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Orchardist Jim Small of Entiat, Washington, was honored for serving 28 years on the board of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association.

Small, who retired from the board this spring, was vice president of the association in 1988 and president in 1990. He was active on the board’s marketing and water committees.

Kirk Mayer, manager of the clearing house, said Small has been a valuable resource to the association over the years, particularly because of his involvement in water and watershed planning issues.

He is a member of the Entiat Watershed Planning Unit and is on a Salmon Recovery Advisory Committee in Chelan County that is trying to develop options for orchardists who have land along rivers and are impacted by the need for pesticide-free buffers. Wenatchee Valley College’s Institute for Rural Innovation and Stewardship is involved in the project.

“It’s going to be more difficult to farm in the future,” said Small, who owns property on both the Columbia and Entiat Rivers. “We’re putting together a couple of pilot projects so we can develop a lease type of program so you can tear a certain part of the orchard out and replace it with fish habitat and get paid to farm fish habitat instead of tree fruit crops.”

Small, who has been downsizing his orchard and now has 40 acres, said the clearing house is an important industry organization. “Our survival as small growers will be tied directly to what happens at the clearing house.”