As farmers and ranchers wait for the USDA to approve assistance to rebound from the drought, wildfires and extreme heat in both 2020 and 2021, the delay is hurting those outside of the farming community. That according to eastern Washington representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who has joined other lawmakers from the Evergreen State calling on the USDA to expedite already approved $10 billion in assistance. McMorris Rodgers said the impact of this assistance will be felt well beyond the farms and ranches across the area. She noted that agriculture is the main driver for the regional economy.
“It’s a well over $1 billion economy in eastern Washington, so it’s the driver of what happens in small towns throughout eastern Washington. And when our farmers and ranchers are having a tough time absolutely Main Street feels that. And that’s why this is important, just imperative that we address what has become a backlog of assistance requests that USDA is just moving too slowly on.”
McMorris Rodgers is urging Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to hire the additional staff necessary to make sure the farming community across Washington gets the relief they need.