In Washington, we work to protect farmland, keep farmers on the land, and support sound farming practices. Many of the issues faced here are familiar across the nation: development of farmland, a lack of next generation farmers, the viability of farmland, and the impacts of climate change. Washington has unique challenges and opportunities to act in response to these issues.
The greatest contributor to the permanent loss of agricultural lands is the development of low-density residential housing. Our Farms Under Threat spatial analysis showed that Washington lost nearly 100,000 acres of agricultural lands to housing and other urban development between 2001 and 2016.
In our work, we value strong and steady partnerships, durable and strategic outcomes, and building bridges across challenging issues facing the future of agriculture.
Our approach is rooted in:
Feeding a growing Washington by ensuring adequate funding to preserve farmland, advocating for stronger protection from development, and supporting dense urban housing.
Cultivating the next generation of farmers with opportunities and fewer barriers for new and beginning farmers, supporting equitable access for farmers of color.
Advancing climate-smart agriculture by supporting initiatives for soil health and carbon sequestration, collaborating with those who protect both natural and working lands.
2022 Legislative Priorities
Sustainable Farms and Fields – Give farmers the tools they need for climate and salmon friendly practices by putting $2 million into the Sustainable Farms and Fields program and passing HB 1631 to provide on-the-ground technical support.
Farmland Protection and Land Access – for easements that will protect farmland and preserve affordability for generations to come, supporting the new FarmPAI revolving loan program, which supports equitable access for farmers of color. Read more about a broad coalition in support of funding.
Middle Housing for Farmland Protection – With HB 1782 / SB 5670 , legalize middle housing options in urban areas across the state to reduce pressure for development of rural farmland.
Solar Energy in the Built Environment – With HB 1814 , incentivize solar energy on preferred sites – and away from farmland – with a community solar program and investments for low-income communities.
Growth Management Act Update – Protect the food system from urban sprawl with stronger policies to manage population growth and plan for climate change with HB 1099 and the Washington Can’t Wait campaign.
Conservation Futures – With HB 1672 , give counties more power to support voluntary farmland protection by lifting the 1% property tax levy limit on the Conservation Futures Fund .
Participation in Forums and Coalitions
We serve as a member of several forums and coalitions where we help shape the future of farmland in Washington, including:
- The Washington State Food Policy Forum , created by the state legislature to advise on policy changes needed to strengthen Washington’s food system.
- The Washington Association of Land Trusts , an organization that works to increase the collective strength of Washington’s land trust community.
- The Farmland Advisory Committee for the state’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program , the primary source of state funding for agricultural easements.
- The Easement Subcommittee of the Washington State Conservation Commission , to advise on acquisition and management of agricultural easements.
- The Washington Natural Resources Conservation Service State Technical Advisory Committee and its Easement Subcommittee, a group composed of agricultural producers, agencies, and advocates who advise the United State Department of Agriculture.