Growers to weigh water quality issue
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:50 AM
Wheat farmers with experience on issues asked to join effort
By MATTHEW WEAVER
The Washington Association of Wheat Growers is looking for farmers who in the past have worked on water quality issues with state agencies.
Nicole Berg, vice president of WAWG and chair of the natural resources committee, said she is looking for farmers to help the association address water quality and other environmental issues.
WAWG will meet at 10 a.m. Feb. 5 in the Washington Grain Commission board room at 2702 W. Sunset Blvd., in Spokane.
In the past, the association has worked with the Washington Department of Ecology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service to address issues like air quality and burning. Berg is looking for farmers with experience or knowledge from that work.
"Did it work in the past? Are there things you would have done differently?" she said.
Such information is necessary as the association works with state and federal agencies on possible water quality legislation, said Berg, a Paterson, Wash., farmer.
"We want to make sure we as wheat growers have a snapshot of the environmental issues or an inventory of some of the good work we are doing across the state," she said.
The directors of the Washington departments of Agriculture and Ecology and the state Conservation Commission recently indicated they will not pursue new legislation pertaining to water quality.
However, future policy changes could affect all farming methods, including conventional and no-till, Berg said.
Berg said farmers will need to provide information to Gov. Jay Inslee and state agency leaders as they start their new positions.
"Whether it's federal or state, you have new people coming in that we need to educate on how we farm today," she said. "Technologies change every second, and even we as farmers have a hard time keeping up with them. But we also need to educate agency folks and the public on some of the new technologies we're implementing."
WAWG plans to hold a water quality tour for agencies this spring.
The subcommittee will also provide suggestions for future steps, priorities and focus for WAWG's water quality policies. The organization would like any interested and affected farmers to attend and become involved.
The meeting is open to the public.
Washington Association of Wheat Growers: www.wawg.org