Howard: Voters Need To Understand Issues Impacting Local Farmers

Decisions made in the November election will have a direct impact on the farming industry, locally, statewide and nationally for years to come, so its important voters are educated on the issues facing farm country before they cast their ballot. That is one of the many reasons a group of Washington farmers recently launched, a website dedicated to discussing with the consumer the issues facing producers, and how selections made next month could impact the industry for years to come.

Pierce County farmer, Sarah Howard, said many don’t appreciate the long-term impact each election and each vote can have on the Ag economy.

“You don’t know if you vote a certain way, maybe that candidate that you voted for doesn’t care about local farms, because they don’t all care.  They’re not all concerned, about the plight of their local farmers.”

Howard says with each passing election, it’s more and more important that the farm community reach out and talk with the consumers about what’s taking place on the farm. She noted in most cases people really want to be connected to their food.

“We might not realize that fully as farmers because we are already so connected to what we eat, but everybody who puts food in their mouth deserves to have a choice about what they put in their mouth and they deserve to know a little bit about where it came from.”

Which is why was launched, to connect the non-farm community with the biggest issues impacting producers across the state. And Howard noted they tackle some of the biggest, and most challenging issues today, such as Ag Labor. She said critics don’t understand that farmers want to hire consistent skilled workers and want to pay them a living wage.

“I would never, ever, say that farmers want to pay “bottom of the barrel” wages to their workers.  Because our workers work hard and they deserved to be paid well.  But, if we can’t afford to pay them, we can’t afford to hire them to begin with.  And if we’re not hiring people those people’s families aren’t getting supported by us.  So, there needs to be a balance in what farmers are being paid for their goods, and also what we’re expected to pay our workers based on our minimum wage laws.”

Howard noted is non-partisan, but rather the addresses the issues and concerns facing today’s farmer. She added their website is not just about the 2020 election, but all elections going forward.

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