Washington Labor Survey & Sustainable Forest Management

Washington Labor Survey & Sustainable Forest Management

Washington Labor Survey & Sustainable Forest Management

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

State tree fruit companies reported that labor was tight in September, but less so in October, due largely in part to a noticeable increase in the number of foreign workers hired through the H-2A guest worker visa program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor 6,221 H-2A guest workers were approved for work in the state this year, 1,675 more than were approved in 2012. The state Employment Security Department's monthly agricultural employment and wage report for October shows that statewide agricultural employment increased an estimated 14.1% from October 2012 to October 2013. Comparing monthly, statewide agricultural employment decreased 4.9% from September to October 2013.

At the recent state forestry meeting the state Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, talked about the huge economic impact afforded to the state through the sustainable management of the state's forests.

GOLDMARK: There are direct environmental benefits of carbon storage from well managed (forest) lands. In addition to the environmental benefits, there are significant economic impacts of the forest industry in the state. Out of roughly 23 million acres of forested land in the state of Washington 10.8 million are actually working forests with the remainder that's restricted either by state or federal law, resulting in roughly 50 thousand direct jobs. When you add in the indirect and induced jobs the number rises considerably to roughly to 125 thousand jobs. That's a huge economic impact that supports a wage base alone of $5.5 billion, afforded only through the sustainable management of our forests.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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