Support of Agriculture Grants For Sustainable Farms and Fields

Support of Agriculture Grants For Sustainable Farms and Fields

WHEREAS the agriculture sector represents 13% of Washington State’s economy and 6.8% of Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions, and

WHEREAS policies to support sustainable efficiencies can improve workers wages, the environment, and a competitive advantage in global markets, and

WHEREAS climate change is negatively affecting Washington State’s agriculture businesses by compromising water resources and diminishing the availability of irrigation water, and

WHEREAS high intensity monoculture farming accelerates soil erosion and requires the intensive use of fertilizers that wash into waterways, thus resulting in increased polluted sediments and the frequency of toxic algae blooms in freshwater lakes and estuaries, and

WHEREAS soil carbon storage can be increased by cost effective modifications to agricultural practices resulting in a reduction of carbon emissions impacts in Washington State, and

WHEREAS electrical operational efficiencies can be greatly improved by modern farm equipment and technologies including solar and wind power surge storage that enables the recharging of battery powered farm equipment in off-the-grid mode, and

WHEREAS regenerative agricultural practices enhance competitive advantages for Washington State farmers by increasing biodiversity, enriching soils, improving watersheds and enhancing ecosystem services while simultaneously saving energy and storing carbon in the soil, and

WHEREAS financial assistance grants are needed to incentivize and enable farmers to implement:

a.       Reduced use of fertilizers and pesticides

b.       Energy and water conservation and increased use of renewable energy in farm operations

c.       Adoption of regenerative agricultural practices such as no till, manure or biochar additions

d.       Integration of cover crop plantings especially native plants that are naturally drought tolerant and hardy in eastern Washington agricultural and ranch environments,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Washington State Democratic Party Central Committee urges the Washington State Legislature to pass a bipartisan Sustainable Farms and Fields Bill in the upcoming legislative session that will provide grants to farmers to train and implement practices that conserve water, reduce climate impacts, produce sustainably and humanely raised products, and improve wages and market competition.

Submitted to WSDCC by the ECC for adoption consideration at its 2019 September 26-27 Yakima meeting. Presented by Cigdem Capan – Benton County Democrats and approved by ECC on 2019 September 3.

Reference: 2019-20 SB 5947