CONDON - With its wheat lab becoming a reality and other opportunities waiting in the wings, little Gilliam County has become one of the Northwest's most progressive wheat industry players.

The county's latest initiative is attempting to create a system that takes wheat from the test plot where new varieties and classes will be planted through to harvest. The goal is to select varieties that will be particularly helpful to domestic end users and have growers segregate and supply them.

Laura Pryor, a county judge, is helping spearhead the project. She said the idea is not new - not in Australia anyway, where identity preservation started in 1958.

She doesn't pretend the goal will be easy to reach. In fact, she believes its difficulty is probably why the Northwest's three wheat commissions haven't taken on such a project.

Her hope is that Gilliam County, with only 60 growers, can figure out the process and develop a road map that anybody can follow. Waiting is not an option.

"If we do nothing, we won't be here. We are watching all these communities out here die," she said. "We don't want to fail not even having tried."

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