Seattle, Wash., July 2, 2013 –The State Legislature’s approval over the weekend of a budget that includes $65 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is a big victory for the state’s family farms, according to American Farmland Trust. Farmland projects will receive $5.3 million from the WWRP, a major boost from the $700,000 approved in 2011.
“This is a huge win for agriculture in Washington,” said Dennis Canty, American Farmland Trust’s Pacific Northwest director. “This program rewards the state’s farmers and ranchers for their commitment to keep their land in agriculture, where it can continue to produce local food, wildlife habitat, and jobs for future generations.”
Between 1982 and 2007, Washington lost more than 356,000 acres of farmland, most of it on the urban fringe. Funds from the WWRP will enable cities, counties, and others to buy development rights on farmland to ensure the lands remain available for farming in the future. The $5.3 million provided in this budget will be used to protect 14 farms and 6,372 acres of farmland throughout Washington.
A bipartisan coalition of more than 275 organizations, including farmers, timber companies, hunters, anglers, and recreation businesses asked lawmakers to support funding increases for the WWRP in a special session. The effort was part of AFT’s Farmland Forever campaign that aims to protect 100,000 acres of farmland through land use planning and purchases of development rights by 2018.
For more information about AFT’s activities in the Pacific Northwest, please visit www.farmland.org/washington.
American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.