Farmers Left Out by Dept. of Ecology Pt 2

Farmers Left Out by Dept. of Ecology Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I'm Bob Larson. The state Department of Ecology has left farmers sitting on the sidelines when it comes to committees that will hash over future water allocations in seven Washington river basins.

Washington Farm Bureau CEO John Stuhlmiller says this is not what legislators intended when establishing these "Hirst fix" committees ...

STUHLMILLER ... "I say rule of law is everything or we have nothing in this nation. And, when the legislature says a process, and they say a representative selected by agriculture, that means a representative selected by agriculture."

Stuhlmiller says it's baffling ...

STUHLMILLER ... "When you don't have ag at the table how are you going to get that interest of that group of landowners? How are you going to get that covered? A conservation district cannot, CANNOT say what farmers think about things. They can say that we help farmers be more conservation-minded, we've got programs we give them money for, etc, but they cannot speak for agriculture. They just cannot!"

He says it makes the Farm Bureau's job much harder ...

STUHLMILLER ... "So, it's a bummer and I think the process suffers for it, and I've let Ecology know that and they know that "John's" pretty irritated about this, and we have not protected the interest of agriculture. And, that's, as the state's largest ag organization, our interest is that the industry be protected from, or at least represented within these kinds of processes."

Unfortunately, Stuhlmiller says it's a done deal so they'll just have to do what they can to make sure farmers voices are heard by the committees.

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