Buffer Bill Fix Pt 1

Buffer Bill Fix Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. As the legislative session in Olympia draws to a close, chances of fixing agricultural measures dwindle.

Washington State Tree Fruit Association President, Jon DeVaney says there has been some progress, but a fix for the Governor’s buffer bill hasn’t been easy …

DeVANEY … “That buffer is a pretty significant one because it looks at what is the 500-year tree height you can get on that site. You know, put the tree down on the ground and that’s how far away you have to stay away from the stream and planted to native vegetation.”

And that, DeVaney says can take up a lot of otherwise productive farmland …

DeVANEY … “That was a big loss of farmland in a lot of places because there are quite a few farms that abut streams or have waters running through them. So, that had strong opposition from the agricultural community last session.”

So, this year, DeVaney says a voluntary approach to the buffer bill was taken …

DeVANEY … “After a lot of discussion about the need to fund voluntary programs, there are certainly farms where that might make sense and farmers would be willing to put in larger buffers if they’re given some compensation and incentives for that. The Governor reintroduced a bill that was more emphasizing the voluntary portion.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the Buffer Bill and what that looks like as the legislative session comes to a close.

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