Larsen Secures $231,000 for Northwest Ag Business Center</A

Jun 28, 2007

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) has secured $231,000 in a House funding bill so the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NWABC) can further its work helping Northwest Washington farms thrive.  This funding would be used to create a technological network connecting producers, retailers and distributors so local farmers can get their products to market more efficiently. The funding was included in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008, which passed the House by a vote of 240 to 179.  The House and Senate must agree on a final version of the bill before the president can sign it into law.

“This funding will help family farms succeed,” said Linda Neunzig, Owner of Ninety Farms in Snohomish County. “Producing the highest quality products isn’t enough to make a farm successful. Connecting locally grown food with local restaurants and businesses is a key part of the equation.”

"Northwest Washington produces some of the finest fruits, vegetables and dairy products in the world,” said Larsen. “The Northwest Agriculture Business Center plays a key role in building partnerships and helping producers develop new business models so they can compete with farms down the road and around the world.”

Farms in Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island counties have faced challenges due to rising production costs and the increasing pressure of urban growth on existing farmland. The NWABC was formed in 2006 to help address these challenges and improve the profitability of agriculture by offering hands-on business planning assistance for Northwest Washington growers.  Since the NWABC was formed in 2006, it has worked with hundreds of local farmers through workshops, meetings and individual client services.

“There is a tremendous surge in consumer demand for safe, nutritious food that is produced locally,” said David Bauermeister, Executive Director of the Northwest Agriculture Business Center. “This funding for the Northwest Agriculture Business Center will be used to create a network of people, products and facilities for bringing the farm to market and increasing the profitability of these farms.”