WSDA Launches Grant Program To Help Ag Businesses

Last week, the Washington state Department of Agriculture announced it was offering grants to small agriculture-related businesses that have suffered economically due to the pandemic, and have been left out of earlier relief programs. The WSDA’s Laura Raymond said the Relief and Recovery grants are a joint effort with the state Department of Commerce, are intended to help businesses in four sectors:

  • Shellfish growers
  • Farmers market organizations
  • Agritourism farms
  • Small breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries that depend on tap and tasting room sales.

Raymond said these sectors are somewhat unique in the larger realm of agricultural producers.

“And in many cases the wellbeing of their business is very tied to that of the larger hospitality/restaurant industry, which as we know has really been challenged this year because of necessary public health requirements to close down or limit the number of customers.”

Specifically, these grants are looking at how to keep those elements of the Ag economy and the entire Washington economy vibrant and whole.

Raymond noted that the farming sector did a good job in 2020 pivoting to keep their doors open. However, for many of the specialty crops, including aquaculture, there were fewer options.

“Many of our small shellfish growers in Washington state rely, a vast majority of their sales go to restaurants.  So similarly, they were really challenged to try to find viable markets for their products when the fresh, have an oyster in a restaurant opportunity wasn’t available.”

Raymond added noted it’s a benefit for everyone in the state that all aspects of the Ag sector enjoys a strong economic recovery.

To learn more about the grants, or for our entire conversation with Raymond, check out PNWAg.net we’ll have more for you there.

If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail [email protected]

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