I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Washington Farm Bureau CEO John Stuhlmiller recently testified at a Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee work session on the economic impact of environmental regulations on Washington’s exporters; in particular the state Department of Ecology’s new standards for reviewing trade investments, and the agency’s decision to look at the global impacts of products going through the Gateway bulk export facility in Whatcom County rather than reviewing the facility’s statewide impacts, as is usual per the State Environmental Policy Act.
STUHLMILLER: Wheat grown on my family’s farm has to compete with wheat grown in Argentina, Russia, Australia - when our production is down those markets will pick up the slack. It isn’t that folks will wait in line until Washington has enough wheat to sell. With that said, the uncertainty for the members in my industry is tremendous. Regulatory schemes should be all about certainty, predictability and fairness. In recent years we have struggled with this. My industry faces the greatest single threat ever in the existence of our state right now, and it comes from regulatory pressures that are right on the edge.
Stuhlmiller spoke about the fact that shoring up infrastructure is critical. Agriculture is the second largest industry in the state with $16.5 billion of ag products being exported through Washington ports in 2012. He stated that growers must compete on a global scale while struggling under regulations unique to Washington state, from fish consumption standards to "bully science" used in implementing the Endangered Species Act.
STUHLMILLER: The farmers and ranchers of Washington have one purpose and that is to provide the food, feed, fiber and fuel that our state, nation and the world needs. That is the focus. They are stewards of the land and they have to pass on from generation to generation what they have inherited or purchased, so they care very much about the environment.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.