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Updated: Jun 13

Over the weekend, a forum in Wenatchee to discuss the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, joined nearly 30 state agriculture leaders Saturday.

The Farm Bill is a package of legislation that must be passed every five years. The bill establishes policy and funding levels for agriculture, food assistance programs, natural resources, and other aspects of food and agriculture under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cantwell said, quoting here, “This is a key moment for all of us to think about our changing environment, the challenges of getting to overseas markets that we want to have access to, the amount of money we want to see in ag research, [and] the progress we want to keep making in helping this sector thrive and grow. It just shows you how economies change, how agriculture changes, and why we need to have a strong Farm Bill.” (end quote)

According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the food processing and agriculture industries create more than 164,000 jobs in Washington State.

The forum was hosted by McDougall & Sons, the Wenatchee-based grower and exporter of apples, pears, and cherries. Before the forum, the senators toured McDougall & Sons’ orchard and packing facility. Following the forum, they took a tour of Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center including the Overley Lab, where the Cosmic Crisp apple and WSU’s recently announced WA-64 apple were first created.

Cantwell is chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Stabenow chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

The current Farm Bill expires on September 30.

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