Agriculture: The Cornerstone of Washington’s Economy
Agriculture accounts for $51 billion (or 13 percent) of Washington’s yearly economic activity. 160,000 Washington jobs are tied to agriculture. This is more than Microsoft and Boeing combined. Washington state produces more than 300 different crops, second only to California. The number of wineries in Washington state has tripled over the past decade.In 2014, the state exported $16 billion worth of food and agricultural products to people around the world. State leaders must ensure agricultural productivity is a priority and considered equally with other key industries when setting tax, regulatory and economic policy.
Washington has a number of policies that harm the agriculture sector include; House Bill 20238, which increases taxes on the agricultural community by nearly $1 billion; House Bill 2201, which imposes a new reporting system for farmers and other businesses who benefited from tax exemptions and preferences; and House Bill 2484, which requires the Department of Labor and Industries to impose new training and safety rules on dairy farms. State leaders and legislatures should overturn these policies.