The Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) is gearing up for some heavy legislative lifting in 2023. There’s a lot of big issues on the state agenda, including amending the state’s agriculture overtime rule to include a seasonal exemption, protecting against restrictive riparian buffer rules, and continuing to advocate against breaching the lower Snake River dams.
Wheat growers will be heading to Olympia for the annual Olympia Days advocacy trip Jan. 22-24, 2023. Growers will meet with as many legislators from both sides of the aisle as possible to talk about the state’s wheat industry and the issues growers are facing. With a return to in-person meetings, WAWG is putting out the call for growers and landlords, especially those who live on the west side, to participate.
“Legislators like to meet with members of their own districts, so it’s important that we include WAWG members from as many districts as we can in our Olympia Days trip,” explained Michelle Hennings, WAWG’s executive director. “Many urban legislators probably don’t realize that they have ties to agriculture on the east side through retired farmers and landlords. It can be eye-opening for urban legislators to see how something like a riparian buffer implemented hundreds of miles away may negatively affect their constituent because that constituent happens to be an agricultural landlord.”
Growers will visit legislators’ offices in small groups, armed with talking points and handouts on wheat industry priorities. WAWG will also be handing out cinnamon rolls and coffee in the Capitol Building during the trip. WAWG members who want to participate in the Olympia Days event should contact the WAWG office at (509) 659-0610 for more information.
On the federal front, work begins in earnest on the 2023 Farm Bill. WAWG will be working with the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) to make sure the wheat industry has a seat at the table. Priorities for the wheat industry include making sure crop insurance continues to work for wheat growers, raising the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) reference price to better reflect the cost of growing wheat, and continued funding for voluntary conservation programs.
WAWG leaders and staff will be traveling to Washington, D.C., at the end of this month to participate in NAWG’s winter conference. While there, they will spend a day on the Hill, meeting with members of Washington state’s federal delegation.
“As the dust settles from the 2022 elections, we expect to see both the House and the Senate ag committees ramping up hearings and discussions on the 2023 Farm Bill,” Hennings said. “We are working with NAWG to find additional resources to help fund our priorities, especially raising the PLC reference price as we know it’s a big ask. Some of our other federal priorities include protecting and expanding our markets, keeping conservation programs voluntary and incentive-based, and making sure growers have access to the inputs they need to grow a crop.”
For more on the wheat industry’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities, see wawg.org.
Download Leg pullout 0123 for a list of your state and federal representatives for 2023.