Grain Inspections Cease at Port of Vancouver
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Earlier this month Governor Inslee made the decision to halt the Washington State Patrol security detail that had been escorting WSDA grain inspectors to and from United Grain Corporation’s export terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The security detail was put in place eight months ago in response to mounting threats to grain inspectors during the labor dispute between UGC and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which has gone on for nearly a year and a half. State Senator Curtis King had this response to the Governor’s decision, which has effectively brought grain exports from the terminal to a standstill.
KING: So, the Governor in removing the State Patrol escorts has put ahead of all of the family farms and all of the farmers that raise wheat in our state as well as I think other states - that all of that grain coming down into Vancouver to be shipped - he’s put their interests on the back burner because he wants to help protect the Unions. He stopped this saying that he wanted to get them back to the negotiation table, but yet now the Unions are saying they can’t do it till August. He needs to step up and do the right thing, and that’s reinstate that escort so that those inspectors can get back into the terminal and inspect that wheat so that we are allowed to ship it to protect the livelihoods of all of the farmers and their families.
Washington wheat exports are a billion dollar industry, with 90 % of the state’s wheat crop being exported. WSDA Director, Bud Hover, has stated that the Federal Grain Inspection Service has declined a request from the WSDA to provide grain inspection services at the Port of Vancouver citing the same security concerns for their employees.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.