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Green Acres to Desert Tan

Donald Kaufman

by Debra Marsh, 3/09


Donald Kaufman drives a much straighter line today than he did as a kid given the opportunity to cultivate a few rows of beans with his Uncle Albert’s tractor.

Donald Kaufman and family

Donald Kaufman with his two heroes, his wife Chryse and daughter Kaci (3 months) prior to his second deployment to Kuwait, February 2006.

“I’m not sure how many beans suffered from ‘cultivator blight’ that afternoon,” said Kaufman.

Kaufman grew up in Quincy, a small farming town in central Washington. Influenced by his many visits to his aunts and uncles’ farms, he knew he wanted to work in agriculture. Kaufman first enrolled at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco, Wash., before transferring to WSU where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1991 with minors in soils, agricultural economics, and military science. During this time he was also commissioned as a second lieutenant through WSU’s Army ROTC program.

After graduation he interned as a research assistant for Gilbert Cook with Dupont before completing the Ordnance Officer basic course at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

Since 1996 Kaufman has worked as a risk management specialist for the USDA Risk Management Agency in Spokane, Wash., where they manage the Federal Crop Insurance Program for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Geographically, his responsibilities are portions of the Palouse and Columbia Basin, while his crop responsibilities include apples, canola, cherries, onions, and wheat.

He also currently holds the rank of major in the U.S. Army Reserves. He serves as a logistician with the U.S. Army Central and was deployed to Kuwait for a total of 27 months since December 2003.

“WSU has taught me the fundamentals of leadership and agri-business. I feel fortunate to have been able to maintain both a civilian and military career which together have enabled me to travel across the U.S., as well as half way around the world,” said Kaufman. “WSU truly is a world-class school.”

Kaufman and his wife, Chryse, have a three-year-old daughter, Kaci, with another daughter due in late March. In his spare time he enjoys riding his Harley around beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene and stopping for a burger at the classic Bud’s Café in St. Maries, Idaho. He also enjoys photography and, when in Pullman, visits to Ferdinand’s.