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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington

Agriculture

Washington’s First Congressional District has a thriving agriculture industry that plays a key role in our local economy. Our district has some of the most fertile agricultural land in the Pacific Northwest and more than 3,000 farms that grow a large variety of fruits, vegetables and seeds. We are also home to a number of dairy farms.

As a former member of the House Committee on Agriculture, and the former Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research, I will continue to be a tireless advocate on behalf of our local farmers and food producers. I will fight for programs that support specialty (fruit and vegetable) and organic crops, cutting edge research, conservation of our forests, trade and job-creating investments that ensure we have a vibrant local agricultural industry in western Washington. To that end, each year I have led a bipartisan letter in support of increased agriculture research.  In addition, this session of Congress, I was appointed to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy and trade, two critical areas for agriculture.

I was honored to play a leading role, as the only Member of Congress from Washington state on the conference committee, in crafting the five-year Farm Bill . The 2014 Farm Bill included a number of reforms that will help reduce the deficit by more than $16 billion. It included unprecedented increases in funding for research and programs that support Washington state's specialty crop growers and organic farms, reauthorized important trade promotion programs that will help open up new markets for our farmers, and included critical funding for conservation and alternative energy programs.

The Farm Bill also included new dairy support programs to aid producers. As a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Caucus, I will continue fighting to improve this program and for dairy policies that support producers across our state.

I also introduced a bipartisan resolution with support from Members of Congress around the country that emphasizes the importance of specialty crops. Specialty crops are a growing and increasingly significant part of agriculture, accounting for about half of the value of U.S. crop production in a given year, but they are not discussed nearly as much as some of the more traditional commodities.

The farmers and businesses in the agriculture industry look to Congress to create sound agriculture and food policy, and they deserve the clarity that will enable them to plan for the future. As we look ahead to the 2018 Farm Bill and beyond, I will continue working to ensure that our local farmers and food producers have a strong voice in Congress.


 

More on Agriculture

Oct 1, 2014 In The News
The federal Food and Drug Administration is shelving a proposed change that threatened to end beer-makers' ability to give away their soggy, used-up grains to farmers for livestock feed. The decision formally announced last week leaves intact a long-standing practice that saves micro-brewers the cost of hauling spent grains to landfills and gives farmers a nutritious source of food for their bovines.
Aug 28, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene announced the start of a new risk management program for dairy farmers, known as the dairy Margin Protection Program, that she worked to include in the 5-year Farm Bill extension that passed earlier this year. This voluntary program allows dairy farmers to take steps to protect their business from economic risks beyond their control.
Aug 25, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene welcomed an announcement from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today that the USDA will begin taking applications from states for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) pilot program, which was included by Rep. DelBene in the Farm Bill reauthorization enacted earlier this year. The provision is based on a bill Rep. DelBene introduced called the Enhancing Employment and Training Through Education Act of 2013 (H.R. 1929).
May 12, 2014 In The News
EVERETT — What beer makers don't want, farmers do. It's those soggy used-up grains, a by-product of the brewing process, that farmers relish as feed for their livestock. Brewers give the grain away to those willing to pick it up. This practice, considered sustainable and environmentally responsible, has gone on for years without interference from government. But a federal agency is pondering changes in how animal feed is handled, and brewers, farmers and federal lawmakers are worried it could seriously crimp, or even end, the long-standing practice.
Apr 11, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The federal delegation representing Snohomish County called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare a Secretarial Disaster Designation for Snohomish County to assist farmers who have been affected by the State Route 530 mudslide.
Apr 10, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Governor Jay Inslee today announced his decision to preserve existing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for over 200,000 Washington households by providing additional assistance to those who participate in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Congresswoman Suzan DelBene issued the following statement:
Feb 5, 2014 In The News
MOUNT VERNON — A significant piece of the federal farm bill for Skagit County agriculture is the increased and permanent funding for specialty crop research and grant programs. The bill is the first to provide long-term investments for the programs and raises funding 50 percent over levels offered in the last farm legislation, providing $80 million per year to the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and $72.5 million per year, to start, for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.
Feb 4, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Senate today passed a five-year Farm Bill by a vote of 68-32. The bill includes a number of reforms that will reduce the deficit by over $16 billion, with much of the savings coming from reforms to agricultural subsidies, such as the elimination of direct payments.
Feb 4, 2014 In The News
The mosaic of interests, the political horse-trading, the willingness to hold hostage the food stamp program: The farm bill defines lawmaking down. In the age of gridlock, incremental changes are cast as victories.
Feb 3, 2014 In The News
WASHINGTON — The mammoth farm bill passed by the U.S. House last week contains a provision written by Rep. Suzan DelBene, of Medina, to replicate a Washington state program to train food-stamp recipients for jobs with taxpayer money. To read the full story, click HERE.

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