It’s been said farmers are the original environmentalists, striking a balance between producing the food and fiber needed, while ensuring the resources remain for years, and even generations to come. That led to the state of Washington establishing the Voluntary Stewardship Program, in which different farmers in a variety of counties, work to ensure critical areas are protected.
April Clayton with the Chelan Douglas County Farm Bureau said VSP allows farmers to get credit for the good environmental work they are already doing.
“We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, there are a lot of things that farmers are already doing to enhance critical areas. We basically want to kind of document that to show that farmers are actually doing the right thing for the environment.”
Clayton says it’s not just farmers that support the VSP. It’s also endorsed by Future Wise, Washington Environmental Council, Washington Cattleman’s Association, Washington Association of Counties, the state Dairy Federation, and the Washington Farm Bureau. Clayton added since the VSP is operated at the county level, it does a better job looking for a balanced approach between critical area protection and agricultural viability.
“While we want to protect our fish and wildlife, out wetlands, and critically charged aquifer areas, we also want to maintain an enhanced land productivity, reduce input costs for farmers, and have flexibility for farmers to respond to the market, that way farmers have flexibility to farm the way they’ve been farming.”
Click Here to learn more about the Voluntary Stewardship Program.
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