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Archive for the ‘agriculture’ Category

Food, farms and public policy

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

KITSAP COUNTY — Kitsap County officials will seek input from residents on its draft strategic agricultural plan at two meetings coming up next week.

The county recently received a $25,000 Washington State Conservation Commission Farm Preservation Grant to develop the plan.

Kitsap County has a long history of farming, and there’s been a recent resurgence in growing and consuming local foods. Yet Kitsap food products still make up less than 1 percent of the $1 billion county residents spend each year on food.

Kitsap County code allows agricultural uses in rural and urban areas, but does not specify how to preserve and enhance agricultural land. The 37-page draft agricultural plan lists a current inventory of farmland as well as recommended strategies for preserving it and getting the most benefit from it.

The county’s recently established Food and Farm Policy Council helped develop the plan, along with the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, the Kitsap Community Agricultural Alliance and other groups.

The county will hold public two forums on the draft plan. The first is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Island Lake Community Center, 1087 NW Island Lake Road, Silverdale; the second is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Kitsap County Administration Building, 619 Division St., Port Orchard.
For more information visit the board of commissioners special projects page on the county website, www.kitsapgov.com.


Farmers in Mason County Eligble for Federal Disaster Funds

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Farmers in 20 Washington Counties that were declared disaster areas as a result of extreme weather last April, and farmers in 12 “contiguous” counties, including Mason County, are eligible for federal disaster funding, Sens. Maria Cantwell and Murray announced Tuesday.

“The losses in these counties were caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, frosts, freezes, unseasonably cold weather and high winds. Tree fruits, vegetables, hay and wheat were particularly damaged,” reads the press release from both senators. “Farmers in both the primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), as well as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration for apply for emergency loan assistance. People seeking more information should contact their local FSA offices.”

For the complete release. see below.

Chris Henry, reporter

****************

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2011
Contact:
Cantwell: (202) 224-8277
Murray: (202) 224-2834

Cantwell, Murray: WA Farmers Eligible for Assistance for 2010 Losses
20 counties given federal USDA disaster designation; can receive assistance for losses suffered from extreme weather

SEATTLE, WA – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that farmers in 20 Washington state counties are now eligible to apply for emergency assistance to offset losses suffered during extreme weather conditions in April 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Adams, Benton, Chelan, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Klickitat, Pacific, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom and Yakima Counties as primary disaster areas, making farmers and producers in these areas eligible to apply for USDA emergency funding. Cantwell, Murray, and the rest of the Washington delegation wrote Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack in July, supporting of Governor Christine Gregoire’s June request for immediate disaster designations stemming from the weather-related losses.

“Washington’s farmers suffered severe losses after last spring’s severe weather,” Senator Cantwell said. “This federal assistance will help farmers maintain productive farms while they recover and rebuild after last year’s storms. I encourage our farmers to take advantage of this emergency aid.”

“Washington state farmers have been hit hard this season, and I am very glad that they are now going to get the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Senator Murray.

The losses in these counties were caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, frosts, freezes, unseasonably cold weather and high winds. Tree fruits, vegetables, hay and wheat were particularly damaged.

In addition to the twenty counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas, twelve counties have been named contiguous disaster counties: Garfield, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Whitman. Farmers in both the primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), as well as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration for apply for emergency loan assistance. People seeking more information should contact their local FSA offices.

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