Buffer Bill Fix Pt 2

Buffer Bill Fix Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Informa8tion Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. After a lot of back and forth, legislators in Olympia and the state’s ag community are still trying to work out a Riparian Buffer Bill.

Jon DeVaney, President of the Washington State Tree Fruit

Association, says the latest version included a “regulatory backstop” in case lawmakers didn’t feel enough voluntary progress was being made …

DeVANEY … “On a bipartisan basis, legislators said no, you know, let’s not immediately plan for failure. Let’s really focus on funding voluntary programs now and taking those benefits where we can get them. And then we’ll assess later what might need to be done, if anything, if we’re not making the kind of progress we want to see.”

DeVaney says there was bipartisan support from agriculture and the tribes on the voluntary program …

DeVANEY … “Unfortunately, the Governor was opposed to that bill and it has not moved forward. And at this point, there’s discussions about possibly including some funding in the budget to provide additional incentives for voluntary conservation. And the question is, what kind of strings may be attached to that.”

DeVaney believes a voluntary approach to the buffer bill could work …

DeVANEY … “Our position and that of the broader ag community has been that there are a lot of farmers that are very willing and interested in doing voluntary conservation measures and we should take advantage of that willingness and fund those programs now before we look at deploying more coercive measures.”

In the meantime, DeVaney says, talks continue.

Previous ReportBuffer Bill Fix Pt 1
Next ReportWA Wine Resurgence Pt 1