Why thank family farmers? Because you care about your food, you care about where it comes from and you care about those who are working to feed you and do it in a way you can feel good about.
Why thank family farmers?
Simply because we want to keep them. Keep them producing great food and caring for our water and land. Keep them right here in the state of Washington, in our communities, contributing to jobs and helping nourish our society by raising children in the best possible environment.
Why thank family farmers? Because some, like the sponsors of What's Upstream, are driving farmers out of our state. Defending against lawsuits and facing expensive and unnecessary regulations are causing farmers to look to greener pastures. Meanwhile, other states are actively recruiting dairy farmers, showing them that they can expect more favorable treatment elsewhere.
How can you thank them? Visit them. Tell them. Share this information with friends. And join us.
Washington's family farmers make a big difference in our state
Washington state is more than a great place to live and enjoy the environment. Is a great place to grow food! Washington farmers produce about $50 billion worth of food and in the process employ over 160,000 people. that's about four times more than Microsoft employs in the state and about double Boeing's state employment.
Washington is number one in food production in a number of categories including apples, pears, sweet cherries and, of course, hops. Milk is our second largest food category produced, right after apples.
Why are farms getting bigger?
Everyone loves the small farm. Big? Not so much. Some are actively fighting bigger farms. Let's be clear: 99% of Washington farmers are family farmers, so that means big farms and small farms are mostly family farms. But why are we losing more small farms, especially dairy farms?
The simply reason is cost. Hoards Dairyman:
Cost structures were the main reason for the shift in herd size. In 2010, just one year after the Great Recession, it cost dairy farmers with less than 50 cows $16.55 to produce 100 pounds of milk. The cost per hundredweight varied from $15.35 to $14.45 for the herds with 50 to 99 cows and 200 to 499 cows. On the flip side, the cost of production for 100 pounds of milk was $12.76 in the 500 to 999-cow category and dropped to $10.52 for the 2,000-plus cowherds.
Those fighting big farms ("industrial or factory farms" they like to call them) think they are doing good by trying to impose massive new costs through regulation. But such efforts raise the costs for everyone, further accelerating the change from small to big.
What makes Washington a special place for farmers and food?
The rich soil, varied climate, abundant water (in some places) and large scale irrigation infrastructure (in other places) all combine to make Washington a great place to grow food. Add to that the location on the Pacific with port facilities that are the third largest in the nation in food exports.
Raspberries and blueberries are a couple of examples of crops that are perfectly suited for what Washington has to offer. Whatcom County alone produces 65% to 85% of the frozen raspberry crop in the US!
Much more than great food!
Washington farmers produce more than great food. Tulips, for example, are famously grown in the highly productive Skagit Valley.
But the pressures on Skagit farming are mounting. Lawsuits. Opposition from those wanting nothing more than to turn the clock back to pre-farming days. Efforts to impose massive new regulations. All these threaten not just the wide variety of vegetables, seeds, berries, dairy and other products produced--but also those beautiful tulip and daffodil fields.
That's why Save Family Farming is here.
Our mission is to inform you of the threats facing family farmers. An informed citizenry is needed for our elected officials to make the right decisions and for our non-elected government leaders, the regulators, to do their jobs properly.
We encourage you to scan this website carefully. You'll see that, sadly, threats to farming come from our own government in the form of illegal support for an anti-farm campaign by our own Environmental Protection Agency. You'll see that an out-of-state law group is fighting our legislature so that they can sue dairy farmers. Why ours and not theirs? Because our state doesn't offer the same third-party lawsuit protection that other nearby states do.
Even if you don't care about great local food and numerous jobs, you likely care a lot about the environment. And that's one of the most important reasons to thank farmers.
This website has lots of information about farmers and environmental stewardship, like buffers and fish habitat, manure management regulations, proactive investments, and much more.
What happens when we lose our farmers and their farms are converted to development? We lose water filtration. We lose wildlife habitat. We lose open spaces. We lose a legacy, a way of life, a healthy place for kids to grow. We just plain lose.
Why farmers enjoy strong
An opinion poll conducted by North Star Opinion Research for National Crop Insurance Service showed that 88% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats support farmers and 59% from both parties support federal programs aimed at keeping our farmers in business.
This is important to understand because the What's Upstream sponsors want you to believe that most voters in our state want to see more costs forced on our farmers, more regulations, more lawsuits. They twist the data from their own public opinion polls and draw conclusions that contradict what the data says.
Why does this matter? Because elected officials and regulator alike care about what you think. They understand when you are unhappy about policies and laws that are harmful to your interests, you can make a difference in their future.
Is it important to you that we save our Washington's family farmers?
If so, you can help. First, tell friends, family and neighbors about how important this issue is and where they can get information--such as this website and our Facebook page. "Like" our Facebook page and share the information you are getting.
Our effort is made possible by contributions from farmers and farm supporters. Like you.