Eliminating The Conservation Commission
The released budget by House Democrats in the Washington State Legislature proposes eliminating the Washington State Conservation Commission, effective July 1. All state funding to conservation districts for fiscal year 2013 will be amended and cancelled. Most remaining functions and some staff from the Conservation Commission are to be transferred to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. If passed, all forty-seven conservation districts throughout the state would be terminated. WCA’s Jack Field, talks about the impact of such a cut.
FIELD: This poses an enormous problem for landowners, livestock producers, and everybody in agriculture that utilizes the expertise and partnerships of their local conservation districts which work in a grass roots fashion from the local level on up to the state Conservation Commission.
Many times the Conservation Districts and Conservation Commission are partnering with NRCS on cost share activities, whether it’s an EQIP, (Environmental Quality Incentives Program), project or some other type of voluntary activity that landowners are implementing.
Field says that right now this is one of the biggest challenges for those in agriculture in the state.
FIELD: Everybody understands there are going to be cuts, but a total elimination of the commission is far more than what agriculture can stand in this current economy.
The Washington State Conservation Commission is asking supporters to contact their legislators in Olympia and ask them to support the governor’s budget in which the WSCC and districts around the state take a ten percent cut.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.