A Senate bill created the Washington State Department of Agriculture a century ago, so it seemed appropriate to Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler that today’s senators should take a few minutes to adopt Senate Resolution 8630, which observes the agency’s special anniversary and recognizes its role in making Washington agriculture – the state’s largest employer – so successful.
“If you need an example of a positive relationship between government and an industry, look no further than our state agriculture department,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville, who is the lone full-time farmer serving in the Legislature. “WSDA makes no bones about the fact that its primary mission is to support agriculture in Washington, and that attitude has undoubtedly helped make our state one of the top agricultural producers in the nation.”
Schoesler noted how many WSDA responsibilities date to territorial days – for instance, seed and grain inspection, and the licensing and registration of livestock. Other agency duties have emerged as the state’s agricultural industry has grown, he added, including the regulation of crop-protection products, support for commodity commissions and even the management of so-called “dairy nutrients.”
“While our state is a leader in aerospace and high-tech, agriculture is still the backbone of Washington’s economy,” said Schoesler, who farms wheat and canola and raises cattle in Adams and Lincoln counties. “The 39,900 farms in our state and the 160,000 people who work in agriculture aren’t found in one particular corridor – they’re scattered around our state, meaning agriculture is important to every one of our local economies as well.
“Whether we’re talking apples or zucchini, international exports or food processing, WSDA has been there to help. It deserves our thanks and congratulations today.”