Here are brief bios of the speakers scheduled at our March 24 forum, How will climate change affect Kittitas County farming?
DAVID NERPEL, moderator
David Nerpel lives and farms in Kittitas County. He also works as an agricultural consultant with local, national and international projects. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and earned a master’s degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His career has been focused on using information and technology to achieve optimal economic and environmental results in crop production.
Roger is retired after 51 years of farming in the Manastash-Cove area of the valley. His family has been farming in Kittitas County for over 100 years. He is a 1959 graduate of the University of Idaho in Agricultural Engineering. Following graduation, he served for 3 years in the U.S. Navy.
His interests, in addition to farming, are amateur radio (holding call sign W7WKB since 1954) and the studies of Macroeconomics, Physics, and Seismology. He has held positions in Farm Bureau, Energy Northwest, Westside Volunteer Fire Department, First Lutheran Church, and Kittitas County PUD #1.
His position in Kittitas County PUD #1 began in 1974 when appointed as Commissioner, District 3. He was subsequently reelected and retired at final term end in 2016, after 42 years of service.
Urban is leading the way in planning for climate adaptation. He grew up on a farm in the Kittitas Valley and is a natural born leader in the agriculture community.
Urban was a member of the Future Farmers of America Parliamentary Procedure Team in high school, served as Legislative Affairs Chairman and President of the Kittitas County Farm Bureau in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was first elected to the Board of Directors of the Kittitas Reclamation District in 1986 at the age of 25 and remained an active board member until being appointed as the KRD Secretary Manager in 2015.
During the past few decades he has seen much change in the agricultural community and their needs. He attended his first Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (YRBWEP) meeting in 1979 and has worked on finding solutions to the Yakima Basin water issues ever since. He helped with the drafting and successful passage through Congress of the 1994 YRBWEP phase II legislation. Urban has been an outspoken leader on water issues, including being a leading agricultural representative of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan and continues to work on the plan as it moves through Congress.
Clay Arango is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environment Sciences at Central Washington University. His research centers on how human activity modifies nitrogen and carbon cycling in streams and on how forest insects alter the movement of nitrogen and carbon from forests to streams.
He will speak on the science of weather and climate change.
Ken Hart lives in Nezperce, Idaho. He has lived in north central Idaho since 1979. He joined the University of Idaho Faculty in 1994 and serves as an Extension Educator. Ken conducts extension crop production programs in Lewis and Idaho counties and financial management education programs across north central Idaho. He has volunteered as an agribusiness consultant in Belarus, Moldova, Transnistria (Moldova), Angola and Malawi.
Ken received a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Idaho in 1992. Also, Ken and Gail Hart own and operate a farm in Clearwater County, Idaho.
Leighton is resources protection assistant regional manager at Washington State Department of Natural Resources. He supports the mission and goals of DNR through the fire suppression and regulation programs. Responsibilities include planning, prioritizing, coordinating, and implementing the fire program within Klickitat and Snake River Districts. Ensures all aspects of the fire pre-suppression and suppression program are administered and employee personnel policies and procedures are implemented within the district.
He is also a forest practices forester. He reviews, conditions, and approves forest practice applications in accordance with the Forest Practices Act for Washington State. He also does compliance inspections on active FPA’s with Klickitat, Walla Walla, Garfield, Columbia, and Asotin Counties.