Immigration Reform & Water Quality Bill

Immigration Reform & Water Quality Bill

Immigration Reform & Water Quality Bill

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Upon the release of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's immigration standards earlier this month that addressed several of the key issues, including border security and a market-based visa system, agriculture leaders around the state responded to Boehner's proposal and expressed their hope that passage of a better visa program for agriculture will be possible this year. One of these was Dave Manterola, farmer and board member with the Franklin County Farm Bureau.

MANTEROLA: This immigration reform bill is going to be one of the most important things that's happened for agriculture in a long time; especially in the state of Washington with the increase in orchards and vineyards and the intensive labor agriculture that we have right now it's critical that this gets done in a timely fashion, and take some of the risk out of - some of these people - what they're investing into these orchards and vineyards. And the tax base that comes out of these crops that we're able to grow because of labor is huge for the state economy. I'm a hay grower but this is very very important to me, where even though I'm not a large labor intensive producer, I'm very hopeful that with what's developed here recently that we can get something pushed through this year.

One of the many bills being reviewed by state lawmakers that's important to agriculture is proposed water quality SB 6087, which has been approved by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development and now awaits debate by the full Senate. SB 6087 would require government agencies tasked with protecting water quality to work cooperatively with agricultural landowners and conservation districts in order to fully utilize new and existing voluntary incentives and promote water quality solutions to the maximum extent possible before taking any enforcement action.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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