Larsen Opposes Farm Bill

May 18, 2018 Issues: Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) issued the below statement ahead of voting against the Farm Bill, which would negatively impact Washington’s Second Congressional District:

“Washington state is the most trade-dependent state in the country, thanks in part to agriculture. The Farm Bill is an opportunity every five years for Congress to help Washington state farmers stay competitive in a global market. There are 35,000 farms in Washington state, the majority of which are small, family owned farms.

“I am concerned some of my colleagues are using this bill as an opportunity to gut conservation, rural development, crop insurance and nutrition funding. Adding work requirements to SNAP benefits will place an undue burden on the more than 34,000 households in Washington’s Second District using food stamps to put dinner on the table each night.

“Additionally, this bill completely misses the mark in fostering future trade opportunities for local farmers. Agriculture accounts for 12 percent of Washington state’s economy, is the state’s second largest export and supports 160,000 jobs. Congress should be looking for ways to help these local groups develop and expand into overseas markets, not hindering their efforts. I have heard repeatedly from agriculture groups about the need to expand funding for trade. This bill fails to do this and will hurt efforts to successfully export Washington state potatoes, apples, seed crops and other specialty crops.”


Impacts to Washington’s Second District

  • Hurts rural development programs: The bill does not provide funding for rural development programs which are important for farms across Skagit Valley. Rural development grants have assisted multiple farms and small businesses across Washington’s Second District, including the Puget Sound Food Hub, Gothberg Farms and Penn Cove Shellfish.
  • Shortchanges organic research programs: The bill underfunds organic research programs, important to the 677 organic farms across Washington state. Washington State University’s (WSU) Everett Campus is developing an agriculture research program to focus specifically on organic research.
  • Specialty Crops: The bill fails to increase funding that protects specialty crops. Skagit County is a significant contributor of specialty crops. Washington state produces 75 percent of the U.S. supply of spinach and cabbage seed and nearly 95 percent of U.S. beet seed. Local recipients of these grants include Viva Farms in Burlington.
  • Crop insurance: The bill eliminates crop insurance programs which educate farmers on mitigating production and financial risks to their farms. These programs have provided assistance in Skagit Valley, including through bilingual “Cultivating Success” classes at the WSU Extension-Skagit to teach beginner farmers how to develop and sustain small-acreage farms.