For some in the Washington Ag community, this is an uneasy time, and it’s not just because heat expected in the coming weeks. Washington state Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison said trade remains the biggest concern for growers across the Evergreen state. He said while many want to focus on China, there are actually three trade issues he’s like to see addressed: China, USMCA, and a bilateral deal with Japan.
“We’re rapidly approaching they cherry harvest, I think China takes on special significance from the standpoint with the 50% retaliatory tariffs still in place on cherries, it makes the cherry growers very nervous about what will happen in the next month or two.”
When looking back on the 2019 legislative session, Sandison says there were several positives for the state’s farming industry. A food safety bill was approved, which Sandison noted will help the state get accesses to federal information. He added lawmakers made the weights and measures program whole, and established a pollinator protection program as well.
“Which mirrors largely our managed pollinator protection program, the USDA in consultation with WSU and the industry put out a couple of years ago. So, we were pleased with that.”
Sandison noted pesticide safety was also appears to be a priority in Olympia. And while not requested by WSDA, lawmakers approved legislation funding the Livestock Identification Program.
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