Washington agriculture industry thriving

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Washington Agriculture Secretary Derek Sandison

Overall, the state of Washington’s agriculture sector remains strong. That was the assessment Washington’s Department of Agriculture director Derek Sandison made during his keynote address at Central Washington University’s 2017 Economic Outlook Conference. Presented by the College of Business, it pertained to Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities in Washington State’s Hay and Potato Industries.

Sandison breaks down current agriculture challenges

Specifically, Sandison listed apples, hops, and poultry as among the sectors that are flourishing, in part because of strong domestic markets. He pointed to dairy and wheat being down, due to increased global production and a strong U.S. dollars which, in some instances, means producers are not even meeting their cost of production.

In addition, an insufficient number of workers available to Washington agriculture is an ongoing problem. Sandison says the shortages continue despite what he termed relatively high wages paid for farm work.

He added that state agriculture producers are hoping the federal government will provide relief through immigration reform and the development of programs that could ease entry of migrant workers into the U.S.

 

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Steve Hair
Steve Hair is a 40-year veteran broadcast journalist who comes to NCW LIFE TV after a long career in radio. Steve and his wife Lynette and their three sons moved to the Wenatchee Valley from Central California in 1992. Steve served as News Director for KPQ News where he covered a multitude of stories of importance to North Central Washington, including two of Washington State’s largest wildfires. During his radio career Steve has received many awards from organizations such as the Associated Press, (Sacramento and Seattle Bureaus) The Washington State Farm Bureau, and the California Medical Association. Steve is a sports addict. Time off usually finds him sprawled out on the couch watching the Seahawks, Mariners or anything that prevents him from doing house chores.