Pedersen made decades of FCAD memories
Quincy Valley recently lost one of the people that helped make it what it is, a man who contributed to the valley’s success as an agricultural powerhouse and its character as a great place to live. Chet Pedersen died on Dec. 1.
Pedersen was born on March 25, 1942, and he lived and worked in Quincy Valley for decades. He was 76 at the time of his passing.
A celebration of his life is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at Faith Community Church, 1005 10th Ave. SW, Quincy, according to information posted at the Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel website. A private service was planned to be held at High Valley Memorial Gardens, in Ellensburg.
His passing leaves a huge hole at the top of the valley’s iconic annual celebration, Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day. Pedersen was one of the founders of FCAD and was the leader of the FCAD organizing committee. However, indications are that the FCAD committee will carry on.
Here, in honor of Pedersen and FCAD, we reprint an article that was published in the Aug. 26, 2010, edition of the Post-Register, a Q-and-A with Pedersen as FCAD reached 30 years.
The article was written by Sunshine Didra, a Post-Register employee, who was, like Pedersen, a pillar in the Quincy Valley community and a volunteer on the FCAD organizing committee. Didra passed away in 2017.
By Dave Burgess, email@example.com
30 years of FCAD
(published in 2010)
Chet Pedersen is one of the founding fathers of the Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day celebration in Quincy.
F-CAD will celebrate its 30th year with festivities to be held on Sept. 10-12. Recently, Pedersen sat down to talk about the celebration’s past, present and future.
Quincy Valley Post-Register: The Quincy Valley is your home now, but where did you grow up?
Chet Pedersen: I was raised in a farming family about 14 miles southeast of Ellensburg. My father raised row crops. Our little community was the Denmark–Badger pocket of the Kittitas Valley.
QVPR: What brought you to the Quincy Valley?
CP: After I graduated from high school, I attended Washington State University and graduated with a degree in agronomy and soil chemistry. We had started an agronomic consulting service in the Yakima Valley and the Kittitas Valley. My boss at the time thought expanding to the Quincy Basin with agronomic science input would be a logical extension. So I relocated to Quincy and started doing business with farmers in the surrounding area. At that time and even today, I market no tangible products, only scientific advice based on soil and plant measurements.
QVPR: I understand that you own and operate Columbia Ag Consulting. What type of ag business is that?
CP: Columbia Ag Consulting provides scientific advice in the area of soil fertility, plant nutrition and irrigation scheduling. We portray and recognize each field has its own identity, so based on the evaluation of each field, I make decisions accordingly.
QVPR: How did Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day get started? What is it, exactly?
CP: The story of Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day’s origin has been revisited many times over the past 30 years. Basically, Dennis Higashiyama, who was farming with his father, Macky, heard on his tractor radio a person call into Paul Harvey. She was rather emphatic that farmers were not a necessity, since all foodstuffs were available at the supermarket. I was chamber president in 1980 and Dennis came to me with troubling concerns. Dennis was upset. He asked me if I would support him in his quest to start an event which would showcase farmers and farming at the grassroots. I fully agreed, and furthermore, realized how the theme fit Quincy. That basically was the beginning of Farmer-Consumer Day. The FCAD theme has been the farm tours and produce sales at farm-gate prices.
QVPR: How has FCAD changed over the years?
CP: It has changed in the sense that people in the community from different ethnicities and cultures have embraced the FCAD idea and become members of the committee, as well as just pitching in on the weekend of the event. I applaud this involvement. Also, we have invited financial contributions from the community to help fund the event. We thank the community members for their generous support.
QVPR: This will be the 30th year for FCAD. How do you feel about that? What has kept it going for so long?
CP: I believe Farmer-Consumer Day has existed in perpetuity all these 30 years because of the community support. The overall theme fits Quincy and certainly because of the commitment of committee members — some new and some who have been involved for years.
QVPR: What do you envision for FCAD in the future?
CP: Hopefully, the future will continue to emphasize the need for farmers and farming. In America, we are blessed with an abundance of excellent quality and some of the safest food in the world.
QVPR: Just what goes into putting together a festival like FCAD?
CP: In late July and during the month of August each year is final preparation for the upcoming event. Thanks to an excellent group of committee members, it all seems to come together. The committee meets monthly all year long in preparation for the big event. We cannot forget that a great many other community members also help take care of the many, many tasks that need to be done on the weekend of Farmer-Consumer. We would not be able to put FCAD together without their help.
QVPR: I understand you have other interests and hobbies. Tell us about those.
CP: As the community knows, one of my most notable passions is gardening — flowers and vegetables. I like to see the community aesthetically attractive and I get great inner satisfaction because people enjoy the flowers in Quincy. Actually, many people perceive me as a workaholic. In some respects, that is true, but literally, I have a variety of interests. For example, I am involved with the Washington State Potato Commission research council. I am also interested in land and wildlife conservation. I thoroughly enjoy seeing deer, elk, etc. I belong to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
QVPR: Give us a preview of what to expect at the FCAD festival this year.
CP: We will once again have the participation of the Ephrata detachment of the National Guard. They were a big attraction when they participated several years ago.
QVPR: What do you like the best about FCAD?
CP: I really enjoy seeing the community come together to enjoy the day with their families and loved ones. There is something for almost every age level to experience at Farmer-Consumer. And my biggest satisfaction is that we have been able to sustain a country festival with wholesome family activities. Also, I get a lot of enjoyment sharing with our visitors the virtues of farming and food production.