Spokane farmer appointed to national dairy board

By:  Chenfei Zhang
Source: Spokesman Review

A Spokane County dairy farmer was appointed to the national dairy board Tuesday.

Kima L. Simonson and her husband Robert own and operate a 160-acre family dairy farm near Deer Park. With all four kids away from home, the couple has to milk 75 cows twice a day.

“That’s a lot of work, so I have to try to schedule the commission work around the routine stuff,” Simonson said of her appointment to the USDA National Dairy Promotion and Research Board.

This 38-member national dairy board was created by federal law in 1983 to enhance the industry’s position in markets at home and abroad.

Since 1994, Simonson has served as a Washington Dairy Products Commission Board member and was its chairwoman twice. She is also active in local dairy organizations.

Jesse Robbins, program director of the Washington State Dairy Federation, called Simonson “a tireless advocate of the dairy industry.”

“She constantly works on and off the farm to make the industry more successful and viable,” he said. “You need to devote tremendous time and effort to attend meetings and go around the country.”

In 2003, Simonson received the Mel H. Ehlers Distinguished Washington State University Dairy Booster Award for volunteering time and support to WSU Programs.

Simonson said her new position will give Washington state a better voice at the national table, and “it will be a good opportunity to learn from other states,” she added.

In supporting the appointment, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., cited Simonson’s extensive experience and knowledge of the industry. She is among 12 newly-appointed board members whose terms begin immediately and end on Oct. 31, 2014.