Stopping Lethal Removal, Minimum Wage Increase, & Passing A Farm Bill
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Friends of Animals, an animal rights group, has sued to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from lethally removing over 3 thousand barred owls in four study areas in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. Barred owls have been aggressively invading spotted owl territories over the last fifty years. In their suit the FOA claim that lethal removal of barred owls violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The state Department of Labor and Industries has announced that the minimum wage will increase to $9.32 an hour on January 1, 2014. Calculations to the state's minimum wage is done every year by L&I as required by Initiative 688. The 13 cent increase reflects a 1.455 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical workers over the last year. The state minimum wage applies to workers in both ag and non-ag jobs, although workers ages 14 and 15 may be paid 85% of the minimum wage.
Washington State Director of Agriculture, Bud Hover, comments on why getting a farm bill passed is paramount for Washington state.
HOVER: For our state it's important because there are certain funding through the MAP program for the Specialty Crop Block Grants and some different things that provide funding for a lot of the different crops that we grow. Obviously, we have a strong presence in the wheat market and what not too, and obviously those commodities tend to be wrapped up in the farm bill, but people don't realize that all of the other - our specialty crops and stuff - that funding is key to keeping these markets and continuing to build market share in some of these export markets is really critical for us.
More than $15 billion in food and agricultural products were exported through Washington ports in 2011.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.