Last week, the Washington Farm Bureau filed a friend of the court with the Building Industry Association of Washington over the new rules, and powers, offered to the state Department of Labor and Industries under Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 20-57. The main sticking for the Farm Bureau, the confusion the Proclamation creates for the farm community.
John Stuhlmiller, WFB CEO said several of the high profile elements of the order are directly opposed to federal or state directives. For example, the Governor’s mandate that all Ag employees weather a mask, even when out in the orchard, despite the CDC recommends against workers wearing masks, especially during hot weather.
Stuhlmiller added another problem arises when you look at the requirement that hand washing stations be placed every 110 yards.
“If you put those in the field, now you have a sanitation issue related to both health code and things like Global Gap. If you have waste water inside, well, it’s precluded from being inside the field, and if a producer to meet the state rudiments under the Governor’s proclamation, which requires the station inside of the field and Global Gap or Food Safety Standards requires that it not be there, what do you do?”
Stuhlmiller added additional lawsuits have been filed over the transportation component of Proclamation 20-57. He said because of the coronavirus, the Farm Bureau was not able to present their arguments in Thurston County Thursday. But, Stuhlmiller encourages all producers to tell their story and to contact the Farm Bureau to ensure they know their rights.
“You’ve got the right to have a reasonable inspection time frame, and we encourage folks to do that to their absolute utmost compliance when L&I comes out.”
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