Advocating for Farmland Preservation in the Pacific Northwest

In the State Capital

AFT's Pacific Northwest office enthusiastically supports and advocates for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), the state's only farmland preservation program.

This year, AFT again joins a coalition advocating for $97 million for WWRP funding – which includes $8.4 million for farmland preservation and protects 21 farms in 11 projects in every corner of the state.

AFT

  • Rallies support for the farmland projects
  • Participates in Lobby Day to talk with policy makers about the importance of farmland preservation

With Local Governments

Under Washington state law, county governments wield authority to zone farmland, to regulate uses on farms, and to set property tax rates.

Over the past year, AFT worked closely with Pierce County (Tacoma) planners and staff to ensure farmland protection remains a priority in their Comprehensive Plan, an outline of their priorities and vision for the future.

A member of the Pierce County Agricultural Roundtable (PCAR), AFT

  • Provided technical assistance to county planners
  • Mapped Puget Sound's farmland
  • Developed regional farmland protection priorities

Moving forward

Thanks to AFT and PCAR efforts, the Pierce County Executive proposed changing plan criteria and increasing designated protected farmland from 23,500 acres to nearly 60,000 acres.

AFT continues to support the Comprehensive Plan update process as it moves to the County Council and hearings board for approval.

Using lessons learned this past year in Pierce County, AFT hopes to offer technical assistance to other counties as they prepare their 2015-2016 plans and work to improve polices that support agriculture.

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