WSTFA on Buffer Bill Pt 1

WSTFA on Buffer Bill Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Hearings have been held in Olympia for testimony on HB 1838. The Buffer Bill proposes a mandatory setback along streams, rivers and lakes of 100-to-250 feet that can no longer be used for farming, in theory, to protect salmon.

And, Washington State Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney says agriculture was left out of the conversation …

DeVANEY … “We are often told, when we bring proposals to the legislature you have to have checked with all the stakeholders first before they’ll even consider it. So, to have a, you know, executive request bill of this size and scope and impact get dropped on us without any conversations in advance was a little frustrating.”

So, what do farmers get for taking their land out of production? …

DeVANEY … “You know, you get the same $100 per acre kind of compensation if you are growing a forage crop or a high-value permanent crop on that land that would have to be removed, like tree fruit.”

And that could be a killer, DeVaney says especially for small farms …

DeVANEY … “So, there’s a lot of concern that the bill is not really adequately compensating producers for the taking of their property and that many farms, which are small, have a small footprint, but produce because of higher value like apples, pears and cherries, you can’t take a large portion of your small footprint out of production and still be economically viable.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on HB 1838 and how the matter could have been handled much differently.

Previous ReportPhytech
Next ReportWSTFA on Buffer Bill Pt 2