Hops Optimism, Water Right Holders, and Marijuana Excise Tax
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Former state Ag Director and now U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse is also a 3rd generation Yakima Valley farmer who grows hops, grapes and tree fruit. Newhouse says that like most hop growers in the Valley they've been expanding.
NEWHOUSE: We're optimistic for the hop industry. We've seen a bit of a resurgence of hops in the last few years, a lot of acreage increase, and it looks like it should remain the same for at least a couple more years we're hoping. It's kind of an up and down market; at least it has been historically. But with the craft brewing industry being as popular as it is in this country and others the hop industry has seen quite a bit of improvement.
March did not bring hoped for rains and because of that irrigation water for the Yakima Basin this season will be in short supply. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently announced that junior water right holders are now expected to receive only 60% of their normal water, as opposed to the previously estimated 73%. A less than 20% snowpack for this time of year in the Cascades has caused the shortfall and prompted Governor Inslee to declare a drought emergency for central Washington.
The state Senate has passed SB 6062, which removes the excise tax on processors and producers of recreational marijuana and will instead impose the tax strictly on retail sales at the rate of 37%. $11,700,000 of the tax will be distributed annually to the general fund with the remainder going to the education legacy trust account. Out of the amount distributed to the general fund $6 million must be distributed to local governments. The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect July 1 of this year. It is now in the House for consideration.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.