On Thursday, the Washington senate approved legislation supporter says will help ensure the state’s food supply is safe. Judy Warnick’s Senate Bill 6091 formalizes the Washington Food Policy Forum, a public-private partnership, as well as outlines the goals of the Forum, including support for small farms, increasing availability of food grown in the state, and reducing food insecurity.
“A system that ensures a secure, abundant supply of healthy food is vital to Washington’s economy,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “Agricultural products are worth over $10 billion to the state’s economy, supporting over 150,000 jobs on nearly 36,000 mostly family-owned farms and billions of dollars in exports. This group will provide valuable insights into improving our state’s food supply and support our agricultural producers.”
Under SB 6091, the Forum will be overseen by the state Conservation Commission and Washington state Department of Agriculture. The Moses Lake Republican noted that will include a broad group of stakeholder, including lawmakers, industry experts, community groups and more. The Forum will provide a report to the Legislature and governor by October 2021 and in odd-numbered years thereafter.
“The food-supply system is complex, and we need to ensure we have a broad base of expertise at the table. The forum members will be looking at ways to improve the regulatory environment for our producers, best use of farmland and ways to coordinate our agricultural efforts in the best way for our citizens,” said Warnick.
The bill was approved unanimously and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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