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It needs our support to survive and thrive.
Senate Republicans release 2024 agenda to protect agriculture
“Cultivate Washington” aims to address shrinking farmland and overregulation
OLYMPIA…Senate Republicans released a pro-agriculture agenda for the 2024 legislative session. It is to address overregulation, farm closures, water rights, and other issues that threaten Washington’s agricultural industry, the heritage of rural communities and the food supply.
“Cultivate Washington” was introduced by Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Whidbey Island, Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, Sen. Perry Dozier, R-Waitsburg, and Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy. Each sponsor of the agenda is either a farmer or is personally entrenched in the agriculture community, providing lifelong firsthand experience and knowledge lacked by some decision makers. As the legislative session approaches, the Senators and their colleagues will draft legislation to satisfy the priorities of “Cultivate Washington.”
These priorities include:
- Reducing the regulatory burden on farming operations while balancing the interests of farmworkers
- Ease the pain of high fuel costs
- Promote new opportunities for the state to support small- and mid-sized farms
- Continue work toward a reliable supply of water for crops and farm housing
- Seek a balance between the needs of wildlife and the needs of farming operations
- Work toward a renewed public appreciation for agriculture
Senators promoting the Cultivate Washington agenda shared the following comments:
“Our state’s agricultural industry is a world leader and innovator. By harnessing the creativity, practicality and hard work of our producers, we can address significant challenges facing our state.” – Sen. Ron Muzzall
“For too long the agricultural community in Washington has faced neglect or even hostility in the state Legislature, despite their significant contributions to our state. We need to do everything we can to support our agricultural communities with sustainable and common-sense policies.” – Sen. Judy Warnick
“In the near term, producers are seeing their costs jump because the state won’t honor the fuel-surcharge exemption promised in the cap-and-trade law. That’s wrong, because as ‘price-takers’ these producers have to absorb that extra expense. Then there’s the uncertainty that goes with the incessant, misguided campaign against the lower Snake River dams, which not only provide reliable clean energy but also are essential to Washington agriculture as a source of irrigation water and low-carbon transportation of commodities for export. It really does make you wonder if certain people in power truly understand how farming works, and where their food comes from.” – Sen. Perry Dozier
“Agriculture is really the lifeblood of our state, our nation and our world,” Short said. “Our system works so well that we don’t often think about where our food comes from. But we got a wake-up call when COVID disrupted our supply chains, and we started seeing empty shelves in supermarkets. In Olympia, we see relentless attacks on agriculture and an attitude that no amount of regulation is ever enough. Yet the health of our society depends on the security and quality of our food supply, and government needs to recognize the importance of a vibrant agricultural sector.” – Sen. Shelly Short
You can watch the news conference as it aired on TVW by clicking here.