In September, legislators, staff, and industry leaders toured the Skagit Valley to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s agricultural producers. The Skagit Valley is a unique and vibrant part of our legislative district and integral to our state’s agricultural production. The Valley is diverse, growing 80 crops of commercial significance; this creates a high level of complexity for our farmers, both in caring for and selling crops and complying with various regulations.
The Skagit Valley is home to roughly 100,000 acres of farmland, and leaders in the community are doing all they can to be good stewards of the environment while maintaining the farming tradition that has made the area so precious. During the tour, we explored dairies that are using cutting-edge technologies to reduce waste, increase efficiency and remain competitive in a global market.
Local jurisdictions are working hand-in-hand with farmers to preserve agricultural land while meeting the needs of a growing population. That’s not an easy task. In addition to witnessing the farming innovations, those on the tour were educated about the water and irrigation challenges faced by farmers. We toured several water projects, including irrigation and drainage systems that supply a large part of the valley. The tour also stopped at the Washington State University Research and Extension Center to hear a talk by Dr. Steve Savage concerning pest management and pesticide-safety practices.
Legislators and policymakers from places other than Skagit got a first-hand look at this unique part of our state, and I hope they came away with a deeper appreciation for the challenges these constituents are facing.
Click here to watch a video of some new technology being utilized in one of our local dairies.