Think there are no more farms in Clark County? The Washington Farm Bureau disagrees.
On Tuesday, the office announced that it was honoring two lawmakers who represent parts of Clark County – Rep. Larry Hoff, R-Vancouver and Senator Curtis King, R-Yakima – with this year’s Legislator of the Year award. year. The bureau is the largest general agricultural organization in the state with 47,000 members.
The awards were presented to lawmakers for “their leadership and exceptional dedication to working on key issues important to members of the Farm Bureau.”
According to a 2017 USDA Agricultural Census, there were nearly 2,000 farms remaining covering more than 90,000 acres in Clark County. Despite a slight increase from the 2012 census figures, the health of the county’s farms has long been in decline. Much of this decline can be attributed to the robust growth of the county’s urban areas as well as land use pressures that threaten the economic viability of farms.
These pressures have made the search for key lawmakers to protect and lobby for vital agricultural resources for groups like the Farm Bureau. In a prepared statement, bureau chairman Mike LaPlant said this was especially true following a decision by a Yakima County Superior Court judge in June that paved the way for a class action lawsuit against DeRuyter Brothers Dairy for unpaid overtime.
“Representative. Hoff and Senator King were instrumental in protecting farmers and ranchers from the unfair consequences of the Washington Supreme Court’s DeRuyter decision,” LaPlant said, noting that their efforts “created the the opportunity to pass a more thoughtful and workable bill that dealt with overtime and retroactive compensation, for which we are sincerely grateful.
Hoff is the most senior Republican on the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, which plays an important role in employment issues that have a direct impact on farmers.
King is the most senior Republican on the Transport and Labor and Commerce committees. LaPlant noted that both committees are extremely important to “the people who grow and raise our food.”
“These two lawmakers went above and beyond for their constituents and for all of us involved in agriculture,” LaPlant said. “We are honored to present our Lawmaker of the Year award to Representative Larry Hoff and Senator Curtis King.”