It’s been a very busy couple weeks for the leadership of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers. In late January, they took a trip back to Washington D.C. to meet with congressional leaders to discuss issues important to local growers. And then after that, Wheat Growers leadership traveled to western Washington for Olympia days.
According to Washington Association of Wheat Grower executive Director Michelle Hennings, dams were the top topic for both trips. She said it’s pivotal for Washington growers that the four lower Snake River dams are saved, and she’s encouraging everyone in the Ag community to fight to keep those dams. She said another big issue in Olympia is the idea of Low Carbon legislation. Hennings said as lawmakers try to push bill through this session or future sessions, it’s important Ag is at the table.
“Let’s have a meeting, let’s talk about how we already sequester carbon, and maybe how we can get credit for that part of it. You know another issues is we do a lot of conversation programs, that’s also helping sequester carbon. So, I think we need to sit down and have a conversation before all of these proposed bills hit the floor.”
Another key issue in Olympia involves DNR pulling leases from farmers at will under the “higher better use” clause. Hennings said currently, there is no recourse for farmers, despite what improvements they may have made to DNR land. She says with the help of Yakima representative Chis Corry, there may be a solution to protect farmers from having leases terminated early.
“We were able to go to a hearing on it and testify, and actually the Department of Natural Resources, Representative Corry, and the Wheat farmers along with the Farm Bureau were all in favor of the language of this bill, so it seems to me that it’s very agreed upon and we could see it move forward.”
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