008 farm bill, implementation of which is ongoing.

“Chairman Peterson never fails to go to bat for agriculture when push really comes to shove,” said Karl Scronce, NAWG president and a wheat producer from Klamath Falls, Ore. “We are proud to name him our Wheat Leader twice in just three years because he really does embody the agriculture voice on the Hill — and that’s a voice that’s desperately needed.”

Previous Wheat Leaders include Senator Max Baucus of Montana in 2008 and 2002; Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota in 2006; Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri in 2005; Representative Jerry Moran of Kansas in 2004; Senator Conrad Burns of Montana in 2003; Representative Larry Combest of Texas in 2001; Representative George Nethercutt of Washington in 2000; and Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas in 1999.