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									                     Flour PowerNW wheat growers find success with eco-marketing strategy

12 January/February 2010 / Rural Cooperatives
                                                                                        By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Editor

                                                                                                          small group of farmers in
                                                                                                          the Spokane, Wash., area
                                                                                                          has developed a local
                                                                                                          niche market for
                                                                                                          sustainably grown wheat
                                                                                        products that is adding to their incomes,
                                                                                        helping stabilize their prices and
                                                                                        encouraging environmentally friendly
                                                                                           The value-added marketing business
                                                                                        they formed, Columbia Plateau Producers
                                                                                        LLC, today has 32 member-farmers and
                                                                                        sells high-quality flour under the
                                                                                        Shepherd’s Grain brand to bakeries from
                                                                                        Seattle to Northern California. It’s a
                                                                                        member of the Food Alliance, which
                                                                                        certifies food producers for sustainable
                                                                                        practices and rang up $4 million in sales
                                                                                        last year.
                                                                                           The venture began in 1999 when
                                                                                        wheat farmers Fred Fleming and Karl
                                                                                        Kupers decided to try growing hard red
                                                                                        spring wheat in an area where soft white
                                                                                        wheat was the norm
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