Current Issues

Washington governor seeks presidential assistance for drought-stricken producers

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has sent a letter to President Biden asking for additional federal assistance for the Evergreen State’s producers. The letter says, in part: “Unfortunately, in addition to the ongoing drought and low soil moisture problems, an extreme heat wave hit the state at the end of June. High temperature records were set across the state, topping out ... Read More »

Eastern Washington counties designated as primary natural disaster areas

On July 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated 14 counties, mostly in Eastern Washington, as primary natural disaster areas. The declaration allows the Farm Service Agency (FSA) the ability to offer emergency loans to producers to help them replace essential equipment, inputs or the refinance of farm-related debts. Producers in 10 Washington counties that are contiguous to the ... Read More »

Virtual advocacy doesn’t make the same connection

By Michelle Hennings WAWG Executive Director The first half of this year has been a challenge, to say the least, both professionally and personally. I’m normally a very social person, and not being able to interact and converse face to face with family, friends and coworkers due to COVID-19 has been really tough. The one positive from the whole ordeal ... Read More »

Washington farmers spotlight drought in local, national media

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but a combination of both brought a big spotlight on the drought conditions in Eastern Washington and highlighted how important crop insurance is to farmers. In June, Nicole Berg, a grower in Benton County and vice president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, sent out photographs of a coat hanger in ... Read More »

Wheat leaders send letter asking governor to make a drought declaration

Grower leaders from the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) and the Washington Grain Commission (WGC) have sent a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to announce a drought declaration in wheat counties so growers will have access to federal natural disaster aid. The letter comes as drought conditions deepen across the state. As of June 15, all or ... Read More »

Carbon regulation, carbon markets taking up air at all levels of government

Carbon, in the context of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, is being talked about at all levels of government. In Washington state, the legislature has been focused this session on carbon regulation bills—a low carbon fuel standard and a cap-and-trade program. At the federal level, carbon markets are becoming increasingly front and center. In May’s issue, Wheat Life sat down ... Read More »

Legislative report 04/26: Session ends

By Diana Carlen WAWG Lobbyist On Sunday night, the final gavel came down, and the 2021 Legislative Session adjourned Sine Die. It was a session unlike any other, held almost entirely remotely and with the campus closed to the public due to the pandemic. While people could testify remotely, oftentimes, people were not able to testify because of the high ... Read More »

State legislative report 04/18: Can ‘grand bargain’ come together before end of session?

By Diana Carlen WAWG Lobbyist There is only one week remaining in the 2021 Legislative Session. During the final week, the Legislature will continue to focus on reconciling differences between each chamber’s budget proposals, bills that are Necessary to Implement the Budget, and bills on the Concurrence Calendar. Budget negotiators worked over the weekend to finalize their operating, capital and ... Read More »

WAWG officer testifies against cap and trade program

Andy Juris, secretary/treasurer of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, testified today in a meeting of the House Environment & Energy Committee on E2SSB 5126, the Climate Commitment Act. Here is his full testimony. Good morning Chair Fitzgibbon and members of the Committee: For the record, my name is Andy Juris.  I am a fourth-generation farmer from Bickleton, Wash.  On ... Read More »

Wheat growers meet with state, federal legislators

Most of the wheat growers’ advocacy trips to Olympia and Washington, D.C., are a whirlwind of activity, hurrying from one appointment to another to fit in as many meetings as possible in just a couple of days. This year’s efforts involved a whole lot less walking but just as much advocacy. Since early March, the leaders and staff of the Washington ... Read More »