Farmer in lettuce field

Food and farming alert - WSU's BioAg program

Sound Consumer | February 2006

by Maryon Attwood, Director, Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network

(February 2006) — After years of work, we’re down to the wire for an important program that could help shape the future of sustainable farming in Washington state.

By the end of the state legislative session on March 9, we’ll know if the Biologically Intensive Agriculture and Organic Framing (BIOAg) program will be funded by the state legislature.

As an individual who cares about the food you eat, supporting the BIOAg program at Washington State University (WSU) is an important step toward a sustainable, local food system.

The BIOAg program would help farmers manage rising fertilizer costs, new pests, changing climates, and new market expectations with organic and sustainable options.

It would fund research and educational opportunities, and promote better connections between farmers and consumers. It would be useful to the full spectrum of farming operations — organic and non-organic, small and large, eastside and westside. The primary goal overall is economic viability and sustainability in Washington agriculture.

For BIOAg to be a priority in funding decisions, legislators need to hear how important this program is to Washington residents. You can help.

  • Call the legislative hotline at 800-562-6000 to urge your two legislators “to support sustainable agriculture by including $800,000 in the budget for WSU’s BIOAg program.” (The receptionist will identify your district and route your call.)
  • E-mail the chairs of two key committees where budget decisions take place: Sen. Margarita Prentice, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, at prentice.margarita@leg.wa.gov, and Rep. Helen Sommers, chair of the Appropriations Committee, at sommers.helen@leg.wa.gov.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. This is the most read section of the paper and you can bet legislators will see these letters.
  • The most effective means of persuading your legislators is to meet with them. Our Network can help you set up a meeting.

If you need help or tips, contact the Network at www.wsffn.org or call 360-336-9694.

For more information about the BIOAg program, visit the WSU Web site at www.csanr.wsu.edu/BIOAg/#proposals.

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