Message To-Non Ag Community: Washington Farms Are Family Owned, Deserve Respect

Ask many in the Washington farm community, and they’ll tell you those not connected with the agriculture community not only don’t know what is taking place on today’s farm, they also don’t care. Statistic show fewer and fewer Americans are connected with farming on a personal level, which supporters of farm country say is evident when you look at legislative decisions being made on the state and federal levels making it more difficult to farm.

The Washington Policy Center’s Pam Lewison, said in many cases it boils down to a lack of education by those who live in urban and suburban areas. In an Op-Ed published in the Seattle Times this summer, Lewison said one popular misconception often spread is that most farms in Washington are owned by massive corporations. She said 80% of farms and ranches across Washington are family businesses.

“Often times they’ll have LLC behind them or they’ll say Inc. in the legal name of that farm.  But, just because a farm is incorporated or has a Limited Liability Corporation doesn’t mean that it is not operated by a family.  What it means is it’s registered as a tax entity.”

Lewison said another popular fallacy is farmers work less than half time. She said not only is that far from the truth, there’s no guarantee a farmer or rancher will get paid.

“It’s hard to explain that something as simple as a rainstorm could wipe out a quarter of your crop and decimate any possibility you might have for an income for the year.”

What is the take away for the non-farm community? Lewison wants those who have never stepped on a farm to understand the real struggles farmers face in the 21st century, and if they have questions, to ask a Washington farmer.

“We deserve to have a seat at the table and to have a voice in what is happening to us, both legislatively and otherwise.   That’s the point of it, that farming is as complicated as any other business decision and it should be treated as such.”

Click Here to read Lewison’s Op-Ed.

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