Starting October 18th, Washington government employees, including teachers, police officers and others, need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Add to that list 4-H volunteers across the state. Washington lawmakers connected with the farming community worry this mandate will hurt the program and discourage people from volunteering.
“The 4-H program is something incredibly valuable for our youth in all 39 counties and to punish them for volunteering sometimes maybe once or twice a year is just too much government,” noted state Senator Mark Schoesler. The Ritzville Republican added he worries extending this mandate to 4-H clubs will result in volunteers walking away from the program.
“4-H leaders have to be screened, background checked and trained,” Schoesler pointed out. “They are hard to recruit and retain. They are good hearted people, they use common sense, they are leaders in our communities. What are we going to do, have the county agent show up at the 4-H club meeting and check the vaccination status?”
Ag leaders in the state Senate say Washington should follow the lead of Oregon and California and provide alternatives to vaccine mandates.
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail [email protected]