By Don Nelson
Methow Valley resident Bud Hover, a former Okanogan County Commissioner, said this week he will step down as director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Hover, who was appointed head of the state agency in April 2013 after being defeated in his bid for a third term on the county commission in 2012, said in a resignation letter to Gov. Jay Inslee that he plans to return to his farm near Winthrop and spend more time with his family.
“I believe we have made great strides in the past two years in advancing new and innovative solutions to help solve some of the pressing issues facing agriculture today as well as making great strides in improving efficiency in the Department of Agriculture,” Hover said in his letter to the governor, adding, “However, after many hours of discussion with my wife, Tonya, and considering the needs of her aging father, we have decided that it is time to return to the farm and the Methow Valley.”
Inslee thanked Hover for his work at the agency. “As a farmer himself, Bud has been a tireless advocate for the average farmer, making sure their concerns were heard at the highest levels of government,” the governor said in a statement. “He provided key leadership in implementing a state of the art Animal Disease Traceability program that will better protect the state’s vital livestock industry and provided important guidance in the difficult situation we faced with issues at our ports.”
Hover will continue to serve through the current legislative session, scheduled to conclude April 26.
Hover, whose family operates a hay and cattle ranch on Wolf Creek Road near Winthrop, served two terms as a county commissioner before he was defeated by Methow Valley resident Ray Campbell.
Hover was raised in Issaquah and attended Washington State University, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in agriculture education/forest and range management and also was a standout football player. He played linebacker for the Washington Redskins for two years. Hover earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington.