OLYMPIA – Senate Republicans released a pro-agriculture agenda this week called “Cultivate Washington” for the 2024 legislative session. The senators said it is to address over-regulation, farm closures, water rights, and other issues that threaten Washington’s agricultural industry, the heritage of rural communities and the food supply.
Sen. Perry Dozier (R-Waitsburg), one of the four sponsors of Cultivate Washington, is a Walla Walla County wheat farmer. The other three sponsors are Sen. Ron Muzzall (R-Whidbey Island), Sen. Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake), and Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy). Each sponsor is either a farmer or is personally a part of the agriculture community.
“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,” Dozier said. “That’s wrong, because as price takers, these producers have to absorb that extra expense.”
Its sponsors say that Cultivate Washington’s priorities include reducing the regulatory burden on farming operations while balancing the interests of farm workers; easing the pain of high fuel costs; promoting new opportunities for the state to support small- and mid-sized farms; continuing work toward a reliable supply of water for crops and farm housing; seeking a balance between the needs of wildlife and the needs of farming operations; and working toward a new public appreciation for agriculture.