Farm Bill Benefits For Washington
On June 21 the Senate passed its Farm Bill by a bipartisan vote of 64-35. Late last week the House unveiled its version of the Farm Bill. Senator Maria Cantwell has been meeting with ag producers around the state to discuss what benefits the new Farm Bill will have for Washington. On Thursday Cantwell met with Spokane area wheat producers to report on the Farm Bill’s support of Eastern Washington’s wheat exports.
CANTWELL: This is about putting people to work and giving people some certainty about really good programs that are helping us figure out how to get Washington wheat into lots of different markets. Right now part of it is making sure that we go to places like in Africa or Asia and helping them be larger wheat consumers.
Contained in the Senate Farm Bill is the Market Access Program, created in 1985 as an export-promotion initiative. Cantwell talks about export research done by US Wheat Associates, Washington wheat growers, and the National Assoc. Of Wheat Growers.
CANTWELL: They’ve done great work analyzing how much return you get for a little investment of encouraging populations in these other countries to eat wheat products. So, it’s been great and we really want to see the MAP program continue.
Washington’s apple, cherry, pear, and wine industries have all benefited using MAP support to boost their overseas sales.
Included in the bill are key provisions to improve research and exports of Washington-grown crops, as well as increasing investments in the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through 2017. Washington farmers grow 250 specialty crops, including apples, sweet cherries, pears, potatoes, hops, and red raspberries.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.